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one event to the righteous and to the wicked; “ And as is the good, sc is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.” In chapter v. 8, it is signified, that there is a remedy from the wrong, injustice, and oppression of men in power, by the judgment of the Supreme Judge. The same is signified in chapter iii. 16, 17. And yet what is said, chapter iv. 1, 2, implies, that often in this case there is no remedy in this life: “ So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun; and beheld the tears of such as were oppressed ; and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power : but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead, more than the living which are yet alive.” In Prov. x. 7, Solomon says, the memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot. And of this memory or good name of the just, he says (Eccles. vii. 1), that " it is better than precious ointment (meaning the precious ointment they were wont to anoint the children of great and rich men with when first born); and that, upon this account, the day of a godly man's death (followed with a good name, and so a blessed memory) is better than the day of one's birth.” And yet the same wise man says, Eccles. ii. 16, “ There is no remembrance of the wise man more than of the fool; seeing that which now is, in the days to come shall be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.” By which it is evident, that it is with regard to something that follows death in another world, and not any thing in this world, that the death of the righteous is thus preferred to the death of the wicked ; on the account of the blessed memory and good name of the righteous, and the rotten stinking name of the wicked.' Again, in chapter vi. 3, 4, an untimely birth is said to be better than one who lives in great prosperity, if he have no burial, and his naine be covered with darkness; implying, that he is in a worse state after death, for having no burial, and his name covered with darkness. And yet it will follow, that he is neither the worse nor the better, for any thing done in this world to his corpse or his name, after he is dead. I say it will follow, from what is ob served, chapter ix. 5, 6, “ The dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun." Chapter iii 22, “ There is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works : for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him ?” So chapter vi. 12. By which it is evident, that by burial, and the name of the deceased person, are meant something diverse from any thing that remains, or is brought to pass in this world.
Balaam says, “ Let me die the death of the righteous; let my last end be like his : implying, that there is something in their death vastly preferable to the death of the wicked. And the Psalmist, Psal. xxxvii. 37, 38, says, “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace But the transgressors shall be destroyed together : the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” Psalm xxvi. 9, “ Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men.” Prov. X. 25, “ As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more; but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” And Prov. xi. 7, " When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” And chapter xiv. 32, “ The wicked is driven away in his wickedness, but the righteous hath hope in his death.” Thus it is abundantly represented, as if there were a vast difference between the righteous and the wicked. And yet it is declared, that as to any thing pertaining to this world there is no difference. Eccles. ïi. 16, “How dieth the wise man? as the fool.": Compare Psalm xlix. 10. And although Solomon says, in Prov. xi. 7, that 63when a wicked man dieth, his expectation and hope perish," as if this were VOL. I.
peculiar to wicked men ; yea, he says expressly, chapter xiv. 32,“ The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hope in his death :" yet the same wise man, after observing that there is one event to the righteous and wicked, both in life and in death, Eccles. ix. 3, in the next verses proceeds to say, that to him that is joined to all the living, there is hope; intimating there is no more hope for him, whether he be righteous or wicked, after he is dead; i. e., as to any good in this world, which is plainly his meaning ; for he, in the following words, proceeds to observe, that “ they have no more a portion forever of any thing that is done under the sun.” And though it be so often, in these writings of Solomon, observed to be the peculiar excellency of wisdom and righteousness, that it delivers from death, and gives life and length of days, and makes the years of life many; and though he does abundantly set forth the great peace, comfort, pleasure, profit and satisfaction, and exceeding gain, excellent advantage, and good reward of wisdom and virtue; so that it is worth the while to get it by all means; with all our gettings, to buy it and sell it not; and that they that obtain it are happy, yea exceeding happy: yet this same wise man does in effect tell us, that by life he does not mean this present life; and that the profit, gain, and happiness he speaks of, is no good of a temporal nature. For as to this life, and all the good that belongs to it, at best, he says, all is vanity and vexation of spirit, and that there is no profit under the sun. Compare Eccles. ii. 11, with the preceding part of the book. And he there plainly shows that he means that it is thus, both with respect to wise men and fools, righteous and wicked, verses 14, 15, 16; and then he tells us that he esteemed life in this sense, even the present life, with the best it had, worse than nothing; verse 17, “ Therefore I hated life.” And declares that he judges, that for any good in this life, death is better than life, and that they are most happy who have never yet received life; Eccles. iv. 2, 3,“ Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead, more than the living which are yet alive Yea, better is he, than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” In chapter ii. 20, 21, 22, he speaks expressly of the life of a righteous man, whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; and says of it, What hath he of all his labor ? And that all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief : and that a man may well despair as to any happiness or real profit in this life. He declares, that long life in this world is so far from being so exceeding a felicity, that if a man should live a thousand years twice told, yet there is no good or benefit in it all: and that the wise in this respect has no more than the fool. Eccles. vi. 6, 7, 8. And that if a man here hath long life, and continual prosperity through the whole of it, it is all worth nothing: Eccles. xi. 8, “But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all, all that cometh is vanity.” And chapter vi. 12, this whole life is called a vain life. The wise man in this book of Ecclesiastes, does greatly recommend it to his readers to fear God; Eccles. iii. 14; chap. viii. 12; chap. xii. 13. And to fear him as a Judge that will bring every work into judgment; chap. xii. 13, 14; chap. xi. 9, 10. And yet if there be no other life but this, he in effect tells us all over this book, we have nothing to fear, no punishment from the Judge, no calamity in a way of displeasing him, any more than in a way of doing what is well pleasing in his sight.
It is an argument tnat the Scriptures of the Old Testament afford for a future state, that it is so often observed in those sacred writms, as a thing very remarkable, that man should be mortal, that in this respect he should be like the beasts that perish, and like the flowers, and grass of the field : Psaj
xlix. 10, 11, 12, “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever ; nevertheless man being in honor abideth not ; he is like the beasts that perish.” And verses 19, 20, " He shall go to the generation of his fathers. They shall never see light. Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish." Why should it be taken notice of as something remarkable, that man should be mortal, and die as the beasts do, if there be nothing in the nature and circumstances of man, by which he is distinguished from the beasts, that would naturally lead one to expect an answerable distinction in this respect? If it be no more than is to be expected, considering man's nature, capacity, state in the world, business, the end of his creation, his views, and natural desires ; I say, if, considering these things, there is nothing in man that should lead us any more to expect, that man should be immortal, than the beasts, or that should make it any more wonderful or remarkable, that men should die, than that the inferior creatures should die; then why is such a remark made upon it? And, besides, it is plainly signified, that man's superior nature and circumstances to the beasts, or his being in honor, does require, or naturally lead us to expect, that man should be distinguished in this respect from the beasts. For that is mentioned, as the thing that renders it remarkable, that man should die as the beasts, that he is in honor.
The words of Solomon are very emphatical, Ecclesiastes iïi. 18, 19, 20: “I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God mighlimanifest them; that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men, befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea they have all one breath. So that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity; all go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” This would not be spoken with so much emphasis, as a thing very remarkable and difficult to conceive of, if there was nothing in it indeed wonderful, nothing pertaining to the nature which God had given mankind, or the state he had set them in, leading one to expect, that man should differ from the beasts in this; nothing that should make it appear congruous and fit, that God should make men, unless under his remarkable displeasure, to be distinguished from the inferior creatures by immunity from death; and that he should enjoy eternal life. And, if it be so, then we may determine, that there is great reason to suppose, that there is some way that good men shall be delivered from death, and that they shall enjoy eternal life in some invisible world after death. For good men are spoken of abundantly in the Old Testament, as fully in favor with God, having all their sins perfectly done away, as if they had never been, and as being very dear and precious in God's sight; that God greatly delights in them : and the bestowment of life is abundantly spoken of as the excellent fruit of his distinguishing love and favor. And the durableness of the benefits of his favor is often spoken of as a proper testimony of the greatness of it; their being more durable than the everlasting mountains, yea than heaven and earth ; Psalm cii. latter end—Isaiah li. 6,'chap. liv. 10. And it cannot answer the design of those great declarations of God's favor, that although particular saints shall die, yet a succession of them shall be continued, and their posterity shall last. For, if there be no future state, then they are never the better for what happens to their posterity or successors after their death, as is often observed in the Old Testament, and especially in the book of Ecclesiastes.
If God has perfectly forgiven all the sins of the righteous, and they are so
high in his favor; and if the great evidence of this favor be the durableness of the benefits that are the fruits of it, and the chief fruit of it is life; then it is at least to be expected, that they will escape that mortality which is such a remarkable disgrace to those that have the human nature, and so wonderful to behold in those whom the Most High has made to differ so much from the beasts in capacity, dignity, end and design. We might surely expect, that these high favorites should, with regard to life and durableness of happiness, not be mere beasts, and have no pre-eminence above them; and that they should not be like the grass, and the flower of the field, which in the morning flourisheth and groweth up, but in the evening is cut down and withered ; that all their happiness and all the benefits of God's favor should not be like a shadow, like a dream, like a tale that is told; that it should not be as a span, and should not pass away as the swift ships, as the eagle that hasteth to the prey; that it should not be swifter than a weaver's shuttle ; – to which things the life of man is compared in Scripture.
The things of this world are spoken of as having no profit or value, because they are not lasting, but must be left at death, and therefore are mere vanity (i. e., wholly worthless), and not worthy that any man should set his heart on them, Psalm xlix. 6 to the end, Proy. xxiii. 4, 5, chap. xi. 7, Ecclesiastes ii. 15, 16, 17, chap. iii., ten first verses, verse 19, chap. v. 14, 15, 16. But the rewards of righteousness are abundantly represented as exceedingly valuable and worthy that men should set their hearts upon them, because they are lasting, Prov. iii. 16, viii. 18, and x. 25, 27, Isaiah lv. 3, Psalm i. 3 to the end, Isaiah xvii. 7, 8, and innumerable other places. How can these things consist one with another, unless there be a future state ?
It is spoken of as a remarkable thing, and what one would not expect, that good men should die as wicked men do, as it seems to be, by good men's dying a temporal death as wicked men do, Eccles. ii. 16, chap. ix. 3, 4, 5. And therefore, it may be argued, that it does but seem to be so; but that in reality it shall not be so, inasmuch as, though good men die a temporal death as wicked men do, yet, as to their happiness, they die not, but live forever in a future state. It is an evidence of a future state, that in the Old Testament so many promises are made to the godly, of things that shall be after they are dead, which shall be testimonies of God's great favor to them, and blessed rewards of his favor; so many promises concerning their name, and concerning their posterity, and the future church of God in the world; and yet that we are so much taught in the Old Testament that men are never the better for what comes to pass after they are dead, concerning these things (i. e., if we look only at the present life, without taking any other state of existence into consideration), Job xiv. 21, Eccles. i. ii. iii. 22, and ix. 5, 6. Yea, the wise man says expressly, that the dead have no more of a reward, i. e., in any thing in this world, Eccles. ix. 5.
That man shall die as a beast, seems to be spoken of, Eccles. iii. 16 to the end, as a vanity, an evil, a kind of mischief and confusion, that appears in the world. Therefore this is an argument, that God, the wise orderer of all things, who brings order out of confusion, will rectify this disorder by appointing a future state.
These representations of the Old Testament, wherein the life of man is set forth as being so exceedingly short, as a flower, as a shadow, as a dream, a tale that is told, as a span, a moment, &c., have no propriety at all in them any other way, than as man's life is short, in a comparative view, compared with things pertaining to men, that would naturally lead us to expect that it should be incomparably longer ; such as the dignity of man's nature above all other creatures, his being made in the image of God, his being of a capacity so much superior, his being made for such an end and business, and capable of such bappiness, made capable of looking forward and having some comprehension of an endless life, his necessary desires of such a life, &c. Otherwise, why is not the shortness of the duration of other things in like manner set forth and insist. ed on, which do not last longer than the life of man? But if it be so indeed, that man's life is exceedingly short, considering his nature, end, capacity and desires, then doubtless the righteous, who are represented as the high favorites of God, who shall be the subjects of his blessings every way, and particularly shall have life as the great fruit of his favor and blessing, will have a life, or duration, that shall be long, answerably to their nature, desires, &c.
It is an argument that the Old Testament affords for the proof of a future life and immortality, that we are there taught, that mortality is brought in by sin, and comes as a punishment of sin. Therefore, it is natural to suppose, that when complete forgiveness is promised, and perfect restoration to favor, and deliverance from death, and the bestowment of life, as the fruit of this favor, eternal life and immortality is intended.
$ 5. That the state of divine judgment and retribution is hereafter, in another life, and not in this, is manifest from this, that some of the highest acts of virtue consist in dying well, in denying ourselves of life in a good cause, for God, and a good conscience, or rather than commit what is in itself vicious and vile ; for our country, for the church of God, and the interest of that holy society.
$ 6. Isaiah chap. xxxviii. 18, 19, “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down to the pit cannot hope for thy truth."
"The living, the living he shall praise thee, as I do this day; the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” The death that is here spoken of, is death indeed, or is properly so called. The state of death is here spoken of as it is originally, and as being still, a state of death, and not as it is changed by a redemption from a state of death to a state of life. Hezekiah speaks of that death wherein men do really die, or are fully dead, and not that improperly so called, wherein men are a thousand times more alive than they were before, and are immortal, and beyond the possibility of dying. Death, as it is originally, and when it is properly death, is a state wherein men cannot “ praise God," nor" celebrate him," nor“ hope for his truth.” It is a state of evil without any good. It is, as Job says, “ the land of darkness, as darkness itself, and the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” It is a state wherein there is no good done, no good enjoyed, no good hoped for. It is a state of absolute emptiness of any good, act or principle, happiness or hope. They that are in hell, are in such a state of death. Such was death originally; such was death as it was threatened to our first parents; and very commonly, when death is spoken of in the Old Testament, it is in this notion of it. For the change of a state of death into a state of more glorious life, was not fully revealed under the Old Testament. Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. It is under this notion death seems to be spoken of in Eccles. ix. 4, 5, 6, where it is said, that“ a living dog is better than a dead lion ;” and that “the dead have no more a reward ;” and that “ they have no more a portion forever of any thing that is done under the sun.” Hezekiah did not mean, that they that are redeemed from the power of the grave, they that get the victory over death, and shall never die (as Christ promises believers), “ shall not praise God, nor hope for his truth.”
We see in this instance, that the better men are, the more terrible would it