Meditation On Death I ~ Luis De La Puente
Of the Properties of Death
In this meditation we will consider some proprieties of death, and what ends Our Lord pretended in them for our profit, reducing them to three, which are the most principal.
The I. Point
The first property of death is, to be most certain, from the which none can escape, in the time that Almighty God hath determined.
1. Wherein we are to ponder first; God Our Lord from all eternity hath determined the years of our life. and assigned the month, the day,and hour wherein every one is to die, so that it is impossible saith Job (Job i.4-5.) to pass one minute thereof: neither is there any king, nor monarch that can add to himself, nor to any other one moment of life, about that which almighty God would, & not before; so shall I depart out of the world, the same day that God will, and not afterwards. That by this I may understand, that what day soever I live, I receive it of grace, and that those I have lived, have been of grace: for Our Lord might have assigned me a shorter time of life, as he assigned to others, that died in their mothers womb, or in infancy. And seeing my life so dependeth upon God, there is just cause I should spend all the time thereof, in His service that gave it me, holding it for a great ingratitude, to employ one only moment to offend Him.
2. Secondly, I am to consider, that God Our Lord in this His decree, shortened, or enlarged the days that some men, according to their natural complexion, might have lived, for the secret ends of His sovereign providence. For to some, either for their own prayers, or for the prayers of other Saints, He enlarged days of their life; as to king Ezechias He added fifteen years, because with tears he required it. And like hath succeeded to the dead, who miraculously have been raised to life. To some others He shortened the days of their life, for one of two ends: either for their salvation, cutting them off as Lady Wisdom saith (Sap.iv.11) in their youth, lest malice should change their understanding, or lest fiction might deceive their soul. Or contrarily, to punish their grievous sins, and to stop their passages, that they might not make an addition of greater. Where upon David said (Ps.liv.24) That the men of blood, that is, men very wicked and cruel, shall not live half their days. And sometimes He shortened them for sins that seem but light, as it happened to the Prophet, who being beguiled by another, did eat in the place, where God had commanded him that he should not eat. Out of all this I will extract a firm resolution, so to order the days of my life, that almighty God shorten them not for my sins, saying with David. Call me not back. O Lord, in the half of my days by a sudden death, but remember that thy years are eternal, and have compassion of mine that are few and temporal.