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will must be subordinated to the good and perfect will of God. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? not my will, but thine. be done-express the state of mind which a believer desires to attain. The affections must be raised from things below, and fixed on things above: they must be cast into the mould of the Gospel, till the same mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus-till we love what he loves, hate what he hates. All this the believer desires to attain. He longs to be sanctified throughout, in body, soul and spirit ; to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. When he comes short of his desires, as he too often does, he groans inwardly, and says, O wretched man, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! He contemplates in the Gospel, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and desires to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2. To live Christ, is to copy his example in the life. The believer marks the Redeemer's footsteps, and studies to walk as be walked. As be is not of this world, he will not be conformed to the world. He will not walk according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience. Crucified to the world, he will rise above its hopes and fears, joys and sorrows. He will carefully study the dispositions the Saviour exercised, and imitate the conduct he
pursued. The zeal for the divine glory, the diligence in the service of God, the patience under trials, the meekness and gentleness of Christ, he will endeavour to copy. Especially in his love to souls, will the Christian feel something of the mind that was in Jesus.. The Saviour left his glory, assumed our nature, died in our stead, rose for our justification, lives to plead our cause, and though the believer cannot do the same acts, he will bave the same spirit ;-- he will weep over their unbelief and impenitency, aud be ready to do or suffer any thing for the salvation of those who are perishing in their sins. He cannot attain to the perfection of the Redeemer's example, but he will be satisfied with nothing less. Forgetting the things that are behind, he constantly presses forward towards higher and greater attainments, desiring that his light may shine brighter and brighter to the perfect day.
Thus did Paul “ live Christ”- to him, in the advancement of his glory; for him, in the extension of his Gospel, and edification of bis church ; in him, by vital union with him as his living head, and source of all spiritual influences; after him, in the attainment of his image in the soul, and copying his ex
ample in the life. Christ was his all and in all. He desired to be found in him only justified by his merit; clothed in his righteousness; accepted in the Beloved. Christ (the image of Christ on the soul,) was all in sanctification. He preached Christ crucified, determined to know nothing else, to glory only in the cross, to count all things but loss for him. Cbrist was his beginning, middle, end : bad he a thousand lives, they should have been spent in glorifying Christ, or laid down, in order to go and be present with the Lord.
Nor are these the characteristics of the Apostle only--they are the characteristics and the privileges of all believers. To glorify Christ, extend bis kingdom, be vitally united, attain his image, copy his example, are more or less the characteris. tics of all his people. If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Thus to live, will prepare us for the most awful of all the events that await us ;--for death, which it will deprive of all its terrors ; for judgment, giving us confidence before the Redeemer, at his coming ; for eternity, by making us meet for the inheritance of saints in light. A holy life, a happy death, a blessed'immortality, are inseparably connected.
"I1.-Why the Christian counts death gain, and thinks it better to depart.
To the ignorant, impenitent, unbelieving; death is the most dreaded of all things. To realize the idea of it, will produce on them the same effect which the hand-writing on the wall produced on Belshazzer. The agonies attending the separation of the body and soul, the dissolution of the body-horrors of the grave separation from all we bold dear; the sense of responsibility; the just, irreversible judgment; the awful eternity : these make the wicked seek refuge in annihilation, and call on the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and hide them. To the believer, death has a far different aspect ; be numbers it among his blessings, he counts it gain. Though he enjoys the highest Lappiness on earth ; reconciliation with God; assurance of his favour; sense of bis love; sanctified use of all earthly comforts, yet he counts it better to depart. He would leave the streams to go to the fountain. The first fruits make him long for the barvest. The grapes from Canaan only make him long for the full enjoyment of that better country.
Three things may be considered as influencing the believer's choice, when he counts it gain to die.
1. Death will deliver from present evils. It liberates bim from a world, where all is vanity and vexation of spirit. This
world, though promising to make us happy, proves but emptiness and a cheat. The shadow may well be exchanged for the substance; a world that cannot satisfy the soul, for one suited to the soul's dignity, capacity-eternity; the husks for the bread of our Father's house,
It delivers from sin. The Christian feels bimself still liable to fall; he feels the flesh lusting against the spirit; a body of sin and death makes him groan for full redemption. Death takes him where there will be no sin-no liability to sin where all will be conformity to the good and perfect will of God, and where he will be like the angels, who do the will of God, hearkening to the voice of his word.
It delivers from temptation. This world will no longer seduce the flesh solicit
Satan go about seeking whom he may destroy ; as the soldier rejoices when his hour of vigilance and danger is past, so the soul, in being placed beyond the reach of temptation for ever.
Suffering will end. Tribulations, which are more or less the lot of all God's children, will cease ; the cross be replaced by the crown; the light and momentary affliction of this world exchanged for an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory.
It delivers from sorrow. Earth is a vale of tears. Our own sins, or the sins of others, our own sufferings, or the sufferings of others, give constant cause of sorrow. At death, the days of our mourning shall be ended, sorrow and sighing fly away, and, thenceforward, God himself wipe away all tears from our eyes.
2. The believer counts it gain to die, by reason of the certainty of his future glory. This certainty could not be greater, consistently with our living here, in a state of faith and hope. None, it is believed, ever doubted or disbelieved an eternal world, until they had, by their sins, made it their interest that there should be none.
Reason renders a future world highly probable. The soul. is a spiritual substance : and though we know of substances undergoing changes, yet we bave no experience of any being annihilated. God could annihilate the soul ; but he has no where said he will. The change from this world to another will not be greater than what we daily behold in the transformation of the caterpillar--not greater than we have already undergone since we were in the womb. This world is full of inequalities; there must be another to remove them, or God is not just, or does not govern, or does not exist. Man fulfils here no end
adequate to the design of bis formation. Sball his chief end be, like a vegetable to reproduce his species, and be as though he had never been? The strong desire of immortality was not placed in the soul never to be gộatified. The soul, improvable in endless progression, in knowledge and love of God, is not likely to be annihilated. The good will not always go without reward, and the bad escape punishment. It cannot ultimately go ill with those that are good whom God has made holy, he will not make miserable. If he have made it our chief end to seek eternal happiness, he will not disappoint us.
But Revelation so far removes all uncertainty, that we may know, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Life, and immortality are brought to light by. the Gospel, so as to place a future world as clearly before the eye of faith, as the present world is before the eye of sense. Christ came, that we might have life; be who believeth shall never die, never perish-have everlasting life. He gives his sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish. Through him, death shall be swallowed up in victory; mortality, swallowed up in life. The God of Abrahanı, Isaac, Jacob, is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Enoch and Elias were translated; and the penitent thief went, on the day of his death, with his Redeemer to paradise. Faith in these testimonies of God, like the telescope at the eye of the philosopher, discovers distant and otherwise unseen worlds. "The Holy Scriptures draw aside the veil, and show us eternity as clearly and certainly as Moses saw Canaan from Pisgah.
The work of grace within us, is the earnest of a blessed immortality. Are we regenerated, justified, sanctified? He that hath wrought us for the self same thing is God. The blessings of grace, on earth, are the pledges of glory in heaven. The earnest of the spirit, the sealing of the spirit, are a part, given as security for the whole. The righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost, rejoicing in Christ Jesus with a joy unspeakable and glorious, is heaven already begun in the soul. The rest on earth is the emblem, foretaste, preparation for the rest that remaineth for the people of God.
3. Another reason why the Christian counts death gain, is. the greatness of his future glory. The full extent of this can. not now be known. He who was caught up to the third beavens, says, we see now only as through a glass darkly. He who saw Christ transfigured, says, it doth not yet appear what we shall be. Some things the Scriptures have declared, which indicate the greatness of the glory yet to be revealed.
The body shall be raised a glorious body. Having borne the image of the earthly, it shall bear the image of the heavenly: shall be fashioned like to the glorified body of the Redeemer.
The soul shall have its capacities vastly enlarged. It knows but little now : that little very imperfectly. It shall then know intuitively; see as it is seen ; know as it is known.
Holiness will be perfected. The union with Christ now begun, will then be perfect--the likeness to Christ now begun will be complete. As the sun chases darkness, so will the purity of heaven banish all impurity from the soul. Being added to the spirits of just men made perfect, it will be holy, as God is holy-perfect, as God is perfect.
Glory will be revealed. To the enlarged and perfect capacities of the soul, a world of glory, real, substantial, eternal, its own proper element, will be made known :-the glory the Redeemer had with the Father before the world was; the excellent glory; the exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. The new Jerusalem will appear adorned as a bride for her busband. That city shall have no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of the Lord shall lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. There will be an innumerable company of angels: a multitude of glorified saints, that no man can number : the Saviour, in all his glory, will be present, and seen as he is.
Of this, full possession and enjoyment will be given. It shall not only be seen, but possessed; contemplated, but enjoyed. Purchased by a Saviour's merit, imparted by his grace, it shall be finally secured by his power and promise. He wills his people to be with him to behold bis glory. Tliey shall be as pillars in his temple, and shall go no more out.
The felicity thus arising will be eternal; yea, eternally progressive ; no imperfection, no interruption, no end. God will be present, beheld, loved, obeyed, communicated, enjoyed in all his excellencies, unchangeably, progressively, eternally.
When we think that death liberates the believer from a world of vanity, 'sin, temptation, suffering, sorrow—that bis future existence with Christ is so certain, will be so incon. ceivably glorious, can we wonder that he should count gain, think it better to depart ? ---that, when Christ says,
behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, the believer should say, even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.
Let us now, for a little, strive to improve this subject, in reference to our deceased friend, the news of whose unexpected and melancholy death has lately reached us ;-in reference to