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of the body; but a wounded spirit who can bear? Prov. xviii. 14. God gives all his children a good hope through grace ; 2 Theff. ii. 16. And whereever God gives the grace of hope, there salvation is sure. For we are faved by hope. Rom. viii. 24This hope has eternal life in it, and hence it is called a lively hope (1 Pet. i. 3.), in opposition to all dead hope, which perisheth at death; for the hope of unjust men perisheth, Prov. xi. 7. The hope that God gives is called the anchor of the soul, which keeps it from sinking in despondency, and from drowning in destruction and perdition. Whicha bope we have as 'an anchor of the foul both fure and steadfast. Heb. vi. 19. This hope is firm even in death itself. The wicked is driven away in bis wickedness, but the righteous bath hope in his death. Prov. xiv. 32.
Those who have had an experience of the love of God, and who are said to be made perfect in love, and have been brought to exercise patience towards God under a daily cross, so as for patience (as James expresses it) to have had its perfect work, and who have come to some degree of perfection in the knowledge of Christ, are called perfect men; and such as love Christ are called upright men. Song i. 4. Now God bids you attend the sick beds of fuch, and to observe and watch the end of them; and to take notice if God is not faithful to them, and to the promises that he has made to them-Mark the perfect man, and be
bold the upright, for the end of thai man is peace. Plalm xxxvii. 37.
Nothing short of faith in the Son of God can secure eternal life to men. He that believeth on the Son bath everlasting life; but be that believeth not the Son Mall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on bim. John iii. 36. As many as are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Gal. iii. 9. And God's blessing is life for evermore. Pl. cxxxiii. 3. Hence believers are said to be blessed-in death, for they do not die in their sins; nor do they die in their flesh, trusting in themselves that they are righteous; but they die in the Lord, and the bless- : ing of life attends them in death. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, faith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. Rev. xiv. 13. I have shewed my dear friend the promises God hath made to his children on a death bed; all of which you have seen and heard from the mouth of your father, yea and much more; for what I have taken notice of amounts to hope, peace, and the blessing of life: 'but your father has had the light of God's countenance with joy unspeakable and full of glory. And thus to die is to end one's days in the poffeffion of the noblest wish, and the most capacious desire, in all the book of God; and this is the most expanded hope of the Apostle Paul, The Holy Ghost witnesselb in every
dity, saying that bonds and afli&tions abide me: but none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myelf, so that I might finish my course with joy. Acts xx. 23, 24. This is rising higher than internal support on the bed of languishing; it is more than simply the steadfastness of hope, which is an anchor of the soul, that counteracts despondency and keeps the vessel of mercy teady. It is more than dying in peace and friendship with God and conscience; for it is shouting victory in the jaws of death, and triumphing over the king of terrors, ciob xviii. 14) while in the field of action. It is finishing the warfare and fight of faith in the highest pitch of militant glory; and in the enjoyment of the most consummate felicity, promised, expected, or desired, in all the book of God. But there is no one thing in all this account that is strange to you. You yourself have, at times, (though but young) for some years experimentally known, felt, and enjoyed every one of them.
Precious in the light of the Lord is the death of his saints. Pl. cxvi. 15. And, as the death of the saints is precious in the light of God, it should not be grievous in ours. We are forbidden to give way to immoderate sorrow, because God has made an infinite difference between dying in fin, and dying in the Lord; between the believer and the infidel. The believer dies in faith ; this is the revealed end of all. The pious patriarchs, prophets, and saints of old time, all died in faith, not having
received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and confessed they were Arangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb. xi. 13. And it is the eternal decree of God, which was made known to Adam as foon as he fell, and exercifed by Abel the protomartyr as soon as he approached to God, that the just man should live by his faith. Heb. ii. 4. Hence it is said that by faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which be obtained witness that he was righteous, God teftifying of his gifts: and by it be being dead yet speaketb. Heb. xi. 4. Gen. iv. 4. And we are told, in the New Testament, that faith, whether weak or strong, and whether exercised under the Old Testament, or under the New, comes to the same glorious end; namely, salvation froin sin, from Satan, from death, from the grave, and from hell itself-Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of the soul. 1 Pet. i. g, which is not a temporal, but a spiritual and an eternal one; for Israel mall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. Ye fall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. Isai, xlv. 17.
The way to heaven is to follow Christ in the regeneration. Matt. xix, 28. Fear begins it, and love perfects and ends it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Prov. i. 7. And the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. 1 Tim. i. 5. Those who begin with fear will soon rise in hope ;
and where God gives hope there he gives an expec. tation of glory. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an experted end. Jer. xxix. II. The wise man afferts the fame--My fon, eat thou boney, because it is good; and the boneycomb, which is sweet to tby taste : fo fall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy foul when thou bast found it; then there hall be a reward, and thy expectation pall not be cut off. Prov. xxiv. 13, 14. To die in peace, my dear friend, proclaims us in friendship with God : to die in hope is to die in expectation of glory: to be blessed in death, and to die in the Lord; is to have the spring of endless life in the soul when the body is dying: to die in the enjoyment of love is to die stronger than death, and in union with God. Rev. xii. 11.-1 John iv. 16. But to die in joy is above all: joy is the quintessence of love ; joy is the overflowings of a loving heart ; and this is the highest bliss promised to a dying saint. The ranfomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their bead: they fall obtain joy and gladness, and forrow and sigbing hall flee away. Isai. XXXV. 10. The returning there meant is not coming to the militant church below; for all sorrow and sighing are notbanished from her in this life : but Zion above is free from both these, and will never be exercised with them again: for God small wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there ball be no more death,