Man’s Life in Light of Eternity by Thomas Doolittle (1632–1707)
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Thomas Doolittle (1632–1707) was a nonconformist tutor and preacher, who was converted by God through Richard Baxter’s work “The Saint’s Everlasting Rest.” He was a popular Presbyterian preacher and teacher in his day.
Set in the reality that God is eternal, Doolittle’s work will press this biblical truth into a practical mold considering how eternal realities apply to men in all their stations of life. He first considers the idea of eternity in general, then considers how we should be influenced by eternity and its prospect. He considers the soul, how God made it eternal, and what that means, as well as considering, then, both the happiness of the soul in heaven, and the misery of the soul in hell, and how those function in light of the eternal realities of both. Then he looks to convince the reader to look at all they do in light of eternity, and how all things that they do in their life, whether they are thoughts, words, or deeds, have an impact on our eternity. He also takes time to encourage ministers in light of eternity to “be about their business” and not to waste a moment. Finally, he applies the entire work in a conclusion and final application.
Doolittle’s work is best summed up in his own words, asking, “Is there an eternal state, one of unseen eternal joys and the other of eternal torments? If so, who can sufficiently mourn the blindness, madness, and folly of this distracted world and the unreasonableness of those with rational and eternal souls, to see them busily employed in the matters of time while neglecting everlasting things?” He is practically taken up with the question and application of neglecting the things which God finds important, such as life in light of eternity. He says that men, “neglect … God and of Christ,” and they do this by, “his frequent and even constant refusals of remedying grace, his seldom thoughts of death and judgment, and his neglect to make preparation for another world while considering only things temporal.” His emphasis is to awaken men by the word, particularly pressing his main text of 2 Cor. 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”
This work is not a scan or facsimile, and has been updated in modern English for easy reading. It also has an active table of contents for electronic versions.
Table of Contents
God is Eternal by C. Matthew McMahon
Meet Thomas Doolittle edited by C. Matthew McMahon
Overview of the Work
Part 1: A Prospect of Eternity
Part 2: Being Influenced by Thoughts of Eternity
Part 3: The Soul Considered in Light of Eternity
Part 4: Happiness and Misery in Light of Eternity
Part 5: Looking at Eternity
Part 6: Working in Light of Eternity
Part 7: The Minister’s Work in Light of Eternity
Part 8: Conclusion and Application