صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

of the body; but a wounded spirit who can bear? Prov. xviii. 14. God gives all his children a good hope through grace; 2 Theff. ii. 16. And whereever God gives the grace of hope, there falvation is fure. For we are faved by hope. Rom. viii. 24. This hope has eternal life in it, and hence it is called a lively hope (1 Pet, i, 3.), in oppofition to all dead hope, which perisheth at death; for the hope of unjust men perisheth. Prov. xi. 7. The hope that God gives is called the anchor of the foul,' which keeps it from finking in defpondency, and from drowning in deftruction and perdition. Which hope we have as an anchor of the foul both fure and Steadfast. Heb. vi. 19. This hope is firm even in death itself. The wicked is driven away in his wickedness, but the righteous bath hope in his death. Prov. xiv. 32.

Those who have had an experience of the love of God, and who are faid to be made perfect in love, and have been brought to exercife patience towards God under a daily crofs, fo as for patience (as James expreffes it) to have had its perfe&t work, and who have come to fome degree of perfection in the knowledge of Christ, are called perfect men; and fuch as love Chrift are called upright men. Song i. 4. Now God bids you attend the fick beds of fuch, and to obferve and watch the end of them; and to take notice if God is not faithful to them, and to the promises that he has made to them-Mark the perfect man, and be


bold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. Pfalm xxxvii. 37.

Nothing short of faith in the Son of God can fecure eternal life to men. He that believeth on the Son bath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son fhall not fee life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. John iii. 36. As many as are of faith are bleffed with faithful Abraham. Gal. iii. 9. And God's bleffing is life for evermore. Pf. cxxxiii. 3. Hence believers are faid to be bleffed in death, for they do not die in their fins; nor do they die in their flesh, trusting in themselves that they are righteous; but they die in the Lord, and the bleffing of life attends them in death.

And I heard a voice from heaven, faying unto me, Write, blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, faith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. Rev. xiv. 13. I have fhewed my dear friend the promifes God hath made to his children on a death bed; all of which you have feen and heard from the mouth of your father, yea and much more; for what I have taken notice of amounts to hope, peace, and the bleffing of life: but your father has had the light of God's countenance with joy unfpeakable and full of glory. And thus to die is to end one's days in the poffeffion of the nobleft wifh, and the most capacious defire, in all the book of God; and this is the most expanded hope of the Apoftle Paul. The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every

eity, faying that bonds and afflictions abide me: but none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myelf, fo that I might finish my course with joy. Acts xx. 23, 24. This is rifing higher than internal support on the bed of languishing; it is more than fimply the steadfastness of hope, which is an anchor of the foul, that counteracts defpondency and keeps the vessel of mercy tteady. It is more than dying in peace and friendship with God and confcience; for it is fhouting victory in the jaws of death, and triumphing over the king of terrors, (Job xviii. 14) while in the field of action. It is finishing the warfare and fight of faith in the highest pitch of militant glory; and in the enjoyment of the most confummate felicity, promised, expected, or defired, in all the book of God. But there is no one thing in all this account that is ftrange to you. You yourself have, at times, (though but young) for fome years experimentally known, felt, and enjoyed every one of them.

Precious in the fight of the Lord is the death of his faints. Pf. cxvi. 15. And, as the death of the faints is precious in the fight of God, it fhould not be grievous in ours. We are forbidden to give way to immoderate forrow, because God has made an infinite difference between dying in fin, and dying in the Lord; between the believer and the infidel. The believer dies in faith; this is the revealed end of all. The pious patriarchs, prophets, and faints of old time, all died in faith, not having


received the promises, but having feen them afar off, and were perfuaded of them, and confessed they were Atrangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb. xi. 13. And it is the eternal decree of God, which was made known to Adam as foon as he fell, and exercifed by Abel the protomartyr as foon as he approached to God, that the juft man fhould live by his faith. Heb. ii. 4. Hence it is faid that by faith Abel offered to God a more excellent facrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God teftifying of his gifts: and by it be being dead yet fpeaketh. Heb. xi. 4. Gen. iv. 4. And we are told, in the New Teftament, that faith, whether weak or ftrong, and whether exercifed under the Old Testament, or under the New, comes to the fame glorious end; namely, falvation from fin, from Satan, from death, from the grave, and from hell itself-Receiving the end of your faith, even the falvation of the foul. 1 Pet. i. which is not a temporal, but a spiritual and an eternal one; for Ifrael fhall be faved in the Lord with an everlasting falvation. Ye shall not be afbamed nor confounded world without end. Ifai, xlv. 17.


The way to heaven is to follow Chrift in the regeneration. Matt. xix, 28. Fear begins it, and love perfects and ends it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Prov. i. 7. And the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, a good confcience, and faith unfeigned. 1 Tim. i. 5. Those who begin with fear will foon rife in hope;


and where God gives hope there he gives an expectation of glory. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, faith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jer. xxix. II. The wife man afferts the fame-My fon, eat thou boney, because it is good; and the boneycomb, which is sweet to thy tafte: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy foul when thou haft found it; then there fhall be a reward, and thy expectation fball not be cut off. Prov. xxiv. 13, 14. To die in peace, my dear friend, proclaims us in friendship with God to die in hope is to die in expectation of glory to be bleffed in death, and to die in the Lord; is to have the fpring of endless life in the foul when the body is dying: to die in the enjoyment of love is to die ftronger than death, and in union with God. Rev. xii. 11.-1 John iv. 16. But to die in joy is above all: joy is the quinteffence of love; joy is the overflowings of a loving heart; and this is the highest blifs promised to a dying faint. The ranfomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with fongs, and everlasting joy upon their bead: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and forrow and fighing fhall flee away. Ifai. xxxv. 10. The returning there meant is not coming to the militant church below; for all forrow and fighing are notbanished from her in this life: but Zion above is free from both these, and will never be exercised with them again: for God fhall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither


« السابقةمتابعة »