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' I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He
shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: I
know that though worms will after my skin destroy
this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God !' I shall

200 LIFE.

see Him as He is ! I shall see Him face to face !
I shall be with Him in glory ! He will raise me
from the grave in His own image, changing by
His almighty power my vile body into the likeness
of His glorious body ! My corrupt soul will then
be changed into a perfect spirit, my few days into
endless ages ; my abundant troubles into everlasting
joys ! I shall then have the consummation of perfect
bliss both in body and soul, in divine and eternal
glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord !"

Soon, my brethren, you may die ! Soon you may
be dressed in your shroud, and inclosed in your cof-
fin ! Soon your " body may be made ready to be
committed to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to
ashes, dust to dust !" Soon may these words be ut-
tered over your grave " Man that is born of a
woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of
misery. He cometh up, and is cut down like a
flower ; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never
continueth in one stay !" But, my Christian brethren !
having slept in Jesus, having died in the Lord, how
blessed will you be ! " For I heard a voice from
heaven, saying unto me, Write from henceforth,
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, even so,
saith the Spirit ; for they rest from their labours !"

And, now, we meekly beseech Thee, O Father,
to raise us from the death of sin to the life of right-
eousness, that when we are cut down as a flower,
and depart as a shadow into the grave, we may sleep
in Christ, and rest in hope that in the general resur-
rection at the last day we may be found acceptable

LIFE. 201

in thy sight, and be welcomed into the kingdom
which Thou hast prepared for thy people from the
foundation of the world. Grant this, we beseech
Thee, merciful Father, through our Mediator and
Redeemer Jesus Christ ! Amen.




JOB xxx. 28.

For I know that Thou will bring me to death and to
the house appointed for all living.

WHAT is it, my brethren, which we are most con-
cerned to remember ? And what is it, which we are
most prone to forget ? It is death ! Aware of our
common infirmity, and desirous of our eternal wel-
fare, Almighty God in his ever watchful providence
continually reminds us of our latter end. Every
bodily pain, every sickening friend, every burial
knell, every passing funeral, every opened grave,
almost hourly remind us of death. " that we were
wise, that we understood this, that we would consi-
der our latter end !" " So teach us, O God, to num-
ber our days that we may apply our hearts unto wis-
dom !" " For we know that thou wilt bring us to
death, and to the house appointed for all the living !"

The nature, the certainty, and the consequences of
death are the subjects of the following discourse.

DEATH. 203

We are to notice,


" Thou, God, wilt bring me to death !" What is
death ? Death is an event, an act, a punishment. As
a punishment death is the penalty of sin ; as an act,
it is the execution of God ; as an event, it is the se-
paration of body and soul.

1. Death as a punishment is the penalty of sin.

When God had made man out of the dust, He
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man
became not only a living creature, but an immortal
soul. Had he stood in his uprightness, man would
not only never have died, but he would in due time
have been translated from the scene of earthly bliss
to perfect and endless felicity in heaven. But, Adam
fell ! Though God had said to him, " In the day
that thou eatest of the forbidden tree, thou shalt
surely die ;" yet He transgressed the divine com-
mand and soon heard the divine sentence, " Dust
thou art, and to dust shalt thou return." Thus Adam
sinned, and incurred the penalty of sin. For sin
not only defaced the image of God in his mind, and
expelled the Spirit of God from his breast, but ex-
posed him to temporal and eternal death ! With the
curse of heaven on his head ; with the seeds of
disease in his body ; with the sentence of death in
his soul, he went trembling towards the grave. In
consequence of his transgression, not only Adam
but all his offspring, became liable to death. " In

204 DEATH-

Adam all died !" " By one man sin entered the world,
and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men." Man, in consequence of Adam's sin, is now
so constituted, that were his body to avoid all acci-
dents, and escape all diseases ; yet containing, as it
does, the principles of its own decay, it would of
mere old age expire, and return to dust. But, alas !
he is liable every hour to fatal accidents, to innumer-
able diseases, and to sundry kinds of death. In his
best estate he is but vanity. In his greatest strength
he is crushed before the moth. In his brightest
glory, he withers like a flower. After a few days and
a few nights, a few joys and a few sorrows, " his
breath goes forth ; he returns to his earth ; and in
that day his thoughts perish !"

Again :

2. Death as an act is the execution of God.
" Thou O God, will bring me to death !" " It is ap-
pointed unto men once to die !" " the grave is the
house appointed for all living ;" and God, the great
Arbiter of life and death, is the great Appointer.
God appoints the time of our death. He numbers
our days; and when our last day is numbered,
we give up the ghost ! God appoints the place of
our death ; and when we come to that place, whether
it be at home or abroad, in company or alone, we lie
down, and die ! God appoints the manner of our
death ; and whether it be by gentle decay, or violent
agony ; by lingering disease, or sudden stroke, it is
the act of God ! Our times are in His hand ; our life

DEATH. 205

is at His disposal ; " He taketh away our breath ;
we die, and return to dust."

Further :

3. Death as an event is the separation of body and

When man's last hour approaches his breathing
is difficult, and his feeling is benumbed ; the clammy
dews cluster round his temples, the chilling blood
flutters round his heart ! Then "in the rigid limb, the
clenched hand, the clay-cold skin, the silent pulse,
the quivering lip, the livid cheek, the fallen jaw, the
pinched nostril, the fixed and glazing eye," we see
the death of man, when " his body is returning to
the dust, out of which it was taken, and his spirit to
God who gave it !"* The immortal spirit, however,
does not always depart at the moment, when the
body seems to die. The soul sometimes lingers
awhile in its fallen tenement ; nor is it possible to
tell the moment of its departure. There is often-
times in the face of the dead, just after death, a calm-
ness and a placidity almost angelical, and altogether
indescribable. A few moments, however, dissolve
the beautiful vision, and leave nothing behind but
the ghastliness of death. Does this beautiful ap-
pearance continue, while the soul lingers in the
body ; and does it fade away when the soul departs ?
However this may be, there is a mysterious moment,
when the soul leaves the body ; and at that moment
death is accomplished !

We proceed to notice,

* Horsley.

206 DEATH.


" / know that Thou will bring me to death and
the grave."

As certainly as night closes the day, so certainly
will death close our life. Nothing is more certain
than death. It is as certain that we shall die as that
we are now alive.

1. Scripture teaches the certainty of death.

If we look back in Scripture to the ages before
the flood, we see that though men lived many hun-
dred years, yet they all died at last. " And Jared
lived nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he
died." " And Methuselah lived nine hundred and
sixty-nine years, and he died." Since the flood
what uncounted generations of men have passed
into the grave ! " And our fathers," our immediate
fathers, "where are they? And the prophets, do
they live for ever?" We, who are now " the living,
know from Scripture that we must die." No man
can give a ransom to God that his brother should
not see corruption ; no man hath power to retain
his spirit in the body in the day of death. Neither
wisdom nor strength can avert neither rank nor


riches can avoid the stroke of death. " The wise
and the foolish," says the Psalmist, " alike perish,
and leave their wealth to others." " For what man
is he that liveth, and shall not see death ? And shall
he deliver his life from the grave ?"

Further :

2. Experience teaches the certainty of death.

In very few years death knocks at every door,
and takes a victim from every family. Has he not

DEATH. 207

lately taken from you a relative or friend, a father
or mother, a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a
brother or sister ? Is it not our surest and our
saddest business to bury one another ? Is not the
funeral knell ever tolling ? Are not the dead ever
carried slowly to their long home ? Do not the
mourners ever go sadly through the streets ? To-
day, with tears we follow our departed friends to the
grave. To-morrow, surviving friends with tears
will follow us. The friends who may follow us, will,
in like manner, soon be followed and wept.
what is life but a funeral procession ? What is the
earth but a burying-ground ? What is the grave
but the last house for all the living ?

We are all dying creatures ; and whatever be our
age, or rank, or character, we must all soon die.
The young and the old, the learned and the ignorant,
the righteous and the wicked, must alike pay the
penalty of sin. The practical Christian, and the
practical atheist, the worshipper in God's house, and
the neglecter of divine worship, the believer of the
holy Gospel, and the scoffer of true religion, must
alike be brought to the bed of death. The rich and
the poor, the munificent and the mean, the king and
the cottager, must alike lie down in the grave. All
these alike " may say to corruption, Thou art my
father ; and to the worm, Thou art my mother and
my sister."

We all know that God will bring us to the grave ;
but we do not know the time, or place, or manner of
our death. We all know that we must die ; but we
do not know whether we shall die prepared or un-

208 DEATH.

prepared, possessed or deprived of reason, trembling
in fear of hell or rejoicing in hope of heaven ? From
us all, these very uncertain, but very solemn things
are concealed. But, let us never forget that there is
an awful time, at which we must expire ; that there
is a solemn place, in which we must receive the
stroke of death; that there is a manner, always
mysterious, and sometimes terrible, in which our
bodies and souls must separate. Let us, then, in
the time of health and reason, often anticipate our
dying hour. Let us often place ourselves in imagi-
nation on our dying bed. Let us often realize to
our hearts those awful circumstances which may
attend the separation of our bodies and souls.
" Lord, make us to know the shortness of our days,
and teach us to feel the frailty of our life, that we
may wisely consider our latter end."
We hasten to notice,


" Thou wilt bring me to the grave, the house ap-
pointed for all living"

1. Death dissolves all connexion with human
beings, and destroys all concern in earthly things.

While men live labour may employ their hands ;
study may occupy their minds ; society may engage
their spirits. Their business may raise expectation,
or beget anxiety; their possessions may brighten
their hopes, or excite their fears ; their friends may
share their joys, or taste their sorrows. But, at
death they cease to study and labour ; to hope and
fear ; to rejoice and mourn. They pass away like

DEATH. 209

shadows into the tomb ; they wither like flowers
into the dust ; the eye, which once saw them, the
ear which once heard them, the place which once
knew them, shall see them, and hear them, and know
them no more. " For the dead know not any-
thing ; and their memory is forgotten. Their love
and their hatred, their desire and their envy, are
perished. They have neither position nor reward
any more in anything which is done under the sun."
Again :

2. Death admits corruption into the fallen body,
and soon returns it to its original dust.

However fondly affection may linger round a
coffin, tenderly remembering the once active kind-
ness, sadly viewing the now immovable features, of
the dead ; yet, affection itself will soon advise to bury
the dead out of sight. Take, then, the last fare-
well ; close up the coffin ; prepare the grave ; invite
the bearers ; toll the bell ; follow the corpse to the
grave ; and commit it to the ground, " Earth to
earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." There let it
sleep through the night of death, till the morning of
the resurrection. In the grave, " the body, however
once beautiful and strong, soon becomes a mass of
deformity and corruption ; and in a few years, no-
thing of it remains but a few hollow bones, and a
few earthy particles." let not the ear of the
living be offended with this account of the state of
the dead ; for soon it will be their own state. Soon
must we all lie down in death ; and soon turn to
corruption in the grave.

VOL. i. p

210 DEATH.

Finally :

3. Death terminates the probation of time, and
fixes the doom of eternity.

That portion of our existence, which is called
" Life," is the only season allotted to us to prepare
for the joys of heaven ; and to be prepared for the
joys of heaven, we must be made new creatures in
Christ Jesus. " Except, therefore, we are," in this
life, " born again of the Spirit, we cannot," in the
life to come, " enter the kingdom of heaven." For
except we repent we must perish ; except we be-
lieve in Christ we cannot be saved ; except we be
holy we cannot see the Lord. The night of death ends
the day of grace ; or terminates the time to repent,
to believe, and to be holy. He only, therefore, who
is penitent, believing, and holy at death, will be for
ever happy ; but he who at death, is impenitent,
unbelieving, unholy, will be for ever miserable.

The soul at death in secret leaves the body ; and
in mystery departs into the invisible world. The
invisible world, (or Hades,) is divided into two dif-
ferent regions, which, in Scripture, are distinctly
called Gehenna, and Paradise. Gehenna is the
accursed region, where, in tormenting flames, the
souls of the impenitent are imprisoned. Paradise is
the blessed region, where, in triumphant bliss, the
spirits of the just rejoice. Into the one or the other
of these regions must our souls at death depart. As
we are at death, so shall we be for ever ; or as death
leaves us, so will judgment find us. From the
sleep of death, we shall, by the last trump, be

DEATH. 211

awakened to stand before the Judge of all ; and all
will then be judged according to their works. The
wicked will, then, be punished with everlasting
misery; the righteous rewarded with everlasting
happiness : for the wicked shall go into everlasting
punishment ; but the righteous into life eternal.
To conclude :

1. You know, my brethren, that you must die ; but
you know not when God will bring you to the grave.
You know that a great change, both in body and soul,
takes place at death. You know that at one mo-
ment man is a living soul, at the next a heap of
dust ; that at one moment he dies, at the next his
spirit is rejoicing with the spirits of the just in glory,
or weeping with the souls of the lost in torment.
You know that this short and uncertain life is your
only time of probation, in which hell is to be avoid-
ed, and heaven to be won. You know that every
winged moment shortens this short life, and accele-
rates your dying hour. Suddenly may you receive
the stroke of death. Soon must your bodies sleep in
the grave.

2. Are you then, brethren, allow me to ask, are
you ready for death ? Are you prepared for your
great change ? Are your accounts settled for both
worlds ? Have you repented of all sin ? Have you
turned from every sinful way ? Have you believed
in the Lord Jesus Christ ? Have you, by faith in
Him, brought forth the fruits of righteousness ?
Does your faith in Christ purify your heart and
sanctify your life, enabling you to walk, as Christ

p 2

21 '2 DEATH.

walked, in holiness, and to live, as Christ lived, to
God ? If you believe in Christ, and live in holiness,
you will be saved ; but if you live in sin, and die
impenitent, you will perish. Blessed, then, are you,
who have repented of sin, and believed in Christ,
and are living in holiness ; but wretched are you,
who are living in sin, delaying your repentance, and
deferring your coming to Christ ! O that, remem-
bering that God will soon bring you to the grave, ye
would repent and come to Christ now, that ye might
be saved !

3. O ye young ! Let neither youth, nor health,
make you forget that you are but dust and ashes ! Let
neither the pleasures of the world seduce your
hearts, nor the example of sinners corrupt your lives !
You are young, but yet old enough to repent, to
believe, and to be saved. You are young, but not
too young to sin, to die, and to perish. Delay not,
therefore, preparation for death; but, "whatever your
hand finds to do," young though you be, " do it
with your might, for there is neither work nor wis-
dom in the grave to which ye go."

4. O ye old ! A hoary head, found in the way of
righteousness, is a delight to heaven, and soon shall
wear a crown of glory ; but a hoary head, seen in the
way of sin, is a spectacle at which men may tremble,
and angels weep. Are any of you such hoary-
headed sinners ? Your course is nearly ended. Your
time is very short. At you death may next strike.
For you the next grave may be opened. With you
it is later than the eleventh hour ; yet at this latest

DEATH. 213

hour turn with penitence and prayer to God through
Jesus Christ, and you, even you, shall be saved. But
remember, ye aged sinners, remember, " that you
hang by the slenderest thread of life over the lake of
everlasting fires ;" the next moment this thread may
break, and then, before your body sinks into the
grave, your soul drops into hell.

Finally :

5. O ye believers in the Lord Jesus ! Ye know
that God will bring you to death, when your body
will turn to dust in the grave, and your soul join the
spirits of the just in paradise. Ye know that in the
morning of the resurrection your body and soul, both
glorified in the likeness of Christ, will be reunited to
dwell in His presence for ever. The knowledge of
these things makes you diligent in the duties of life,
and fervent in the offices of devotion, detaching
your hearts from the trifles of earth, and fixing them
on the glories of heaven. Ye can say without
dread, " I know that God will bring me to the
grave ; because ye can say with joy, I know that
my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the
latter day upon the earth ; and though after my skin
worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see
God, whom I shall see for myself, and not another
for me." Willing to live, but prepared to die, your
life will be Christ, and your death will be gain.
Through life His word will be your guide ; His Spirit
your comforter. His hand will turn your bed in
sickness ; His presence cheer your soul in death ;
His blessing rest on the grave, where your body

214 DEATH.

sleeps in the dust. But, while your body slumbers
in the house of death, your soul, " in glory bright
arrayed," will be rejoicing in the house of God,
" the house not made with hands, eternal in the



JOB xxxiii. 27, 28.

He lookethupon men, and if any say, I have sinned,
and perverted that which is right, and it profited
me not : he shall deliver his soul from going into
the pit, and his life shall see the light.

" THE eyes of the Lord are in every place, be-
holding the evil and the good." For " He will bring
everything, whether good or bad, into judgment.
He will reward or punish every man according to
his works." These scriptural truths are of infinite
importance, and of universal concern. These, truths
involve the salvation of the soul ; and they concern
every soul of man. But these truths two sorts of
men are unwilling to believe. The openly wicked
are unwilling to believe that God sees all their
wickedness, and will punish them for their sins.
But the Lord looketh upon men, " and will punish
the wicked according to their works." The truly


penitent are unwilling to believe that God sees
their tears, and will accept their repentance. But
" the Lord looketh upon men, and if any say, I
have sinned and perverted that which is right, and
it profited me not : he shall deliver his soul from
going into the pit, and his life shall see the light."

The confession of a true penitent to Almighty
God and the compassion of Almighty God towards
a true penitent, now claim your attention.


" I have sinned, and perverted that which is right,
and it profiteth me not." " I have sinned," cries
the penitent.


1. What is sin ?

Sin is an offence against God : with respect to
Him it is disobedience, ingratitude, apostasy, rebel-
lion. It is a transgression of His command, a de-
fiance of His power, a rejection of His authority,
a daring of His vengeance. " The statutes of the
Lord are right ; the precepts of the Lord are pure ;
the law of the Lord is just and good ; but sin vio-
lates His statues, disobeys His precepts, breaks
His law ! Sin subverts that which is upright ; it
perverts the right ways of the Lord ; it overthrows
justice, goodness, and truth. " Sin profits not,"
but injures and destroys. While obedience to God
is wisdom, and gain, and honour, and peace, and
life ; sin is folly, and loss, and disgrace, and pain,
and death. It deprives the understanding of


power, it robs the mind of peace, it covers the
soul with shame, it fills the heart with sorrow, it
darkens the prospect into eternity, it shakes the
breast with fears of dying, it exposes the whole man
to everlasting punishment. Sin is unjust, unreason-
able, unprofitable, ruinous. Its works are the un-
fruitful works of darkness ; and its wages are the
pains of death eternal ! " What fruit had ye then
in those things of which ye are now ashamed?
For the end of these things is death !" " And
what is a man profited if he gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul ?" Again ;

2. Who convinces of sin ?

The Spirit of God convinces the soul of sin ; and
shows the source of all sin to be in the heart ; He
teaches that the law, which we have broken, is so
strict, that it reaches to the inmost soul ; and proves
that the God, whom we have offended, is so just,
that he cannot but punish. Under His influence,
the sinner is stung by self-condemnation, filled with
self-abhorrence, and melted into godly sorrow.
Further :

3. How is sin to be confessed ?

With a broken heart must the penitent confess
the fact, and fault, and folly, and desert of sin!
" I have sinned against the Lord ! I have rebelled
against the Most High ! I have defied the Almighty !
I have broken His law ! I am ready to perish !
In sin was I conceived : and in sin was I born !
Sin dwelleth in me ; and I have lived in sin ! my
heart is full of evil : my life is full of wickedness.


I am vile ! I abhor myself ! I would repent ! that
I had never sinned ! that I could sin no more !
O that my sins were forgiven ! that my nature
were renewed ! ' I have sinned, and perverted that
which is right, and it profited me not.' Against
thee, Lord have I sinned and done this evil in
thy sight ! Hide thy face from my sins, and blot
out my transgressions. Create in me a clean heart
God ; and renew a right spirit within me ! Lord,
save ; I perish. God be merciful to me a sinner !"
We proceed to notice,


" He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have
sinned, and perverted that which is right, and it
profited me not : he shall deliver his soul from
going into the pit, and his soul shall see the light."

God as a Father ever looks with pity on the
penitent sinner, and is ever willing to save him.
God promises to save the penitent sinner, and to
give him the light of life.

1 . God ever looks with pity on the penitent sinner,

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