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of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me*.” "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lordt." "O continue thy loving kindness unto them that know thee, and thy righteousness to the upright in heart! For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light." "Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right-hand there are pleasures for evermore§." "As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." "For I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him until that day." "Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth, my flesh also shall rest in hope**." "For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; those also that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him++."-I give unto my sheep eternal life," (said Jesus, the good shepherd,)" and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand‡‡." "This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that believeth on me, should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day§§.' "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you: I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there may ye be also||||." "Go tell my brethren, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God¶¶¶.” "Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them***." He that testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly, Amen: even so come, Lord Jesus†††!” “O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory! Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ 111."
§. 12. Thus may that God who knows the souls of his children in all their adversities§§§, and in whose sight the death of his saints is precious||||||, cheer and support you and me in those
last extremities of nature! May he add us to the happy number of those who have been more than conquerors in death! And may he give us those supplies of his spirit, which may enable us to pour out our departing souls in such sentiments as those I would now suggest; though we should be no longer able to utter words, or to understand them if they were to be read to us! Let us at least review them with all proper affections now, and lay up one prayer more for that awful moment! Oh that this, and all we have ever offered with regard to it, may then come in remembrance before God* !
A Meditation and Prayer, suited to the Case of a dying Christian.
"O THOU supreme Ruler of the visible and invisible. worlds! Thou Sovereign of life and of death; of earth and of heaven! Blessed be thy name, I have often been taught to seek thee. And now once more do I pour out my soul, my departing soul, unto thee. Bow down thy gracious ear, O God, and let my cry come before thee with acceptance!
"The hour is come, when thou wilt separate me from this world, with which I have been so long and so familiarly acquainted, and lead me to another, as yet unknown. Enable me, I beseech thee, to make the exchange, as becomes a child of Abraham, who being called of thee to receive an inheritance, obeyed and went out, though he knew not particularly whither he went; as becomes a child of God, who knows, that through sovereign grace, it is his Father's good pleasure to give him the kingdom!
"I acknowledge, O Lord, the justice of that sentence by which I am expiring; and own thy wisdom and goodness, in appointing my journey through this gloomy vale which is now before me. Help me to turn it into the happy occasion of honouring thee, and adorning my profession! and I will bless the pangs, by which thou art glorified, and this mortal and sinful part of my nature is dissolved.
"Gracious Father, I would not quit this earth of thine, and this house of clay in which I have sojourned during my abode upon the face of it, without my grateful acknowledgments to thee for all that abundant goodness which thou hast caused to pass before me heres. With my dying breath, I bear witness. to thy faithful care, I have wanted no good thing. I thank thee, O my God, that this guilty, forfeited, unprofitable life was so
*Acts x. 4, 31, † Heb. xi. S. Luke xii. 32. § Exod. xxxiii. 19. Psal. xxxiv. 10.
long spared: that it hath still been maintained by such a rich variety of thy bounty. I thank thee, that thou hast made this beginning of my existence so pleasant to me. I thank thee, for the mercies of my days and nights, of my months and years, which are now come to their period: I thank thee, for the mercies of my infancy, and for those of my riper age; for all the agreeable friends which thou hast given me in this house of my pilgrimage, the living and the dead; for all the help I have received from others; and for all the opportunities which thou hast given me of being helpful to the bodies and souls of my brethren of mankind. Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life*, and I have reason to rise a thankful guest from the various and pleasant entertainments with which my table has been furnished by thee. Nor shall I have reason to repine, or to grieve at quitting them: for, O my God, are thy bounties exhausted? I know that they are not. I will not wrong thy goodness and thy faithfulness so much as to imagine, that because I am going from this earth, I am going from happiness. I adore thy mercy that thou hast taught me to entertain nobler views through Jesus thy Son. I bless thee with all the powers of my nature, that I ever heard of his name, and heard of his death: and would fain exert a more vigorous act of thankful adoration, than in this broken state. I am capable of, while I am extolling thee, for the riches of thy grace manifested in him; for his instructions and his example, for his blood and his righteousness, and for that blessed spirit of thine which thou hast given me, to turn my sinful heart unto thyself, and to bring me into the bonds of thy covenant; of that covenant, which is ordered in all things and suret, and which this death, though now separating my soul from my body, shall never be able to dissolve.
"I bless thee, O Lord, that I am not dying in an unrege nerate and impenitent state; but that thou didst graciously awaken and convince me; that thou didst renew and sanctify my heart, and didst by thy good Spirit work in it an unfeigned faith, a real repentance, and the beginning of a divine life. I thank thee for ministers and ordinances: I thank thee for my sabbaths, and my sacrament days; for the weekly and monthly refreshments which they gave me: I thank thee for the fruits of Canaan, which were sent me in the wilderness, and are now sent me on the brink of Jordan. I thank thee for thy blessed word, and for those exceeding rich and precious promises of it, which now lie as a cordial warm at my heart in this chilling † 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
Psal. xxiii. 6.
hour; promises of support in death, and of glory beyond it, and of the resurrection of my body to everlasting life. O my God, I firmly believe them all, great and wonderful as they are, and am waiting for the accomplishment of them through Jesus Christ; in whom they are all yea and Amen*. Remember thy word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope + ! I covenanted with thee not only for worldly enjoyments, which thy love taught me comparatively to despise; but for eternal life, as the gift of thy free grace through Jesus Christ my Lord‡: and now permit me in his name to enter my humble claim to it! Permit me to consign this departing spirit to thine hand; for thou hast redeemed it, O Lord God of truth§! I am thine: save mell, and make me happy!
"But may I indeed presume to say, I am thine? O God, now I am standing on the borders of both worlds, now I view things, as in the light of thy presence and of eternity, how unworthy do I appear, that I should be taken to dwell with thy angels and saints in glory! Alas, I have reason to look back with deep humiliation on a poor unprofitable sinful life, in which I have daily been deserving to be cast into hell. But I have this one comfortable reflection, that I have fled to the cross of Christ; and I now renew my application to it. To think of appearing before God in such an imperfect righteousness as my own, were ten thousand times worse than death. No, Lord! I come unto thee as a sinner; but as a sinner who has believed in thy Son for pardon and life; I fall down before thee as a guilty polluted wretch; but thou hast made him to be unto thy people for wisdom and righteousness, for sanctification and redemption¶. Let me have my lot among the followers of Jesus! Treat me, as thou treatest those who are his friends and his brethren! For thou knowest, my soul has loved him, and trusted him, and solemnly ventured itself on the security of his gospel. And I know in whom I have believed**. The infernal lion may attempt to dismay in the awful passage; but I rejoice that I am in the hands of the good shepherd++; and I defy all my spiritual enemies, in a cheerful dependance on his faithful care. I lift up my eyes and my heart to him, who was dead and is alive again; and behold, he lives for evermore, and hath the keys of death and of the unseen world. Blessed Jesus, I die by thine hand, and I fear no harm from the hand of a Saviour! I fear not that death,
2 Cor. i. 20. Psal. cxix. 94. ‡‡ Rev. i. 18. VOL. I.
+Psal. cxix. 49.
Rom. vi. 23. ** 2 Tim. i. 12.
§ Psal. xxxi. 5.
which is allotted to me by the hand of my dearest Lord, who himself died to make it safe and happy. I come, Lord, I come not only with a willing, but with a joyful consent. I thank thee, that thou rememberest me for good; that thou art breaking my chains, and calling me to the glorious liberty of the children of God. I thank thee, that thou wilt no longer permit me to live at a distance from thine arms; but, after this long absence, wilt have me at home, at home for ever.
"My feeble nature faints in the view of that glory which is now dawning upon me: but thou knowest how, gracious Lord, to let it in upon my soul by just degrees, and to make thy strength perfect in my weaknesst. Once more, for the last time, would I look down on this poor world which I am going to quit, and breathe out my dying vows for its prosperity; and that of thy church in it. I have loved it, O Lord, as a living member of the body; and I love it to the last. I humbly beseech thee therefore that thou wilt guard it, and purify it, and unite it more and more! Send down more of thy blessed Spirit upon it, even the spirit of wisdom, of holiness, and of love; till in due time the wilderness be turned into a garden of the Lord, and all flesh shall see thy salvations!
"And as for me, bear me, O my heavenly Father, on the wings of everlasting love, to that peaceful, that holy, that joyous abode, which thy mercy has prepared for me, and which the blood of my Redeemer hath purchased! Bear me to the general assembly and church of the first-born, to the innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect||. And whatever this flesh may suffer, let my steady soul be delightfully fixed on that glory to which it is rising! Let faith perform its last office in an honourable manner! Let my few remaining moments on earth be spent for thy glory, and so let me ascend, with love in my heart, and praise on my faultering tongue, to the world where love and praise shall be complete! Be this my last song on earth, which I am going to tune in heaven; Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen."
* Rom. viii. 21,
+ 2 Cor. xii. 9.
Heb. xlii. 22, 23.
Isai. li. 3.