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5. The upper world is the world of peace and love, Abraham's bosom. There are gone thither before us our godly acquaintances, whom we once looked on as the excellent of the earth, the loss of whose society was heavy; we will get it there again. The holy angels will be loving and lovely companions. He who en earth died for us while enemies, how loving and lovely will he appear there, where we shall be persect? God is love itself, and there his insinite love will hi displayed in an inconceivable manner.
Laflly, Christ passed the ford before you, has altered the nature of the waters, Rom. viii. 34. and caused them to abate; and now he bids you follow, for that there is no sear, Cant. ii. 10, 1t. Keep the eye of faith on Christ, who forded the waters of death before you, and that will be a mean to abate the terror.
Thirdly, Familiarize death to- yourself, Job xvii. 13, 14. Do not keep at a distance from it in your thoughts. I would not have the terror of death rob you of the comfort of lise; but it is the greatest folly for a mar* to wind up himself so in the comforts and amusements of lise, as to debar the serious thoughts of death; arid can serve no end, but to bring sudden and remediless ruin; for whether men will think of death, and prepare for it, or not; it will be in on them at length. And what we must meet with, it is best to acquaint ourselves with before. Therefore,
1. Be frequent in your taking a view of the other world, with the help of the prospect of the word, to be looked through by tbe eye of faith. Be often as it were getting up to the top of Pisgah, thence to view the promised land. You cannot get thither for a trial, to come back again, Job xiv. 14. but there is a map of it drawn in the Bible, by considering of which you may be brought acquainted with it.
2. Be often viewing the passage thereto. The Jordan of death runs betwixt it and this our wilderness, and by it is the passage we must all take. We will not get
■an essay made of is, that we may mend at one time what we marred at another ; there is the more need then to look well and often to it before we enter in, .which we know not how soon we may be obliged to. Lajily, Let your hearts ba habitually disposed to these views, to notice the many memorials of them that Providence has furnished. There are still some dropping off into that world, some young, some aged. What is «very winter, but an emblem of death; and every spring, but an emblem of the other world.and the resurrection? Yea every night is the grave of the former day, as the following day empties the grave again.
Fourthly, Raise comfortable expectations from death. View the day of death in the light wherein our text sets it, and behold it as a good day, the best day.
1. .Expect it as the day that will better your condition, however heavy that is now, Ps. xvi. 9. Though ye have many heavy days in your lise, partly from your :own corruption, partly from the corruption of others; partly from the holy hand of God for trial, partly from the devil seeking your destruction ; look to the day of death, as what will set all to rights, and bring in to you what heart can wish. The day of death to a child of God is his marriage day, Mat. xxv. the day wherein the traveller comes home from abroad to his Father's house, the day wherein he is past his minority, and enters to his inheritance.
2. Expect it as the day that will establish your condition, Rev. iii. 1 2. Your condition is wavering and uncertain now, PsaJ. xxx. 6, 7. Sometimes your soul's case is prosperous, but ere you are aware it is all wrong
"again ; sometimes warned fair and clean in the fountain, anon ye are lying in tile' mire again; sometimes ye have your feet on the neck of your corruptions, anon they trample you under foot; sometimes ye can raise one of the songs of Zion, anon the harps are quite out of tune, hanged on the willows. Sometimes your outward condition is smiling; but that lasts not, it turns A a 2 • 'gloomy gloomy, a:id troubles break in perhaps from all quarters together, the springs of your comfort run bitterness, and your worldly comforts are dried up one after another. But look forward to the day of death, as what will end all ungrateful changes.
Fifthly, Work your heart to, and entertain a regular desire of death. The day of death is certainly to a child of God an object of desire; the apostle prosesseth it,Phil. i. 23. "I desire todepart,and to be with Christ;" and that in the name of all the saints, 2 Cor. v. 2. "For in this we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." And it ij a piece of good preparation for death.
Ques. What is the regular desire of death?
jfus. 1. For thematter of it, itlies in these three things.
(1.) A desire of it as the passage to uninterrupted communion with God in Christ, Phil. i. 25. Sometimes it ariscth from the faints want of communion with God, which being uneasy does rightly make death desirable, as that which would make up that want, and secure against it any more for ever; sometimes from the sense of the sweetness of that communion, Cant. Vin. 6. But the enjoyment of God being a part of man's chief end, death is desirable as a means to it.
(2.) A desire of it as the passage to persection in holiness, Phil. iii. 14. Thus the man desireth it that he may be free of sin, and put beyond the possibility of sinning more, Rom. vii. 24. that he may be in capacity to serve the Lord without marring or wearying of the work. This is the main part of man's chief end, and therefore death must be desirable as a means thereto.
(3.) A desire of it as an entrance into rest. The rest of death is promised to the saints for their comfort in all their heavy and restless circumstances, Isa. lvii. 2. And therefore it must be desirable under that consideration. It is very natural for the tossed in a storm, to be desirous to be ashore, for the weary labourer to desire to have ease, and for the Christian to desire his eternal and persect rest, Job vii. 2.
2. For the quality regulating it, it must be accompanied with entire resignation to the will of God, Mat. vi. io. We must in our desire of it even on these accounts be resigned to the will of God.
(1.) As to the time, we must never be peremptoryas to that, but wait the time presixed of God, Job xiv. 14. He will keep us no longer in lise, than he has use for us either in the way of doing or suffering; and we must be content to wait his time for our admittance into uninterrupted communion to persection of holiness, and into rest; and to be peremptory for rest r.t our time, and resolved to susfer no more, while yet God dischargeth us not is devilish, and exposeth to eternal susfering, as the centry deserting his poll is deservedly shot to death.
(2.) As to the way and manner. There are many ways of going out of the world, we must leave it to the Lord, which will be the way for us; whether the way of lingering sickness or sudden death, natural, or violent by the hand of man. I think, if God should reser it to us, we should reser it back to him.
Secondly, Sinners, and all whosoever would have the day of death better to you than the day of your birth, improve lise for that end. 'To sum up your duty in a word, as you have already heard, (1.) Let it be your great care and concern to get the favour and friendship of God thro' Christ, by taking hold of God's covenant of free grace, uniting with Christ the head of it, through faith in his name, (i.) Lestd your lise a lise to the honour of God, studying to please him in all things. Renounce your own will, and your own corrupt affections, and wholly give up yourselves to him, to be ruled by him, and governed by his laws. (3.) Live usefully for men. Lay out yourselves to promote the .spiritual and temporal welfare of all ye have access to in your station. By these means, and no other way, ye will obtain the good' name, by which your dyingday will be better to you than your tyrth-day.
A a 3 * Christ's
Christ's Special Order For Gathering His Saints To Him At The Last Day; With Their DistinGuishing Character, As Entering Into His CoveNant Now, Considered.
The subitance of several Sermons preached at Etterick in
Psalm 1. 3. Gather my saints together unto me: those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
T OOX.1NG forward to the other world, we will see "" a great gathering to come, a gathering of saints, and a gathering of sinners:; what part we shall have in these, depends on the entertainment we now give to the •gathering unto Christ, in the"covenant; they that wiH not now'be gathered to Christ in the bond of the covenant, will then be driven 'from him, and gathered with sinners into the pit; they that gather now to him in that bond, will be gathered to him in glory then. Gather my saints together unto me: those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
This psalm certainly relates to the coming of Christ for judgment, ver. 3. * Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; asire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.' But whether to his sirst coming, to aholish the ceremonial law, set up the simple gospel-worship, and to judge, Condemn, and take vengeance on the formal superstitious Jews, destroying their temple, and mining their kingdom ; or to his second coming to judge the world, is a question. I think it is plain it relates to both, the former as an emblem, pledge, and type of the other: and thus we sind them stated by our 'Saviour himself -Matth. xxiv. Only the coming of the Judge is expressed in terms, directly and immediately looking to