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lived an hundred or two hundred years ago, were alive still, and possessed their old estates and honours, what had become of this present generation of men, who have now taken their places, and make as great a show and bustle in the world as they did? And if you look back three, or four, or five hundred years, the case is still so much the worse; the world would be over-peopled; and where there is one miserable man now, there must have been five hundred; or the world must have been common, and all men reduced to the same level; which, I believe, the rich and happy people, who are so fond of long life, would not like very well. This would utterly undo our young prodigal heirs, were their hopes of succession three or four hundred years off, who, as short as life is now, think their fathers make very little haste to their graves. This would spoil their trade of spending their estates before they have them, and make them live a dull sober life, whether they would or no; and such a life, I know, they don't think worth having. And therefore, I hope at least they will not make the shortness of their fathers' lives an argument against providence; and yet such kind of sparks as these are commonly the wits that set up for atheism, and, when it is put into their heads, quarrel with everything which they fondly conceive will weaken the belief of a God and a providence, and, among other things, with the shortness of life which they have little reason to do, when they so often outlive their estates.
3dly, The world is very bad as it is; so bad, that good men scarce know how to spend fifty or threescore years in it; but consider how bad it would probably be were the life of men extended to six, seven, or eight hundred years. If so near a prospect of the other world as forty or fifty years cannot restrain men from the greatest villanies, what would they do if they could as reasonably suppose death to be three or four hundred years off? If men make such improvements in wickedness in twenty or thirty years, what would they do in hundreds? And what a blessed place then would this world be to live in! We see in the old world, when the life of men was drawn out to so great a length, the wickedness of mankind grew so insufferable that it repented God he had made man; and he resolved to destroy that whole generation, excepting Noah and his family. And the most probable account that can be given how they came to grow so universally wicked, is the long and prosperous lives of such wicked men, who by degrees corrupted others, and they others, till there was but one righteous family left, and no other remedy left but to destroy them all; leaving only that righteous
family as the seed and future hopes of the new world.
And when God had determined in himself and promised to Noah never to destroy the world again by such an universal destruction, till the last and final judgment, it was necessary by degrees to shorten the lives of men, which was the most effectual means to make them more governable, and to remove bad examples out of the world, which would hinder the spreading of the infection, and people and reform the world again by new examples of piety and virtue. For when there are such quick successions of men, there are few ages but have some great and brave examples, which give a new and better spirit to the world.
ON OUR IGNORANCE OF THE TIME OF
For a conclusion of this argument, I shall briefly vindicate the wisdom and goodness of God in concealing from us the time of our death. This we are very apt to complain of, that our lives are so very uncertain, that we know not to-day but what we may die to-morrow; and we would be mighty glad to meet with any one who would certainly inform us in this matter, how long we are to live. But if we think a little better of it, we shall be of another mind.
For, 1st, Though I presume many of you would be glad to know that you shall certainly live twenty, or thirty, or forty years longer, yet would it be any comfort to know that you must die to-morrow, or some few months, or a year or two hence? which may be your case for ought you know; and this, I believe, you are not very desirous to know; for how would this chill your blood and spirits! How would it overcast all the pleasures and comforts of life! You would spend your days like men under the sentence of death, while the execution is suspended.
Did all men who must die young certainly know it, it would destroy the industry and improvements of half mankind, which would half destroy the world, or be an insupportable mischief to human societies: for what man who knows that he must die at twenty, or five-and-twenty, a little sooner or later, would trouble himself with ingenious or gainful arts, or concern himself any more with this world than just to live so long in it? And yet, how necessary is the service of such men in the world! What great things do they many times do! and what great improvements do they make! How pleasant and diverting is their conversation while it is innocent! How do they enjoy themselves, and give life and spirit to the graver age! How thin would our schools, our shops, our
universities, and all places of education, be did they know how little time many of them were to live in the world! For would such men concern themselves to learn the arts of living, who must die as soon as they have learnt them? Would any father be at a great expense in educating his child, only that he might die with a little Latin and Greek, logic and philosophy? No: half the world must be divided into cloisters and nunneries, and nurseries, for the grave.
Well, you'll say, suppose that; and is not this an advantage above all the inconveniences you can think of, to secure the salvation of so many thousands who are now eternally ruined by youthful lusts and vanities, but would spend their days in piety and devotion, and make the next world their only care, if they knew how little while they were to live here?
Right: I grant this might be a good way to correct the heat and extravagances of youth, and so it would be to show them heaven and hell; but God does not think fit to do either, because it offers too much force and violence to men's minds; it is no trial of their virtue, of their reverence for God, of their conquests and victory over this world by the power of faith, but makes religion a matter of necessity, not of choice: now, God will force and drive no man to heaven; the gospel dispensation is the trial and discipline of ingenuous spirits; and if the certain hopes and fears of another world, and the uncertainty of our living here, will not conquer these flattering temptations, and make men seriously religious, as those who must certainly die, and go into another world, and they know not how soon, God will not try whether the certain knowledge of the time of their death will make them religious. That they may die young, and that thousands do so, is reason enough to engage young men to expect death, and prepare for it; if they will venture, they must take their chance, and not say they had no warning of dying young, if they eternally miscarry by their wilful delays.
And besides this, God expects our youthful service and obedience, though we were to live on till old age: that we may die young is not the proper, much less the only, reason why we should remember our Creator in the days of our youth, but because God has a right to our youthful strength and vigour; and if this will not oblige us to an early piety, we must not expect that God will set death in our view, to fright and terrify us: as if the only design God had in requiring our obedience was, not that we live like reasonable creatures, to the glory of their Maker and Redeemer, but that we might repent of our
sins time enough to escape hell. God is so merciful as to accept of returning prodigals, but does not think fit to encourage us in sin, by giving us notice when we shall die, and when it is time to think of repentance.
2dly, Though I doubt not but that it would be a great pleasure to you to know that you should live till old age, yet consider a little with yourselves, and then tell me whether you yourselves can judge it wise and fitting for God to let you know this?
I observed to you before what danger there is in flattering ourselves with the hopes of long life; that it is apt to make us too fond of this world when we expect to live so long in it; that it weakens the hopes and fears of the next world, by removing it at too great a distance from us; that it encourages men to live in sin, because they have time enough before them to indulge their lusts, and to repent of their sins, and make their peace with God before they die and if the uncertain hope of this undoes so many men, what would the certain knowledge of it do? Those who are too wise and considerate to be imposed on by such uncertain hopes, might be conquered by the certain knowledge of a long life.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON, the most illustrious of natural philosophers, born 1642, died 1727, in addition to his works upon mathematics, philosophy, chronology, etc., was the author of Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Lond., 1733, 4to, and other Biblical treatises.
In a review of the characteristics and
achievements of the great minds which ruled the republic of letters and the domain of science in the latter days of Charles II., an eloquent historian remarks:
"But the glory of these men, eminent as they
were, is cast into the shade by the transcendent
lustre of one immortal name. In Isaac Newton two kinds of intellectual power-which have little in common and which are not often found together in a very high degree of vigour, but which, nevertheless, are equally necessary in the most sublime departments of natural philosophy-were united as they have never been united before or since. There may have been minds as happily constituted science; there may have been minds as happily as his for the cultivation of pure mathematical constituted for the cultivation of science purely experimental; but in no other mind have the demonstrative faculty and the inductive faculty coexisted in such supreme excellence and perfect harmony. Perhaps in an age of Scotists and Thomists even his intellect might have run to waste, as many intellects ran to waste which were inferior only to his. Happily, the spirit of the age in which his lot was cast gave the right direc
tion to his mind, and his mind reacted with tenfold force on the spirit of the age. In the year 1685, his fame, though splendid, was only dawning but his genius was in the meridian. His great work that work which effected a revolution in the most important provinces of natural philosophy-had been completed [it was completed in May, 1686], but was not yet published [in midsummer, 1687], and was just about to be submitted to the consideration of the Royal Society [submitted May, 1686]."-LORD MACAULAY: Hist, of England, vol. i. ch. iii.
The results of Newton's diligent examination of the Scriptures should be given in his own words: "I find," he remarks, "more sure marks of the authenticity of the Bible than in any profane history whatever.... Worshipping God and the Lamb in the temple: God, for his benefaction in creating all things, and the Lamb, for his benefaction in redeeming us with his blood."
THE PROPHETIC LANGUAGE.
For understanding the prophecies, we are, in the first place, to acquaint ourselves with the figurative language of the prophets. This language is taken from the analogy between the world natural and an empire or kingdom considered as a world politic.
Accordingly, the whole world natural, consisting of heaven and earth, signifies the whole world politic, consisting of thrones and people; or so much of it as is considered in the prophecy. And the things in that world signify the analogous things in this. For the heavens, and the things therein, signify thrones and dignities, and those who enjoy them; and the earth, with the things thereon, the inferior people; and the lowest part of the earth, called Hades, or Hell, the lowest or most miserable part of them. Whence, ascending towards heaven, and descending to the earth, are put for rising and falling in power and honour; rising out of the earth or waters, and falling into them, for the rising up to any dignity or dominion, out of the inferior state of the people, or falling down from the same into that inferior state; descending into the lower parts of the earth, for descending to a very low and unhappy state; speaking with a faint voice out of the dust, for being in a weak and low condition; moving from one place to another, for translation from one office, dignity, or dominion to another; great earthquakes, and the shaking of heaven and earth, for the shaking of dominions, so as to distract and overthrow them; the creating a new heaven and earth, and the passing away of an old one, or the beginning and end of the world, for the rise and reign of the body politic signified thereby.
In the heavens, the sun and moon are, by
the interpreters of dreams, put for the persons of kings and queens. But in sacred prophecy, which regards not single persons, the sun is put for the whole species and race of kings, in the kingdom or kingdoms of the world politic, shining with regal pomp and glory; the moon for the body of the common people, considered as the king's wife; the stars for subordinate princes and great men, or for bishops and rulers of the people of God, when the sun is Christ; light for the glory, truth, and knowledge wherewith great and good men shine and illuminate others; darkness for obscurity of condition, and for error, blindness, and ignorance; darkening, smiting, or settling of the sun, moon, and stars, for the ceasing of a kingdom, or for the desolation thereof, proportional to the darkness; darkening the sun, turning the moon into blood, and falling of the stars, for the same; new moons, for the return of a dispersed people into a body politic or ecclesiastic.
Fire and meteors refer to both heaven and earth, and signify as follows:-Burning any. thing with fire, is put for the consuming thereof by war; a conflagration of the earth or turning a country into a lake of fire, for the consumption of a kingdom by war; the being in a furnace, for the being in slavery under another nation; the ascending up of the smoke of any burning thing for ever and ever, for the continuation of a conquered people under the misery of perpetual subjection and slavery; the scorching heat of the sun, for vexatious wars, persecutions, and troubles inflicted by the king; riding on the clouds, for reigning over much people; covering the sun with a cloud, or with smoke, for oppression of the king by the armies of an enemy; tempestuous winds, or the motion of clouds, for wars; thunder, or the voice of a cloud, for the voice of a multitude; a storm of thunder, lightning, hail, and overflowing rain, for a tempest of war descending from the heavens and clouds politic on the heads of their enemies; rain, if not immoderate, and dew, and living water, for the graces and doctrines of the Spirit; and the defect of rain, for spiritual barrenness.
In the earth, the dry land and congregated waters, as a sea, a river, a flood, are put for the people of several regions, nations, and dominions; embittering of waters, for great affliction of the people by war and persecution; turning things into blood, for the mystical death of bodies politic, that is, for their dissolution; the overflowing of a sea or river, for the invasion of the earth politic, by the people of the waters; drying up of waters, for the conquest of their regions, by the earth; fountains of waters for cities, the
permanent heads of rivers politic; mountains and islands, for the cities of the earth and sea politic, with the territories and dominions belonging to those cities; dens and rocks of mountains, for the temples of cities; the hiding of men in those dens and rocks, for the shutting of idols in their temples; houses and ships, for families, assemblies, and towns in the earth and sea politic; and a navy of ships of war, for an army of that kingdom that is signified by the sea. Animals also, and vegetables, are put for the people of several regions and conditions; and particularly trees, herbs, and land animals, for the people of the earth politic; flags, reeds, and fishes, for those of the waters politic; birds and insects, for those of the politic heaven and earth; a forest, for a kingdom; and a wilderness, for a desolate and thin people.
If the world politic, considered in prophecy, consists of many kingdoms, they are represented by as many parts of the world natural, as the noblest by the celestial frame, and then the moon and clouds are put for the common people; the less noble, by the earth, sea, and rivers, and by the animals or vegetables, or buildings therein; and then the greater and more powerful animals and taller trees, are put for kings, princes, and nobles. And because the whole kingdom is the body politic of the king, therefore the sun, or a tree, or a beast, or a bird, or a man, whereby the king is represented, is put in a large signification for the whole kingdom; and several animals, as a lion, a bear, a leopard, a goat, according to their qualities, are put for several kingdoms and bodies politic; and sacrificing of beasts, for slaughtering and conquering of kingdoms; and friendship between beasts, for peace between kingdoms. Yet sometimes vegetables and animals are, by certain epithets or circumstances, extended to other significations; as a tree, when called the "tree of life" or "of knowledge"; and a beast, when called "the old serpent," or worshipped.
the founder of Pennsylvania, a man illustrious for wisdom and virtue, born 1644, died 1718, was the author of No Cross, No Crown, a Discourse shewing the Nature and Discipline of the Holy Cross of Christ, Lond., 1669, 12mo; Brief Account of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers, Lond., 1694, 12mo, etc.; Fruits of a Father's Love: being the Advice of William Penn to his Children, Lond., 1726, 12mo, and of other works. See the Select
Works of William Penn, with a Journal of his Life, Lond., 1771, fol., large paper; 2d ed., Lond., 1782, 5 vols. 8vo; Lond., 1825, 3 vols. 8vo.
"It should be sufficient for the glory of William Penn that he stands upon record as the most humane, the most moderate, and the most pacific of all rulers."-LORD JEFFREY: Contrib. to Edin. Rev., 1853, 849.
"To William Penn belongs the distinction, destined to brighten as men advance in virtue, of first
in human history establishing the Law of Love as CHARLES SUMNER: The True Grandeur of Nations: Orations and Speeches, 1850, i. 114.
a rule of conduct in the intercourse of nations."
THE PRIDE OF NOBLE BIRTH.
That people are generally proud of their persons is too visible and troublesome, especially if they have any pretence either to blood or beauty; the one has raised many quarrels among men, and the other among women, and men too often, for their sakes, and at their excitements. But to the first: what a pother has this noble blood made in the world, antiquity of name or family, whose father or mother, great-grandfather or great-grandmother, was best descended or allied? what stock or what clan they came of? what coat of arms they have? which had, of right, the precedence? But, methinks, nothing of man's folly has less show of reason to palliate it.
For, first, what matter is it of whom any one descended, that is not of ill fame; since 'tis his own virtue that must raise, or vice depress him? An ancestor's character is no excuse to a man's ill actions, but an ag gravation of his degeneracy; and since virtue comes not by generation, I neither am the better nor the worse for my forefather: to be sure not in God's account; nor should it be in man's. Nobody would endure injuries the easier, or reject favours the more, for coming by the hand of a man well or ill descended. I confess it were greater honour to have had no blots, and with an hereditary estate to have had a lineal descent of worth: but that was never found; no, not in the most blessed of families upon earth; I mean Abraham's. To be descended of wealth and titles fills no man's head with brains, or heart with truth: those qualities come from a higher cause. 'Tis vanity, then, and most condemnable pride, for a man of bulk and character to despise another of less size in the world, and of meaner alliance, for want of them; because the latter may have the merit, where the former has only the effects of it in an ancestor: and though the one be great by means of a forefather, the other is so too, but 'tis by his own; then, pray, which is the bravest man of the two?
"O," says the person proud of blood, "it was never a good world since we have had so many upstart gentlemen!" But what should others have said of that man's ancestor, when he started first up into the knowledge of the world? For he, and all men and families, ay, and all states and kingdoms too, have had their upstarts, that is, their beginnings. This is like being the True Church, because old, not because good; for families to be noble by being old, and not by being virtuous. No such matter: it must be age in virtue, or else virtue before age; for otherwise, a man should be noble by means of his predecessor, and yet the predecessor less noble than he, because he was the acquirer: which is a paradox that will puzzle all their heraldry to explain. Strange! that they should be more noble than their ancestor, that got their nobility for them! But if this be absurd, as it is, then the upstart is the noble man; the man that got it by his virtue: and those only are entitled to his honour that are imitators of his virtue; the rest may bear his name from his blood, but that is all. If virtue, then, give nobility, which heathens themselves agree, then families are no longer truly noble than they are virtuous. And if virtue go not by blood, but by the qualifications of the descendants, it follows, blood is excluded; else blood would bar virtue, and no man that wanted the one should be allowed the benefit of the other; which were to stint and bound nobility for want of antiquity, and make virtue useless.
No: let blood and name go together; but pray, let nobility and virtue keep company, for they are nearest of kin. 'Tis thus posited by God himself, that best knows how to apportion things with an equal and just hand. He neither likes nor dislikes by descent; nor does he regard what people were, He remembers not the righteous ness of any man that leaves his righteousness, much less any unrighteous man for the righteousness of his ancestor.
No Cross, No Crown.
PENN'S ADVICE TO HIS CHILDREN. Next, betake yourselves to some honest, industrious course of life, and that not of sordid covetousness, but for example, and to avoid idleness. And if you change your condition and marry, choose with the knowledge and consent of your mother, if living, or of guardians, or those that have the charge of you. Mind neither beauty nor riches, but the fear of the Lord, and a sweet and amiable disposition, such as you can love above all this world, and that may make your habitations pleasant and desirable to you.
And being married, be tender, affectionate, patient, and meek. Live in the fear of the Lord, and he will bless you and your offspring. Be sure to live within compass; borrow not, neither be beholden to any. Ruin not yourselves by kindness to others; for that exceeds the due bounds of friendship, neither will a true friend expect it. Small matters I heed not.
Let your industry and parsimony go no further than for a sufficiency for life, and to make a provision for your children, and that in moderation, if the Lord gives you any. I charge you help the poor and needy; let the Lord have a voluntary share of your income for the good of the poor, both in our society and others; for we are all his creatures; remembering that he that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.
Know well your incomings, and your outgoings may be better regulated. Love not money nor the world: use them only, and they will serve you; but if you love them you serve them, which will debase your spirits as well as offend the Lord.
Pity the distressed, and hold out a hand of help to them; it may be your case, and as you mete to others God will mete to you again. Be humble and gentle in your conversation; of few words, I charge you, but always pertinent when you speak, hearing out before you attempt to answer, and then speaking as if you would persuade, not impose.
Affront none, neither revenge the affronts that are done to you; but forgive, and you shall be forgiven of your Heavenly Father.
In making friends, consider well first; and when you are fixed, be true, not wavering by reports, nor deserting in affliction, for that becomes not the good and virtuous.
Watch against anger; neither speak nor act in it: for, like drunkenness, it makes a man a beast, and throws people into desperate inconveniences.
Avoid flatterers, for they are thieves in disguise; their praise is costly, designing to get by those they bespeak; they are the worst of creatures; they lie to flatter, and flatter to cheat; and, which is worse, if you believe them, you cheat yourselves most dangerously. But the virtuous, though poor, love, cherish, and prefer. Remember David, who, asking the Lord, "Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell upon thy holy hill?" answers, "He that walketh uprightly, worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart; in whose eyes the vile person is contemned, but honoureth them who fear the Lord!"
Next, my children, be temperate in all things: in your diet, for that is physic by prevention; it keeps, nay, it makes, people