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Nay ; at that time his purest devotions, and his ho-
liest services, arising from self-interested motives or
accompanied by self-righteous feelings, will appear so
impure and defiled, as to need the blood of Christ
to wash away their guilt. " For innumerable evils
have compassed me about ; mine iniquities have
taken such hold upon me, that I am not able to look
up ; they are more than the hairs of my head, there-
fore my heart faileth me !' ' may the blood of Jesus
wash away my sin ! may the Spirit of God purify
my soul !"

4. In the vale of death the believer will have
peculiar temptations,

The world will then have less power to dazzle the
eyes or to harden the heart ; the believer will then
have clearer views of the majesty, and purity, and
justice of God ; and then, as just stated, a deeper
sense of corruption, and stronger convictions of sin,


will disturb and distress his mind. When he com-
pares his own meanness with the divine majesty, he
fears that he shall be totally disregarded ; when he
contrasts his own vileness with the divine purity, he
fears that he shall be justly annihilated ; when he
places his own guilt before the divine justice, he
fears that he shall be eternally punished ! " For the
enemy, the tempter, hath persecuted my soul ; he
hath smitten my life down to the ground ; he hath
made me dwell in darkness as those that have long
been dead ; my spirit, therefore, is overwhelmed
within me ; my heart within me is desolate ! But
do not leave me ; do not forsake me, Lord God of
my salvation !"

5. In the vale of death the believer will have
awful anticipations.

" The hour is come," he will say, " in which I
must die ! I must now lay aside this mortal taberna-
cle. This body and soul, so long, so closely united,
must separate ; this earthy body must lie down in
its ' wormy bed,' and turn to dust ; this immortal
soul must depart into an unknown world ! O the
terrors ! O the tenderness of this mysterious separa-
tion ! Who will be the guardian of my body in the
dust of the grave ? Who will be the keeper of my
soul in the world of spirits ? When the last thunder
rolls, and the last trumpet sounds ; when my body
rises from the bed of death, and my soul returns
from the world of spirits, how will they meet, or how
will they be reunited ? Whose image shall I then
wear? With whom shall I then stand with the


righteous or the wicked ? What sentence shall I hear
from the lips of the Judge ? Where will be my dwell-
ing place throughout eternity ? Eternity ! Eter-
nity ! Eternity ! I sink, I sink into thine unknown
shoreless sea !"

6. In the vale of death the believer will have
unutterable sorrows.

Pains of body and depressions of mind ; days of
agony and nights of weariness ; the morn dawning
without relief, the eve returning without repose ;
heart and flesh failing ; body and soul dissolving ;
the understanding from its seat wildly wander-
ing; the blood in its course fitfully faltering;
" the temples cold and bedewed ; the eyes fixed and
glazing ; the cheeks pale ; the nostrils pinched ;
the lips bloodless ; the tongue silent ; the hand
clenched ; the teeth set ; the breath stopping
catching stopping." But no man can fully de-
scribe the pains of death : yet, what no man can
describe , every man must feel!

When the believer takes his last look and last fare-
well of beloved friends ; when he feels the tenderest
solicitude for those whom he most loves, and whom
he leaves in tears behind ; when a deeper sense of
corruption troubles his heart, and a stronger convic-
tion of sin alarms his conscience ; when peculiar
temptations assault his understanding, and awful an-
ticipations overwhelm his mind ; when pain racks
his dying frame, and agony grinds his sinking spi-
rit ; when his body and soul, so mysteriously united,
are in mystery about to separate ; when the world


of time is fading from the eye of the body, and the
world of eternity is bursting on the eye of the soul ;
then, then, is the believer enduring his last conflict ;
then is he " passing through the valley of the sha-
dow of death !"

But darkness leads to light, the shades of death to
the visions of immortality ; the pangs of dissolution to
the raptures of paradise. The soul of the believer
springs, at a bound, from the arms of death into the
bosom of God, where he will abide for ever. While,
therefore, his body, through nature, shudders at
death, his soul, through grace, welcomes his approach,
and says, " Though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou,
God, art with me."

Having contemplated the conflict of the dying
believer, we proceed to notice,


" I will fear no evil."

Of all earthly evils, death is the most terrible to
man. What, then, can enable cowardly and trem-
bling man to look directly in the face of the last
enemy, to think on all that comes after death, to
ponder the dread realities of eternity, and yet, with
confidence to say, " I will fear no evil ?" It is faith
in Christ. Through faith in His blood, our sin is
forgiven, and when sin is forgiven, the sting of death
is extracted. Through faith in His righteousness
our souls are justified ; and, when our souls are justi-
fied, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ,


and when we are made the righteousness of God in
Christ, we are entitled to- life eternal. Through
faith in His blood and righteousness, we partake of
a divine nature, and receive a spiritual life ; and
when the Holy Spirit has renewed our hearts,
and sanctified our lives, we are made meet for the
inheritance of the saints, or qualified for the kingdom
of heaven.

When the believer is walking through the vale of
death, he abhors all art, deceit, and guile ; and seeks
only simplicity, sincerity, and truth. He allows no
merit, no righteousness, no goodness, of his own.
He has no claim to make, except the promise of a
faithful God ; no plea to urge except the blood of
a dying Saviour. Christ crucified is all in all. The
blood, and righteousness, and merits, and interces-
sion of Christ, are the support and joy of his soul.
The work of the Spirit, in his heart and life, is the
evidence of his faith, and the source of his confi-
dence. Feeling the divine work of the Spirit in his
heart, and seeing the holy fruits of the Spirit in his
life, the believer, as he walks through the vale of
death, can say, " I will fear no evil."

1. The believer will not fear the last separation
from beloved friends.

" I am going," says the dying believer, " to better
friends in heaven. I am going to the spirits of
the just, and to the angels of light ; I am going to
Jesus, the Friend of sinners, and to God, the King
of saints. Besides ; I shall meet my Christian friends
before the throne of Christ ; I shall meet them in

VOL. i. s


triumphant bliss, and meet them to part no more.
Come, then, glorious day, when they, and I, and all
the redeemed, washed, and robed, and crowned, shall
together sing, ' Worthy is the Lamb that was slain !'
I am dying, and parting from my relatives and
friends ; but God will be a better Father to my
children, a better Husband to my widow, a better
Friend to my friends, a better Pastor to my flock. I
die ; ' but God liveth/ He will not forsake the seed
of the righteous ; nor leave my friends comfortless.
' God, in His holy habitation, is a Father of the father-
less, and a Judge of the widows.' (Psalm Ixviii. 5.)
And I can trust Him, who has said, ' Leave thy
fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and
let thy widows trust in me.' " (Jer. xlix. 11.)

2. The believer will not fear on account of his
inward corruptions.

"There is," says the dying believer, "no good
thing in my nature ; I am altogether vile ; but, I
lament my vileness, and strive against my corrup-
tions. That God, who has enabled me to abhor my
vileness, and to resist my depravity, will not leave
me to perish. He, who has begun to sanctify my
soul, will not forsake the work of His own hands, but
will perfect that which concerneth me ; ' being con-
fident, as I am, of this very thing, that He who hath
begun a good work in me, will perform it until the
day of Jesus Christ.' '

3. The believer will not fear on account of his
actual sins.

" My sins," says the dying believer, " are invete-


rate, aggravated, innumerable ; but Jesus died for
the chief of sinners, and washed us from our sins in
His own blood. My sins, I know, deserve eternal
death ; but ' Jesus tasted death for every man.' I
am the chief of sinners, but I would repent of every
sin with godly sorrow, and Jesus is able to save unto
the uttermost. I feel the unutterable guilt of my
soul ; but I, at the same time, see the boundless suf-
ficiency of Jesus Christ. I can always pray, ' God
be merciful to me a sinner !' I can always plead
the blood which cleanseth from all sin ; while I can
thus pray, and thus plead, ' God will never leave
me, nor forsake me.' '

4. The believer will not fear on account of Satan s

" Satan, I feel," says the dying believer, " endea-
vours, by the guilt of sin, and the justice of God,
to terrify my soul ; but when the enemy comes in
like a flood, the Spirit of God lifts up a standard
against him. ' For God was in Christ, reconciling
the world unto Himself,' and in Christ, God is ever
accessible, and altogether lovely. Nor shall I stand
at last before God in mine own righteousness, but in
the righteousness of God Himself. ' For God hath
made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that
we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.'
I shall stand before God in the righteousness of Him
in whom God is well pleased : and God, who is well
pleased with His beloved Son, is well pleased with
all who believe in Him. ' Who then shall lay any-
thing to the charge of God's elect ? it is God that


justifieth ; who is he that condemneth ? For I am
persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love
of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.'"

5. The believer will not fear on account of dying

" I now feel," he says, " the pains of sickness, and
soon must feel the pangs of dissolution : but as my
day is, so will my strength be ; in sickness God makes
my bed, in dissolution God will support my soul.
As pains and troubles abound, support and consola-
tion will superabound ; for God will give grace,
sufficient grace, and grace to help in time of need.
Agony may convulse my limbs, and distress agitate
my mind ; my blood will grow cold, and mine eye
grow dim ; my voice will cease, and my tongue
cleave to my jaws; my heart, and flesh, and breath
will fail ; but even then God will be the strength of
my heart, and my portion for ever."

(). The believer will not fear on account of the
consequences of death.

" My body and soul," he sighs, " soon must
part : my body will return to dust, my soul to God.
But, with respect to my body, 1 1 know that my Re-
deemer 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.' (Job xix. 25.) And with regard to my soul,
I believe that ' when absent from the body, it will


be present with the Lord.' { Into thine hands I
commit my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me,
Lord God of truth.' My flesh shall rest in hope,
, and my spirit dwell in safety ; for Christ, whose body
sanctified the tomb, will be the Guardian of my
mouldering body ; and God, who is the Father of
spirits, will be the Keeper of my disembodied spirit.
1 For I know in whom I have believed, and am per-
suaded that He is able to keep that which I have
committed unto Him against that day/ (2 Tim. i.
12.) When the last trumpet shall sound, my body
shall rise in the likeness of Christ, and my soul shall
come from the world of spirits. My body and soul,
both glorified, will reunite with transport, and I shall
stand accepted before the throne. Jesus will pre-
sent me to His Father, place me on His right-hand,
and afterwards receive me to glory. Singing among
saints, and shining among angels, I shall ever be
with the Lord ! ' Because I live,' says Christ, ' ye
s hall live also ; and where I am there shall my ser-
vants be, that they may behold my glory.' "

Such is the confidence of the dying believer ;
" though he walks through the valley of the shadow
of death, he fears no evil."

Let us contemplate, lastly,


" For Thou, O God, art with me ; Thy rod, and
Thy staff, they comfort me."

1. He enjoys the divine presence. " Thou, O Lord,
art with me."


Such is the consolation of His presence, that if
God be with us, no labour can weary, nor trouble
distress, nor danger terrify, nor pain disturb, nor
death dismay. At all times God is with the believer,
about his path, about his bed, spying out all his
ways : but specially is God with him in the time of
sickness and death. Then it is that He manifests
Himself to the believing soul, as He does, not to the
world. His presence not only removes the gloom of
grief, blunts the sharpness of pain, and calms the
alarms of danger, but supplies the succours of grace,
communicates the joys of heaven, and brightens the
hope of glory. Thus God was with the houseless
Jacob at Bethel ; with the faithful Jews in the fiery
furnace ; with the holy Daniel, in the den of lions ;
with St. Paul, when he was bound in prison ;
with St. Stephen, when he was stoned to death.
Thus God was with many founders of our scriptural
Church, when they were consuming in the flames ;
when the fiercest flames of martyrdom, through
the presence of God, became " as refreshing as the
balmy gales of a summer evening ; and a bed of
fire became as sweet as a bed of roses." Jesus, Sa-
viour, Immanuel ! God with us ! when we enter
the vale of death, may Thy presence cheer us through
the dreadful shade !

2. The believer experiences divine support and
comfort. " Thy rod, and thy staff, O Lord, they com-
fort me !" The rod is the symbol of power, the staff
of wisdom. Almighty power will be the guard ;
and eternal wisdom will be the guide of the believer


through the vale of death. With such a guard he
will not fear ; with such a guide he cannot wander ;
for no power of darkness and no device of Satan can
overcome the power, or deceive the wisdom of God.
" Not my might, nor my wisdom, O Lord, but thy
might, and thy wisdom, thy rod, and thy staff, they
comfort me." But the Holy Scriptures are the foun-
tain of consolation, and the Holy Spirit is the com-
forter of souls ; the power and wisdom of God, there-
fore, can be experienced as our guard and guide in
death, only through the word and Spirit of God.
From the word of promise devoutly remembered,
and from the Spirit of grace earnestly implored, the
dying believer derives strength to his soul, and says,
" Though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me ;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." The divine
wisdom guiding his feet, the divine power shielding
his head, the divine presence cheering his soul, the
dying believer almost sees the brightness of glory,
and almost hears the melody of heaven. Looking by
faith beyond the vail, and seeing invisible things, he
longs to be dissolved, that he may be with Christ.
The believer has ceased to breathe ; his body lies a
pale corpse before you ; his immortal spirit has fled !
What a wondrous change has taken place; what mys-
terious sensations fill the disembodied spirit ! With
what new powers is it now endowed ; into what
eternal splendors has it passed ! We cannot trace its
flight, though we wish to follow it. Holy angels
guard it, rejoicing spirits receive it, the bliss of para-


dise awaits it. It has passed through the darkness
of death, and has entered the light of life. Blessed
spirit ! thou hast overcome through the word of
God, and the blood of the Lamb ! Thou hast ex-
changed the vale of tears for the mount of glory, and
everlasting joy settles on thy head.

Happy, then, is the man, who can triumph over
the terrors of the tomb. Happy is the man, who,
when he comes to die, can say, " Though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil, for thou art with me ; thy rod and thy staff,
they comfort me." The hour, my brethren, will
soon come, in which you must pass through the vale
of death. In that hour may the Lord Jesus be with
you. May His rod and staff comfort you !

1 . But, my brethren, what is your character in the
sight of God? Examine yourselves as in his sight,
whether ye be penitent, and believing, and righte-
ous ; or, unrighteous, unbelieving, and impenitent ?
If your souls are impenitent, your hearts unbeliev-
ing, and your lives ungodly, you can expect neither
comfort in death, nor happiness in heaven. If your
hearts are fixed on the world, and your lives spent in
sin, it were as impious as it were irrational to expect
the presence of God in the vale of death. The com-
fort of religion can be enjoyed in life, the presence
of God can be desired in death, heaven itself, after
death, can be deemed happiness, only by the holy
believer in Christ Jesus. I would again ring; the


knell of death in your ears. You must die, you
must die, you must die ! Your death is certain ;


it may be sudden, it may be soon, you may die this
night. Are you ready ? Are you ready ? Are you
ready ? If you die in your sins, God cannot be with you
at death. You must cross the dark valley alone. Yet,
not alone ; God, indeed, will not be with you to guide
and comfort your soul, but evil demons will there be
ready to tear away your departing spirit. No light
will beam on you in the gloomy valley, except a light,
shot from " that flame" beyond the gulf, and dis-
covering those sights of woe where impenitent sin-
ners lift up their eyes in torments.

2. Consider, my brethren, the misery of dying
in an unprepared state ! Consider the time when,
if reason fail not, you will feel yourself to be in the
vale of death, and trembling to appear before God.
Consider the time, when you will bid farewell to re-
latives and friends, weeping round your dying bed ;
but then you will have no hope of meeting them
again in heaven. Consider the time when all your
past offences will recur in frightful forms to your
memory ; but then you will find no atoning blood
for your offences. Consider the time when your
native corruptions will rage within you ; but then
you will have no sanctifying Spirit for your corrup-
tions. Consider the time, when agonizing pains
will break the last cord between soul and body ; but
then you will have no ease for your body, no conso-
lation for your soul. Consider the time, when you
will have begun the journey into eternity ; but then
you will be deprived of every hope of eternal
glory, and be filled with every fear of eternal tor-


3. Do your hearts shrink at the thoughts of dying ?

Do these thoughts awaken a slumbering con-
science ? Does conscience say, " Thou art the
man ?" " Thou art afraid to die." You are afraid
to die, brethren, because you have not repented of
sin, nor believed in Christ, nor lived in holiness.
But you must repent, or perish ; you must believe,
or be lost ; you must be holy, or never see the Lord.
And now, NOW ONLY, is the accepted time to pre-
pare for death, and to save the soul. Now, there-
fore, begin the great work, and obtain an unshaken
belief of the Bible as the Word of God. Search,
then, the Scriptures daily ; and as you search, pray
for the Holy Spirit, that you may understand them.
As far and as fast as you do understand, reduce
them to practice. Light from heaven will gradually
dawn on your mind, and you will, by the Spirit
through the Scriptures, be made wise to salvation.
You will feel that you are sinful creatures, and that
Christ is the only Saviour. Repenting of sin, as
you will then repent, with godly sorrow, God will,
in answer to your prayers, enable you to believe on
His Son, and believing on Him, you will be saved.
You will walk by faith with God to the end of life ;
and God will by His Spirit walk with you through
the vale of death. You will then " fear no evil, for
God will be with you ; His rod and His staff will
comfort you." Having settled your accounts for
both worlds, you will be prepared for your great
change. Having washed your robes and made them
white in the blood of Christ, you will be ready to


stand before the throne of glory, and to sing with
all the redeemed, " Salvation to our God, and to
the Lamb."

4. We do not assert that all Christians expire in
confidence, or die in extacy ; but we do assert that
with respect to consistent Christians, all die in hope,
most in peace, some in triumph. Several such
Christians have I lately seen in death ; and, O that
worldly men could see such Christians die !

Suddenly struck with death, one Christian ex-
claimed, " I am dying, I am dying!" but "the blood
of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin ! The blood of
Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin !" Another Chris-
tian, as suddenly struck, calmly said, " What I now
feel must be death ; but though in the vale of death,
I am not alarmed ! I know in whom I have be-
lieved." Another, after excruciating pains of body,
and many doubts of his interest in Christ, sprang
up in his bed, and said with heavenly look and loud
voice, " To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
He then lay gently down, and died. Another but
listen, brethren, to the words of a dying Christian:

" Father, I bless thee for sending thy Son to
die for sinners. Jesus, I adore thee for shedding
thy blood to pardon the penitent. Eternal Spirit,
I worship thee for taking the things of Christ, and
applying them to my soul. The hand of death is
upon me ; thou who diedst for sinners be with
me be with me ! Thou, who takest away the sins
of the world, hear my prayer. Through faith in
thy blood, death is to me disarmed of his sting, and


the grave is deprived of its terrors. ' grave,
where is thy victory ? death, where is thy sting ?'
Ofttimes, in seasons past, I have committed my
soul to thee, O Lord ; and now, for the last time, I
commit my soul into thine hands." " Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit."

Thus the dying Christian " falls asleep in Jesus."
" And I heard a voice from heaven, saying,
Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord.
Even so, saith the Spirit ; for they rest from their
labours." Amen.




PSALM li. 11.
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

ALL men are sinners, all men are corrupt in
nature, and all men are wicked in practice. " If
we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves ;"
and " if we say that we have not sinned, we make
God a liar, and His word is not in us." " The in-
fection of our nature," says our Church, " remains
even in them who are regenerated ;" (Art. 9 ;) and
" after we have received the gift of the Holy
Ghost, we may fall from grace given, and fall into
actual sin." But if " the regenerate fall, like
David, into sin, and lose the favour of God, they
will feel, like David, that the Holy Spirit alone can
renew in their souls the sorrows of repentance, or
restore to their hearts the joys of salvation. They
will therefore pray to God like David, with broken


and contrite hearts " God ! cast me not away
from thy presence ; take not thy Holy Spirit
from me."

We may from these words consider,

I. The office of the Holy Spirit ; and

II. The prayer of a penitent believer.
We are to consider,


" Take not thy Holy Spirit from me."

The Holy Spirit is a Person, and a divine Person.
He is as much a Person as the Father and the Son;
for we are baptized in His name, as well as in the
name of the Son and the Father. " Baptize them
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost." And we have communion with
Him as much as with the Son and the Father.
" The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love

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