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after all the imperfections and sin that he has lamented ; yet he goes down to the grave
peace. In this way he will take hold of the hand of a gracious and covenant God, and seem to say, “ Remember thy word to thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope. Christ has entered this grave before me: the spirits of just men made perfect have all had this debt to pay. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I thank God I have peace. I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. He has bound himself by his promise. He had no reason but his gracious will, for giving me such an assurance as he has given : there was no ground in me whatever on which to raise such an expectation: but he has raised it: and, since he has, I will rejoice in hope. I will go down beseeching him to remember his word to his servant." The text declares that this shall be the end of the sound and sincere man.
You, who seldom or never think of these things, but will go away from this House of God, and enter into your foolish and vain schemes and conversations,-planning no higher than the ground on which you stand, and the circumstances in which you now move-Do you not know that the hour cometh, and that shortly, in which you would give ten thousand worlds, if you could but gain this peace of which I speak, and which accompanies the end of the perfect man?
I call on you, in the name of God. I would
say, “ O Lord, open these blind eyes : unstop these deaf ears: breathe on these dry bones, that they may live. Let these men, at length, mark the perfect man; and see that the end of that man is a solid, well-grounded peace: and that there is a rest remaining for the people of God.”
I would call your attention to one thing more in the text. A father takes his child to a place, in which there are many curiosities to be seen; and sees him pleased with a great variety of things which attract his notice: but, bent on the instruction of his child, he will say, “ Mark this! Take notice of it! Mind not that or the other. They are mere trifles to please children. But take notice of this thing: it will afford you the instruction which I want you to retain, and which will be found of great use to you on a future occasion. It will be of great use to you that you saw such and such a thing, and you may apply it to important purposes.
God, like this father, seems to say, in the text, “ Mark!--Mark! —-Mark the perfect man! Behold the upright! There is something worth seeing: you may learn much from this : for the end of that man is peace.” It is as if he had said, “ In the midst of a vain and thoughtless world, and a crooked and perverse generation, there is something to be seen that is worth looking at. Behold the excellent of the earth, in whom is all my delight. This is my sign: mark it well!”
Go not away, therefore Brethren, with the rest of the world, and merely talk of such men as Pitt, and Fox, and Nelson : but fix your thoughts on that, which God points out as most worthy your attention.
Look at such men as Enoch : see how they walked with God: 'observe the grasp of their minds; not satisfied with any thing on earth.
Look at such men as Simeon: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: I have see enough: I want not to see any more: mine eyes have seen thy salvation. As if God had said, 66 Mark the end of such a man as this: he was my servant: what did he teach you while living? On what did he bid you rest? On what did he rest himself? and see the end of it!"
When Israel was overrun with idolatry, and an answer by fire from heaven was to be the test of the True God, the priests of Baal cut themselves with knives till the blood gushed out; but no fire came: but, when the prophet Elijah lifted
his voice and begged a sign, God gave that sign: the fire came from heaven, consumed the sacrifice, and licked up the water that was in the trench. It is as if he had said, “ Mark! see the God that answers by fire !"
So our Lord says to his ministers and people in the world, “ Ye are the salt of the earth : ye are set as lights on a hill. Go forth, and declare my truth, and I will confirm that truth by the facts that follow.” As he said to the messengers of John, when they enquired whether he was the Messiah that should come, Go, said he, tell John those things which ye have seen and heard.
Bring this to the present case. I appeal to your consciences. Ye are my witnesses herein. The man, who is now departed to a better world, in the place in which I now stand before you declared to you that there was no name given under heaven whereby men could be saved, but the name of Jesus. He declared to you the depravity and misery of fallen man: he gloried in the cross of Christ, and preached it to you: he shewed you that a man could receive nothing, except it were given him from heaven : he set forth the influence of the Holy Spirit, enlightening, enlivening, sanctifying the heart: he lived a witness to the efficacy of these truths, and he died in the same faith. God confirmed it with the sign of keeping him upright, watching his steps, and supporting his head in his dying hour. This is God's setting his seal to these things.
When the learned, and the philosopher, and the elevated genius, have taken up their schemes, and set forth their different ways of helping man, God has written confusion on them all. As if he had said, “ This is not my way, not my revelation." God made man upright, but he sought out many inventions : and these are proofs of it. But, when a man goes forth in the simplicity of the Gospel,
and makes mention of the truth only, God applies it; sets his seal to it in the man, and more or less in the people who hear him.
This is, besides, a warning voice. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright! Remember them, says the Apostle, who have had the rule over you ; considering the end of their conversation. Remember the favour granted to the people among whom this servant of God ministered. Mark how the light shone for a time; but mark, also, how short that time! God will call his witness home, yet while he bears his testimony. Hear ye him! Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright !
It was, again, as if God should say, “ Mark this by way of encouragement. His end is
peace. Belshazzer may profane, by his victories, the temple of the Lord, and the vessels of that temple; and may call for them to make entertainment for his thousand Lords! but !-his end is not peace: he trembles at the hand-writing on the wall! Herod
may shine in gorgeous robes, and so speak that people may say, It is the voice of a god and not of a man: but!-worms shall be sent to devour Herod, and spoil his pomp and grandeur: there is no peace in his end. Some die in absolute horror, because their consciences are actually awake: none but a true Christian can die in a well-grounded hope of life eternal.
Thus died Gilbert: and, though he is not recorded in the eleventh of the Hebrews, yet it may