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SERMON IV.

AT THE FUNERAL OF MISS JANE LAKE;

WHO DIED OCT., 1772, AGED TWENTY-FOUR.

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If our thoughts had not been directed towards heaven before, the death of our young friend would have led them thither. It had been our delightful employment for several Sabbaths past, to contemplate the perfection and perpetuity of the heavenly blessedness. The greatest part of it she heard, either here or at home; and it was but a very, very few minutes before the pains of death came upon her, that she expressed great satisfaction in the thoughts of hearing the remainder that afternoon. But O how much better was she entertained ! Only a few hours, and she knew it were a poor thing to say she knew more than any of us–Only a few hours, and she saw God “ face to face," and knew “even as also she was known.”

In those sermons, which she wished so much to hear, you remember we attempted to guess a little at some particulars of the pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. We had before spoken of the pleasure it must give to be admitted into the immediate presence of God ; to

“ behold with opeu face the glory of the Lord;” and how

3

satisfied we shall be " when we awake with his likeness ;”—and also the pleasure of being where Jesus is; to sit with him on his throne; to behold and partake of his glory; and to inherit all that honour and happiness, all that joy and glory, which belong to those who are “ heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ." These things had been distinctly considered before. But the circumstances which were more particularly insisted on the last Sabbath, were the entertainment it would give to serious and inquisitive minds to review the wonders of creation, providence, and grace; to look back on their travels through the wilderness, and mark the intention and tendency of many dispensations, which here they could never account for ; to see how goodness and mercy followed them all the days of their lives, even at those times when they were ready to think themselves forgotten ; and how all things, even their greatest difficulties and distresses, were made to work together for their good ;-and further, the pleasing surprise it must be, at our first entrance into the holy city, to meet one and another of our intimate and endeared relations and friends, who were called to heaven before us; and not only so, but to meet and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets, and apostles, and other eminent and holy men, « from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south ;” to converse familiarly with them, and hear their history and experience, and communicate our own ;-yea, and further still, to mix with the innumerable company of angels, and commence an acquaintance with those superior beings, and join with them in their most elevated songs and services,

In this manner did we entertain ourselves with walking about Zion,

about Zion, or rather looking at it " through a glass darkly;" and pleased ourselves with the forethought of what we should be, and where we should be, and what we should see, and possess, and enjoy, in that world of inconceivable light and blessedness. And this is what she wanted then to hear. But how must she now pity our low and childish conceptions! If she were now to take this text; and the laws of that world, and the imperfections of this, would allow her to impart what she knows of heaven; O what glorious discoveries could she make! Be patient, brethren ; though we may not follow her now, we hope to follow her hereafter, and then we also shall comprehend the full meaning of those great words, “In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. In the mean time, it is no small consolation to be able to say, with humble hope and joyful confidence, “ Thou wilt shew me the path of life.”

Since we first entered on the subject, we have had occasion more than once to observe, that this whole passage primarily refers to the Lord Jesus Christ; and then the meaning is,--My heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth, &c.; for thou wilt show me the path of life, or, Thou hast shown me the path of life: thou hast assured me of a glorious resurrection, and I foresee the way to eternal life opening upon the world, which for the sins of men had been shut up. But though this be the primary signification of the words, yet, as Christ is the head of the church, and his resurrection is the pattern and pledge of ours, we may warrantably apply it

to all his spiritual seed, who may be here considered

as

Rejoicing in the life of grace as an earnest of a life of glory; and

Acknowledging that it is God that shows the way to both.

I. The Christian rejoiceth, in that God hath quickened him to a life of

grace. The Scripture every where speaks of men in their natural state as spiritually dead : “ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph. ji. 1.) I was going to quote other Scripture proofs ; but it were endless ;-and it is needless too, in a case where we have ocular demonstration : for only look at such-an-one, or such-an-one-look at any of those numerous and unhappy instances which are every where around us, of those who are lying in wickedness, and you will soon be convinced that they have no life in them. We go up close to them, and in the softest and most melting strains speak to them of the love of God, the grace of Christ, the beauty of holiness, and the joys of heaven; we hold out all the treasures of grace and glory, and beseech them to accept of them. One would expect, that at the first word joy and gratitude should sparkle in their countenances, and that, with all the eagerness imaginable, they should lay hold, on eternal life. But no such thing : it makes no more impression on them than a sun-beam on a rock. They do not put forth a finger to take it, nor so much as open their eyes to look at it. Must not they be dead ?-Nay, and if we alter our tone,

cry aloud,” and “lift up our voice like a trumpet," and thunder in their ears that the wrath

and is

of God hangs over their heads; that the flames of hell are ready to take hold upon them ; and that, if they continue in that dreadful, hazardous situation a moment longer, they may be lost beyond all. possibility of recovery for ever; one would think, if they could hear at all, that the mention of these things should at least make them tremble, and turn pale; but nothing like it: they remain quite motionless and insensible: not the least alteration in their countenances or conduct; not the least effort made to flee from the impending danger. Can there be a plainer proof that they are spiritually dead; and so we were all; and were “by nature children of wrath, even as others.”

- But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ-(by grace ye are saved)—and bath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. ii. 4.)

Conversion, you see, is here called quickening, or infusing a new principle of life. Then it is that we are born again: then it is that we are created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, and enabled to walk before God in newness of life. And it is from the commencement of that happy change that we ought to date our life; for then it is that we properly begin to live: then it is that God first shews us the path of life. And it is well he does : for otherwise we should never have found it. So said He who well knew the difficulty. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mått. vii. 14.) When we first set out in the world, we see various

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