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lost ; I cannot form any distinct conceptions about it; all that my soul is engaged in is Christ ; what Christ bath redeemed me from, and what he hath redeemed me to. There I can enlarge freely; all the rest I must leave till I get there."
When urged to take in a drop of wine, or some other cordial, he generally declined it. "I have given up my body as well as my soul to Christ, and I must take care of one as well as the other. To be sure it is pleasant, and nature seems to call for something of this kind; but I must deny myself : the doctors tell me it' will hurt me, and therefore. I scruple to touch it."
When told of one and another that were dead, he said : “ We are like travellers ; one gets home first, and another a little after. It would not be so well if we were to go all together: what would become of the church, and the rising generation? I am amazed how any can be so fond of the world; I wish all could see it in the same light that I do now. Satan hạth desired to have me, that he may sift me; but
“ Should all the hosts of death,
Aud powers of hell, unknown,
and mischief on,
As the straitness of his breast increased, it grew more and more painful for him to speak; so that for several days (I believe some weeks) he could only whisper. “ Now,” says he, “wasn't it right, that I should speak. when I was able? You were
afraid I should hurt myself, but it never hurted
One time, when I was taking my last leave of
At another time, when he lay gasping for life,
• And feel I, Death! no joy from thought of thee?
This king of terrors is the prince of peace.
A few hours before he died, he said:
.O glorious hour! O blest abode !
I shall be near, and like, my God;
A little after, stretching out his arms as if he saw
moving, but not so as to be understood ; he lay so for some little time, and then, making a sign to have his head supported, he looked up-and smiled -and died. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.
You cannot suppose that he said all this at one time, or exactly in the order I have now repeated it: they were broken sentences ; some of which I picked up myself, as they dropped like honey from his mouth; and the rest I had from those who were about him. However, this, you may be assured of, that the sentiments, and (as nearly as could possibly be recollected), the very words, are all his own.
And here I am tempted to sit down; for what can I say more? This is a clearer and fuller illustration of the text than any words of mine can be. I am per. suaded, if I were now to dismiss the assembly you would all go away with your hearts and mouths full of this triumphant exclamation ; “O Death! where is thy sting?”
If you will have me say something, I will endeavour to show as briefly as I can,
I. How death came by a sting.
We are, First, to inquire how Death came by a sting.
What this sting is, the verse following our text informs us : “ The sting of death is sin.” All that is painful and grievous in it, proceeds from this root of all bitterness ; nay, the very being of death, and the power it hath over mankind, is owing to sin : " Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom, v. 12.)
Had man continued innocent, he had been immortal : the tree of life. would have preserved his body from decay: but eating the forbidden fruit proved a deadly poison, and became the source of fevers, gout, stone, cholic, dropsy,.consumptions, and all the other numerous, almost numberless, diseases by which the human frame is racked and ruined.
There is something awful in death, even to those who are best prepared ; as in the case before us. To be arrested in the midst of his career, or rather just as he was setting out in life,' with high spirits and hopeful prospects, and forming a thousand pleasing schemes; to be suddenly, arrested by a messenger of death, and forced to retire from business ;-to go through a long course of self-denial and nauseous medicine, if possible to kill the worm before it began to prey upon the vitals; but, after many efforts, to find them all ineffectual';—to be shut up a prisoner at home, the air being too sharp, and the most gentle exercise too laborious, for him to venture abroad any more ;-to have the range of the whole house for a little while; then to be confined to a single room ; then to a chair; at last to take refuge in the bed, being too weak to walk by himself, and his flesh too tender to bear the assistance of others;-and, after languishing out many a tedious day, and wearisome night, to take a last look at weeping relations, and weeping friends, and dislodge once for all, and leave the body, which he hath long lived in and loved, and yield it a prey to worms and putrefaction ;-there is something extremely affecting and awful in this; and we cannot wonder to hear a good man in the near views of it, pray, as David doth; “O spare me, that I may
recover strength, before I go hence and be no more.” (Ps. xxxix. 13.) And yet, in all this, if this were all, there is no sting. What can be more desirable to a poor, tortured, worn out body, than to be laid in the grave to rest ? With what pleasure mày we suppose the newly-escaped spirit hovering over the grave during the interment of this vile body, in which it had suffered such excruciating pains ! how cheerfully does it join in the solemn dirge, “ Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust!” I say, if this were all, death, though it be awful, yet would be comparatively harmless : it kills the body, and after that there is no more that it can do. But this is not all. Sin hath quite altered the nature of death. Instead of being the end of all troubles, it is to thousands the beginning of sor. rows. So far from sinking into a state of utter insensibility, it is then that a sinner begins to feel most exquisitely. We have not only the death of the body, but the destruction of the soul to fear, We need not mind the ghastly visage riding on the pale horse, if it were not that hell followed. That is it which makes death so deadly: that is the sting of death; and a sting it is the most venomous and malignant that ever can be fastened in the soul of man : it is sin, the worst of evils, infinitely hateful to God, and hurtful to the creature.
The guilt, power, and pollution of sin, all combine to make death dreadful; and as if this were not enough, it receives additional strength and poignancy from the curse of a broken law, the honour of which Divine Justice is concerned to support.
66 Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.”