« PreviousContinue »
trying has been the campaign; but now, only one enemy remains, and that is a conquered one, “the enenıy that shall be destroyed last, is death." Then, no more opposition, no more war, but all is peace, and peace for ever. It is rest after many years and anxieties. Often does the Christian fear, when he ought to be confident. Often is the believer anxious, when he ought to be grateful and thankful. But anxiety and fear will beset the Lord's children, and often fills them with sorrow and grief. They fear a thousand evils, that will never happen. They are anxious about many things, that never ought to occupy a moment's thought. But now the last fear, the last anxiety will agitate the breast, and all the future will be confidence and calm. As therefore rest is sweet to the weary labourer, to the afflicted sufferer, to the ex. hausted traveller, to the worn-out soldier, and to the fearful and anxious parent, so will the rest of the grave, the rest of glory, be to the believer in Jesus. Death to the Christian is
SLEEP. Not that the soul sleeps, for that is still conscious, active, and happy in the presence of Jesus ; but the body does, and a sweet sleep it enjoys. Yes, the sleep of the weary husbandman, is not so sweet, as the sleep of the true believer. His grave is like a soft, perfumed bed, and he enjoys it the more, from the thought that Jesus laid there before him. It is most refreshing, he will
awake and arise from it, like a giant refreshed with wine. He will come forth like the lovely flowers in spring, after the cold bleak winds, and frosts and snows of winter. It is dreamless sleep. No dreaming or distressing visions, will ever disturb that gentle, calm, repose. But in holy quiet, and perpetual calm, the body will slumber on, until the morning of the resurrection breaks. It will be most safe, nothing can by any means hurt, or injure those who sleep in Jesus. Still united to his person, still under his watchful eye, still the object of his ceaseless care, still precious to his soul, the sleeping Christian rests, and rests until the dead in Christ arise. Let us then, never look at death, but through Jesus ; nor at the grave, but in the light of the resurrection. To the eye of nature, death is dreadful, and the grave is repulsive, but to the eye of faith, and as represented in the New Covenant, they are stripped of all that is dreadful and repulsive, so that an Apostle
To die is gain ;” or “To die is best of all." He looked upon it as the removal of a traveller from the inn, when he had rested for a night, saying, “The time of my departure is at hand.” As the close of his work, the termination of his stewardship, and therefore added, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith.' tle, thine was a wearying journey, a desperate conflict, and a responsible stewardship,
but thy prospect was glorious, and thy rest has been sweet!
Beloved, let us not fear death, but let us seek such an acquaintance with Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, and who tasting death for us, did abolish death, that it might not alarm us, as shall raise us above that fear. We may so know Jesus, and so believe in Jesus, as to smile at death, and even coret it, as many
One thing is certain, if we are united to Jesus, if we are living in fellowship with Jesus, and if we are devoting our life to Jesus, nothing in heaven, earth, or hell can harm us ; and death will be nothing more than a sweet sleep to us. Nor do I suppose that the time between death and the resurrection will appear longer to us, than a night's sound and sweet sleep does. How beautiful creation looks now, on a fine spring morning, when we awake from a good night's rest; but how beautiful will all things look, when we awake from the slumbers of the grave, and see all things radiant with the smile, and the glory of God. Blessed Spirit, teach me so to know Jesus, so to live upon Jesus, and so to make use of Jesus, that I may live above the fear of death, and dread dying, no more than I now dread falling asleep, after a hard and wearying days' work!
THE CARELESS THREATENED.
THERE is a class of persons very apt to become careless and in different. They stifle convictions and get rid of them. They resist impressions and erase them. They get their consciences calmed and quieted. They put on a profession of religion. They struggle against the light, until it ceases to disturb them, and then sing themselves to sleep. They cry, “Peace, peace," when there is no peace; and take a dead calm to be gospel rest. They assure themselves that all' is right, but never had the witness of God's Spirit within them, or the love of God shed abroad in their hearts.
It is no very easy thing to disturb or alarm such, for they are at ease in Zion. But a time is coming when God will rouse them up, as it is written, “ It shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees." Zeph. i. 12.
Ġod intends thoroughly to examine his church. His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather the wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. He will, with the light of his judgments, or the candle of his word, and by the ministry of his gospel, search out, detect, expose, and punish all that rest in a mere form of religion ; who rest in doctrines, but not in Christ; who depend on something of their own, instead of the finished work of Christ; who take the workings of nature, or an enlightened conscience, for the work of the Spirit of God. Who, neglecting self-examination, and never seeking the scrutiny of the soul-searching eye of God, are easily satisfied that all is right, though they never felt the salutary pangs of conviction, thejoy oftrue conversion, the peace that flows from pardon, or the loathing of self, which proves that God is pacified towards them. Such hide in a refuge of lies. They cover themselves with a covering which is not of God's Spirit. They lie on a bed which is too short, and try to get warm and com. fortable under a covering that is too narrow. Services, sacraments, or false views of truth intoxicate and bewilder them; and they settle down on their lees, and become like Moab, of whom the prophet says, “ Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remaineth in him, and his scent is not changed.”