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peace; and may keep fast hold of it for maintaining peace with thee always and by all means. O grant me this my good God, that my faith may work more by love. Let me take deeper root in Jesus, and grow up more into him, blossoming and budding, and flourishing in his vineyard. I depend upon thee to keep me a branch in him, and to make me a fruitful branch, bringing forth plentifully the fruits of righteousness which are by Christ Jesus to the glory and praise of God. I believe the work is thine-thou hast begun it-and thou wilt carry it on unto the day of the Lord Jesus. Thou art faithful to thy word and work. In dependence upon thy faithfulness I hope to persevere. Let it be done unto me according to thy promises, wherein thou hast caused me to put my trust. Hear, Lord, and answer for thy mercies sake in Jesus, to whom with thee and the eternal Spirit, three persons in one Godhead, be equal glory and praise for ever and ever, Amen.
The believer finishes his course, and enters into rest.
THE believer is now happily arrived at the verge of life. Goodness and mercy have followed him all his days, and will not lose their glory by forsaking him at the close of them. It is appointed unto all men once to die, and his fixed time is at hand. The body is returning to dust, and the spirit must appear before the throne of God. In this trying hour he trusts to the principles which had carried him through life, and he finds them a perfect preservative from the fear and from the power of death. The same faith in a reconciled God and loving Father keeps peace in his con
atonement of Immanuel, and is safe: he wraps himself up in the robe of Immanuel's righteousness, and is happy. He knows he shall be found in Jesus, when he stands before God, and therefore looks upon death as his friend, and meets it with a hope full of glory and immortality.
This is the privilege of believers in Jesus. They die in peace. Their principles are mighty through God to support and comfort them in the hour of death. Reader, are these principles thine; examine carefully. Come to a point in this matter; for it is of infinite and eternal moment. What is thy state? Art thou prepared to die? Perhaps thou art openly profane. And what wilt thou do upon thy death-bed, when the divine law accuses thee, justice cordemns thee, and the terrors of hell take hold of thee? The stings of guilt at such a time will be worse in the conscience, than all the tortures that thy sick body can possibly feel. But if thy conscience be asleep-O what a dreadful death! If thou go out of the world with thine eyes shut, and open them not till thou find the flames of hell about thee.
Perhaps thou art not afraid, because thou hast a decent outside: O take care of trusting in thyself, lest thou shouldst have thy portion with the openly profane. If thou make what thou art, or hast any ground of thy hope before God, if thou depend on thy duties or righteousness, or join them with the work of Christ, and meet death in this confidence-How dreadful will be thy mistake! How inevitable thy ruin! Such false hopes are thus described-" Behold all ye that kindle "a fire and compass yourselves about with sparks, walk "in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye "have kindled."But mind the end-thus saith the Lord-" This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall lie
down in sorrow." And together with them will the open enemy of God and his Christ lie down. A denier of revelation is brought to the bed of languishing-a slow lingering distemper is carrying him off-the phy
sician has given him over-his disease is mortal, and he is convinced of it. But alas! he has no preparation for death and judgment. He has some Christian friends, and they talk freely to him about his eternal state, but he will hear nothing of his guilt or of his want of a Saviour. They get a minister of Christ to visit him, and he speaks to him of sin, which is the transgression of the holy law and of the justice of God which is engaged to give transgressors their due, and of the impossibility of his finding mercy at the judgment seat, until every demand be satisfied, which law and justice have upon him: he tries to persuade the dying man of the Godhead of Jesus, and of the divine work of Jesus, but in vain. He sets at nought the minister's advice, and with a hardened and impenitent heart replies Be it as it will with me in eternity, I will have nothing to do with your Christ. So he died. We need not follow him to the judgment seat to know what became of his soul. The infallible record has declared what will be the portion of the unbelieving. Their misery is as certain as the truth of God. O reader examine thyself: for he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Perhaps thou art in name a Christian, but what thinkest thou of Christ? The grand heresy of this day is about his person, and if thou art fallen into it, there is no hope in thy death. Is he Jehovah? O leave not this matter undetermined. The truth of his word, and the glory of his work depend entirely upon this one point: so does thy peace and comfort: for if thou believe him to be any thing but the self-existent God, thou shalt die in thy sins. His sufferings cannot avail for thy pardon, nor his obedience for thy righteousness, unless he be Jehovah. Without faith in him, as the self-existent Saviour, death will find thee under guilt, and judgment will leave thee among the enemies of God and his Christ.
Whatever evil there is in death to terrify, whatever pain to hurt; the blessed Jesus by the grace of God tasted it for all his. The grace of the Father gave him to be the surety for his people unto death. He died for them, and as truly tasted death, as ever the nicest palate tasted meat or drink. But it was like a taste— of short duration-it was not possible, that he should be hoiden long under the bands of death. He rose again on the third day: And because he lives, believers in him shall live also. They are partakers of his victory over death and share in all its blessings. The sentence of the broken law is repealed. They do not die to bear the punishment of sin. Christ sustained that. The pains and agonies of death fell upon him"The sorrows of death (says he) compassed me, and "the pains of hell got hold upon me." He was a just man who had no reason to fear death, but being found in the place of his people with their sins upon him he was to bear every thing that was dreadful in death. Hence his agonies at the approach of it-" My heart, (says he) is sore pained within me, and the terrors of "death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and tremb
bling are come upon me, and horror hath over"whelmed me." He endured those inconceivable horrors to deliver them, who through fear of death had been all their life-time subject to bondage. But the bondage is at an end, when they believe in his victory. Their fears are dispelled, when they see the glory of the battle, which he fought and won-How by dying he took away sin, satisfied justice, removed the curse, conquered death, broke its sceptre, took out its sting, and left nothing in it but what is friendly to them. In these believing views they can meet death with confidence: for they cannot taste that in death, which Christ tasted. He felt it, that they might not feel it: He died in agonies that they might die in peace. O my most loving and precious Jesus, I believe this, let not any unbelief in me dishonour thy complete conquest over all that is fearful or painful in dying. My
times are in thy hand: when thou art pleased to bring them to an end, let me find death swallowed up in victory: O that I may then triumph with thy redeemed-What can separate us from the love of Christ -shall the sting of death, or the fear of death, or of Satan, or of hell? No, thanks be to God-these were all conquered when Jesus died; subdued for ever, when he rose again. And he has left us many precious promises that we trusting in him shall share in his victory, and find the blessings of it in the hour of death.
Attend then, O my soul, to what he has engaged to bestow upon his dying disciples, as the fruit of his death; and give him credit, not doubting but he will make it good. Live now in the comfort of his promises, and fear not. The almighty Jesus will be with thee, and thou shalt conquer with him in the hour of death. Observe his word, which cannot be broken"I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I "will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plague, O grave, I will be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." The ransom which he here engages to pay for his, he paid as their surety, and he daily applies it to them, as their Saviour. Upon quoting this promise, and finding by faith the happy fulfilment of it, mark how the apostle rejoices with the Corinthians in the near view of death"O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength "of sin is the law: but thanks be to God who giveth "us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord." O thou most glorious conqueror, almighty Jesus, eternal thanks be to thee, that the law cannot accuse, sin cannot condemn, death cannot sting thy redeemed. Thou hast promised to make them happy in death, and faithful is thy word. The beloved John is one of thy witnesses" I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto
me, Write, blessed are the dead which die in the "Lord:" Write it for the use of my disciples, that it