Psalms 49* A call for attention. (1-5) Folly of worldlings. (6-14)Against fear of death. (15-20)1-5 We seldom meet with a more solemn introduction: there is notruth of greater importance. Let all hear this with applicationto ourselves. The poor are in danger from undue desire towardthe wealth of the world, as rich people from undue delight init. The psalmist begins with applying it to himself, and that isthe right method in which to treat of Divine things. Before hesets down the folly of carnal security, he lays down, from hisown experience, the benefit and comfort of a holy, gracioussecurity, which they enjoy who trust in God, and not in theirworldly wealth. In the day of judgment, the iniquity of ourheels, or of our steps, our past sins, will compass us. In thosedays, worldly, wicked people will be afraid; but whereforeshould a man fear death who has God with him? 6-14 Here is a description of the spirit and way of worldlypeople. A man may have wealth, and may have his heart enlargedin love, thankfulness, and obedience, and may do good with it.Therefore it is not men's having riches that proves them to beworldly, but their setting their hearts upon them as the bestthings. Worldly men have only some floating thoughts of thethings of God, while their fixed thoughts, their inwardthoughts, are about the world; that lies nearest the heart. Butwith all their wealth they cannot save the life of the dearestfriend they have. This looks further, to the eternal redemptionto be wrought out by the Messiah. The redemption of the soulshall cost very dear; but, being once wrought, it shall neverneed to be repeated. And he, the Redeemer, shall rise againbefore he sees corruption, and then shall live for evermore, #Re1:18|. This likewise shows the folly of worldly people, who selltheir souls for that which will never buy them. With all theirwealth they cannot secure themselves from the stroke of death.Yet one generation after another applaud their maxims; and thecharacter of a fool, as drawn by heavenly Wisdom itself, #Lu12:16-21|, continues to be followed even among professedChristians. Death will ask the proud sinner, Where is thywealth, thy pomp? And in the morning of the resurrection, whenall that sleep in the dust shall awake, the upright shall beadvanced to the highest honour, when the wicked shall be filledwith everlasting shame and contempt, #Da 12:2|. Let us now judgeof things as they will appear in that day. The beauty ofholiness is that alone which the grave cannot touch, or damage. 15-20 Believers should not fear death. The distinction of men'soutward conditions, how great soever in life, makes none atdeath; but the difference of men's spiritual states, though inthis life it may seem of small account, yet at and after deathis very great. The soul is often put for the life. The God oflife, who was its Creator at first, can and will be its Redeemerat last. It includes the salvation of the soul from eternalruin. Believers will be under strong temptation to envy theprosperity of sinners. Men will praise thee, and cry thee up, ashaving done well for thyself in raising an estate and family.But what will it avail to be approved of men, if God condemn us?Those that are rich in the graces and comforts of the Spirit,have something of which death cannot strip them, nay, whichdeath will improve; but as for worldly possessions, as webrought nothing into the world, so it is certain that we shallcarry nothing out; we must leave all to others. The sum of thewhole matter is, that it can profit a man nothing to gain thewhole world, to become possessed of all its wealth and all itspower, if he lose his own soul, and is cast away for want ofthat holy and heavenly wisdom which distinguishes man from thebrutes, in his life and at his death. And are there men who canprefer the lot of the rich sinner to that of poor Lazarus, inlife and death, and to eternity? Assuredly there are. What needthen we have of the teaching of the Holy Ghost; when, with allour boasted powers, we are prone to such folly in the mostimportant of all concerns
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