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A FUNERAL SERMON
ON THE DEATH OF
MRS. JUDITH HAMMOND.
TO THE REV. MR. HAMMOND.
My offering this discourse to the eye of the world, together with your own, shows how great power our ancient friendship hath given you over me; whereof I have the less unpleasant sense, believing you will understand it so; who, in great part, know how difficult my circumstances made it to me to comply with your desire herein. Your opinion of the fitness of publishing so uncomposed a thing, discovers how far you were subject also to the same power; whose judgment I am a little apt to distrust, where it meets not with this bias.
It will be a joy to me, if it help to mitigate your sorrow, which is in great part justified by the greatness of your loss, in being separated, after so long conversation, from so excellent a consort, that lived in this world so much above it.
I reckon it an evidence of the real greatness of her spirit, that she thought that so little a thing, wherein others place greatness; and that in almost forty years' acquaintance with you both, I should never hear of her nearness to a noble family, till, occasionally, since her death. It seems the blood that filled her veins, did not swell her mind. And ber heavenly birth and relation to the house and family of God, made her forget her earthly kindred, and parents' house.
Sir, though whom God hath joined together no man might put asunder; yet when he that made the union, makes the separation, there is no saying to him, What dost thou? We must awhile lug with the difficulties of our state, and work; wherein the hope of helping some (as God shall graciously help us) to gain this victory over death, and of being at length, through his grace, victors ourselves, will be a constant relief and support to you, and
Your very respectful brother,
and fellow-servant in the labours of the Gospel,
1 CORINTHIANS XV. 54.
-DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.
The foregoing words signify this saying to have been their (now foreseen) captivity, might in the prophetic before written elsewhere. So when this corruptible shall style be spoken of as a people risen from the dead, and have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put newly sprung up out of the grave; but might have a faron immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying ther reference to the yet future state of the Christian that is written, Death is swallowed up, &c. And we find church, as Isa. xxv. 6, 7, 8. seems to carry jt; when so it before written, (Isa. xxv. 8.) in express words, and (Hos. great a death as hath long been upon it, as well as the rest xiii. 14.) in such as are equivalent. What their depends of the world, it may be hoped shall be swallowed up in a ance or meaning is, in either of those places, cannot be very glorious victory! But this saying is introduced here, discussed within our present narrow limits. Only it is as having its final and ultimate completion, in conjunction sufficiently manifest, that sundry passages in the Holy with what is mentioned besides, in this context, viz, when
brought to pass over and over. I in the close and shutting up of time the trumpet shall sound, once and again ; as that of Rachel's weeping for her chil- as we are told elsewhere it shall at the coming of our dren; and of God's bringing his Son out of Egypt; with Lord, and the dead (those that died in him first, i Thess. divers others. This great saying may have had some iv. 16.) be raised, the living changed, so as to bear his, the partial and gradual accomplishment, within the current of heavenly Adam's, image; when this corruptible shall have time, when in reference to a people more specially related put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality; then to God, and in some more notable delinquency and defec- shall be bronght to pass this saying, (whatever preludes tion from him, he may have given a just, bat limited com- thereto, as was written, there may have been before,) mission to death, to make great ravage and destructions Death is swallowed up in victory. among them; so that it hath even rode in triumph, made And according to this its fullest sense, is this saying to a huge carnage, strewed their country with carcasses, be the subject of our present consideration. The expres turned their rich land, more enriched with human blood, sion is highly rhetorical; but there is a most rational, solid into an Aceldama, and thereupon, but into a place of sense intended under it; for which no words can be too big sepulture and of graves; and yet, when it hath gone as or of too great a sound. Our business must be to explain, far as his designed limits, and executed all his pleasure, and apply this saying.' And, he may have stopped it in its career, and said, Hither I. For explication of its rational import, we shall show, thou shalt come, and no further, now, cease and give -1. The import,-2. The reasonableness, of it." over, (as Hos. xiii. 14.) and so may have ransomed the 1. It imports, in general, God's determination to put a residue from the power of the grave, and been the de- perpetual end to death, to make it cease in perpetuum, as struction of their destroyers, plaguing them who were a noted expositor expresses it, a showing that the parallel their plagues. This, in the next intention hereof, may Hebrew phrase is usually rendered, for ever, 2 Sam. ii. 26. respect the people of the Jews, who being returned from Jer. iii. 5. and in divers other places. But that we may
& Grot. in loc, n335 EIS VIKOS
give a more distinct account of its meaning, several things, sense, and being naturally alive or dead. For wherem do are to be noted :
we usually state the notion of natural life, but in a self(1.) That death, as it is here spoken of, supposes a cer- moving power? Now let any ordinary understanding be tain limited subject. Its being mentioned in this chapter, appealed to in the case, and who would not say it were as and elsewhere, as if it were itself a suppositum and an in- good not to be able to move at all, as to move in so pertelligent designing one, is an elegant and a usual figure. petual disorder, as never to attain any end such motion The Holy Scriptures and common speech abound with should serve for. The ends of a reasonable creature's mothis sort of prosopopæia; and it hath its special useful- tions must be duty to its Maker, and felicity to itself. If ness, when (as in the present case) what we are more to all its motions be such as import constant hostility towards remark, and consider with greater intention of mind, is so God, infelicity and torment to itself; this is to be dead, not represented, i. e. when to things of minute, or of no entily, simply and naturally, 'lis true, but respectively, and not in but of great concernment, (such mere privations as death, some by, and less considerable respect, but in respect of or sin,) a sort of personality is ascribed, attended with the principal and most important purposes of life. So terrible aspects and appearances; it tends more effectually that in full equivalency, such a one is as dead, to all valuto rouse our minds, and engage our attention, whether we able intents and purposes whatsoever. Therefore such are to consider and magnity our danger by them, or our are only said to be alive in a true and the most proper deliverance, and to behold them as attempting upon us, or sense, that are alive to God through Jesus Christ, (Rom. as overcome. But speaking strictly, we must take things vi. 11.) or that do yield ihemselves to God as those that as in themselves they are. Death therefore must be con- are alive from the dead, (ver. 13.) it being the proper busisidered in reference to some subject or other. Abstractly | ness of their life to serve God, and enjoy him. Others considered, 'tis but a notion. As it actually hath taken that only live in sinful pleasure, are dead while they live, place, it must be the death of this or that person. And 1 Tim. v, 6. Nor hath such a notion of life and death as it is finally to be overcome, and have an end, it must been altogether strange, even among heathens, when we have a limited subject, and not be understood of all, abso- find it said by one of no mean note, " That a wicked man lutely and universally; for then there would be no such is dead, as a soul may be said to die;b and to it, 'tis a death, thing as eternal death, which hath no end. And how the when 'tis (too deeply)c plunged, immersed into the body, subject, here supposed, is to be limited; the series of dis- so as to be sunk down into matter, and replete with it." course, through the chapter, shows they are such as are (Besides much more that might be produced from others Christ's, (ver. 23.) and to whom he is peculiarly the first of like import.) And how agreeable is this passage to fruits, (ibid.) such as shall bear his heavenly image, (ver. thai, Rom. viji. 6. To be carnally minded is death. 49.) and, as elsewhere, whose vile bodies shall be made Upon the whole, I cannot indeed conceive, that since like his glorious one, (Phil. iii. 21.) such as shall have spi- death is often laken, and that most reasonably, in so great ritual, incorruptible, immortal bodies like his, and with a latitude, as to admit of comprehending this sense; and him inherit the kingdom of God, and through him obtain since, in these latter verses, the apostle is speaking of a this victory, ver. 50–57.
į final deliverance from it, as the special privilege of such (2.) This limitation of death to be overcome, to such a as are in union with Christ, not of what is common to all subject only, connotes the extent of it to the whole of that men, but that victory over death in this respect, as it imsubject, as that is composed of an inner and an outer man, ports aversion from God, or indisposition towards him, 2 Cor. iv. 16. It were frigid and comfortless to suppose, I must be within his meaning, and that he was far from conif it were supposable, that this glorious conquest of death fining it to bodily death ouly, or from intending, in refershould extend no further than the giving us a fair specious ence to the soul, the mere nalural immortality of that alone: outside; and that our mind and spirit should not partake, but that death, in its utmost latitude, was now, in reference or be nothing the better for it. 'Tis plain the apostle's to this sort of men whom his present discourse intends, to scope through this chapter is more to assert the future sub- be entirely swallowed up in victory, or in a perfect plenisistence of the soul, than the recomposure of the body, astude of victorious life, as 2 Cor. v. 4. So much, which his arguments show; though what was necessary to be was more requisite to be insisted on, being clear, we shall said concerning the future state of that also, is not neglect- less need to enlarge upon what follows. As that, ed. But what he is now saying, in this part of the chapter, (3.) This victory supposes a war; or that life and death concerns not what is common to men, but what is pecu- were before in a continued struggle. So we find the case liar to good and holy men. And therefore, as it respects is, even this lower world is full of vitality. Yet death hath their nobler part, must intend more than its mere subsisia spread itself through it, and cast over it a dark and dismal ence in another state, which is common to good and bad, shadow every where, according as sin, which introduced and signify the perfection of the holy divine life, which it, is diffused and spread. Death is therefore mentioned shall be at last entirely victorious, and swallow up death, as an enemy, ver 26. And so we understand it; natural in its utmost extent, and specially as it was opposite to that death as an enemy to nature; spiritual, to grace. In the life. Death, I mean, as it was so heavily incumbent upon body, pumerous maladies, and round about it, multitudes the minds and spirits of good men themselves, and was of adverse rencounters, are striving to infer death. In their most intolerable burden: extorting from them such and about the mind and spirit, worse diseases and temptagroans as that, Rom. vii. 24. O wretched man that I am, tions have the like tendency. Temptations, I say, the who shall deliver me from this body of death! Nor indeed mention whereof was not to be omitted, as pointing at the is this death sensible or grievous, or ever felt, but where tempter, the wicked one, who first brought sin and death the opposite life hath some place. Total death knows no into this world of ours. And whois (though the concealgrievances, makes no complaints. They that lie buried ed) the first and most proper seat of the enmity, which in the earth, are in their own element, where no such gives death the denomination of an enemy; which is so thing weighs upon them; a terrene carnal mind is no bur-called indefinitely, the last enemy, that we might not unden to such souls, as are quite dead in trespasses and sins. derstand it to be our enemy only. but more an enemy I hope I need not tell you, that though the souls of men are against God than us. from whom the spiteful apostale universally immortal in the natural sense, they are not so aimed and gloried to pluck away, and bury in death and in the moral. Morality comprehends the means and end, ruin, the whole race of human creatures. In the mean virtue and felicity; or in terms more agreeable to our Chris- time nature in all, and grace in the regenerate, are countian ethics, or that are oftener heard by them that live ter-striving. In the former, the self-preserving principle is under the Gospel, holiness and blessedness. These are more sensibly vigorous, but less successful; but they who signified by spiritual life, or life in the spiritually moral are born of God, are better assisted by their Divine keeper, sense; and so are sin and misery, by the opposite death. in subordination to whom they are enabled effectually to And no man hath reason to think it strange, that life and keep themselves, that the wicked one (mortally) touches death are estimated by such measures; or that a temper them not, (1 John v. 18.) but, as must be supposed, not withof spirit, habitually and fixedly good or evil, should be out continual watching and striving, as in war is usual. signified by being alive, or dead, if we consider how per- (4.) Where such a war and striving end not in victory fect an equivalency there is between them in the moral on the one side, they end in victory on the other. This is 6 Ως αν ψυχη θανοι.
c Beßantioueun. Plotin. Enn. 1.
consequent upon what hath been said, of the limited sub- this trial, they would transgress, and open a way for death ject here spoken of. Death is not universally overcome, to come in upon them, the real loss could only be their with some it is left to be conceived therefore as a conquer- own, and none of his. He had no reason therefore to preor. We see how it is with the two hemispheres of our vent it, by so unseasonable an interposition, as should preglobe, when in the one, the light is chasing the darkness vent the orderly connexion between duty and felicity; i.e. of the foregoing night, and we behold the morning gradu- the precedency of the former to the other. All this was a ally spreading itself upon the mountains, and it shines most unexcepiionable procedure. But then, when being brighter and brighter unto perfect day ; so in the other a left to themselves, they as men, or as Adam, had transteebler light doth more and more retire and yield, till at gressed, (Hos. vi. 7.) and done like themselves, i. e. like length it be quite swallowed up in the victorious darkness | Irail, mutable creatures, in their lapse into sin and death; of a black and horrid midnight. 'Tis much after the same show opportune was it for him, now, to do more illustriousrate here, with this difference, that vicissitudes and aiter- ly like himself, i. e. by so surprising, unthought of menations cease; and whether darkness and the shadow of thods, as the Gospel reveals, to recover to himself this death, or the light of life, be finally victorious, they are so, glory out of the cloud, and make it shine more brightly as hath been said, for ever. With the one sort, i. e. with than ever, in this final victory over death, and him that the righteous, a vital light arises in the midst of darkness; had the power of it! So that it shall at last retain no do a type of their spiritual, and a prelude to their eternal, minion over any, but such as by their own choice, during state. They have a quickening light within, under all a new state of trial, remained in an inviolable union with clouds of present ignominy and trouble, and an eternal that prince of darkness and death. How glorious will the day awaits them. Now death worketh in them, and sur-triumphs of this victory be over the grand apostate! And rounds them on every side, for awhile, and gains a tem- | how unsupposable is it, that he should have occasion left porary victory over their bodily life; which while it is do- l him to glory in an eternal conquest! And, ing, and their outward man is perishing, their inward man (2.) It is not a light thing to him, whose nature is love, is renewed day by day. But at length even that vanquish- that without this final victory the felicity of the redeemed ed lite revives, and that more noble life, which is hid with I should never be fully accomplished. Antecedent to the Christ in God, (Col. iii. 3.) and of which he says, That Gospel revelation, it would seem more agreeable to the nawhosoever lives, and believes in him, shall never die, ture of God, that some should be rescued from the power (John xi. 26.) becomes perfect, for it is pure life; as that is of death, than that all should lie under it for ever. But said to be pure, which is plenum sui, et minimum habet ali- we, to whom that revelation is vouchsafed, cannot now but eni, full of itself, without mixture of any thing alien from think it the most unlikely thing in the world, that the deit; having quite swallowed up whatsoever was opposite or i sign of Almighty love should finally be defeated; and that disagreeable. So doth life, in the several kinds and degrees such as are in vital union with the Redeemer, should either of it, flourish with them in a permanent, perpetual, and be overcome at last by death, or remain in an eternal most consistent state. And as regal power is often founded struggle with it. Whence nothing can be conceived, in in just conquest, they do even reign in life, by Jesus Christ, this case, but that, as to them, death must be swallowed Rom. v. 17–21. But for the other sort, that sorry, pitiful, up in this glorious everlasting victory. dying life they have, wherein they are even dead while "Wherenpon how admirable a display will there herein they live, will be swallowed up in a victorious, eternal be of sundry the most known attributes and excellencies death; in which there remains to them a perpetual night, and of the Divine nature, as his wisdom, power, goodness, hothe blackness of darkness for ever. We are next to consider, liness, justice, and truth, in the whole conduct, and in this
2. The reasonableness of the divine determination, final issue of things! as might be distinctly shown of each, which this saying imports. And that is to be collected, by if we were not within limits. He at first dealt with them reminding who it is that hath so determined, he that can very suitably to their natures, at length he deals with them effect all his determinations, and do all his pleasure. The according to his own; that it may be the theme of eternal reason of his intendments, and performances, must be contemplation to themselves, and the whole intelligent ferched from himself, and the perfection of his own na- world, how far his ways are above their ways, and his ture; unto which nothing can be more agreeable. When thoughts above their thoughts, Isa. lv. And that as, at death, let in by sin, hath been reigning, doing the part of first, he thought it not fit to hinder them from doing as a king, as Rom. v. 17. over so great a part of God's crea- i too little became such creatures, nothing should ai last tion, it can be little suitable to him, who doih all things hinder him from doing as became a God. after the counsel of his will, (Eph. i. 11.) to let it reign II. But come we now to the use. And, for ever. Sometime it must be swallowed up in victory. 1. Do we find this saying, in the sacred word of God, Otherwise,-1. His own glory would sufier a perpetual that death is to be swallowed up in victory? then we are eclipse,-2. The felicity of his redeemed should never be not to doubt, but so it shall be. A plenary assent is to be coinplete. Neither of which, as we are taught to appre given to it. But what sort of assent? Not that which hend the state of things, can consist with the absolute per- arises from the sight of our eye. If that were to be our fection of his being.
only informer, we see no such thing; but quite the con(1.) Can we think it agreeable to him, to suffer such a lrary. That represents death to us as the only conqueror, perpetual solecism or incongruity within his dominion, it visibly swallows up all in victory, wheresoever it makes that when death, by means of a most criminal apostacy, a seizure. . Nothing stands before it! we behold it turning had made so great an inroad into the nobler part of his every where living men and women, like ourselves, into creation, i.e. had broken in amongst creatures capable of breathless lumps of earth! It irresistibly introduces itimmortality, (who indeed otherwise had not been capable self, and life is fled, and gone! Such as conversed with us, of sin,) and thereby darkened the glory which shone more walked to and fro amongst us, reasoned, discoursed with brightly in such an order of creatures; it should be sous, managed business, pursued designs, delighted themalways ? i. e. that such a sort of creatures should be perpe-selves with us, and gave us delight, become death's cap tually continued, to be born, and sin, and die. Sometime lives before our eyes, are bound in its bands, and we canwe must think this course of things should have an end, I not redeem them, nor save ourselves. Where then is this and not by yielding an everlasting conquest to an enemy. swallowing up of death in victory? which is itself so conWe can well conceive it most worthy of God, when he had stantly victorious! Our reason may tell us it shall not be made such creatures, unto whom liberty was as agreeable always and universally so, but it futters, and hallucinates. as holiness and felicity, to leave them to themselves awhile, 'Tis ibe divine word that must at last put the matter out as probationers and candidates for that state of immortal of doubt; and our faith therein, which is the substance of life, whereof they were not incapable. It well became a what we hope for, and the evidence of what we do not self-sufficient Being, and an absolute Sovereign, to let them see. If faith be to assure our hearts in this maiter, it understand dependance, and subjection; and that their must be as it relies upon his word, who can do this, and state was precarious, not his; to let them feel the cost of bath said he will. If we believe his power, that renders ungovernableness, and self-will, and the disagreeableness it possible to us; if his word, that makes it certuin. Hath thereof to their condition who were not self-subsistent, and he said it? who then shall gainsay it? 'Tis one of the had not their good in their own hands; if, being put upon true and faithful sayings of God.
2. If this be a credible saying, 'tis certainly a very com- | But when we are persuaded, by the word of the Lord, that fortable one. If we can but make that first step, and per- this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruptible, ceive this not to be a hard or incredible saying; it is very incorruption, and death be swallowed up in such a victo obvious to make a second, and acknowledge it to be a very ry, as you have heard; certainly this takes away the cause consolatory saying; and that both in reference to the of all bitter and reliefless sorrow. past death of our friends and relatives, even such as were | I am not unapprehensive that reverend brother, whom nearest, and most dear to us ;-and in reference to our this stroke touches more nearly, is much fitter to adminisown most certainly future and expected death. In the ter this consolation, than receive it from such a one as I. one case, and the other, we are to look upon it as a com- But as we may any of us put in for our share, as our case fortable saying, that this mighty raging enemy shall have may require and can admit, in what is so generally spoall his power lost, and swallowed up, in so glorious a vic-ken with reference to Christians dying in the Lord, and tory, one day.
their surviving fellow-Christians, that as yet live in him, (1.) It is surely a very comfortable saying, in the former 1 Thess. iv. from verse 13. onward to the end; so, we are of these cases, the case of our losing friends and relations directed to comfort one another therewith. Be patient, I very dear unto us. And there only needs this to make it pray you, while I present to you this most suitable portion most deliciously pleasant, that is, to have a comfortable per- of Scripture. “I would not have you to be ignorant, bresuasion concerning such, that they are part of Christ's thren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow seed, they are some of them, in reference to whom Christ not, even as others which have no hope. For if we beis, in the most peculiar sense, the first-fruits, so as that they lieve that Jesus died and rose again, even them also which have a pre-assurance of victory in his conquest and victory sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say over death and the grave. And we have great reason to unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive be so persuaded concerning that worthy gentlewoman, and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent whose late decease is the more special occasion of this so- them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall delemn assembly at this time. She was one who (as such as scend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the had most opportunity to observe, and best ability to judge, archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in did reckon) had given abundani evidence of the work of Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain God's saving grace upon her own spirit, and who there shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to upon did long walk with God in a very continued course; meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the so indeed, as that though her comforts were observed not Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." to be rapturous, yet they were steady and even ; so as that we shall be in a great promptitude and disposition of spjshe was rarely troubled with doubts, to give obstruction rít to do so, if these words be looked upon as divine sayor hinderance to her in her Christian course; if any such ings, as the words of the living and immortal God. My doubt did arise, it soon vanished, and she quickly, through friends, do you not find there is spirit in these words ? Is the mercy of God, received satisfaction, and so went cheer- there not strong a
satisfaction, and so went cheer- there not strong consolation in them? How can we but fully on in her way. She was abundant in reading, espe-think so, unless our whole religion be with us but a fable ? cially of the Holy Book ; that was her business and de- This concerns us all upon the common Christian account, light. She very little cared to concern herself in reading who are but a residue, a remnant, escaped, and exemptwritings that were merely notional, or polemical and dised awhile from being part of the spoils and triumphs of putative; but the most practical one she was most of all death; which hath slaughtered, and thrown into the dust, taken with, such as treated of the other state, and of the probably a much greater number of our friends and reladuties of Christians in the mean time in reference thereto; tives, than we ourselves do make, who are left behind. future felicity, and present spiritual-mindedness, that has And 'uis likely we have been most of us divers times so certain connexion therewith, and so direct a tendency mourners, upon such occasions. This shows upon what thereto, were, with her, the delightful subjects, which she account, and in what case, we may intermingle very revichose to read of, and meditate upon.
ving consolations with our sorrows, and that we ought Her temper was observed to be even, betwist a freeness freely, as the occasion recurs, to apply it to ourselves, and and reservedness. She was not melancholy, though much one another. inclined to solitariness; and would frequently lament, that! But I withal think there may be somewhat of more speso much of her precious time was passed away, either in cial import, tending to repress intemperate sorrow, on necessary business or civil conversation, that was not to be such an occasion, in that of Ezek. xxiv. 16. I think there avoided. It was observed that her disposition was most may be somewhat, I say, collected, besides what was highly charitable, very apt to give, even to her uttermost, more peculiar and appropriate by way of signal to the proas occasions did occur.
phet himself, that may reach the last mentioned case. It In reference to her children, her care was most tender. was a thing enjoined iipon him, that he should not mourn Much of her time was spent in instructing them, while nor weep, nor should his tears run down, when God should under her instruction, and within her reach ; teaching take away from him the desire of his eyes with a stroke. I them their catechism, with the proofs at large, and how to reckon that, as we have seen, Christians should not mourn apply the proofs to the answer, so as to bring them to a like other men; so the Lord's prophets are not to mourn distinct understanding thereof. And in this way and course altogether like others of his people, but somewhat more of she passed through the world. Her 'last sickness did very restraint they are to put upon ihemselves, that they may little alter the temper of her spirit, it was calm and sedate discover a higher excellency, or somewhat a greater meaall along. Only so much does deserve a remark, that she sure of that spirit of faith' ruling in them, that gives a was prepossessed with an apprehension that she should die great allay to present things, whether good or evil, as it suddenly; so much of God's secret he was pleased to im- begets clearer and more vivid apprehensions of things yet part to her, as he sometimes does to more inward friends; future and out of sight. And that as all believers should that discovery he vouchsafed to her, as to a favourite, to endeavour, in things of common concernment to all, to be let her have some kind of pre-signification, that her pas exemplary to one another, and to other men ; so they who sage out of this world should be very quick, whensoever it are so much nearer to God, in office and relation, should care: and so it was, that sitting in her chair, amidst fa- be examples to believers in conversation, spirit, faith, 1 miliar discourse, in a demidiated sentence, she made a full Tim. iv. 12. stop, and life was ended, before that could have an end. (2.) This should be very comfortable too unto them that
Now certainly the decease of such a one ought not to be are in union with Christ, in reference to their own future lamented with that bitter sorrow, as if there were no such | death, which they are continually to expect. Death is often thing as this, that death were certainly to be swallowed up saying to us repeatedly, and very sensibly, to our very bone in victory, in an entire and complete victory, with refer- and our flesh, You shall be my prey shortly; at least, sooner ence to such a one. It seems indeed, in such cases, as was or laterIt is ready to make its seizure upon us; when, said to you before, unto the judgment of our sense, that we do not know; but we are sure some time it will. death only overcomes, we see not beyond that; it turns a But, my friends, it does not become Christians to look living creature into a dead clod, and so it is laid among upon this thing, called death, as so formidable a thing, as such, it is buried in the grave, our sight gocs no further. J it is commonly reckoned: it is ignominious to our pro
fession, not to be endured amongst them that have life and little fear death, if we did know our interest in Christ, it immortality brought to light, and set in view before their we were not in great uncertainty, and had not our hearts eyes in the Gospel; such as profess to be united with hanging in doubt within us, about this thing. And there. Christ, who hath life in himself, and imparts it to all that fore, are so united, such a life, hid with Christ in God; and 3. This saying should be monitory to us, (as it is credi. hope that when he who is iheir life shall appear, they shall ble, as it is comfortable, so it is a monitory saying also,) appear with him in glory. It becomes not such to die Death shall be swallowed up in victory. This said, in recontinually, by the fear of dying, or that the very thoughts ference to some (which cannot be meant as to all) so great of death should be deadly to them.
a thing, spoken with restriction, ought to make them of This is remote from what was much observed to be the whom it is not meant look about them. With what solitemper and character of primitive Christians. A heathen citude should we concern ourselves, to be at a certainty! prince,d who thoroughly understood them not, censures Am I one of them, in reference to whom death shall be them too hardly, as being in the other extreme, (though he swallowed up in such a victory? It should awaken us to at length became kinder to them,) as if they rashly threw consider, Have we made our interest sure in our Lord Jethemselves upon death. Whereas he says, the soul should sus Christ, that great Prince and Lord of life ? He that rationally and becomingly be in readiness to be loosed hath the Son hath life. It is eternal life that is spoken of from the body, Acgylopévws, kàt couvws. But how come we in that context, 1 John v. 11, 12. This is the record, that to lose our character, and our glory? How degenerated a God hath given us eternal life; and this life is in his Son; thing is the Christianity of our age! To die without regret, that is, this eternal life. He that hath the Son, hath this is counted an attainment; it should be with gladness, life; he that hath not the Son, hath not this life. Spiritual (Psal. xvi. 9-ll.) and upon the considerations there men- life and eternal life are all one, all of a piece, the same in tioned, as being now upon the confines of that world of nature and kind; the one will grow up into the other. perfect purity, bliss, and joy; and having so great an as That life only is here meant, that will be eternal life. surance that the intermediate death, we are to go through, To the same sense is that, He that believeth in me, shall is no sooner suffered, than overcome! .
never die, John xi. 26. These are plain words. He haih We should deal closely with ourselves in this. Do we a life in him that is immortal, sacred, and not liable to be think this saying a fable, or a trifle ? Have these words touched. It was before said, They that believe in him, if no meaning? We should labour to come to a point, and dead, shall live, ver. 25. But not only that, but 'tis further say, if we have no reason to disbelieve them, we will be added, They that believe in him shall never die. If dead, lieve them absolutely; and live as having gained our they shall live; if they live, they shall never die. What point, and overcome already; i. e. who are as sure of vic- means this? That they have a life, besides this bodily one; tory, as of death. Some overcome by dying, as others are which is continued through death. Of this line or thread, overcome by it. There are who are not hurt by the second death makes no intercision. But we can never justify it to death. If death strike once, it thereby puts it out of its God, or our own understandings, to rest in a dubious unown power ever to strike a second time, or hurt them more. certainty about a matter of so vast consequence as this. UnLet us once bring our case to that state as to live in con- concernedness here is the most unaccountable thing in the tinual defiance of death, let it strike when it will. Depend-whole world; i.e. whether we have only that life in us which ence, only on the grace and Spirit of Christ, must give us will end in the darkness and rottenness of a grave, and a this contidence; not an opinion that we are ourselves horrid hell; or that which runs into eternal life? Things strong enough to act separately, but that knowing our re will come to this issue very shortly with us, that either lation to him, we are through him that loved us more than death musi; as to us, be swallowed up in victory, or we conquerors, or as that únepverwyev, Rom. viii. 37. may be be swallowed up of victorious death; nor have we any understood to signify, we are a glorious triumphant sort of ways to ascertain our own state, but, as was said, by uniconquerors. We not only conquer, but triumph too, ting with the Prince of life ; i. e. by receiving him in all through him that loved us, being persuaded that neither the capacities wherein we are to be concerned with him; death. nor lite-shall separate us from his love-So a no- land by resigning ourselves entirely to him. For if we must ted expositor understands that word, observing how great have him ibat we may have life, how can we otherwise a delight this apostle takes, when he would heighten a have him but by receiving him? The Gospel, under which matter, in the use of that particle únip..
we live, can only be a savour of life to us as it disposes It is elsewhere said, (Col, iii. 3.) Ye are dead, but your us hereunto. Recollect yourselves then, how do your life, &c. We are dead, i. e. in ourselves, we are a sort of Lord's days, and other seasons of attending this Gospel, dead or dying creatures, death hath almost got the posses- pass over with you? Have you long expected life, and sion of us already, has partly seized, and partly sentenced (which is less likely) do you meet with continual and tous to die, and irreversibly. This the apostle intimates, tal disappointments? And doth it cause with you no where he adds what you have heard : Ye have a life hid qualmish thoughts ? But 'lis infinitely a sadder case, if you with Christ in God, that life is safe, and out of the reach never feel yourselves begin to live, and yet are never dis of death, no death can touch that life. They that are born appointed; because you never attend upon the gospel-disof God, have in reference to this life (though the other pensation with any such design or hope. Is the matter must be given up) a self-preserving principle and power thus, that if you speak the truth of your case, you must in them, i John v. 18. They keep themselves, that the say, '“ I have a soul dead to all the actions, motions, senevil one toucheth them not; ihat is, not mortally, or with sations, enjoyments, of a divine and spiritual life." 'And any deadly touch. In having a new, holy, divine life; sball it be always thus, by our own consent, with any of they have an assuring pledge also of the permanency, per- us? We have however the rational, intellectual life, and petuity, and everlastingness of it. If a man have once can think; do we think 'tis fit for us to rest satisfied and drank of that water which Christ gives, it shall be in him secure in such a state ? What, satisfied in the midst of a perpetual fountain, a well of water springing up into death? such a death ? while we are capable of apprehendeverlasting life, John iv. 14.
ing at once the horror, the danger, and the remediableness Are we Christians, and with the springings of this life of our case? What will this come to? It can only be do we not feel a lively joy springing, and exulting in our holy, divine life ihat must be victorious over death, as the hearts? Add vital Christianity to the rational nature, and warring, opposite principle: if there be nothing to oppose lothness to die is a repugnancy, and a reproach to both. it, what shall conquer ? Death is in that case toial, and Christianity so plainly stating our case, reason should upon such terms, till life begin to spring in thy soul, thon judge upon it; and suitable affections arise in iis there must reckon it likely to be eternal. Yet let none so misupon, as they would if our Christianity were vital, and the take as to imagine this life an enthusiastical thing, that product of the Divine Spirit. Then, how should we bless must discover itself in rapturous ecstatical motions, or go God that we are mortal ! and that it is not in the power for nothing. It perfects our faculties, therefore destroys of all this world to keep us from dying out of it, when we them not; and chiefly consists in a rational judgment, know in how glorious a victory that death will be swallow- choice, and love of what is most worthy of us; what is ed up! But it may be said by some, “We should very fittest to be done by us, and what is with fullest satisfacd Marc. Antonin. de Vit. Sua, lib. 11.
e Vid. Ham. in loc