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with those very weapons with which he hath armed us, In short, to speak properly, there is no death for such as are incorporated in Jesus Christ by a true and lively faith. For whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall never die ; and he that believeth in him, though he were dead, yet shall he live, John xi. 25, 26.
PRAYER AND MEDITATION,
For a Believer, who arms himself against the Fears of
Death, by meditating upon the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
LORD Jesus ! who hast been fully declared the Son of God with power, by the resurrection of the dead, who livest for ever and ever, strengthen me in my
weak ness, comfort me in my sorrow, and drive from my soul all fear and apprehension of death. · Adorable Saviour! I have no longer any thing to drrad from this proud and cruel enemy, seeing thou hast loosed its pains, broken in pieces all its fetters, and hast overcome death and the grave. O glorious and triumphant Monarch ! shall I tremble before a discomfitted and disarmed enemy, whom I see lying under thy feet, and chained to thy triumphal chariot? I need only follow the sacred footsteps of thy victory, and gather its poble fruits. If, when thou wast shut up in the prison of death, thou wast able to make it sensible of thy power, to bring down its pride, and to carry away its prisoners, what may I not expect from thy victorious and almighty aru, now thou hast the keys of death and of hell? O most mighty and merciful Lord! thou hast not only overcome death for me, but thou wilt also overcome it by me, who am thy child, and the sheep of thy pasture, whose ransom thou hast paid. Thou art not only risen from the dead, but thou art the resurrec
tion and the life, John xi. 25. Thou art the Prince of Life, the fountain of glory and inmortality; so that whosoever liveth, and believeth in thee, shall never die ; and he that believeth in thee, though he were dead, yet shall he live. It seems an admirable action in Samson, that when he had slept till midnight, he rose up, took the gates of the city of Gaza upon his shoulders, and carried them to the top of an bigh mountain, Judges xvi; but who would not admire thee, O invincible Nazarite! who having slept till the third day, in the bowels of the earth, rose again by thy own divine power, carried away the gates of hell, and hast made them become the gates of heaven, the entrance into the celestial paradise! Let me die, since my Redeemer liveth, and will conduct me through death into an happy life, purchased for me with his most precious blood, and secured to me by his glorious resurrection. Amen.
The sixth Consolation against the Fears of Death, is
the ascension of Jesus Christ, into heaven, and his sitting down at the right hand of God.
IT is indeed a great joy and comfort to behold a proud and cruel enemy overcome and disarmed, and ourselves freed by that means, from the yoke of an insupportable tyranny, but our joy would be turued into grief, our comfort into the most bitter affliction, if at the same time we beheld the author of our deliverance drowned in his own blood, and expiring in the moment of his victory, Torender our satisfaction complete, it is necessary that his triumphs should be lasting, and that he should be advanced to the height of glory and sovereign power. Now there is no enemy more cruel, more tyrannical, and forinidable than death. We have beheld it disarmed upon the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and entirely vanquished and subdued by his resurrection ; but if with the eye of faith we look a little higher, to the glorious ascension of our divine Saviour, we shall see this same death bound to his triuniphant chariot, and this conquering Redeemer exalted above the highest heavens, and sitting in glory at the right hand of God. We shall see him invested with an almighty power, adored by all creatures, and exercising a sovereign dominion, notonly over the angels of light, and the celestial spirits that surrounded his magnificent throne, but likewise over the world, death, the devil, and hell; for because he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, therefore God also hath highly exalted bini, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the pame of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in hearen, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father, Phil. ii. 8, 9, 10, 11.
Every soldier shares not in the triumph of his general, and all subjects taste not of their prince's happiness ; but as we are the brethren of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the members of his budy, we have a share in his triumph, and in the glory of his empire. Therefore the apostle St. Paul tells us, that our life, that is to say, our glory and eternal felicity, is hid with Christ in God, Col. iii. 3 ; and again, in more express words that God, who is rich in mercy, hath made us sit together in hea; yenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 6.
This glorious Saviour is gone to take possession of the kingdom of heaven, not only in his own name, but also in ours. This he assures his holy apostles, and in them all true believers, in iny Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you, John xiv. 2. In the same manner he speaks in that admirable prayer, in which he consecrates himself to God, for the great work of our redemption. Father I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, John xvii. 24. Therefore the apostle to the Hebrews gives us this strong consolation, that Jesus Christ is entered for us into heaven as our forerunner, Heb. vj. 20.
As the high-priest of the Jews went into the earthly sanctuary, to present himself before God for the people, Heb. ix; so our Lord Jesus Christ is entered into the heavenly sanctuary, to appear for us in the presence of God. The-bigh priest of the Jews bear upon his breast and shoulders the names of the twelve tribes of Israel ; but Jesus Christ bath engraven us in his heart, according to the song of the Spouse in the Canticles, Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm ; for love is strong as death, chap, viji 6. To conclude, the high-priest of the Jews laid aside the names of the twelve tribes with his sacerdotal garment; but neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Rom. viii. 38, 39.
The royal crown that was set upon Esther's head, caused her not to forget her people, and her father's house. She was exceedingly grieved for Haman's conspiracy, and the decree which he had obtained, wrote in king Ahasuerus's name, and sealed with his ring, Esther
iv. Thus I can truly affirm, that the glory to which our Lord Jesus Christ is exalted hath not made him forget the people whom he hath purchased with his precious blood. He is not unmindful of the continual machinations of Satan, nor of the sentence of death pronounced against uş by the great monarch of the world, and confirmed by his seal. Though his glorious head is crowned with a rainbow, his merciful heart is infamed with love.
On that glorious throne, where thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him, Dan. vii. 10, he is not ashamed to call us brethren, Heb. ii. 11, and to entreat God for us. He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by hini, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them, Heb. vii. 25. If his Father always heard him, even when he was in his greatest abasement, can we imagine, that his intercession will be fruitless, now he is ascended up into the highest glory.
Froin this exalted state, he beholds all our encounters and our skirmishes with death. He sees all the enemies that assault us, and the dangers to which we are exposed. He knows the deep malice, and crafty violence of the enemies of our salvation, and sees all the darts which they let fly against us. Therefore he covers us with his shield, and will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able, 1 Cor. x. 13. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, 2 Cor. xii. 9; and he
; makes us in all things more than conquerors, Rom. viii: 37. He not only keeps his eye continually upon his sheep, but he keeps them in his hand, and none is able to pluck them out of it, Johd x. 28.
If, when he was upon earth, in his grievous agony;