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their primordial dust, while their spirits do réturn to God who
them. They have no longer to provide for food and raiment; and the cares of a family, which often give pain and anxiety, are now at an end.
2. They have no more to attend to the bitter works of repentance and self denial, having once had that repentance given them which is unto life, never to be repented of; and their minds being wholly swallowed up in the love and will of God, they will not be obliged to deny themselves of a full enjoyment of the same.
There will no longer be a warfare between them and the world, the flesh and the devil ; for having gotten the victory over sin, they can cry,“ o death! where is thy sting? O grave ! where is thy victory. The sting of death is sin --but thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”— I Cor. xv. 55-57.
3. They rest from all the labor which they have undergone and suffered for Christ's sake. Think for a few moments, how much toil and fatigue the apostles and primitive christians underwent when laboring in Christ's vineyard ; which attended them even unto death itself; yet they accounted them not worthy to be named when compared with the glory that should be revealed in them.
The Apostle Paul has given a brief specimen of his labor in his epistle to the Romans, Chap. xi. 24--28. 56 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and in thirst, in fasting often, in cold and naked. ness. Besides those things that are without that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
All this labor he rested from at the hour of death ; and having fought a good fight, and kept the faith ; there was henceforth a crown of glory laid up for him, which the righteous Judge shall give.
The saints in all ages of the world down to the present day have waded through many sorrows and amictions ; and the apostle tells us it is through much tribulation we shall enter into the kingdom. But all these tribulations, sorrow's and afflictions, are at an end with those who die in the Lord, at the same hour of death. Nothing shall ever enter the cabinet of futurity, to disturb those happy souls who have slept in Je. sus Christ, until they awake in his likeness, when they shall be fully satisfied.
But I must pass on.
IV. “ Yea, saith the spirit, thay may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." I shall now attend to those works that will follow all those who die in the Lord.
1. In the negative. None of those works will ever follow them, as a blessing, which they
have done with any sinister views, or selfish motives,to aggrandize themselves in this world, or secure to themselves by their own labor, an interest in Christ, or the world to come.
All these works will prove to be nothing bet. ter than hay, wood and stubble, which shall be burnt up, when the day shall declare it, and eveery man's work shall be tried of what sort it is.. And the proprietors of those works will suffer a : great loss, notwithstanding, they themselves shall be savedl, yet so as by fire. No work that any finite being can do in point of meriting salvation, or purchasing eternal life, will prove to be any better than a spider's web, at the giving up of the ghost.
If God had not out of pure love and mercy, given us his Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us by his own blood, and give us eternal life in him, we might have all labored in vain to obtain it ; therefore no work of this kind can be ac, ceptable to God.
God never requires his creatures to do im. possibilities; therefore, he does not require of us to ascend into heaven, that is to bring Christ down from above, nor descend into the lower parts of the earth, that is, to bring Christ up again from the dead ; but the word is nigh us, even in our mouths,so that he thatruns may read.
2 Again, positively. Since God hath saved : us, according to his abundant mercy, not for any works of righteousness that we have done ; it is our duty to obey, love and fear him, and this he enjoins on us, and it is well pleasing in : his sight, when we comply:
Therefore, every work, done out of duty, or love to God, and in obedience to his commands, will follow those who die in the Lord, even beyond the grave ; where they will be amply rewarded; even from the forsaking all for Christ's sake, down to the giving of a cup of cold water, in the name of a disciple of Christ. Agreeable to the words of our Saviour; the one whose pound had gained ten pounds was to have dominion over ten cities, and the one whose pound had gained five pounds was to have dominion over five cities ; to every man according to his several abilities. And he that giveth a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose his reward,
But notwithstanding the works of the righa teous will follow them, yet they will not receive the reward as of debt, but as of pure grace. They will say with the Psalmist, Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord; but unto thy name, give glory and strength.”
V., I shall now make a brief application of what hath been said, and draw to a close.
1. We may learn from what hath been said, that if we would wish to die in the Lord, or sleep in Jesus Christ, & rise to glorious immortality with the saints in life; we must live in obedience to him, and serve him with a pure heart, and an upright mind,and walk in all his commandments blameless; at least, strive as much as in us lies, so to do; and put our whole trust in God, and the word of his grace, for life and salvation be. yond the grave.
Do not endeavor to build castles in the air, nor place your hopes upon the wind; but flee to the strong hold ye prisoners of hope ; even to Jesus Christ, the Rock of ages, and the Ark of safety, where the weary do run and are at rest. See salvation complete in Jesus Christ, and freely offered to sinners, even the chiefest of them, without money and without price. Why stand ye here all the day idle ? even if it has got to be the eleventh hour witir some, come now into the vineyard of tlre Lord, knowing that whatso. ever is right he will give you. But if you will now be ashamed of Christ, and of his words, he will be ashamed of you, when he shall come to be glorified of his Father, and of the holy angels.
2. The blessings that will attend those who die in the Lord are incomprehensible, & full of glory:
Where is there a human heart, that would not rejoice at the tho't of having a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens, when this earthly house of our tabernaele shall be dissolved? Where is there a soul that would not exult at the idea of coming in the clouds with Christ and the holy angels when he shall make his appearance ? What tongue can express, or pen describe the happiness of those who shall be made kings and priests unto God and the Lamb & reign with him on the earth for no less a period than a thousand years ? when u. niversal peace shall stretch forth her balmy wings as far as sin hath ever spread his wide domain ! O Blessed and holy saints ; who shall behold