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selves on our most holy faith;" and Paul admonishes Timothy to affirm alway, that they “who have believed" in God, be careful to maintain "good works."
But love follows after faith. We are told that "faith worketh by love." And how should it be otherwise? Is it possible for me to believe the compassions of the Saviour, and to realize as my own the blessings of his death, and not feel my heart affected? and my gratitude constraining me to embrace him, and my fellow-christians, and my fellowcreatures, for his sake!
By the latter of these, therefore, you are to evince the reality and genuineness of the former. "Show me," says the apostle James, to a man who imagined he had one of these, while he was a stranger to the other-"Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." It is admitted that faith justifies the soul, but works justify fach; and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Faith cannot be divine unless it operates in a way of holy and benevolent affection: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
O God! we can never be completely blessed, till we love thee supremely, and our neighbour as ourselves. Put this precious law into our minds, and write it in our hearts: "for he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him!"
the humble hear thereof, and be glad. Let the fearful hear thereof, and be encouraged. They need strong consolation, who are fleeing for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before them. Let them see, in example as well as in doctrine, that with the Lord there is mercy, and that with him there is plenteous redemption.
The subject, in the first place, admonishes Christians. It calls upon you, like Paul, to review the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember where you were, and what you were, when he said unto you-Live. Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. This will prove the destruction of pride and ingratitude. It will ask you, Who made thee to differ from another? And lead you to ask, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me ?-It requires you, also, like Paul, to acknowledge as well as review this grace. Review it for your own sakes: acknowledge it for the sake of others. Let
Secondly. The subject comforts the despairing. It gives the wine of the Gospel to them that are ready to perish; without diluting the strength of it away, by requiring conditions to be performed, or qualifications to be possessed, to authorize us to trust in his Name. It cries, Behold the Redeemer! How mighty to save--and how willing! Neither the number nor the heinousness of your sins exclude you from hope, if they do not keep you from him; and why should they keep you from him?
Ah! says Paul, his grace was exceeding abundant to me-ward: and it was designed, not to be a wonder, but an ensample: "For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."
Sinner! Look at this pattern, and despair if you can. Rather say, Am I unworthy? So was he. My case is aggravated, and is difficult? So was his. Yet he obtained salvation! So may I-and so I must—if his word be true.-"Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."
Thirdly. The subject attacks the presumptuous-not those who venture to come to him as they are: this would contradict our former article, as well as the whole language of the Gospel: but those who think they have come to him, while they are yet in their sins. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. We must judge of the cause by the consequences.
We have sometimes been surprised to hear persons speak of their being converted so many years ago, and under the ministry of some good man whom they have named. What they were before their conversion we cannot say; it is undeniable what they are since— vain and worldly; proud and envious; covetous and selfish; quarrelsome and revengeful: if carried to their grave to-morrow, no widow nor orphan would shed a tear for them; neither would the cause of God or of man sustain the least loss. What could they have been before their conversion who are all this since? If such is their regenerate state, what was their natural?
Be not deceived. To the law and to the testimony. Observe the nature of conversion as it is described in the Scripture: and remember, that Divine grace is not changed by time or place. It is not only free, but powerful. It never leaves you as it finds you; it never finds you in love with holiness,
and it never leaves you in love with sin; it never finds you with your conversation in heaven, and it never leaves you cleaving to the dust. It turns you from darkness unto light; and from the power of Satan unto God. causes you to pass from bondage into liberty, and from death unto life. And though the operation may be gradual, and produce not every thing at once, yet, even in its begin ning, it decides the state, and gives a bias to the whole character.
Whatever peculiar circumstances may distinguish one conversion from another, the essence and the effects are the same; and you cannot possess the grace of God in truth, if you are strangers to faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
THE DEATH OF DEATH. Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death. 2 Tim. i. 10.
"To them that believe he is precious." But how precious the sacred writer does not determine. And, my brethren, is it too much to say, he could not? He is more precious than light is to the eye, or melody to the ear, or food to the taste, or wisdom to the mind, or friendship to the heart. All words and images are too poor to hold forth the estimation in which the believer holds the Saviour of sinners.
Let us examine what Nature teaches us concerning death; and then go to the Scripture for additional information.
Suppose then there had been no revelation from God-what does Nature teach us concerning death? It sees plainly enough that it is a cessation of our being. The lungs no longer heave: the pulse ceases to beat; the blood pauses and congeals; the eye closes; the tongue is silent; and the hand forgets her cunning. We are laid in the grave, where worms feed upon us, and over the spot friendship inscribes;
"How loved, how valued once, avails thee not;
So says Nature.
It also teaches us the universality of death. This is a thing that falls under the observation of our senses. It is heard and seen that all die: the rich as well as the poor; kings as fools. It is known that a century sweeps as well as subjects; and philosophers as well the globe, and dispossesses of their inhabitants every cottage, and mansion, and palace, and temple. It has never been otherwise. One generation passeth away, and another cometh. So says Nature.
Nature teaches us that death is unavoidable. After the lapse of so many ages, and the disposition there is in man to shun it, if he could," for all that a man hath will he give for his life,"—we may easily and fairly infer, that every expedient has been tried; But there is one thing we may remark con- and that there can be no discharge in this cerning it-The attachment is not only su- war; that this enemy can neither be bribed preme, but reasonable. He is altogether off, nor beaten off. It is obvious too that the worthy of it; and the wonder is, not that we human frame is weak, and not capable even admire and love him so much, but that we of prolonged duration. Its powers, however love and admire him no more. We have had they have been spared or cherished, soon exbenefactors, and we have heard of benefac-hibit in all proofs of declension: "the days tors; but they are all nothing compared with of our years are threescore years and ten; him.-One thing alone ought to render him and if by reason of strength they be fourinfinitely dear to us-It is, our deliverance score years, yet is their strength labour and from the king of terrors. For, O proclaim it sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. to the ends of the earth, and let all the dy- The keepers of the house tremble, and the ing sons of men hear it-He has abolished strong men bow themselves, and the grinders death! cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows are darkened; and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; also then they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourn
Let us consider the enemy and the victory: I. THE EVIL IN QUESTION-DEATH. II. THE DESTRUCTION OF IT—HE HATH ABOLISHED
I. THE EVIL IN QUESTION-It is DEATH. We should suppose that this subject was very familiar to the thoughts of men, were we to judge from the importance and frequency of the event. But, alas! nothing is so little thought of-So true are the words of Eliphaz; "They are destroyed from morn-ers go about the streets."-So says Nature. ing to evening: they perish for ever, without Nature sees also that death is irreparable. any regarding it." The subject is irksome It cannot produce a single specimen of posand awful; and the whole study of the mul- thumous life. In vain we linger by the corpse titude is to banish and keep it from their minds.
the countenance will no more beam upon us. In vain we go to the grave-it will not,
deaf to our cries, deliver up its trust; and the expectation of the revival of our dearest connexions will be deemed absurdity and madness. "There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and dryeth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." All have journeyed this way; but from the bourn no traveller has returned.-So says Nature. We may also learn from it that death is uncertain in its circumstances; and that no man knows the place, the time, the manner, in which he shall expire.-So far Nature goes; but not a step farther. So much it tells us; but it can tell us no more. Here the Scripture takes up the subject, and furnishes all the additional aid we need.
If it be objected, that the generality of the heathen have had some other views of death than those which we have conceded, and had even notions of an existence beyond the grave -let it be observed, that the world always had a revelation from God; and that when mankind dispersed from the family of Noah, they carried the discoveries along with them: but as they were left to tradition, they became more and more obscure; yet they yielded hints which led to reflections that otherwise would have never occurred. And if wise men, especially from these remains of an original revelation, were led into some speculations bordering upon truth, it should be remembered, that in a case like this, as Paley observes, nothing more is known than is proved; opinion is not knowledge, nor conjecture principle. We, therefore, need not hesitate to say that, separate from revelation, nothing either would or could have been known concerning death-but that it ends our being and is universal in its prevalence -unavoidable by any means in our powerirreparable in its effects and uncertain as to the time and mode of its approach.
or angels; it is the transmission of it to heaven or hell. Luke tells us of the death of a rich man, who was clothed gorgeously, and fared sumptuously every day; and also of a beggar, full of sores, at his gate. In any other book nothing more would have been said, or could have been said, than the fact itself: unless the mean burial of the one, and the splendid funeral of the other. But the Scripture draws back the vail; and we see the beggar lodged in Abraham's bosom, while the rich man lifts up his eyes in hell, and calls for a drop of water to cool his tongue.
Thirdly. Its true cause. The Scripture shows us that man was not created mortal; and that mortality is not the necessary consequence of our original constitution; but is the penal effect of transgression: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death hath passed upon all men, because all have sinned. In Adam all die."
Fourthly. The true remedy. What! Is there a remedy for death? "What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? No man can redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; (for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever;) that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption." And is there then a cure for death? What is it? Where can it be found?-Who was the Mercy promised to the fathers? Who is called the "Consolation of Israel?" Who is our hope? Who said, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die?" Who said to his hearers, "If a man keep my sayings he shall never see death? He hath abolished death."-But let us,
II. Consider this DESTRUCTION-For does not death continue his ravages? Does he not fall upon the people of God themselves? Where then is the proof of this abolition? Or how is it to be understood?
It is undeniable that Christians themselves are subject to the stroke of death as well as others. God might have translated them all to heaven, as he did Enoch and Elias. But it does not comport with his wisdom and it is easy to see that it would have made the difference between the righteous and the wicked too visible; it would not have accorded with a mixed state of obscurity and trial, where "all things come alike to all, and no man knoweth love or hatred by all that is before him." If translation had been the substitute for dissolution, there would have been no dying in faith; which is one of the noblest exercises and triumphs of divine grace.
I am unwilling to forego any exemplification of the subject: and, as Bishop Horne
justly observes, "What we call the various | called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit senses of a Scriptural expression are, in came again, and she arose straightway: and reality, but the various parts of the complete he commanded to give her meat."
Another instance of this dominion was in the case of the widow's son of Nain. This young man was older than the ruler's danghter, and had been longer dead; for they were carrying him to his burial; and the widowed mother of an only child would not have allowed this, we may be assured, before the time. Our Saviour met the procession; and before any prayer was addressed to him, he saw who was weeping behind-“ and he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not." At the sound of which, she draws back her vail, to see what stranger interested himself on her behalf, and, with more kindness than wisdom, enjoined upon her an impossibility. "But he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” What a present!
sense. We may consider the Lord Jesus as
First. He abolishes death, spiritually; that is, in the souls of his people. To all these, without exception, it may be said, in the words of Paul to the Ephesians, You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Not that they were dead in every sense of the word: for the Apostle speaks of their walking, at the very time, according to the course of this world; but they possessed no spiritual faculties, felt no spiritual sensations, performed no spiritual actions. They were insensible and indifferent to the favour, and image, and presence, and service of the blessed God. But quickened by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, now they breathe the breath of prayer, and of praise. They feel the pulse of sacred passion. They hunger and thirst after righteousness. They see his glory: they hear his voice: they taste that the Lord is gracious. They walk in the way everlasting: fight the good fight of faith: and labour, that whether present or absent, they may be accepted of him. "The body is indeed dead, because of sin; but the spirit is life, because of righteousness."
Secondly. He abolished death by his miracles, while he was on earth. We find this among the proofs of his Messiahship, addressed to the disciples of his forerunner, in prison: "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them."
He displayed his power over death in the case of the ruler's daughter. She was at the very interesting age of twelve years old. While her distressed father was gone to implore the Saviour's aid, she expired; and a messenger was sent after him to communicate the dismal tidings, and to prevent his troubling the Master, now it was too late. While there is life there is hope: but who can raise the dead? O, says Jesus, it is never too late to apply to me-only believe. When he arrived, the offices of death had commenced. The body was laid out; and the minstrels were making a noise. "And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and
Behold Lazarus. Our Saviour loved him; but suffers him to fall sick; and leaves him to the natural effect of the disease. Two days he abode still in the same place, after hearing that he was dead. When he reached the suburbs of Bethany, the process of putrefaction was supposed to have begun. “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept."-He ordered the stone to be rolled away, and in a tone of uncontrolable authority he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
Once more: we are told that as the Redeemer expired, “the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Thirdly. He abolished death in his own person. His own rising from the dead is very distinguishable from all the former instances of resurrection. The ruler's daughter, the widow's son, Lazarus, and the saints in Jeru salem, were raised by the power of another; but he rose by his own power. Of his dominion, even over his own death and revival, he had spoken before-"No man taketh my life from me; I lay it down of myself; I have
power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. Destroy this temple," said he, "and in three days I will raise it up" and he spake of the temple of his body. They rose as private individuals; but He as the head and representative of his people: and because he lives, they shall live also. They only rose to a temporal life, and were again subject to disease and mortality; but "he being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him." Hence he is called "the first-begotten of the dead; the first-born from the dead; and the first that should rise from the dead;" referring not to the order of time, but to peculiarity, supremacy, and influ
"If sin be pardon'd, I'm secure ;
Death has no sting beside:
Fourthly. He abolished death penally. Thus he has destroyed death as to its sting. The sting of death is sin-because sin exposes us to the wrath of God, and binds us over to suffer: and the strength of sin is the law-for cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. But Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. One died for all, says the Apostle. His death was equivalent to the destruction of all the redeemed: there was such value in his suffering, derived from his dignity, that in lieu of our perdition it was accepted as "an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweetsmelling savour." Every moral purpose that could have been answered by the punishment of the sinner has been better subserved by the death of the Saviour. "We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye re-sent feelings have said; conciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." And did he himself bear our sins in his own body on the tree? Was the chastisement of our peace laid on him, and by his stripes are we healed? Well may those who believe enter into rest: well may they sing,
their end is peace; peace in the result, if not in the passage. But their end is generally peace in experience as well as in result. There are, however, cases of constitutionai infirmity that may not only exclude joy, but even hope. Sometimes the nature of the disorder is such as to hinder sensibility, or expression. Sometimes, too, God may allow the continuance of fear, even in those he loves, as a rebuke for loose or irregular walking; and as a warning to others. It is a great mercy, as the time draws on, to be raised above the torment of fear, and to be able to say, The bitterness of death is past!
And this is commonly the case with those who die in the Lord. It has been the case even with those who have had to encounter a death of torture. Martyrs-men, women, children, have embraced the fiery stake, with all joy and peace in believing. It has been the case with those who have had every thing agreeable in their condition, and attractive in their connexions. They have said to those they were leaving, "You are dear—but I am going to him, who is all-wise, all-kind, allfair." And such have been their views of opening glory, and such their earnests and foretastes of it, that they have not only been resigned to go, but have longed to depart to be with Christ, which is far better. Yea, we have often observed this to be the case with those who all their lifetime were subject to bondage through fear of death. When the hour has arrived, they have had mercy and grace to help in time of need; and, amazed at their former apprehensions, and their pre
The Law gives sin its damning power-
Fifthly. Abolished death comparatively: I mean, as to its terror. This is not the same with the foregoing particular. That regards all the people of God, and extends even to those who die under a cloud of darkness, and a load of depression: it belongs to a Cowper, who died in despair, as well as to a Hervey, who said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." All believers die safely; there is no curse for them after death, or in death. In this sense, 3 B
"Tell me, my soul,
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
"I have tasted Canaan's grapes;
Where the Lord his vineyard keeps,
While spectators have been ready to envy them their condition, and have seen our doc
He has not abolished going home; and falling asleep; and departing: but he has abo-trine explained and verified-" He hath abolished death. This leads us to observe that he has,
Finally. He will do this absolutely. He will abolish the very state: "He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."