Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

death is an enemy indeed. He is to him the king of all ima. ginable terrors, terrible in itself, and more terrible in its contequences; it is here a mere paffage from tolerable to intolerable misery. Could the unhappy foul be sure that there is no vengeance to seize it after death, that there is no more forrow .. or anguith to be felt only the expiring agony, that he hath nothing to suffer but the loss of existence, this would seen an evil that might be endured. But it is the living death, says ore, the dying life, the endless woe, to which death leads the. guilty foul, which makes it unspeakably terrible. The utter darkness, the unquenchable fire, the living and gnawing worm, the eternal flames of Jehovah's wrath, these are the horror, these are the fing of death to the ungodly. Thus to impenitent finners he is an enemy cloathed with inconceivable terrors.

Fourthly; he is an enemy to the saints themselves. Of those who are truly sanctified the apostle is here principally speaking, and of the advantages which they receive by Christ, among these, this is one, that the enemy death shall be destroyed, which fully assures us that death is an enemy to them as well: as others. By accident it is rendered friendly to them, thro' the conquest Christ has obtained over it, yet in its own nature,, and in many respets, it is an enemy still. It is a monster full of horror, if we consider the ghastly paleness, the stiff cold, the forbidding visage, distorted eyes and convulsed limbs of the dying ; and afterwards if we think of the corruption of the grave, the putrefaction of the Acth, all things vifible are expressions of enmity in the extreme.

It is an enemy as it' removes them from the conversation and intimacy of their agreeable friends, as it imprisons one part of them in the earth, and as it prevents their complete blessedness and felicity, which they will not enjoy till after the resurrection. Thus it is death is an enemy to the whole nature and race of man. But, glory to God, this enemy thall destroyed; death itself

Shall die. Altho' it is the last enemy, yet it shall surely be conquered. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is 85 death."

This brings me to the

Second thing proposed, which was to elablish this truth, that this enemy shall be destroyed. As we have seen the inimical visage of death, let us contemplate the conquest of it by the all powerful love of the Redeemer. We have considered what sin hath donc, let us contemplate what grace will do. As we have noticed the Itrength of the enemy, we will now ubserve the irresistible power and victory of the Saviour, the glorious conqueror of death. The beginning of the victory is in this world, but the perfection of it will be in the resurrection, when death shall live and reign no more. The first mortal wound which the king of terrors received was by the death of Clirist on the cross. Hereby it is rendered a tolera. ble evil to true believers, in the hopes of everlasting life. Its strength was hereby weakened and its sting was taken away. “The sting of death is fin, but thanks be to God who giveth “ us the victory thro' our Lord Jesus." It never was the in. tention of Christ to deliver us from the firoke of death, only from its dominion and power, and finally to recover us from its fetters by a glorious resurrection. “ For fince by man " came death, by man came also the resurrection from the “ dead." As he merited life for all who believe, so he actually conquered death by his own resurrection from the tomb. On this important day, he led captivity captive, and triumphed gloriously. It was then demonstrated to heaven, earth, and hell, that death was vanquished. By his arifing from the dead he hath conquered the powers of darkness, so snall we rile thro' him and die no more. “ For because he liveth, if 6 we believe inh-im, we shall live also."

The next fatal Aroke which this universal tyrant receives, is when we are sanctified by the influences of the Holy Ghoit, and justified by divine grace. When faith is implanted in the foul, it then looks beyond the grave and beholds eternal life. And altho' death may injure him, it can never destroy him. The believing foul foresees the day, “when death fhall be “ swallowed up of victory." So he may in the present time lift up his vo'ce and sing that triumphant fong, “O death, “where is thy sting, grave where is thy vi&tory. For this “ cause we faint not, tho' our outward man perish, our inward “ man is renewed day by day, for our light affliction, tho' it “ extends to the grave, which is but for a moment, worketh for “ us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

But the lalt stroke that death will receive, and when the conquelt thall be perfected, will be at the resurrection, and this is the victory referred to in our text, wherin it is affirmed the lalt enemy that thall be destroyed is death. Many a mortal wound it received heretofore, but now it is completely van. quished. Death will be then given to death. The body lyeth under death, and under the penal cffects of sin till the resurrection, and it is in a fort penal to the soul too, it is an allay to iis perfe& felicity, whilst in a state of separation from the body, even thoạit is in perfect glory with Jesus Christ, because it is de prived of the perfection or full completion of glory, which it lill receive after the resurrection, when the whole man, foul and body, will be introduced to and confirmed in all the blef. fedness of eternal life. The Mediator's work will then be finithed and accomplished. All things thall be completcly reftored. 66 Then there shall be no more death, nor furrow, nor “crying, nur pain, for the former things are pafied away." No terrible enemy between us and our God, to prevent the emanations of his love, or seclude us from his presence. O! what a birth day will it be, when the grave shall bring forth fo many millions of fons for glory? How joyful will the meeting of the foul and body be, who had been separated fo long? Then fin and transgrellion will be finished and can do no more, « And death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire." Then Chrift fhall have accomplished all, and will have no more to perform as our Redeemer; he will have placed all in glory who were given to him before the foundation of the world. Then fhall he deliver up the kingdom to the Father, and God shall be all in all.

The subject shall with a few deductions,

First, from death's being so great an enemy in so many rel. pests we are taught the exceeding malignity of fin. Sin hath entered into the world, and death its never failing companion attends it, and thus death hath passed upon all men, inasmuch as all have finned. It is fin which gives death all his power and dominion. Without lin death could neither exist nor reign. Hence we should use all possible means to destroy it, which has been so instrumental in our destruction. Let fin be the enemy we shall chiefly opposei By a proper opposition to him, we shall conquer death itself and difarm it of its sting; let us fight neither against small nor great, but against this implacable foe. He is a foe, he is a murderer indeed, who would deftroy both foul and body without any cause. Let us thrcforecarry on uncealing war against fin as our moit deadly, unreasonable, and most dangerous enemy. Let us get it fiain, by fanétifying grace derived from Chriit Jesus, before it shall fay us. Sin must be slain or it will surely destroy us forever, It is fin which hath made sueh universal havoc among man. kind, which hath Plain all the nations of the earth

age

after age,

and hath made our world an Aceldania, a field of blood. It is he who hath hurried death upon our near relatives, upon our intimate friends and dear companions, and who will quick. ly destroy us, at leait our bodies, also. Wherefore let us no longer, let us never be at peace with such an enemy, but let us maiņtain an obstinate and continual war with every iniquity, trusting in Christ the captain of our falvation, under whose banner we shall come off conquerors and more than conquerors. When we weep and mourn over the corpse of a departed friend, fhall we not think with abhorrence of the cause of the pale ruin and wounding feparation ? Let us hate and abhor fin, which has entailed fuch evil upon the world, is infinitely displeasing to God, and cost his eternal son so dear.

Secondly, we learn from this doctrine, from the victory obtained over this enemy, the great love and power of Jesus Christ, who condescended to enter the lists with this mighty combatant, and after an engagement beyond the comprehen. fion of men, came off triumphant; “Who thro' death destroy. " ed him who had the power of death.” Herein was the love of Chrilt manifested, that when we were taken captive by Satan, and were dead in trespasses and fins, Jesus the Saviour undertook for us and ransomed us from death and the

grave. What returns shall we make for these wonders of love ? Ought we not to return to him our whole hearts and lives? Herein is safety, security, and confolation that the second death, even death eternal, can never injure us. When the shafts of natural death are continually flying thick around us, ought we not folemnly to consider how we may be able to encounter the king of terrors? If we take Chriit for our leader and captain, we shall surely prevail. For this purpose, let us furnish and gird ourselves for the war. • Put on the whole armour of “ God, for we wrestle not againit flesh and blood, but against

principalities, againit powers, against the rulers of the dark" ness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. " Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye

may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all " to land. Stand therefore baving your loins gért about with * truth, and leaving on the breal plate of righteousness, and

« EdellinenJatka »