Great importance of a suitable preparation for death (1)
A Suitable Preparation for Death.
Psalm lxxxix. 48.
What man is he that liveth, and ſhall
not ſee Death, &c.
by the late reverend
Mr. ANDREW GRAY,
Miniſter of the Goſpel in Glasgow.
printed & sold by t. johnston.
Psalm Ixxxix 48.
What man ic he that liveth, and ſhall not
ſee death? &c.
It is very hard to determine, where all that are here ſhall be within thirty years; for even ere that time, many (⟨if⟩ not all) of us who are here, ſhall have taken up our everlaſting lodging. And whether we ſhall take it up in the eternity of joy, or in the eternity of pain, is alſo hard to determine; only this one thing I am ſure of, that all of us ſhall ſhortly be gone; and the ſhadows of death ſhall be ſitting upon our eye-lids, and our eye-ſtrings ſhall begin to break. Surely, I think, we are all near to eternity, and there are ſome hearing me to day, whom I defy the world to aſſure, that ever they ſhall hear another ſermon; therefore I entreat you all to hear this preaching, as if it were the laſt preaching that ever you ſhould hear; and O that we could ſpeak it as if it were the laſt ſermon that ever we would preach unto you. Believe me, death is another thing than we take it to be. Oh ! what will many of us do in the day of our viſitation, when deſolation ſhall come from afar? Where will we flee for reſt? And where will we leave our glory? Old rich men, where will ye flee, when death aſſaults you? Old poor men, where will you flee, when death aſſaults you? Old women where will you flee, when death aſſaults you? Young women, where will you flee, when death aſſaults you? It was an ancient obſervatio. of David Pſalm xxxix. 5. that God made his days as an hand-breadth. This either may relate to the fourfold ſtate of man, viz. His infancy, his child-hood, his man-hood, and his old age. Or, it may relate to the fourfold time of his life, viz. His morning, his forenoon, his afternoon, and his evening. Yet, all our life time is but a day. And, O think ye not that our day is near unto a cloſe?
Now, before that I begin to ſpeak any thing from the words, I ſhall ſpeak a few things to theſe two queſtions, which I conceive may not altogether be unprofitable.
Queſt. 1. Whether s it lawful for any to deſire to die, and return unto their long and endleſs home? Whether it be lawful for one to cry out, O time, time, flee away (and all my ſhadows let them be gone) that ſo, long eternity may come?
Anſ I ſay, It is lawful in ſome cafes for one to deſire to die; for it was Paul's deſire, Philip. I. 23. “I am in a ſtrait betwixt two, having a deſire to depart, and to be with Chriſt, which is far better.” And, 2 Cor. v. 2. “We groan earneſtly, deſiring to be clothed upon with our houſe which is from heaven.” I long greatly till the twenty-firſt year of my age come, when my minority ſhall be overpaſt, that I may enter heir to that matchleſs inheritance. But to clear in what caſes it is lawful to deſire to die.
1. I ſay, It is lawful to deſire to die, when it floweth from a deſire of uninterrupted fellowſhip and communion with Chriſt and conjunction with him; this is clear. 2 Cor. v. 6. “Knowing that whilſt we are at home in the body, we are abſent from the Lord.” Therefore, ver. 8. “We are willing rather to be abſent from the body, and to be preſent with the Lord.” And it is clear, Philip, I. 23. “ I am in a ſtrait betwixt two, having a deſire to depart, and to be with Chriſt, which is far better.” It was his great end to have near and unmixed communion with Chriſt. What aileth you Paul (might one have ſaid,) may ye not be content to ſtay a while here? Nay, ſaith Paul, “I deſire to be gone, and to be with Chriſt.” Waſt thou never with him here, Paul?— I have been with him, ſaith he, but what is all my being with him here, in compariſon of being with him above; “ Whilſt I am preſent in the body, I am abſent from the Lord:” Therefore, I will never be at reſt, ſaith he, get what I will, until I get Chriſt, until I get thoſe naked and immediate embracements of that ⟨noble⟩ Piant of Renown, the Flower of the ſtock of Jesse, who is the light of the higher houſe, the eternal admiration of angels.
2. It is lawful to desire to die, when it floweth from the excellencies of heaven, from a deſire to partake of theſe excellent things that are there ; this is clear, 2 Cor. v. 4. “We groan, being burdened;” or, as the word is, “We groan, as they who are preſſed under a heavy burden, that we may be clothed upon,” &c. What aileth you to groan ſo, Paul? O, faith he, I groan that mortality may be ſwallowed up of life.
3. It is lawful to deſire to die, when it floweth from a deſire to be ſaved from the body of death ; and from theſe temptations that do aſſualt us ; and from theſe oppreſſions whereunto we are ſubject by it.— Doubtleſs Paul deſired to die on this account, when he cried out, Rom. xii. 24. “O wretched man that I am ! Who ſhall deliver me from the body of this death?” He longed greatly for that day, whereon he ſhould be made white, “like the wings of a dove covered with, silver, whoſe feathers are of yellow gold.” O! ſaith Paul, I am as one impatient till I be above, where I ſhall be clothed with theſe excellent and cleanly robes, the righteouſneſs of Chriſt. O! ſaith Paul, I think every day a year. till I be possessed of that kingdom where Satan cannot tempt, and the creature cannot yield, and where I ſhall be free from all my fears of sinning. Now, in all theſe reſpects, who would not desire to die? But, to guard all theſe, I would give you theſe four cautions.
1. Caution. Your desire to die ſhould not be peremptory, but you ſhould desire, to die with ſubmiſſion to the will of God; ſo that although he would fill up fifteen years more to your life, ye ſhould be content to live it out.
2. Caution. When your desires are haſty, and off-hand, ſuſpect them ; for ſome, when they meet with an outward croſs (without all deliberation) will cry out, O to be gone ! O that I were dead ! But your desire to die ſhould be deliberate, but not haſty, or raſh.
3. Caution. It is not lawful to desire to die, becauſe of perſonal afflictions.— Many, when they meet with bitter afflictions, will cry out. O to be gone; they long for death even upon that account; ſuch were Job’s desires, Job xxi. 22. and chap. vi. 8, 9. “O that I might have my requeſt! even that it would pleaſe God to deſtroy me.” This desire was very unlawful.
4 Caution. It not lawful to desire to die, when thy predominant idol is taken away from thee: yet ſuch was Jonah’s desire, chap. iv. 3. Jonah thought his credit and reputation (which was his idol) was gone, and could never be regained; therefore he wiſhed to die. But I would ſay this to you, that ſome will have ten desires for death, when they have not one desire for heaven. And what moveth Chriſtians to be ſo desirous to die? It is not ſo much becauſe of their hope, as becauſe of their anxiety; it is not ſo much becauſe of their confidence, as becauſe of their impatience. But I ſay unto you, when your desires of death are not accompanied with desires of heaven, ſuſpect them. 2. I would ſay this that there are ſome who will have ten desires for death, when they will not have one for the death of the body of death; but it wore good for thee (who art ſuch) to be desiring the death of the body of death, then ſhouldſt thou be in a more ſuitable frame to desire to die. 3. Some will have hearty desires to die, and yet, when death cometh, they wall be as unwilling to die as any. It hath been obſerved, that ſome who had much desire to die, when death came, have cried out, O ſpare a little, that I may recover ſtrength,” &c.
There is a great difference between a desire to die, and death itſelf. It is an eaſy thing to desire to die, but it is a very great busineſs to meet with death, and to look it in thə face when it cometh. We think death (ere it come near us) to be but children’s play; but when we meet with it, it maketh us change our thoughts ; for it it a great business to die.
Queſt. 2. Is it lawful for a Chriſtian to desire to live, when he is ſummoned to die?
Anſw. In ſome caſes it is lawful for a Chriſtian to desire to live, even when he is ſummoned to die; which is clear from the practice of David, Pſalm xxxix. 13. where he prayeth, that the Lord would ſpare him a little. It alſo clear from the practice of good Hezekiah. Iſa xxxviii 3. when he was commanded to ſet his houſe in order, for he ſhould die, and not live, he crieth out. “Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight : and Hezekian wept fore:’ or as the words are in the original, “He wept with great weeping.” But, to guard this, take theſe two cautions. Caution 1. Thy desire to live (when thou art ſummoned to die) ſhould not be peremptory, but with ſubmiſſion to the will of God, that if it be his pleaſure to remove thee preſently out of time, thou ſhouldſt be content to die.
Caution 2. Thy deſire to live ſhould have gracious principles, and alſo a very gracious end, as is moſt clear from David, Pſalm xxxix. 13. where he ſaith, “O ſpare me a little, that I may recover ſtrength, before I go hence, and be no more.”— His deſire to live was, that he might have victory over his idols. As if he had ſaid, My deſire to live is, that I may have ſtrength to with, and overcome my idols. And, without all controverſy, Hezekiah’s deſire was a moſt precious and well grounded deſire. However, I would ſay this unto thee, that thou ſhouldeſt examine thy deſires to live (as much, if not more) as thy deſire to die; for, we are ready to ſhun death, if we could, but he is that univerſal king unto whom all of us muſt be ſubject ere long.
Now, in the words which are read unto, you, there are theſe ſix things, which might be clearly obſerved from them.
1. That it is a moſt clear and infallible truth, that all perſons ſhall once ſee death; as is clear in theſe words, Who is be that liveth, and ſhall not ſee death? II. That this truth (that we ſhall once ſee death) is not much believed or thought upon by many; therefore it is that the Pſalmiſt doubteth the aſſertion, What man is he that liveth, and ſhall not ſee death ? ſhall he deliver his ſoul (that is, his life) from the hand (that is, from the power) of the grave?
III. That ſometimes a Chriſtian may win the ſolid faith of this truth, that once he muſt die; this the Pſalmiſt wan unto, as it is alſo clear in that word who: Who is he that liveth, and ſhall not ſee death?
IV. That the certainty of this, that once we ſhall die, ſhould be ſtill kept in our mind; therefore, that note of attention, Selab, is put to it. As if he had ſaid, Take heed, that there is none living that ſhall not die!
V. That howbeit ſome perſons put the evil day far away, as if they were not to ſee death; yet, is the day coming, when they ſhall ſee death, and death ſhall take them by the hand.
VI. We ſhall take notice of this from the context, that the Chriſtian who is much in minding the brevity of his life, will believe the certainty of his death. The Pſalm ſt was ſpeaking of the ſhortneſs of his life in the preceding verſe, and, in this verſe he ſpeaketh of the certainty of death.
Now, as for the firſt of theſe things obſerved, viz. That it is certain and moſt ſure that we ſhall once die, I hope there are none here who will deny; altho' I confeſs ſome few of you believe, what, was ſaid by the woman of Tekoah, 2 Samuel xiv. 14. “We muſt all die, and be like water ſpilt upon the ground, that cannot be gathered up again. God doth not except the perſon of any.” And Job xxx. 23. “I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the houſe appointed for all living. —And it is very clear, Eccleſ. viii. 8. “There is no man that hath power over the ſpirit, to retain the ſpirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no diſcharge in that war; neither ſhall wickedneſs deliver thoſe who are given to it.” —So that it is moſt clear that we muſt die.
I remember of one Philip, king of Macedonia, who had one ſubſtituted for this very end to cry at his oh chamber-door every morning Memento mori, Memento mori, Memento mori, Remember thou art to die. And, it is reported to have been the practice of the Nobles of Greece, on the day wherein their Emperor was crowned, that they preſented a marble-ſtone unto him, and he was required after what faſhion he would have his tomb-ſtone made? Which practice ſpeaks forth this unto us, that altho' theſe were moſt deſtitute of the light of the Scipture, they were very mindful of death. Believe me, death may ſurpriſe us before we be awate; for it is moſt certain, that we muſt die; but, there is nothing more uncertain than the way how, and the time when we ſhall die.
Death will ſurpriſe ſome, as it did Abel in the open fields, Geneſis iv. 8. Death will ſurpriſe ſome, as it did Eglon in his parlour, Judges iii. 21. And, death will ſurpriſe ſome, as it did Saul and Jonathan in the fight, 1 Samuel xxxi.
Now, in ſpeaking to this point, I ſhall, Firſt, Speak a little to the advantages which attend thoſe that live within continual ſight of death. Second y I ſhall give you ſome conſiderations to preſs you to prepare for death. Thirdly ; I ſhall give you ſome directions to help you to prepare for death. And then we ſhall proceed unto the ſecond point of the doctrine, which we obſerved from the text. And I ſhall ſpeak a few things from it unto you, and ſo come to a cloſe for this time.
Firſt then, We conceive there are theſe ſeven advantages which attend thoſe who live within the continual sight of this truth, that they muſt die.
Firſt, The faith of approaching death, will make a ſoul exceeding diligent in duty. This was our bleſſed Lord’s divinity, John ix. 4. “ I muſt woak the work Him that “ſent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.” That is, death is approaching, therefore I muſt work.—It is clear alſo, 2 Peter I. 12. compare with verſe 14. In verſe 12. Peter is exceeding diligent in his duty ; and the ground of his diligence is in verſe 14. “Knowing, that ſhortly I muſt put off this tabernacle,” &c. Yet it is even the Epicure’s argument, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.” And, ſhould not the Chriſtian much more cry out, Let me watch and pray, for tomorrow I may die? I ſay, if the Epicures did make uſe of this notion, to make them vigorous in the purſuit of their pleaſures, O how much more ſhould a Chriſtian improve it, for making him vigorous in the purſuit of duty?—Therefore I ſay unto you all, O be ye diligent, for your night is drawing near,—O Chriſtians, and expectants of heaven are ye not afraid leſt ye be nighted before ye have walked the half of your journey? For, if ye be nighted on yoar journey to heaven, before ye come up to the end of your race, there is no retiring place where-unto ye may turn aſide to lodge. Therefore O work, work, work, while it is to-day; for, behold death is approaching, and then ſhall we all be called to an account.
Second. The faith of approaching death, will make a Chriſtian exceeding active in duty; he will not only be diligent, but alſo exceeding ſerious and zealous in the exerciſe of his duty. This is clear, from that notable exhortation in Eccleſ. ix. 10.—“Whatſoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.” And the reaſon is, “For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wiſdom, in the grave, whither thou goeſt.” Wherefore, O be active, while you are alive, for ye ſhall never work any more after ye are dead. And, if ye leave but one work undone, there is no doing of it after death: “There is no work (ſaith Solomon) in the grave:” Therefore, O be active.
Third. The faith of this truth, that we muſt all die, will help a Chriſtian to be exceeding mortified to the things of a preſent world. Oh! covetous men and women, would you ſhake hands with cold death but once every morning, I ſhould defy you to purſue the world ſo much as ye do. Paul was much in the meditation of this change, which made him, 2 Cor. iv 18. to overlook theſe things that are temporary: “While we look not (ſaith he) at the things which are ſeen, which are temporal; but at the things which are not ſeen, which are eternal.” Therefore, Chap. v. 1. 2. “Knowing, that if our earthly houſe of this tabernacle were diſſolved, we have a building of God, an houſe not “made with hands, eternal in the heavens: Therefore, in this we groan, earneſtly deſiring to be clothed upon with our houſe which is from heaven.” What aileth you, Paul, (might one have ſaid) may ye not take a-look of the world? No, ſaith he, “For I know, that if our earthly houſe of this tabernacle were diſſolved, I have a houſe with God, not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens.” That is, I know, that ere long, the pins of my tabernacle will be looſed, and it will fall down about my ears ; therefore, I muſt look for another dwelling-houſe. And, 1 Cor. vii. 31. “The faſhion of this world paſſeth away.” Therefore, ſaith he, ver. 32. “I would have you without carefulneſs, caring how to pleaſe the Lord.” And, Philipians iv. 5. “Let yoar moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” As if he had ſaid, I intreat you to be ſober. But I think many of us will be found like Saul, hid among the ſtuff; that is, we will be lying among the midſt of the pleaſures of this paſſing world. But I say unto thee, who art ſuch an one, that death will break the ſtrings of thy harp, thy muſic will quickly ceaſe. O but death will make thee to have a low eſteem of the world! O blessed is the perſon, who hath theſe thoughts of the world all along in his way which he ſhall have of it at death! Have not the moſt curſed wretches been forced to cry out, Oh! I would give ten thouſand worlds for Chriſt? Have not ſome perſons (who have had the moon upon their head, and that have made their belly their god) been forced to cry out at death, O curſed perſon that I am, that ever I made the world my god? Alas! that I contented myſelf world ! Therefore I ſay unto thee, who art ſuch an one, O ſlay thy purſuit after the world, for death is approaching, that will cauſe all the worldly comforts to vaniſh.
Fourth. When a Chriſtian believeth this truth, that he maſt die, it will be an exceeding great reſtraint to keep him from ſinning, as is clear, Job xxxi. 13. compared with verſe 14. where Job, reckoning over many good deeds done by himſelf, faith, “What then ſhall I do, when God riſeth up? And when he viſiteth, what ſhall I answer him?” As if he had ſaid Sirs, miſtake me not; I am boaſting much of myſelf, but I could not have done otherwiſe; elſe what ſhould I do when God riſeth up? How could I anſwer to God, if I had done otherwiſe? I think it were a notable practice of each of you, to ſay, O temptation, what will I answer to God, when he riſes up to reprove me, if I should yield unto thee?” Likewiſe, Eccleſ. xi. 9. where Solomon, dissuading your men to purſue after their vanity, brings this as a reaſon, “Know ye, that for all theſe “ things God will bring you into judgment.” Therefore, I ſay unto thee, who art often tempted to ſin, let death and reckoning with God, be ſtill in thy ſight, and I defy thee then to embrace half ſo many temptations, as now thou doſt. I intreat you to anſwer all your temptations with that one word, “ What shall I anſwer when God riſeth up ? And what shall I anſwer, when he visiteth me?”
Fifth. When a Chriſtian liveth within the sight of this truth, that he shall ohce ſee death, it will make him exceeding patient under every croſs wherewith he meeteth. Such a Chriſtian will hardly meet with a croſs but he will quiet himſelf with this, Death will put me beyond this croſs; this is out a cloud that will quickly paſs away. And for this cauſe did David ſo compoſedly put up that desire, Pſalm xxx(illegible text). 4. “Lord make me to know mine end, and the meaſure of my days.” He was ſure that the knowledge of his end, would put him in a ſober and patient frame.
The Sixth advantage is this, the faith of approaching death, will teach the perſon that hath it, to ſtudy ſaving wiſdom. This is clear, Pſalm xc. 12. where Moſes putteth up this requeſt, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wiſdom.” As if he had ſaid, I will never think myſelf wiſe, till I know that blessed part of arithmetic, how to number my days. I would desire every one of you all to think with yourſelf every morning when you riſe Now, I am a day nearer unto eternity than I was before! And at the end of every hour, Now I am an hour nearer unto eternity than I was before! I ſay, think often, yea, always thus, I was never ſo near my death as I am now! For Oh! are we not all nearer unto eternity to-day, than yeſterday?
The Seventh advantage attending the faith of approaching death, is this, that it will make a Chriſtian very careful in preparing for death. It is impoſſible for one to believe really that death is approaching, and not to prepare for it. Say what ye will, if ye be not careful in preparing for death, ye have not the ſoiid faith of this truth, that ye shall die. Believe me, it is not every one that thinketh he believeth this truth, that believeth it indeed. And O how dreadful is it for an unprepared man to meet with death! He desireth not to die, yea, he would give a world for his life! but die he muſt, whether he will or not; for death will not be requeſted to ſpare a little when he cometh, And therefore I ſay unto you all, “Set your houſe in order, for ye shall ſurely die.” Old men and women, ſet your houſe in order, for tomorrow ye may die, and be cut off in the flower of your age. Think not that there be many who can ſell time, for I ſay, ye shall never get time ſold unto you— Alas! I fear that the moſt part of perſons that die now, death findeth them at unawares; for indeed the perſons that die among us, when we come to visit them, we may give you a ſad account of them. We think they are comprehended under theſe four ſorts.
1 When we go to visit ſome perſons on their death-beds, they are like into Nabal their heart is dying and sinking (like unto a ſtone) within them; they are no more affected with death, than if it were a fancy. Alas! for the great ſtupidity that hath overtaken many. Therefore, I intreat you delay not your repentance till death, leſt the Lord take away your wit, ſo that you cannot repent for your ſenſeleſsneſs, and ſtupid frame of ſpirit.
2. A ſecond ſort we find in a preſumptuous fra(illegible text) ſaying, They have had a good hope all their days, and they will not quit it now; they will go down to their graves with their hope in their right hand; or, rather, they will “go down to the grave with a lie in their right hand:” They live in a preſumptuous frame, and they die in the ſame deluſion. For, when we tell them, by all probability they are going down to hell! They anſwer, God forbid! I was all my time a very honeſt man or woman. But I love not that confeſſion, for there are many ſuch honeſt men and women in hell this day.
3. The third ſort we find having ſome convictions that they have been playing the fool all their days; but we can get them no further. I ſhall only ſay to ſuch, To go down to the grave with convictions in their breaſts, not making uſe of Chriſt, is to go down to hell with a candle in their hand, to let them ſee the way! And truly the greateſt part that die, die in that manner.
4. There are ſome whom we find in a ſelf-righteous frame, reſting upon the covenant of works, and their own merits; and truſting by theſe to go to heaven: yet, neglecting the offer of Chriſt’s righteouſneſs. But, alas ! we find not one of a thouſand of this frame, “I deſire to be dissolved, and to be with Chriſt, which is beſt of all.” And ſcarce do we find any in ſuch a frame, “O Wretched man that I am, who ſhall deliver me from the body of this death!” Therefore I ſay this unto you all who are here, O! will ye mind death, before it take hold on you? Oh! mind your work now; for ye will find that death will be work enough for itſelf, though ye leave no work till then.
The Eighth advantage that attendeth the Chriſtian in believing this truth, that once he muſt die, is this, Death will not be ſo terrible to him, as to many, when it cometh. What (think ye) makhth death a king of terrors? What maketh many to ſhake as the leaf of a tree, when they are ſummoned to appear before God’s tribunal? It is even becauſe of this, they have not been thinking of death before it came, ſo as to prepare for it. And I fear many in this place may be afraid for death; and that when it cometh to them, they will ſay unto death, as Ahab ſaid to Elijah, “Haſt thou found me, O mine enemy?” Surely death will take you, and bring you to the judgment-ſeat of Chriſt ; therefore ſtudy, by all means, to think ofteu upon it, and make ready for it. Believe me, death is a very big word, for it will make you once ſtand with horror in your ſouls, if your peace be not made up with God! I know not a more dreadful diſpenſation than death and a guilty conſcience meeting together.
II. The Second thing that I ſhall ſpeak unto from this firſt obſervation, (viz. This is a moſt certain and infallible truth that all perſons ſhall once ſee death,) ſhall be, to give you ſome conſiderations for preſſing you to prepare for death.
The Firſt conſideration is this, To die well, and in the Lord, is a moſt difficult work, Therefore, I entreat you to prepare for death. It is a difficult work to communicate aright, it is a difficult work to pray aright and it is a difficult work to confer aright; but, I muſt tell you, it is a more difficult work to die aright, than any of theſe. It is true, it is more difficult to communicate aright, than ſo pray aright; yet it is much more difficult to die aright, than to communicate aright; for it is a more difficult work to die in the Lord— Death will put the moſt accurate Chriſtian that is here to a wonderful ſearch; and, therefore, I will tell you nine things that death will try in thee.
1. Death will try both the reality and ſtrength of thy faith. It may be eaſy for thee to keep up faith under many difficulties, but death will put thy faith to thegreateſt ſtreſs that ever it did meet with. Yea, know this, that the faith of the ſtrongeſt believer may get (and ordinarily doth get) a ſet at death, the like whereof it never got before : therefore prepare for death.
2. Death will try thy love to God.— Some perſons pretend much to love him ; but death will propoſe this queſtion to ſuch a perſon, ‘Loveſt thou him more than theſe?’ Loveſt thou him more than thy wife, more than thy houſe, more than thy friends?——
But your unwillingneſs to die, giveth us much ground to fear that many have little love to Chriſt, but much to the world, and ſo dare not anſwer the queſtion, “Lord, thou knoweſt that I love thee.”
3. Death will try thy enjoyments.— Some of you may be ready to think, that ye meet with many enjoyments, ſo that ye may reckon (as you think) to forty enjoyments and ſweet out-lettings: But, beware that bring them not down to twenty. I have known ſome, who thought they had met forty times with God; but when death came; it made them take down the count to the half. Therefore, ſeeing death will try the reality of thine enjoyments, O prepare for it.
4. Death will try thy patience. Thou mayeſt ſeem to have much patience now, but when death cometh (and thou art put to die) it will put thy patience to a great trial; therefore prepare for it.
5. Death will try the reality of thy duties, yea, even thoſe duties wherein thou hadſt moſt ſatisfaction, as praying, reading, &c.
6. Death will try thy ſincerity, and make in appear what you really are.
7. Death will diſcover unto thee, many hid and ſecret ſins, which you knew not.
8. Death will accurately try thy mortification, and put it to the touch-ſtone.
9. Death will try thy hope, whether it be real or not. I ſhall only ſay this, That all the other graces muſt low the ſail to faith ; and ſo it is, faith muſt carry us through, being the last triumphing grace, which muſt fit the field for us, when all the other graces will faint and ly by.
Now, to preſs you to make uſe of Chriſt, conſider, If ye embrace not Chriſt now, death will be very unplcaſant unto you.—— O what elſe can comfort thee, when going through the region of the ſhadow of death, but this, I am Chriſt’s! I am Chriſt's!— Is there any other thing that can comfort the in that day, but only this, I am Chriſt’s, and he is mine! And, O how blessed is the perſon that can ſing that ſong, in view of death and the grave, Pſal. xlviii. 14 “ This is my God, he will be my guide even unto death,” O how happy is he that can ſay, when his eye-ſtrings ſhall begin to break, “Though I walk through the ſhadow of death, yet will I fear no ill; for I know “the Lord is wlth me?” If death find you in an eſtranged ſtate from God, I defy the angels in heaven to free you out of that ſtate. Therefore, I ſay unto each of you “O prepare to meet thy God!” Haſte, haſte in time, and come out of the land of your captivity, and from the houſe of your bondage, and take Chriſt for your Redeemer. Amen.
F I N I S.
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.