Thomas Boston preaching in 1715:
A house may be weak, but a tent is still weaker.
Consider also what death is. It is a dissolving of the tent, a loosing of the frame of it, and then it falls down. Our bodies are not castles and towers that must be blown up, or battered down by main force: not even ordinary houses that must be pulled down with strength of hand. But tents, where there is nothing more to do but to loose the cords, and pull up the pins, and immediately it lies along.
Three hundreds year ago. Boston’s tent is now well loosed, and his point is well made.
Of course death itself is a natural terror; we have no good defense against it, our body being so weak.
The question thus is not whether we can avoid the tent stakes being pulled-up. That is a given: we will loose. A tornado which tears down a town or a virus which breaches a cell wall will suffice.
Every day, every moment is the moment before judgment. Every second the curse on Adam is proved true. As Boston continues:
It is a house that is daily in danger. Though a house were very weak, yet if nothing were to touch it, it might stand a long time. But our house is in danger daily and hourly. It is in danger from without. There are storms to blow it down, and a very small blast will sometimes do it. Though we walk not among swords, daggers, and bullets, yet a stumble in the highway may do it; as small a thing as a pear, yea a stone in fruit, has laid the house on the ground. It is in danger also from within. There are disorders to undermine the house. There are the seeds of a thousand deaths in our mortal bodies; which sometimes quickly, sometimes leisurely undermine the house, and make it fall down about our ears ere ever we are aware. The seeds of diseases, when we know not, are digging like moles under the mud walls, and soon destroy the house.
Here then is a great weight in the measuring of life. What does this matter since this tent will be pulled down?