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shall no more say, “I am sick :" for " he shall change these vile bodies, and fashion thein like unto his own glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.”
They'rest from all worldly bustle and distress. Where they now are, none of the trifling or tumultuous occurrences of this vain world can affect them. Let wars, and rumours of wars, roar "never so loud, they hear them not: let' famine, or pestilence, make ravages vever so dreadful, they feel them not: let the king of terrors depopulate whole towns and kingdoms, it breaks not the rest of those newlycommenced immortals. Perhaps, of all the trou. bles they felt while they sojourned here, that which lay heavjest upon them was, their concern for the conversion of those whose souls were dear to them as their own: for this they prayed hard, and strove hard, and even “ travailed in birth" to see “ Christ formed in their souls;" but, now, they rest éven from this too; and every inferior private concern is swallowed up in that of “Father, glorify thy name."
They rest from all spiritual conflicts. No law in their members now warring against the law of their minds; no lusting of the flesh against the spirit; no corruptions to pollute their duties or disturb their joys; the prince of this world is cast out, and hath nothing more to do with them in those pure and peaceful regions. They may now throw by their sword, helmet, breastplate, and all the other parts of the Christian armour; and, with a wellgrounded exultation, cry, with the Apostle, “ I have
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 1 have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his
appearing.” (2 Tin). iv. 7, 8.)
They also rest from all laborious services. It is not, however, the stillness of a stone, or the . inactivity of the sluggard; but the rest of a soul that is pleased with its employment, and is happy to find itself capable of continuing it without weariness or fainting. Here, the service of God was their delight; but they were frequently interrupted by the flesh crying, "Master, spare thyself :" but now, they rest not, day nor night, from shouting forth rapturous Hallelujahs, and yet feel no fatigue : the joy of the Lord is their strength; and the more they are employed, the happier they are. So said one who had a glimpse of heaven :
" I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead wbich die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. xiv, 13.)
4. This rest is everlasting.
Here, indeed, those who are most afflicted have some intervals of ease, though perhaps of short continuance: deep calleth unto deep, one wave follows another so quick, that very often there is scarce a breathing-time between. No matter; those very billows, the swelling and foaming of which so affright you now, shall only waft you the sooner to your desired haven;
* There shall you bathe your weary souls
In seas of heavenly rest;
Across your peaceful breast."
There, in the noblest sense of the words, shall be " quietness and assurance for ever.” There, “ the rånsomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away"--and never, never return: for in God's presence “is fulness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore"-without end, interruption, or decay. There, the languors of sickness and the pangs of death shall be felt no more at all: the voice of weeping and bitter mourning shall be heard no more at all : the assaults of enemies, and the alarms of danger, shall be known no more at all: “ they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
Many useful and important inferences offer themselves, which I can do little more than mention.
1. That the assurance of future rest should reconcile the people of God to present sufferings.
What matters it how rough the roads are, or how stormy the weather, when you are so near home; when you have but a few stages--perhaps some of you but a few steps, more~and all your difficulties will be over, and you may lie down and rest your bodies in the grave, and your souls in Abraham's
66 borne our
bosom, “ For which cause we faint not,” says the Apostle—and we ought to say so too—" For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day: for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. iv. 16.)
2. How thankful should we be to the Lord Jesus Christ; who procured this rest for the people of God!
If it had not been for him, the best of us might have been afraid to die. If he had not griefs, and carried our sorrows,” and made reconciliation for iniquity; weeping, and wailing, and goashing of teeth had been the deserved, and inevitable portion of our cup. But now, whose heart doth not leap for joy, to hear him say, as he doth,
, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die!" (John xi. 25.)
3. “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord”
“ For they rest from their labours." Many were their afflictions while they lived, but now the Lord hath delivered them out of them all. They are where they have long wished to be; and, sweetly smiling from their mansions of bliss, seem to check our tears, and say, • If ye loved me, ye would rejoice ; because you knew I was going to my Father!'
4. “ Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it."
For it is not the privilege of all that die, to enter into rest. Many-oh how many!- that we have thanked God for delivering out of the miseries of this sinful world, are gone to suffer the bitter pains of eternal death! - All must who live and die impe. nitent :-- There is no peace,' saith my God, to the wicked.” While you are standing round the deathbed of a saint, or hearing his funeral sermon, you weep, and wish, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his;" and then go away, saying in your heart, I shall have peace, though I go on adding iniquity unto iniquity, and drunkenness to thirst.'- No, you shall not have peace ; your last end shall be very unlike his. You may contrive to make your short life a merry one; but when you come to find yourself dying, you must be either stupid or distracted, -But I will not, on such an occasion as the present, I will not attempt to describe the horror and anguish that will then take hold upon you :' I will only say, and you may depend upon the truth of it, That the grave will be no shelter to you from trouble; and death, so far from a release, will only transmit you to greater and more lasting, everlasting wretchedness !_“ Knowing, therefore, the terrors of the Lord," I would fain persuade you to flee from the wrath to come.
You say, you want rest; and I readily believe it; you are uneasy and miserable at present; you have tried business, you have tried diversions, you have tried everything you could think of yourself, or others could recommend, to ease your aching heart; but nothing will do ; you are “ like the troubled sea, which cannot rest; whose waters cast up mire and dirt."
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