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fore, who sincerely hope for immortal life, will purify themselves, even as God is pure.
But not only are the saints purified from the defilement of sin and vice: in their souls are implanted holy principles, and that assemblage of Christian graces, which constitutes their likeness to their heavenly father. They are not only accounted of the family of God by adoption, but they are indeed his children, being formed after his image, rendered partakers of the divine nature, and dwelling in God and God in them.
A holy life, proceeding from a renewed and sanctified heart, completes the character of the saint. Like so many rays of light converging to one point, justice, mercy, trutli, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, harmoniously unite in the saint, and emit their blended radiance in his life and conversation ; so that others, seeing his good works, glorify their father who is in heaven. The love of God, which glows in his heart, powerfully constrains him to a sincere, cheerful and uniform obedience. It was the Almighty command to Abraham “ walk before me, and be thou “ perfect,” and it is the fixed determination of
true saint, to walk before the Lord unto all well pleasing : to walk as in his presence and under his omniscient eye; and that not on a few particular occasions, and at stated times only, but regularly and uniformly through the whole course of his life. Thus the inward graces and virtues of the holy not only beautify and adorn the soul, but serve to produce obedience in those whom the Lord hath set apart for himself, and redeemed to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
In this manner their saintship is visible to the world, and holiness to the Lord is established in their character. This holiness is not founded on constraint, nor does it depend on the feeble efforts of an apostate heart, but is produced and maintained by the influences of an Almighty Redeemer, in whose sight their death as well as their life is precious.
II. Let us with equal brevity and simplicity consider in what respects the death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord.
It was sin which brought death into the world; and though, eventually, a blessing to the saints, it is a formidable foe, from which human nature shrinks back with aversion. The psalm, in which the text is found, cele
brates the goodness of God in delivering from death, and contains a prayer that the life which he had so graciously preserved might for the future be spent in his service. This remarkable preservation of the psalmist's life, was the reason of the observation in the text, that precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Their death is precious in his sight, because he is pleased often to bless them with tength of days, and to bring them to the grave in a good old age, as a shock of corn comes in his
The sons of violence and strife frequently rise up against the saints of God. But their life and all that is dear to them are deposited in his hands as a sacred trust : he forsaketh them not in any case; and in his sight their life as well as their death is precious. He redeems their souls from deceit and death, and brings them not to the grave till death becomes to them great gain.
Long life is in a peculiar manner promised to the saints. They shall inherit the earth, while the wicked who are in great power, and spread themselves like a green bay tree, shall be cut down like the
pass away - The Lord knoweth the days of the upright;
** they shall dwell in the land, and the perfect 5 shall remain in it: but the wicked shall be “ cut off from the earth, and the transgressors 6 shall be rooted out of it.”
The death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord, because by it he oftentimes removes them from the evil to come.
righteous perisheth,” saith the prophet, " and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful “ men are taken away, none considering that “ the righteous are taken away from the evil $6 to come.” The saints are the pillars of the world, and their death portends evil to the place and nation in which they have lived. Ruin came upon Sodom, because there were not ten righteous men to be found in it. The earth itself is preserved for the sake of good men ; and when the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, the saints are removed by death to a place of security, that they may not be the sad spectators of such direful calamities.
Again, precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his saints, because he deprives death of its sting, and encourages them in the moment of their departure to commit their spirits to his care, and to rely with confidence
on his ability to save to the uttermost all those who sincerely believe in his mediation. The righteous are indeed at all times God's peculiar care; but on a bed of agony, and in the hour of death, his almighty arm is stretched out in a particular manner for their support. With that voice which called all nature into existence, he bids them not fear, for he is with them : even he who has the keys of death and of the unseen world in his hands, who himself encountered the king of terrours, and who knows what support his creatures need in their dying moments. It was on this account that David sung with triumphant joy, “ Though I walk through the valley of the “ shadow of death, yet will I fear no evil ; “ for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.”
It is impossible that the idea of death in itself should not affect, more or less, even those who are best prepared for its approach. It cannot be dressed out in any form that will reconcile the reflecting mind to pass it by without sensations of solemnity and awe. The anxious care, the hopeless dejection, the bursting grief of near and dear connexions, from whom it is painful to part, and whose efforts