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He is here characterised as the “ God of truth :" so that, if he hath once promised to take care of our souls, we may safely trust them in his hand : for it is impossible for God to lie. 66 Sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than the least jot or tittle of his word pass unfulfilled.” Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie: there is no dependence on any of them : they promise fair; but if we trust them they prove broken reeds, and fail us most when we lean hardest upon them, and stand most in need of their assistance. But the portion of Jacob is not like unto them: “ He is not a man that he should live; nor the Son of man, that he should repent. « Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments.” (Deut. vii. 9.) Here, therefore, the believer finds firm footing for faith and hope. He thinks within himself; “Have I ever found him slack concerning his promise? It is his own rule, · He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much. Better than bis word he hath often been, but worse than his word never, and why should I suspect him now? I ought not, I will not. In God have I put my trust, and in his word do I hope. He hath been with me in six troubles, yea also in seven.' He hath promised that he will never leave me nor forsake me;' and I believe him. I am sure he will be as good as his word : and therefore, Into thine hand I commit my spirit; for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.'"
1. '“ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord:" since they have encouragement to commit their departing spirits to God, and such assurance that he will receive them. It is a privilege to be permitted to lodge our souls with God now, when innumerable evils compass us about, and we are called to wrestle, not only with flesh and blood, but with “ principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses in high places !” to have leave to say of the Lord, “ He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust;"_to be perniitted to make the Most High our habitation ; and to shelter ourselves from "impending storms in the chambers of the divine perfections and promises :-it is indeed a privilege, wbich we ought to be more thankful for than we are. But to have the same encouragement and the same assurance of a welcome reception and safe custody of our spirits, when they are forced to quit their present habitations, and launch out into an unknown, at least untried, state ;-amidst all the desolations death makes among our outward comforts, to be freed from all uneasy and distressing concern for our souls; to know where to secure them beyond the reach of death or danger!-- to have a secret intimation, that when they are “ absent from the body they shall be present with the Lord;" that as soon as they depart, they shall be " with Christ, which is far better:”—this is a privilege indeed. No wonder that such are not afraid of dying: no wonder we so often see a smile upon the countenance of dying saints.
" What should I be afraid of?" say they : “ death can only kill the
body, and crumble it into atoms: I have no further occasion for it just now; I have a protector, a friend, in heaven, and into his hand I commit my spirit.”
Who doth not secretly wish, 6. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his?” But this sugyests another head of improvement;
2. “ Acquaint nor thyself with God, and be at 'peace.” For what a deplorable case would you be in, if you should go out of the world committing your spirits into God's band, and when you expected a free admission into heaven, find the door shut, and after loud and repeated knocking, to be sent away with an “I know you not whence you are !” How mortifying ! how fatal! Do not, therefore, depend upon the transactions of a death-bed, as if your going off with a “ Lord, have mercy upon me,” in your mouths, would be a sufficient passport to heaven. Depend upon it this will not do. God will not receive such presumptuous and unready spirits. Nou, if you will commit your souls to him, your sins, numerous and heinous as they are, shall not hinder his acceptance of them. He will receive you graciously, and heal your backslidings, and love you freely. He will sprinkle clean water upon you, and make you clean from all
filthiness; and from all your idols he will cleanse you ; and he will pour out his Spirit upon you, and cause you to walk in his statutes; and ye shall keep his judgments, and do them.
And then, when you come to commit your spirits to him at death, you need not fear a repulse: he will readily own them for bis; put them among his jewels; and give you an
among them that are sanctified. But if you like not to retain God in your knowledge, and say to the Almighty, “ Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways;"--if you will have nothing to do with God as long as you can possibly live without him, what can you expect, but that, when fear cometh as a desolation, and destruction as a whirlwind, and distress and anguish come upon you, and you beseech him again and again to receive your spirits, he will reject your petitions with disdain, and hurl you into outer and everlasting darkness ? Consider this, ye that for
“ Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.”
úr Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might ; for there is no work, 'nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
To conclude. Let us rejoice in the prospect, and long for the approach, of that glorious day, when tbe grave
shall restore the bodies that are committed to it, and God will restore the spirits that are committed to him, and body and spirit, being once more united, and each of them freed from their respective imperfections, “shall be caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
“ Behold, I shew you a mystery : we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound; and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this cor, ruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this
mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.”