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eter die like it. Andis neil prolole of thitate. Peams, ivichih
scorned to be afraid. Some in raging despair, so filled with horror, that they cry out, as if they were already in hell : others in fullen defpondency, opprest with fears, infomuch, that their hearts are funk within him, upon the remembrance of mis-spent time, and the view they have 'of eternity; having neither head nor heart to do any thing for their own relief. And others die stupid: they lived like beasts, and they die like beasts, without any concern on their spirits abont their eternal state. They groan under their bodily distress, but have no senfe of the danger of their souls. One may with almoit as much prospet of success speak to a stone, as to speak to them: vain is the attempt to teach them, nothing that can be said moves thein. TO", discourse to them, either of the joys of heaven, or the torments of bell, is to plow on a rock, or beat the air. Soine die like the foolih virgins, dreaming of heuven: their foreheads are steeled against the fears of hell, with presumptuous hopes of heaven. Their business, who would be useful to them, is not to answer doubts about the case of their fouls; but to dispute them out of their false hopes. Buri which way soever the unconverted man dies, he is driven away in his wickedness. O dreadful case! Oh, let the consideration of.fo horrible : & departure out of this world, move you to betake yourselves to Jesus Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour, an Almighty Redeemer. Let it... prevail to drive you out of your wickedness, to holiness of heart and life. Though you reckon it pleasant to :ive in wickedness; you carta not but own it is better to die in it. And if you leave it not in time, you shall go in your wickedness to hell, the proper place of it, that is may be fët there in its own bufe. For when you are passing out of this world, all your sins froin the eldest to the youngest of them, will swarm about you, hang upon you, accompany you to the other world; and, as so many furies, surround you there for ever. ,. Lastly, o be concerned for others, especially for your relations, that they may not continue in their sinful natural state, but be brought into a state of salvation; left they be driven away in their wickedness at death What would ye not do to prevent any of your friends dying an untimely and violent death? But alas! do not ye see them in hazard of being driven away in their wickedness? Is not death approaching them, even the youngest of them?' And are they not Itrangers to true Christianity, remaining in that state in which they came into the world? Oh! make halte to pluck the brand out of the fire, before it be burnt to ashes. The death of relations often leaves a sting in the hearts of these 'they leave behind them; for that they do not do for their souls, as they had opportunity ; and that now the opportunity is for ever taken out of their lands.
DOCTRINE II. , The State of the Goaly in Death, is a hopeful State..
We have seen the dark side of the cloud looking towards ungodly men, pafling out of the world : let us now take a view of the bright side of it, shining on the godly, as they are entring upon their eternal state. In discoursing this subject, I shall confirm this doctrine, answer an objection against it, and then make some practical improvement of the whole.
For confirmation, let it be observed, That although the passage out of this world by death, have a frightful aspect to poor mortals; and to miscarry in it must needs be of fatal consequence ; yet the following circumstances make the state of the godly in their death, happy and hopeful.
First, They have a trusty good friend before them in the other world ; Jesus Christ their best friend, is Lord of that land to which death carries them. When Joseph sent for his father to come down to him to Egipt, telling him, God had made him Lord over all Egypt, Gen. xlv.9. and when Jacob saw the waggons Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob revived, ver. 27. He frankly resolves to un. dertake the journey. I think, when the Lord calls a godly man, out of this world, he sends him fuch glad tidings, and such a kind invitation into the other world ; that if he had faith to believe it, his fpirit must revive, when he sees the waggon of death, which comes to carry him thither. It is true indeed, he has a weighty trial to undergo; after deain the judgment. But the case of the godly is altogether hopeful; for the Lord of the land is their husband, and their husband is their Judge: The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, John v.22. And surely the cafe of the wife is hopeful, when her own husbarid is her judge ; even such a husband as hates putting away. No huiband is so loving and fo tender of his spoase, as the Lord Christ is of his. One would think, it would be a very bad land, which a wife would not willingly go to, where her husband is the ruler and judge. Moreover, their Judge is the Advocate, 1 John ii, 1. “ We have an « Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." And therefore they need not fear their being put back, and falling into condemnation. What can be more favourable? Can they think, that he who pleads their cause, will himself pass sentence against them: Yet further, their Advocate is the Redeemer; they are “ redeemed "s with the prcious blood of Christ," 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. So when he pleads for them, he-is pleading his own cause. Though an advocate may be careless of the interelt of one who employs him ; surely he will do his utmost to defend his own right, which he hath purchased with his moncy : and thall not their Advocate defend the purchase of his own blood? But more than all that, their Redeemer is their head,
and they are his members, Eph v. 23, 30. Though one were fo filly as to let his own purchasé go, without standing up to defend his right, yet surely he will not quit a limb of his own body. Is not their case then hopeful in death, who are so closely linked and allied to the Lord of the other world, who hath the keys of hull and death.
Secondly, hey shall have a sase pasage to another world. They muft indeed go through the valley of the shadow of death; but tho'it be in itself a dark and shady vale, it shall be a valley of hope to them: they shall bị driven thro'is, but welk bro’ is; as men in perfect safety, who fear no evil, Pfal. xxii. 4. Why should they fear? They have the Lord of the land's Safe conduct, bis pals sealed with his own blood, namely, the bleled covenant, which is the saint's death-bed comfort2 Sam. xxiii. 5. " Although my
66 house be no: fo with God, yet he hath ipade with me an ever. ! -6% lafting COVENANT, ordered in all things and furt: for this is
all my salvation, and all my desire, although he cause it not to ? « grow.” Who then can harm them? It is tafe riding in Christ's
chariot (Cant. iij. 9.) borb chro' life and death. They have good and honourable attendants, a guard, even a guard of angels. These encamp about them in the eine of their life: and surely will not leave them in the day of their death. There happy miniftering fpirit's are attendants on their Lord's bride, and will doubtless convey her safe home to his house. When friends in moureful mood stand by the saint's bed. fide, waiting co see him draw his laft breath', his soul is waited for of holy angels, to be carried by thens into Abraham's horom, Luke xvi. 22. The captain of the saint's fal. vation is the captain of this holy guard: he was their guide even unto death, and he will be their guide through it too. Plal xxiii. 4. -56 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 4 I will fear no evil; for thou art with me." They may without Fear pass that river, being confident it th:!l not overflow chens ; and may walk through that fire, being sure they shall not be burnt by it,
- Death can do them no harm. It cannot even hurt their bodies: - for tho? it separate the foul from the body, it cannot separate the
body from the Lord Christ. Even death is to them but Nicep in
Jefus, i Theff. iv. 14. They continue members of Christ, though - in a grave. Their dust is precious dui, laid up in a grave, as in
their Lord's cabinet. They lie in a grave meilowing; as precious fruit laid up to be brougao forth to him at the resurrection. The husbaudman has corn in his barn, and corn lying in the ground: the latter is more precious to him than the former; because he looks to get it returned with increase. Even so clie dead bodies of the faints are valued by their Saviour: they are sown is corruption, to be raised in incorruption; jown in dishonour, raised in glory, i Cor. xv. 42, 43. It cannot hurt their foals. It is with the loals of the faines at death, as with Paul and his company in their voyage, whereof
we have the history, A& xxvii. the trip was broke in pieces, but the passengers got all fufe to land. When the dying Count's speech is laid, his eyes fet, and his last breach drawn, the soul gets safe, away into the heavenly paradite, leaving the budy to return to its earth, but in the joyful hope of a re-union at its glorious resur. rection. How can deach hurt the godly? it is a foiltu enemy: if it cast them down, it is only that they may rise up more glorious, Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished DEATA, 2 Tim. i. 10. The foul and life of it is gpue: it is but a walking Made that may fright, but cannot hurt saints; it is only the Madow of death to them; it is not the tbing itself: Ceir dy ng is.bu. as sying, ur foniewhat like dying. The Aposle tells us, It is Christ that died, Rom. viji. 34. Stephen, the firit Christian martyr, though itoed to deach, yet buc fell feep, Acts 111. 34. Cerra nly che nature of death is quite changed with respect to the faints. It is not to them, what it was to Jelus Christ Their head: It is noi the invenonied ruinating thing, wrap: upp e fa ction of vie first cov.nant, Gen. Ü. 19, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Il comes to the gooily witloit its illici'iney may ucinit win that salutation, O weath, where is thy fiing? Is thi Marit? is this bitter death? It went out full into ite worid, vher he tirst Adum opened the door to it: but the second Adam huth brought li aguin empty to his own people. I feel a sting, may the dysg alu a,; yoritis but a bete-fting, iting ing only through ih ski; but o death, where is thy Iting, ihine old Iting, the terpeni' stig, ha ftung, in the heart and soul? The fling of death is Sin: but ina: is laken away. If death arrest the saint, and carry him before te Juo; e, to answ«r for the debt he contracted, the debi will be o no paid by tit glorious Cautio. ner: and he has the d scharge to fhw. The thorn of guilt is pulled out of the man': confcience; and liis name is blotted out of the black roll, and writi en among the living in Jesufalem. It is true, it is a great journey t. gy thrigh the valley of the shadow of death: but the faint's burden is taken away from off his back, his iniquity iš pardoned, he may walk aş cale; no lion Mall be there, nor any ravenous beafi: the redte med may walk at leilure there, free from all apprehenfions of danger. ;
Lastly, They shall have a joyful entrance into the other world. Their arrival in the regions of blits, will be celebrated with rap. turous hymns of praise to their glorious Redeemer. A dying day is a good day to 3 godly man, Yea, it is his beit day; it is berter to him than his birth-day, or than the most joyous day he ever had on earth. A good nome, says the wise man, is better than precious bintment: and the duy of death, than the day of one's birth, Eccl. vii. 1. The notion of the immortality of the soul, and of future happiness, which obtained among some tagan nations, had wonderful effects on them. Some of them when they mourned for the dead, did it in weren's apparel; that being moved with the indecency of the
Carb, to the slaughter; the rather that Satan, who useth all his art to fupport the hopes of the hypocrite, will do his utmoft to mar the peace, and increase the fears of the saint. Finally, The bad frame of spirit, and ill condition, in which death sometimes feizeth a true Christian, may caufe this perplexity. By his being in the state of grace, he is indeed always halitually prepared for death, and his dying fufily is insured ; but there is more requisite to his öctual preparation, and dying comfortably; his fpirit must be in good condition too. .
Wherefore, there are three cases, in which death cannot but be every uncomfortable to a child of God. (1.) If it reize him at a time when the guilt of foine particular sin unrepented of, is lying on his conscience ; and death comes on that very account, to take him out of the land of the living; as was the cause of many of the Corinthium believers, 1 Cor. xi. 30. “ For this cause (namely, of unworthy " communicating) many are weak and fickly among you, and many sleep." If a person is surprised with the approach of death, while lying under the guilt of some unpardoned sin, it cannot but caule a mighty confternation: (2) When death catches him napping. The mighty cry must be frightful to sleeping virgins. The man who lies in a ruinous house, and awakens not till the timber begins to crack, and the stones to drop down about his ears, may indeed get out of it safely, but not without fears, of being crulhed by its fall. When a Christian has been going on in a course of security and backsliding, and awakens not till death comes to his bed-side ; it is no marvel if he get a fearful awakening. Lastly, When he hasloft light of his saving interest' in Christ, and cannot produce evidences of his title to heaven. It is hard to meet death without some evidence of a tittle to eternal life at hand: hard to go through the dark valley without the candle of the Lord shining upon the head. It is a terrible adventure to launch out into eternity, when a man can make no better of it, than a leap in the dark, not knowing where he shall light, whether in heaven or hella
Nevertheless, the state of the saints, in their death, is always in itself hopeful. The presumptuous hopes of the ungoilly, in their death, cannot make their state hopeful; neither can the hopelesness of a faint make his state hopeless: for God judgeth according to the truth of the thing, not according to men's opinions about it. Howbeit the faints can no more be altogether without hope, than they can be altogether without faith. Their faith may be very weak, but it fails not; and their hope very low, yet they will, and do, hope to the end. Even while the godly feem to be carried away with the streams of doubts and fears; there remains still as much hope as determines them to lay hold on the tree of life, that grows on the banks of the river: Jonah ii. 4. * Then I faid, I am cast out of thy “ fight: yet I will look again towards thy holy temple."
USE. This fpeaks comfort to the godly against the fear of death. A godly man may be called a happy man, before his death; because, whatever befal him in life, he thall certainly be happy at death. You