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shall acquire expansive illumination, it shall Let the great adversary, then, do his worst reach sublime heights of virtue, it shall " beto terrify me with the image of the crimes hold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and which I have committed; let him trace them shall be changed into the same image, from before my eyes in the blackest characters glory to glory,” 2 Cor. iii. 18. which his malignity can employ; let him col- The body furnishes a second ingredient, and lect into one dark point, all that is hideous and we say, In heaven your body shall be exempted hateful in my life; let him attempt to over- from all the defects by which it is at present whelm me with dismay, by rousing the idea of disfigured, from those diseases which now prey that tremendous tribunal, before which all the upon and waste it, from that death which deactions of men are to be scrutinized, so that stroys the fabric. like “ Joshua the high-priest,” I find myself Nature supplies a third ingredient, and we standing in the presence of God, “clothed say, In heaven all the stores of Nature shall with filthy garments,” Zech. iii. 1, &c. and be displayed in rich profusion: "the foundaSatan standing at his right hand to expose my tions of the holy city are of jasper, its gates turpitude; I hear, at the same time, the voice are of pearl, its walls are of pure gold," Rev. of one pleading in my behalf: I hear these re- xxi. 21. viving words: “is not this a brand plucked Society supplies a fourth ingredient, and we out of the fire' .. Take away the filthy say, In heaven shall be united, in the tendergarments from him
. . Let them set a est social bonds, kindred spirits the most exalt-
The church supplies a fifth ingredient, and
we say, In heaven shall be exhibited the tri-
the saints shall be enthroned, the martyrs shall
crowns upon their heads.
Eternity supplies a sixth ingredient, and we
say, In heaven you shall enjoy a felicity infi-
nite in its duration, and immeasurable in its
titles, your greatness, your riches, your social
connexions, all that you were, and all that you III. Third and last place, to consider death hoped to be; this day, while we are attemptrendered formidable, from its being attended ing to convey to you an idea of the celestial with the loss of titles, honours, and every other felicity, capable of strengthening you to beearthly possession, and in opposition to this, hold, without dismay, this universal wreck, in we are to view the death of Jesus Christ as re- which you are going to be involved; this day moving that terror, by giving us complete as- we could wish you to conceive the heavenly surance of a blessed eternity. We are going world, and the blessedness which God is there to contemplate death as a universal shipwreck, preparing for you under another idea. We swallowing up all our worldly fortunes and mean to trace another view of it, the lustre of prospects. We are going to contemplate Je- which effaces all the rest. We build upon sus Christ as a conqueror, and his death as the this foundation of St Paul: “He that spared pledge and security of a boundless and ever- not his own Son, but delivered him up for us lasting felicity, which shall amply compensate all, how shall he not with him also freely give to us the loss of all those possessions, of which us all things?” Rom. viii. 32. The heavenly we are about to be stripped by the unsparing blessedness is the purchase of the death of Jehand of death.
sus Christ. Here collect, my brethren, every When we attempt to stammer out a few thing that is capable of enhancing to your apwords from the pulpit, respecting the felicity prehension the unspeakable greatness and imwhich God has laid up for his people in ano- portance of that death. ther world, we borrow the images of every View the death of Christ relatively to the thing that is capable of touching the heart, and types which prefigured it; relatively to the shaof communicating delight. We call in to our dows by which it was adumbrated; relatively assistance the soul of man, with all its exalted to the ceremonies by which it was representfaculties; the body, with all its beautiful forms led; relatively to the oracles which predicted it.
View the death of Christ relatively to the sent illusion to the eye? Will you still maintempests and thunderbolts which were levelled tain your ground against those solid blessings at the head of the Redeemer. Behold his which the death of Jesus Christ has purchased soul overwhelmed with sorrow; behold that for us! Ah!“ broken cisterns,” will you still blood falling down to the ground; that cup of preserve a preference in our esteem to "the bitterness which was given him to drink; fountain of living waters" Ah! great High hearken to that insulting language, to those Priest of the new covenant, shall we still find calumnies, to those false accusations, to that it painfully difficult to follow thee, whilst thou unjust sentence of condemnation; behold those art conducting us to heavenly places, by the hands and feet pierced with nails, that sacred bloody traces of thy cross and martyrdom. body speedily reduced to one ghastly wound; Jesus Christ is a conqueror," who has acbehold that licentious rabble clamorously de- quired for us a kingdom of glory and felicity; manding the punishment of the cross, and in- his death is an invaluable pledge of a triumcreasing the horror of it by every indignity phant eternity. which malice could invent; look up to heaven Death, then, has nothing, henceforward, itself, and behold the eternal Father abandon that is formidable to the Christian. In the ing the Son of his love to so many woes; be tomb of Jesus Christ are dissipated all the terbold hell in concert with heaven, and heaven rors which the tomb of nature presents. In with the earth.
the tomb of nature I perceive a gloomy night, View the death of Christ relatively to the which the eye is unable to penetrate; in the dreadful signs by which it was accompanied; tomb of Jesus Christ I behold light and life. relatively to that earth seized with trembling, In the tomb of nature the punishment of sin to that sun shrouded in darkness, to those stares me in the face; in the tomb of Jesus rocks rent asunder, to those opening graves, Christ I find the expiation of it. In the tomb to those departed saints returning to the light of nature I read the fearful doom pronounced of day.
upon Adam, and upon all his miserable posteriView the death of Christ relatively to the ty: “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou greatness of God, and to the littleness of man, return," Gen. iii. 19; but in the tomb of Jesus in whose behalf all this bloody scene was Christ my tongue is loosed into this triumphant transacted.
song of praise, “O death, where is thy sting? Collect all these various particulars, and O grave, where is thy victory! .... Thanks still say to yourself, The death of Jesus Christ be to God who giveth us the victory, through is all this. The death of Jesus Christ is the our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. xv. 55. 57. body of the figures, the original of the types, “Through death he has destroyed him that the reality of the shadows, the accomplishment had the power of death, that is, the devil; of the prophecies. The death of Jesus Christ that he might deliver them who through fear is that great event which darkened the sun, of death were all their life-time subject to which opened the tombs, which rent asunder bondage.” the rocks, which made the earth to tremble, which turned nature and the elements upside
THE APPLICATION. down. Follow up these reflections, and on But if these be our privileges, is it not matthese let your imagination settle.
ter of reproach to us, my brethren, that The death of Jesus Christ conceived thus, brought up in the knowledge and profession apply it to the subject which we are treating of a religion which furnishes arms so powerful
The death of Jesus Christ conceived thus, let for combating the terrors of death, we should it serve to assist you in forming an idea of the still, for the most part, view it only with fear heavenly blessedness. Still build on this and trembling? The fact is too evident to be foundation of St. Paul; say with that apostle, denied. From the slightest study of by far the “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered greatest part of professing Christians, it is him up for us all, how shall he not with him clearly apparent that they consider death as also freely give us all things?" You regret the the greatest of all calamities. And with a world; you who are advancing on your way very slender experience of the state of dying heavenward. And what is heaven? It is the persons, it will be found that there are few, purchase of Christ's death. “He that spared very few indeed, who die without regret, few not his own Son, but delivered him up for us but who have need to exercise all their suball, how shall he not with him also freely give mission, at a season when it might be expected us all things?” If the means be thus great, they should give themselves up to transports what must the end be! If the preparatives be of joy. A vapour in the head disconcerts us; thus magnificent, what must be the issue! If we are alarmed if the artery happens to beat the conflict be thus sharp, what must be the a little faster than usual; the least apprehenvictory! If the price be thus costly, what, o sion of death inspires us with an unaccountawhat, shall be the bliss which this price is in- ble melancholy, and oppressive dejection. tended to purchase.
But those apprehensions and terrors, my After that, my brethren, return to the brethren, surprising as they may appear to us, world.—What is it you regret? Are you re- have nothing which ought really to fill us gretting the loss of palaces, of sceptres, of with surprise. If to apply to a man's self the crowns? It is to regret the humble crook in fruits of the death of Jesus Christ were a simyour hand, the cottage which covers your ple act of the understanding, a simple movehead. Do you regret the loss of society, a ment of the heart, a simple acknowledgment society whose defects and whose delights are of the tongue; if to apply to a man's self the frequently an equal source of misery to you? fruits of the death of Christ were nothing more Ah! phantom of vain desire, will you still pre- I than what a hardened sinner is capable of
figuring to himself, or than what is prescribed | ception upon ourselves; the grand conclusion to him by an accommodating casuist, you to be deduced from these reflections is this: If would not see a single Christian afraid of death. we wish to die like Christians, we must live But you know it well, the gospel assures you like Christians. If we would wish to behold of it, and the dictates of your own conscience with firmness the dissolution of this body, we confirm the truth, to make application of the must study the proofs which establish the fruits of Christ's death is a complication of du- truth of the immortality of the soul, so as to ties, which require attention, time, labour, in- be able to say with St. Paul, “I know whom tenseness of exertion, and must be the business I have believed, and I am persuaded he is able of a whole life. The greatest part of those to keep that which I have committed unto who bear the Christian name, neglect this him against that day,” 2 Tim. i. 12. Would work while in health; is it any wonder that we wish to have a security against fear at that they should tremble when overtaken by the tremendous tribunal, before which we must hour of death?
appear to receive judginent, we must enter Call to remembrance the three ways in into the conditions of the covenant of grace, which Christ has disarmed death. He has that we may be able to say with the same spoiled the king of terrors, by demonstrating I apostle, “I am the chief of sinners, a blaspbeto us the immortality of the soul, by making mer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I atonement for our transgressions, by acquiring obtained mercy,” 1 Tim. i. 13. Would we be for us an eternal felicity.
strengthened to resign, without murmuring, But what effect will the death of Christ all the objects around us, and to which we are have upon us, as a proof of the doctrine of the so fondly attached, we must learn to disengage immortality of the soul, unless we study those ourselves from them betimes; to place our proofs, unless we seriously meditate upon , heart betimes where our treasure is, Matt. vi. them, unless we endeavour to feel their force, 21, that we may be able to say with the unless we guard against the difficulties which Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but thee! the unhappy age we live in opposes to those and there is none upon earth that I desire begreat principles
sides thee," Ps. lxxiii. 25. What effect can the death of Christ have If after we have exerted our utmost efforts, upon us, as a sacrifice offered up to divine jus- we still find our frail flesh and blood comtice for our sins, unless we feel the plenitude plaining at the prospect of approaching dissoof that sacrifice, unless we make application of lution; if the heart still repines at the hard it to the conscience, unless we present it to necessity imposed upon us of dying; let us God in the exercises of a living faith; above strive to recover confidence, not only against all, unless by the constant study of ourselves, this apprehension, but likewise against the unless by unremitting, by persevering exer- doubts which it might excite against our saltion, we place ourselves under the terms, and vation. This fear of death is, in such a case, invest ourselves with the characters of those not a crime, but an infirmity. It is indeed a who have a right to apply to themselves the melancholy proof that we are not yet perfect, fruits of this sacrifice?
but it is not a blot which obliterates our ChrisWhat effect can the death of Christ produce tianity. It is an expression of timidity, not of upon us, considered as the pledge of a blessed mistrust. It is a calamity which prevents our eternity, unless the soul be powerfully im- enjoying all the sweets of a triumphant death, pressed with that eternity, unless the heart be but not an obstacle to prevent our dying in penetrated with a sense of what it is; if we safety. Let us be of good courage. What are at pains to efface the impression which have we to fear? God is an affectionate friend, those interesting objects may have made upon who will not desert us in the hour of adversity. us; if hardly moved by those great truths God is not a cruel being, who takes pleasure which ought to take entire possession of the in rendering us miserable. He is a God mind, we instantly plunge ourselves into the whose leading characters are goodness and vortex of worldly pursuits, without taking time mercy. He stands engaged to render us hapto avail ourselves of that happy disposition, py. Let us not distrust his promise; it has and, as it were, purposely to withdraw from been ratified by the most august zeal which those gracious emotions which seemed to have suspicion itself could exact, by the blood of the laid hold of us! Ah! my brethren, if such be spotless Lamb, which is sprinkled, not on the the conduct of the generality of professing threshold of our doors, but on our inmost conChristians, as we are under the necessity of science. The exterminating angel will readmitting, when, not satisfied with observing spect that blood, will presume to aim no stroke their deportment in the house of God, and at the soul which bears the mark of it. from a pulpit, we follow them into life, and After all, my dearly beloved brethren, if look through those flimsy veils of piety and the most advanced Christians, at the first devotion which they had assumed for an hour glimpse of death, and in the first moments of a in a worshipping assembly; if such, I say, be mortal distemper, are unable to screen them
I the conduct of the generality of professing selves from the fear of death; if the flesh murChristians, their terror at the approach of death murs, if nature complains, if faith itself seems exhibits nothing to excite astonishment.
to stagger; reason, religion, but especially the The grand conclusion to be deduced, my aid of God's spirit, granted to the prayers, to brethren, from all these reflections, is not an the importunities ascending to heaven from abstract conclusion and of difficult comprehen- the lips of such a Christian, dissipate all those sion: it is a conclusion easy, natural, and terrors. The mighty God suffers himself to which would spontaneously present itself to be overcome, when assailed by supplication the mind, were we not disposed to practise de- and tears. God resists not the sighs of a be
liever, who from his bed of languishing stretches bed of death is transformed into a field of vicout his arms towards him, who entreats him to tory. Many of your pastors, Christians, have sanctify the sufferings which he endures, who been the joyful spectators of such a triumph. implores his support in the agonies of death, May all who hear me this day be partakers who cries out from the centre of a soul trans- of these divine consolations! May that inported with holy confidence, “Into thine hand valuable sacrifice which Jesus Christ offered I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, up to his father in our behalf, by cleansing us O Lord God of truth,” Ps. xxxi. 5. Receive from all our guilt, deliver us from all our fears! it, O my God. Remove from me those phan- May this great High Priest of the new covenant toms which disturb my repose. Raise me up, bear engraven on his breast all these mystical take me to thyself. “Teach my hands to war, Israelites, now that he is entered into the and my fingers to fight. Draw me, I shall holiest of all! And when these foundations of run after thee.” Kindle my devotion; and let sand, on which this clay tabernacle rests, shall my inflamed desires serve as a chariot of fire crumble away from under our feet, may we all to transport me to heaven. The clouds, thick- be enabled to raise our departing spirits out of ened around me by “Him who had the power the ruins of the world, that they may repose of death,” are scattering; the veil which cov- in the mansions of immortality! Happy, beyond ered eternity insensibly withdraws; the under- expression, beyond conception happy, to die standing is convinced; the heart melts; the in such sentiments as these! God of his inflame of love burns bright; the return of holy finite mercy grant it may be our blessed attainmeditations, which formerly occupied the soul, ment! To him be honour and glory for ever. disclose the grand object of religion, and the Amen,