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selves on our most holy faith;" and Paul ad-, the humble hear thereof, and be glad. Let monishes Timothy to affirm alway, that they the fearful hear thereof, and be encouraged. “ who have believed” in God, be careful to They need strong consolation, who are feemaintain “good works."
ing for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set But love follows after faith. We are told before them. Let them see, in example as that “faith worketh by love." And how well as in doctrine, that with the Lord there should it be otherwise? Is it possible for me is mercy, and that with him there is plento believe the compassions of the Saviour, teous redemption. and to realize as my own the blessings of his Secondly. The subject comforts the desdeath, and not feel my heart affected ? and pairing. It gives the wine of the Gospel to my gratitude constraining me to embrace them that are ready to perish; without diluhim, and my fellow-christians, and my fellow- ting the strength of it away, by requiring creatures, for his sake?
conditions to be performed, or qualifications to By the latter of these, therefore, you are to be possessed, to authorize us to trust in his evince the reality and genuineness of the Name. It cries, Behold the Redeemer! How former. “Show me," says the apostle James, mighty to save-and how willing! Neither to a man who imagined he had one of these, the number nor the heinousness of your sins while he was a stranger to the other-Show exclude you from hope, if they do not keep me thy faith without thy works, and I will you from him; and why should they keep you show thee my faith by my works. What from him? doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say Ah! says Paul, his grace was exceeding he hath faith, and have not works ? can faith abundant to me-ward: and it was designed, save him? If a brother or sister be naked, not to be a wonder, but an ensample : “ For and destitute of daily food, and one of you this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warm- Jesus Christ might show forth all longed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them suffering, for a pattern to them which should not those things which are needful to the hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if Sinner! Look at this pattern, and despair it hath not works, is dead, being alone." It if you can. Rather say, Am I unworthy ? is admitted that faith justifies the soul, but So was he. My case is aggravated, and is works justify fa.ih; and what God has joined difficult ? So was his. Yet he obtained saltogether, let no man put asunder. Faith vation ? So may –and so I must—if his cannot be divine unless it operates in a way word be true.--" Him that cometh unto mel of holy and benevolent affection: “Beloved, will in no wise cast out." let us love one another: for love is of God; Thirdly. The subject attacks the presumpand every one that loveth is born of God, and tuous—not those who venture to come to him knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth as they are: this would contradict our fornot God; for God is love. If a man say, I mer article, as well as the whole language of love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: the Gospel: but those who think they have for he that loveth not his brother whom he come to him, while they are yet in their sins. hath seen, how can he love God whom he If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. hath not seen ? And this commandment We must judge of the cause by the consehave we from him, That he who loveth God quences. love his brother also."
We have sometimes been surprised to hear O God! we can never be completely bless- persons speak of their being converted so many ed, till we love thee supremely, and our years ago, and under the ministry of some neighbour as ourselves. Put this precious good man whom they have named. What law into our minds, and write it in our hearts: they were before their conversion we cannot “ for he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, say; it is undeniable what they are since— and God in him!"
vain and worldly; proud and envious; coveThe subject, in the first place, admonishes tous and selfish; quarrelsome and revengeful: Christians. It calls upon you, like Paul, to if carried to their grave to-morrow, no widow review the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. nor orphan would shed a tear for them ; Remember where you were, and what you neither would the cause of God or of man were, when he said unto you-Live. Look sustain the least loss. What could they have unto the rock wlience ye are hewn, and to been before their conversion who are all this the hole of the pit whence ye are digged since ? If such is their regenerate state, what This will prove the destruction of pride and was their natural ? ingratitude. It will ask you, Who made thee Be not deceived. To the law and to the to differ from another? And lead you to ask, testimony. Observe the nature of converWhat shall I render unto the Lord for all his sion as it is described in the Scripture: and benefits towards me ?-It requires you, also, remember, that Divine grace is not changed like Paul, to acknowledge as well as review by time or place. It is not only free, but this grace. Review it for your own sakes: powerful. It never leaves you as it finds acknowledge it for the sake of others. Let you; it never finds you in love with holiness, and it never leaves you in love with sin; it Let us examine what Nature teaches us never finds you with your conversation in hea- concerning death; and then go to the Scrip ven, and it never leaves you cleaving to the ture for additional information. dust. It turns you from darkness unto light; Suppose then there had been no revelation and from the power of Satan unto God. It from God-what does Nature teach us concauses you to pass from bondage into liberty, cerning death? It sees plainly enough that and from death unto life. And though the it is a cessation of our being. The lungs no operation may be gradual, and produce not longer heave: the pulse ceases to beat, the every thing at once, yet, even in its begin- blood pauses and congeals; the eye closes; ning, it decides the state, and gives a bias to the tongue is silent; and the hand forgets her the whole character.
cunning. We are laid in the grave, where Whatever peculiar circumstances may dis- worms feed upon us, and over the spot friend. tinguish one conversion from another, the es- ship inscribes; sence and the effects are the same; and you
“How loved, how valued once, avails thee not; cannot possess the grace of God in truth, if
To whom related, or by whom begot : you are strangers to faith and love that are in A heap of dust alone remains of ibee; Christ Jesus.
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be."
So says Nature.
It also teaches us the universality of death.
tion of our senses. It is heard and seen that THE DEATH OF DEATH.
all die: the rich as well as the poor; kings Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death. as fools. It is known that a century sweeps
as well as subjects; and philosophers as well 2 Tim. i. 10.
the globe, and dispossesses of their inhabitants « To them that believe he is precious.” But every cottage, and mansion, and palace, and how precious the sacred writer does not de- temple. It has never been otherwise. One termine. And, my brethren, is it too much to generation passeth away, and another cometh. say, he could not? He is more precious So says Nature. than light is to the eye, or melody to the ear,
Nature teaches us that death is unavoidor food to the taste, or wisdom to the mind, able. After the lapse of so many ages, and or friendship to the heart. All words and the disposition there is in man to shun it, if images are too poor to hold forth the estima- he could,—" for all that a man hath will be tion in which the believer holds the Saviour give for his life,”—we may easily and fairly of sinners.
infer, that every expedient has been tried; But there is one thing we may remark con- and that there can be no discharge in this cerning it—The attachment is not only su- war; that this enemy can neither be bribed preme, but reasonable. He is altogether off, nor beaten off. It is obvious too that the worthy of it; and the wonder is, not that we human frame is weak, and not capable even admire and love him so much, but that we of prolonged duration. Its powers, however love and admire him no more. We have had they have been spared or cherished, soon er. benefactors, and we have heard of benefac- hibit in all proofs of declension : “ the days tors; but they are all nothing compared with of our years are threescore years and ten; him.-One thing alone ought to render him and if by reason of strength they be fourinfinitely dear to us—It is, our deliverance score years, yet is their strength labour and from the king of terrors. For, O proclaim it sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. to the ends of the earth, and let all the dy- The keepers of the house tremble, and the ing sons of men hear it-He has abolished strong men bow themselves, and the grinders death!
cease because they are few, and those that Let us consider the enemy and the victory: look out of the windows are darkened; and
I. THE EVIL IN QUESTION—DEATH. II. THE the doors shall be shut in the streets, when DESTRUCTION OF IT-HE HATH ABOLISHED the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall DEATH.
rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the I. THE EVIL IN QUESTION–It is DEATH. daughters of music shall be brought low; also We should suppose that this subject was then they shall be afraid of that which is high, very familiar to the thoughts of men, were and fears shall be in the way, and the almond we to judge from the iniportance and fre- tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall quency of the event. Bat, alas! nothing is be a burden, and desire shall fail : because so little thought of-So true are the words man goeth to his long home, and the mournof Eliphaz; “ They are destroyed from morn- ers go about the streets."-So says Nature. ing to evening: they perish for ever, without Nature sees also that death is irreparable. any regarding it." The subject is irksome It cannot produce a single specimen of posand awful; and the whole study of the mul- thumous life. In vain we linger by the corpse titude is to banish and keep it from their —the countenance will no more beam upon minds.
us. In vain we go to the grave-it will not,
deaf to our cries, deliver up its trust; and the or angels; it is the transmission of it to heaexpectation of the revival of our dearest con- ven or hell. Luke tells us of the death of a nexions will be deemed absurdity and mad- rich man, who was clothed gorgeously, and ness. “There is hope of a tree, if it be cut fared sumptuously every day; and also of a down, that it will sprout again, and that the beggar, full of sores, at his gate. In any tender branch thereof will not cease. Though other book nothing more would have been the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the said, or could have been said, than the fact stock thereof die in the ground; yet through itself: unless the mean burial of the one, and the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth the splendid funeral of the other. But the boughs like a plant. But man dieth and Scripture draws back the vail; and we see wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, the beggar lodged in Abraham's bosom, while and where is he! As the waters fail from the rich man lifts up his eyes in hell, and the sea, and the flood decayeth and dryeth up: calls for a drop of water to cool his tongue. So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the Thirdly. Its true cause. The Scripture heavens be no more, they shall not awake, shows us that man was not created mortal; nor be raised out of their sleep.” All have and that mortality is not the necessary conjourneyed this way; but from the bourn no sequence of our original constitution; but is traveller has returned.—So says Nature. the penal effect of transgression : "In the
We may also learn from it that death is day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely uncertain in its circumstances; and that no die. By one man sin entered into the world, man knows the place, the time, the manner, and death by sin, and so death hath passed in which he shall expire.-So far Nature upon all men, because all have sinned. In goes; but not a step farther. So much it tells Adam all die." us; but it can tell us no more. Here the Fourthly. The true remedy. What! Is Scripture takes up the subject, and furnishes there a remedy for death? “What man is all the additional aid we need.
he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall If it be objected, that the generality of the he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave ? heathen have had some other views of death No man can redeem his brother, nor give to than those which we have conceded, and had God a ransom for him; (for the redemption of even notions of an existence beyond the grave their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for
- let it be observed, that the world always ever;) that he should still live for ever, and had a revelation from God; and that when not see corruption.” And is there then a mankind dispersed from the family of Noah, cure for death? What is it? Whe can it they carried the discoveries along with them: be found ?-Who was the Mercy promised to but as they were left to tradition, they be the fathers? Who is called the “Consolacame more and more obscure; yet they yield- tion of Israel ?" Who is our hope? Who ed hints which led to reflections that other- said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he wise would have never occurred. And if wise that believeth in me, though he were dead, men, especially from these remains of an ori- yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and ginal revelation, were led into some specula- believeth in me, shall never die ?" Who said tions bordering upon truth, it should be re- to his hearers, “If a man keep my sayings membered, that in a case like this, -as Paley he shall never see death ? He hath abolished observes, nothing more is known than is death.”—But let us, proved; opinion is not knowledge, nor con- II. Consider this DESTRUCTION—For does jecture principle. We, therefore, need not not death continue his ravages? Does he not Hesitate to say that, separate from revelation, fall upon the people of God themselves ? nothing either would" or could have been Where then is the proof of this abolition ? known concerning death—but that it ends Or how is it to be understood ? our being and is universal in its prevalence It is undeniable that Christians themselves -unavoidable by any means in our power- are subject to the stroke of death as well as irreparable in its effects and uncertain as to others. God might have translated them all the time and mode of its approach.
to heaven, as he did Enoch and Elias. But it But how much more does the Scripture does not comport with his wisdom: and it is teach? Here we learn,
easy to see that it would have made the difFirst. Its true nature. To the eye of sense ference between the righteous and the wicked death appears annibilation; but to the eye of too visible; it would not have accorded with faith it is dissolution. Faith knows that there a mixed state of obscurity and trial, where is a spirit in man; and that when the dust "all things come alike to all, and no man returns to the dust, whence it was, the spirit knoweth love or hatred by all that is before returns to God who gave it.
him.” If translation had been the substitute Secondly. Its true consequences. Very for dissolution, there would have been no dylittle of death falls under the observation of ing in faith ; which is one of the noblest exthe senses; the most awful and interesting ercises and triumphs of divine grace. part is beyond their reach. It is the state of I am unwilling to forego any exemplificahe soul; it is the apprehension of it by devils tion of the subject: and, as Bishop Horne
justly observes, "What we call the various called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit senses of a Scriptural expression are, in came again, and she arose straightway: and reality, but the various parts of the complete he commanded to give her meat."
We may consider the Lord Jesus as Another instance of this dominion was in abolishing death, spiritually-miraculously- the case of the widow's son of Nain. This in his own person-penally-comparatively young man was older than the ruler's daugh—and absolutely. Whatever seems obscure, ter, and had been longer dead; for they were from the brevity of the statement, will I hope carrying him to his burial; and the widowed be made plain in the process of illustration: mother of an only child would not have aland the whole taken together must show that lowed this, we may be assured, before the the Apostle's language, though bold, is not time. Our Saviour met the procession ; and more bold than just.
before any prayer was addressed to him, be First. He abolishes death, spiritually; that saw who was weeping behind—"and he bad is, in the souls of his people. To all these, compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep without exception, it may be said, in the not.” At the sound of which, she draws back words of Paul to the Ephesians, “ You hath her vail, to see what stranger interested bimhe quickened who were dead in trespasses self on her behalf, and, with more kindness and sins.” Not that they were dead in every than wisdom, enjoined upon her an impossisense of the word : for the Apostle speaks of bility. “But he came and touched the bier: their walking, at the very time, according to and they that bare him stood still. And he the course of this world, but they possessed said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. no spiritual faculties, felt no spiritual sensa- And he that was dead sat up, and began to tions, performed no spiritual actions. They speak. And he delivered him to his mother." were insensible and indifferent to the favour, What a present! and image, and presence, and service of the Behold Lazarus. Our Saviour loved him; blessed God. But quickened by the Spirit of but suffers him to fall sick; and leaves him to life in Christ Jesus, now they breathe the the natural effect of the disease. Two days breath of prayer, and of praise. They feel the he abode still in the same place, after hearing pulse of sacred passion. They hunger and that he was dead. When he reached the thirst after righteousness. They see his suburbs of Bethany, the process of putrefacglory: they hear his voice: they taste that tion was supposed to have begun. “ Then the Lord is gracious. They walk in the way when Mary was come where Jesus was, and everlasting: fight the good fight of faith: and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto labour, that whether present or absent, they him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother may be accepted of him. “The body is in- had not died. When Jesus therefore aw her deed dead, because of sin; but the spirit is weeping, and the Jews also weeping which life, because of righteousness."
came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and Secondly. He abolished death by his mira- was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid cles, while he was on earth. We find this him? They said unto him, Lord, come and among the proofs of his Messiahship, address- see. Jesus wept.”—He ordered the stone to ed to the disciples of his forerunner, in prison : be rolled away, and in a tone of uncontrolable “Go and show John again those things which authority he cried with a loud voice, " Lazaye do hear and see: the blind receive their rus, come forth. And he that was dead came sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes: cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are and his face was bound about with a napkin. raised up, and the poor have the Gospel Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him preached to them.”
He displayed his power over death in the Once more: we are told that as the Re case of the ruler's daughter. She was at the deemer expired, " the vail of the temple was very interesting age of twelve years old. rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and While her distressed father was gone to im- the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and plore the Saviour's aid, she expired; and a the graves were opened; and many bodies of messenger was sent after him to communicate the saints which slept arose, and came out of the dismal tidings, and to prevent his troubling the graves after his resurrection, and went the Master, now it was too late. While there into the holy city, and appeared unto many." is life there is hope: but who can raise the Thirdly. He abolished death in bis cwD dead? O, says Jesus, it is never too late to person. His own rising from the dead is very apply to me-only believe. When he arrived, distinguishable from all the former instances the offices of death had commenced. The of resurrection. The ruler's daughter, the body was laid out; and the minstrels were widow's son, Lazarus, and the saints in Jerumaking a noise. " And all wept, and bewailed salem, were raised by the power of another; her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but he rose by his own power. Of his domibut sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, nion, even over his own death and reviral, he knowing that she was dead. And he put had spoken before—“ No man taketh my life them all out, and took her by the hand, and I from me; I lay it down of myself; I have
power to lay it down, and I have power to their end is peace; peace in the result, if not take it again. Destroy this temple,” said he, in the passage. But their end is generally "and in three days I will raise it up:" and he peace in experience as well as in result. spake of the temple of his body. They rose There are, however, cases of constitutionai as private individuals; but He as the head infirmity that may not only exclude joy, but and representative of his people: and because even hope. Sometimes the nature of the dishe lives, they shall live also. They only rose order is such as to hinder sensibility, or exto a temporal life, and were again subject to pression. Sometimes, too, God may allow the disease and mortality; but “ he being raised continuance of fear, even in those he loves, as from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no a rebuke for loose or irregular walking; and more dominion over him.” Hence he is called as a warning to others. It is a great mercy, " the first-begotten of the dead; the first-born as the time draws on, to be raised above the from the dead; and the first that should rise torment of fear, and to be able to say, The from the dead;" referring not to the order of bitterness of death is past ! time, but to peculiarity, supremacy, and influ- And this is commonly the case with those ence.
who die in the Lord. It has been the case Fourthly. He abolished death penally. even with those who have had to encounter Thus he has destroyed death as to its sting. a death of torture. Martyrs-men, women, The sting of death is sin-because sin ex- children, have embraced the fiery stake, with poses us to the wrath of God, and binds us all joy and peace in believing. It has been over to suffer: and the strength of sin is the the case with those who have had every thing law-for cursed is every one that continueth agreeable in their condition, and attractive in not in all things written in the book of the their connexions. They have said to those law to do them. But Christ has redeemed us they were leaving, “ You are dear-but I am from the curse of the law, being made a curse going to him, who is all-wise, all-kind, allfor us. One died for all, says the Apostle. fair." And such have been their views of His death was equivalent to the destruction opening glory, and such their earnests and of all the redeemed: there was such value in foretastes of it, that they have not only been his suffering, derived from his dignity, that in resigned to go, but have longed to depart to lieu of our perdition it was accepted as “an be with Christ, which is far better. Yea, offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet- we have often observed this to be the case smelling savour.” Every moral purpose that with those who all their lifetime were subject could have been answered by the punishment to bondage through fear of death. When the of the sinner has been better subserved by the hour has arrived, they have had mercy and death of the Saviour. “We are ambassadors grace to help in time of need; and, amazed for Christ, as though God did beseech you by at their former apprehensions, and their preus: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye re- sent feelings have said ; conciled to God. For he hath made him to
“Tell me, my soul, be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” And did he himself bear our sins in his own
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of body on the tree? Was the chastisement of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for our peace laid on him, and by his stripes are thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they we healed? Well may those who believe comfort me.” enter into rest: well may they sing,
And now I long to go
Where the Lord his vineyard keeps,
And where the clusters grow."-
While spectators have been ready to envy He has not abolished going home ; and fall, them their condition, and have seen our docing asleep; and departing : but he has abo trine explained and verified—“He hath abolished death. This leads us to observe that lished death." he has,
Finally. He will do this absolutely. He Fifthly. Abolished death comparatively: I will abolish the very state: “He must reign mean, as to its terror. This is not the same till he hath put all enemies under his feet. with the foregoing particular. That regards The last enemy that shall be destroyed is all the people of God, and extends even to death. So also is the resurrection of the those who die under a cloud of darkness, and dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised a load of depression: it belongs to a Cowper, in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is who died in despair, as well as to a Hervey, raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is who said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant raised in power: it is sown a natural body; depart in peace, according to thy word; for it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natumine eyes have seen thy salvation.” . All ral body, and there is a spiritual body. As believers die safely; there is no curse for we have borne the image of the earthy, we them after death, or in death. In this sense, shall also bear the image of the heavenly." 3 B
Can this be death?"
"I have tasted Canaan's grapes ;