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needs no note of warning to prepare against his coming. His work itself is the best preparation. Blessed, says the Scripture, is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing !
And this should be our comfort, brethren, when any dear friend, whose life is such as I have spoken of, is taken unexpectedly away; who dies after scarcely any illness, or whose illness is of a character that cuts him off from the usual exercises of a devout soul. We must not grieve because he is not able to pray, or to hear God's word read to him, or even to commune with God in his heart. For it is not by what a man does on his death-bed, that the just Judge will judge him; but by what he was in his health, and strength, by the life he led when he was well. If, during the chief hours of our mortal day, our life has been employed in the task assigned us; if in all that time the soul has been faithful, and waited still upon God—God, we are sure, will not count ours as lost labour, because we may not have been able to do Him service quite until the night because at eventide our hand
have hung down, and our knee waxed feeble !
But, brethren, though in some cases of sudden death, or of illness which clouds the mind, and precludes it from religious exercise, there is great comfort in looking back to what the life was while yet its faculties were entire; though death, to those who have always abounded in the work of the Lord, whenever it happens, or however, must be certain gain : it is not so in all cases.
Death can be no gain to the ungodly; death can be no gain to the man who has forgotten God — who has not served the Lord Christ, but has served his own carnal lusts, and appetites; who has lived for himself, and to himself: death can be no gain to the man who, knowing the right has chosen the wrong, has kept to the end his bosom sin, died as he lived, in disobedience to God, and open defiance of His law. Death, in such a case, can never be a gain ; it can only be utter loss, the ruin and shipwreck both of body and soul.
It is best, I feel, to speak plainly on so solemn a matter. There is no promise, brethren, in the Bible of a happy death, except as the consequence, and completing of a good and Christian life.
They who live in the Lord, die also in the Lord. They who have made Christ their portion here, have Him for their portion afterwards : they, and they alone. For the others—for those who have all their life lived without Him who would not have Him when He was willing to reign over them—who have turned deaf ears to His call; slighted and set at nought His salvation; there can be but one thing in store—to be rejected - to hear from His awful lips the sentence, from which there is no appeal throughout eternity-I know you not; depart from me, ye that work iniquity!
Brethren, none of us have yet come under this condemnation. We are still living men — we have still verge, and space for repentance—we may
still serve the Lord Jesus Christ. But there must be no further delay: we live in a dying world; the earth rings hollow to our feet; we, to-morrow, may be added to her dead. Live we then that life now, which, we have seen, takes away
, the sting of death -nay, which changes death into a friend. Live we for Christ, and to Christ; give we ourselves up now entirely to His service. Let Him have fuller possession of us; more of our thoughts, more of our labours, more of our love, more of our worldly goods and substance. Let Him dwell in us, and we in Him.
For thus living, and abiding in Christ, we shall be prepared for anything that may befall
If we remain in the flesh, we shall remain for His honour; we shall magnify Christ by showing of the things of Christ — gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, brotherly kindness, charity: while if we depart—and this
will be far better - we shall have rest with those, , His and our brethren, gone before- departed in the true faith of His Holy Name—and we shall pass with them, when the time comes, for His sake, and through His merits, to a glorious and happy resurrection!
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
“IT IS I."
St. MATT. xiv. 27.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good
cheer; it is I ; be not afraid.
Among the many miracles of our blessed Lordamong the most startling, among those which are calculated to impress us with an instant awe and reverence, is the one from whence my text is taken —the miracle recorded in St. Matt. xiv., and which took place on the Sea, or Lake, of Galilee.
It is not the only miracle that Jesus wrought on that famous lake. In St. Matt. viii. 23, and St. Mark, iv. 35, we have the account of another mighty display of power by our Lord, on this same spot. He was crossing the lake with His disciples, when a sudden storm came on, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves, but