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upon the sepulchre with the same eye, as if Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, the Prince of your salvation, still remaining there. The patriarch Jacob, when he heard the false report of his son Joseph's death, refused to be comforted, and cried out in the bitterness of his soul, I will go down into the grave, unto my son, mourving, Gen. xxxvii. 35. But the certain tidings of the death and burial of our true Joseph, fills us full of unspeakable gladness, and causes us to cry out, in a different manner, I will go down into the grave unto my father, with an holy joy. The prophet Elijah raised to life a child, which was carried up into the loft, where he abode, and laid upon his bed : for having stretched hinself upon the dead body, the soul that was departed came again, 1 Kings xvii. 22. And the prophet Elisha raised another in the same manner, by lying upon the child, and putting his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his bands, 2 Kings iv. 34. But, believing soul, God works for thee this day, a far more wonderful miracle : for the resurrection and the life proceed from our great Prophet, dead and stretched out in his grave. If we go down into this holy sepulchre, if we stretch ourselves tipon this precious and heavenly body, if we embrace it with a true and lively faith, and a sincere repentance, he will not only raise us up again, but will cause us to become immortal. For whereas he was pleased to enter into the state and condition of the dead, it was to purs chase for us a blessed and glorious immortality.
PRAYER AND MEDITATION, For a Christian, who strengthens himself against the
horrors of the grave, by looking upon our Lord Jesus Christ laid in his sepulchre.
ADORABLE Mediator, between God and man! thou art God immortal, and yet hast vouchsafed to take upon thee our mortal nature, to die for me a miserable sinner, and to remain for a time in the state of the dead, that thou mightest purchase for me a blessed immortality. Give me grace to meditate as I ought upon thy sacred body, wound up in linen clothes, and
in linen clothes, and laid in the sepulchre; for by this means, O sweet Jesus! I shall no longer have the grave in abhorrence, but shall look with a steadfast countenance, while the pit is digging, into which I must enter when thou shalt appoint. For the servant is not greater than his master; nor is it for the creature to prefer itself above the Creator. Since I expect to share in thy glory and exaltation, it is but just and reasonable that I partake in thy disgraces and abasement. My reason, enlightened by thy Holy Spirit, convinces me, that I must be wrapped up in thy darkness, and remain, like thee for a season, in the valley of the shadow of death, since I hope to be clothed, one day, with thy light, and crowned with thy life. I shall not only look upon the grave without fear, but I shall consider it with an holy joy, since thou hast honoured it with thy Divine presence, and persumed it with celestial odours. I shall look upon it with the same eyes as ! should if thou wast still remaining there, my Lord and my God, and I was to lie down by thee. A dead man revived upon touching the bones of thy prophet, 2 Kings xii. 21; but I not only touch thee, O Prince of prophets! I embrace thee by faith, as dead for my sins, and as resting in the grave for my salvation. Therefore thou shalt make me feel thy divine power ; thou shalt sow in me the seed of immortality, and lift up my hopes to heaven. During its abode here below, my soul sha)!
have part in the first resurrection, and one day, this in: firm body shall be clothed with newness of life. If my resurrection be not so sudden and speedy as that of the dead man raised by the prophet, it shall be far more glorious and lasting; that I may bless thee with all thy saints, and praise thee for ever with thine inheritance Amen.
The fifth Consolation against the Fears of Death, is to meditate upon the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
AS there is nothing more grievous and insupportable than to behold a proud imperious enemy, who is always defying us, yet always victorious, and whom no one can overcome ; so there is nothing more capable of transporting us with joy and comfort, than to see such a pride cast down, and to triumph over such an enemy. It was this made the children of Israel, who had groaned a long time under the cruel tyranny of Pharaoh, sing with so much exultation their song of triumph and thanksgiving, when God destroyed that wicked tyrant, and buried him and his host in the waters of the Red Sea, Exod. xv. For the same reason, when the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world, was overcome and cast down from heaven into the earth, a loud voice of jubiJee was heard in paradise, saying, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accuseth them before our God day
and night. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them, Rev. xii. 10, 12.
From hence we are to infer, Christian souls, that as it hath been a most sensible affliction to us, to behold death tyrannizing over all the world, and shutting up in its prisons, kings and princes, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and in general all the children of Adam, of every rank and condition ; so it is a great comfort and unspeakable joy for us, to behold this cruel and proud enemy overcome, and disarmed; and to see
Lord Jesus Christ marching out of his strong hold, laden with its spoils. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens and ye that dwell in thein, for the murderer of our brethren is swallowed up in victory.
As we are members of this victorious and triumphant Chief, we ourselves have a share in this honour and glory. In his person we are the conquerors over death, and are able to say with the apostle, That God hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, Eph. ii. 5, 6.
This Prince of Life hath not only loosed the pains of death, Acts ii. 24, and broke all his chains, but he hath led it away captive, and subjected it to his heavenly émpire. He hath an absolute power over it, as he himself declares in these divine words, I am be that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18.
If this invincible Lord, when he was in the prison of death, commanded over death itself; if he broke in pieces its iron bars, and its brazen gates, if he caused the dead to arise, and to go into the holy city; now that he is out of the sepulchre victorious and triumphant wil he not exercise an uncontroulable power over this dreadful enemy, whom he hath vanquished and brought under by bis Almighty arm.
O Death ! fret and foam with rage and fury as long as thou wilt, these eyes behold thee fast bound to the triumphal car of Jesus Christ my Saviour; and I am certain, that thou canst attempt nothing without his leave, and that thou canst not go a step unless he lengthens thy chain,
As Joshua, when he had overcome the kings of the Canaanites, called for his captains, and said unto them, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings,
, fear not, nor be dismayed, Josh. x. 24, 25; thus you, Christian souls, imagine to yourselves, that our divine Joshua, who hath overcome death, calls unto you from heaven, saying, tread upon this wretched tyrant with boldness, fear not, nor be dismayed.
The children of Israel, who trembled at the threats of Goliah, laid aside all their apprehensions, when they saw him fall by a stone from David's sling, so that the most timorous could have freely put their feet upon his neck, 1 Sam. xvii ; and shall not you Christians, banish from your hearts all fear and dread of death, now you see it overthrown at the feet of our true David, the great Shepberd and Bishop of our souls ? For though it opens its jaws, and vomits out lames of fire, it hath nevertheless, received its fatal wound, and is at the last
gasp. As the armour-bearer of Jonathan, the son of king Saul, slew those which fell before bis master, 1 Sam. xiv. 13; thus we need only pursue the glorious victories of the Son of the King of kings; or rather, we need only gather up the sweet and pleasant fruits of his conquest : for this Prince of life, who hath overcome death for us, will complete his conquest over it in us