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lodging, whether in Abraham's bosom, or in the devil's arms? what will be my thoughts, when I am taking my last look of husband, wife, children, and relations? What will be my cordial, when the world fails, when friends are weeping round my bed, when my senses are losing their office, my heart and eye-strings are breaking, and all turning dim and dark about me? O, what if my sleepy conscience awake then, and my old buried sins revive and fall on me, to tear me in pieces ?" O what will Christless sinners do in that hour, when there is but one single step betwixt their departing souls and the state of devils? O it is fearful to die in your sins, as it is threatened, John viii. 24. " If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." O better die in a dungeon, among toads and serpents, than die in your sins; for these are serpents that never leave stinging, and will fasten so upon thee, as never to part with thee again they will go to the grave with thee as thy companions, to a tribunal with thee as thy accusers, and to hell with thee as thy tormentors. O it is terrible to die out of Christ, and without sight of an interest in him; to make a leap in the dark over a bottomless gulf, not knowing where your feet may light; or to launch into the great ocean of eternity, without sight of a landing place for your soul. O how will the poor soul shrink back into the body in such a case, when it begins to awake out of its dream, and look out into another world, saying," How shall I venture forth, where I see nothing but darkness and horror, or a flaming sword ready to meet me ?"
Think upon the continual hazard you are in of death; its arrows are flying thick about you, and many are falling slain on every hand of you; and God knows but the next dart may hit thee: and what if thou be unprepared, and hell follow the pale horse?
Think upon the sottish stupidity of many, who though they stand tottering day and night upon the brink both of the grave and hell, yet can spend whole weeks, yea months, without a serious thought of eternity: yea, in the house of mourning, and in the sight of the dead, they can think, talk, jest and laugh, and never have one grave thought or word about their latter end. Foolish sinners are rightly compared to a company of blind men dancing about the mouth of a very deep pit, which they do not perceive, nor hear the
groans of those who fall to the bottom of it: now and then one drops in, but still the rest continue the dance. This day a swearer dies, and tumbles into hell; the next a drunkard, the next a whoremonger: but still their companions in sin go on in their mad career, till they drop in too.
Think what a fearful surprise death is to many careless sinners; it lights upon them like a falcon out of the air; they must flit, and they were not thinking on it; they have their lodging to seek, and they know not where. O it is sad to be turned out of the clay tabernacle, and to be put to knock, and cry," Lodging, lodging, for God's sake;" and yet get no answer but a frown, or, Depart from me, I know you not!" What cause have we to pray, Lord, let us not have our work to do, when our day is done; our weapons to seek when the enemy is at the gates; our oil to buy, when the market is ended, and the bridegroom
Think also upon the happiness of a dying believer, who can go forth half way and meet death, and bid it welcome as a friend. Death ends his sorrow, and begins his joy.It is an outlet to misery, and an inlet to happiness; it frees him of his greatest grievance in the world, that is sin. As sin was the womb that brought forth death, so death is the tomb that buries sin; thus God in his wisdom, causes the daughter to destroy the mother; and hence it is, that death is put in the believer's inventory of goods, 1 Cor. iii. 22. "Death is theirs." It is their Father's servant sent to carry them home to their Father's house; to a place all bespangled with light, where they shall sigh no more, and, which is infinitely better, where they shall sin no more for ever. They shall be troubled no more with an ill heart, nor a tempting devil; they shall complain no more of darkness, and distance from God; but shall spend a whole eternity in praises, doxologies, hosannas, and hallelujahs to God and the Lamb. Think on the blessed change, O believer, that death will make in thy circumstances ere long. It will transport thee from a cottage to a palace, from a wilderness to Canaan, from a stormy sea to a safe shore, from a vile dunghill to a glorious city, a city whose walls and foundations are of precious stones, its streets of gold, and its gates of pearl; whose light is the Lamb, and whose temple is God. Hast thou not cause then to love the Lord Jesus Christ,
who has provided this city for thee, and found out a way to it; who by his death has unstinged death, and by his blood has paved a way through its dark valley for thee to walk in, and fear no ill? O believer, fear not though the entry be somewhat dark, the passage is safe, and the end is light; the day is short betwixt thee and home; 'tis but wink and see God.
Lastly. Think often how holily and spiritually you will wish you had spent this day, when you come to a deathbed, and death and eternity begin to stare you closely in the face. You will then begin to wish, O that I had spent more of my time, and especially of the Lord's day, in meditation and prayer! O if God would try me again, how se rious and diligent would I be! Consider, on the other hand, what a pleasant death-bed the righteous will have, who have spent the Sabbath religiously; what satisfaction they will have in the review thereof! and what comfort in the prospect of an everlasting Sabbath above, to which they are hastening! They will be rejoicing when others about them are weeping: they will be smiling when their eye-strings are breaking, and inward strength failing. They will be longing to be with Christ, which is best of all. It was a choice saying of one near death, "My head is in heaven, my heart is in heaven, it is but one step more, and I shall be all in heaven." And must not the latter end of such be peaceable and pleasant? Many doubtless, with Balaam, would wish to die their death, however iii they like their life; many, like that young man, who said to his loose companion, (after they had visited holy ambrose on his death-bed, and saw how cheerfully he was triumphing over approaching death) "O that I might live with thee, and die with Ambrose!" But it is in vain to think to dine with Satan and lusts in this world, and hereafter to sup with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;" for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," Gal. vi. 7.
V. Another subject of meditation on the Sabbath-day, is the saints' everlasting rest and employment in heaven.— You are called this day to have frequent thoughts of it, since the Sabbath is an emblem thereof, and serves to keep us in mind of it. Take care then, O believer, to spend every Sabbath in the view of heaven, and live every Sabbath as it were to be your last, and behave this day as one that
believes you may be in heaven before the next Lord's day, celebrating an eternal Sabbath.
Let your worship this day below, put you in mind of that more perfect worship above, where you shall see him whom you worship, and enjoy immediate communion with him. O the difference betwixt that worship there, and ours here, is great! There is no weariness there in beholding God, no wanderings nor excursions of the heart from God, no inclinations there to drowsiness or sleep in worship, no dull or low conceptions of God, no deadness of heart or frame; their harps are never out of tune, their hearts are always up, and fit for the high praises of God. There is no note lower there than "Glory to God in the highest;" every saint sings his hallelujahs on the highest key, and all of them join harmoniously in the work of praising God with one heart and soul. Are congregational assemblies of saints so pleasant on earth, especially when they jointly and melodiously sing God's praise ? O what will it be then, when they all meet above in that great "general assembly of the church of the first born," together with the "innumerable company of angels" and there with one heart and
Ice sing God's praises? How ravishing will it be, to hear that eternal music of the bride-chamber, that sweet melody of the church triumphing, where there is no jarring string, no displeasing sound, no discord between heart and tongue, no willows there to hang their harps upon, no bad news to be heard, no sad sight to be seen, no evil to be felt or feared to all eternity. Poor discouraged believers, are ye now troubled with ill hearts and vain thoughts? Are ye plagued with wandering and wearying hearts in duty P These complaints ere long shall be taken out of your mouths ; read Eph. v. 27. the church above "hath neither spot nor wrinkle." Once the glorified saints' faces were as black and wrinkled as yours, but now they have none: once their hearts were as bad as yours, but now they are as fixed " pillars in the temple of God, they go no more out."
Take a view this day, by faith, of the glorious company above; behold Christ upon his white throne, Paul with his crown of righteousness, and all the faithful ones in Abraham's bosom: how gloriously do they shine in the kingdom of their Father! The sun is a very glorious luminary, but it would be useless there, it would not be seen for the
'brightness of the Lamb; nay, every saint shall be as glorious as that sun. Who can tell the happiness of the inhabitants of that place, where every head wears a royal crown, every hand a palm of victory, every eye overflows with joy, and every tongue with songs of praise? O believ<er, think with yourself, what a difference there is betwixt your state and theirs!" Oh, I am sighing, they are singing; I am sinning, they are serving God; I am groaning out my complaints, they are trumpeting forth God's praise; I am in darkness, and cannot see God; they dwell in light, and see him face to face. O my Lord, must I stay behind, when they are going? Must I lie groaning and sighing here, while they are triumphing above, and dividing the spoil? My Lord is gone and left the earth, and entered into his glory; my brethren and friends are gone to their blessed rest, and must I wander in the wilderness, absent from home, far distant from my Father and my God? Shall I be satisfied in this state? No, I will look after them with a longing eye; I will lie knocking at the gate till God open to let me in; I will still pant, breathe, and cry, O Lord, how long! how is my pilgrimage prolonged! How am I detained in this valley of tears, wandering in the dark, and can scarce get any sight of Canaan! When shall the days of my banishment be finished, that I may get home to my country and friends above? O when shall I sit at the fountain head, and drink plentifully of the living streams that make glad the city of God?
O believer, rejoice in the forethoughts of that day, when thou shalt meet with thy father and thy brethren, and when thou shalt see thy elder Brother on the throne ready to pass sentence in thy favour. O how sweet will it be, when he is frowning and thundering against the wicked, to see him turn and smile on thee as thy Redeemer! O what love will be in his looks! what melody will that sentenee sound in thy ears, "Come, ye blessed of my Father," &c. How ravishing a surprise, O believers, will it be to meet with your godly acquaintances, with whom ye prayed, praised, and conversed here! O then, may ye rejoice together, and say, "This voice of joy we now hear, is not like our old groans and complaints, nor like the oaths, curses, and reproaches ous ears were grated with on earth. What is become of our hard hearts, our worldly unbelieving hearts? Where are all