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awakes; and when they confider the denunciations of divine wrath against those who do fuch things, and have pleasure in them, fear harrows up their fouls! They anticipate eternal woe, and are filled with agonizing horror! Then do they appear all hurry and confufion! The great work of life to do, and opportunity gone forever! Bewailing past madness they cry undone! Undone! Such often continues their fate, till the king of terrors driving them away without hope, fhuts up the fcene!
Bur the perfect and upright man, how happily different when death draws near? If poffeffed of himself, like the ftill fummer's evening, he is calm and ferene. He talks of death with as much compofure, as one returning from a strange country, to his native land; or as one returning from captivi ty and flavery, to his father's house, to his family, and to the fociety of friends, dear as life, and with much more raised expectations!
SOME ties of nature-dear connexions, bind him indeed to earth, and would detain him here; but ftronger bonds allure and draw him away toward better world. If concern for dear ones he must leave behind intrudes and tempts him to wish a longer ftay, he remembers that though he dies, his God lives-that God hath ftiled himself the "Father of the fatherless and judge of the widow ;" that he hath said "Leave thy fatherless children with me, I will preferve them alive, and let thy widows truft in me. Supported by fuch comforting declarations-fuch kind promises of a faith
ful God, and the affured belief of his mercy and truth, he resigns them to his care and leaves them with him, not doubting, but he will preserve them, or difpofe of them, as fhall be moft for his own glory, and their good.
As to temporal matters, which often trouble those, who are chiefly concerned about worldly things, they cannot greatly affect one who believes himself heir to an eternal inheritance. For the comfort of those whom he leaves behind, he wishes to have his temporalities fettled, and his accompts intelligible; that no difputes may arise, no injustice be done; but as to any concern which he perfonally takes in them, they appear in his view contemptible. He views them as unworthy his regard, as the beggar, who hath been called to the poffeffion of a crown the rags which he cafts off to put on his robes.
As death approacheth, the perfect and upright man, who realizeth his ftate, looks back with comfort, approving the part he hath acted, after reno. vation, and forward to the enjoyment of God, with stedfaft hope and ftrong consolation.
We have this happiness of a dying faint, exemplified in St. Paul-" I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, fhall give me at that day."— His rejoicing was "the testimony of his conscience, that in fimplicity and godly fincerity, he had had
his converfation in the world." In the teftimony of his conscience, he read the evidence of his good eftate-of his fincerity towards God, and of his in. terest in Christ. He viewed nothing which he had done as meritorious-as laying God under obligation. Grace in Chrift was all his hope. But he confidered his love to God, and his zeal in his cause, as evidential that he was born of God, and the subject of divine grace in the Redeemer. Thence he inferred his title to the inheritance, prepared of God for those who love him.
OTHER faints do the fame. In the testimony of conscience that they love God, and have obtained grace to serve him, they read their interest in the covenant and in the promises, in all their divine fulness.
THIS is the best, yea, the only evidence, of an interest in them. Where this is found, the matter is determined; there can be no reasonable doubt of their good eftate; but where it is wanting, every thing befide is of no avail.
Ir is natural for a. fervant, when he fees a reckoning day at hand, to look back, and inquire how he hath improved his truft, and what account he hath to give? And from the teftimony of con. fcience, he anticipates the reception he may expect from his lord.
MANKIND feel themfelves accountable to God and naturally expect to receive from his impartial hand, according to their works; and when they perceive their probation drawing to a clofe, they
naturally look about them, and inquire how they can appear before their Judge?
THE dying Christian is sometimes heard observ. ing to thofe about him-" My glass is almost run. Would to God I had been more faithful, and done more for him who loved me, and and gave him-/ felf for me. But bleffed be his name, he hath en. abled me to choose him for my portion, and enabled me to ferve him in fincerity; though I have done it with much weakness and imperfection. Now I rely on his grace; his grace will be fuffi cient for me; it will fupport me in death, and re. ward my poor fervices with an eternal reward."
BUT if conscience, as death approacheth, fpeaks a different language-If it teftifies to a departing foul-" You have neglected the great falvationlived in pleasure and been wanton, minding only earthly things," it fills the foul with anguish unutterable, caufing it to anticipate eternal horrors!
THE perfect and upright, as he rejoiceth at the approach of death, if reason remains, often rejoic, eth in death. "When he walks the dark valley, God's rod and ftaff comfort him-He fears no evil because God is with him." He is fometimes, ready to exclaim in the triumphant language of the refurrection, "O death! where is thy fting? O grave where is thy victory ?"
SOMETIMES indeed, the upright, while here, "walk in darknefs"-Sometimes the lamp of reafon goes out, before the departure of the foul; fo that the dying Chriftian hath no fenfe of his fituation. At other times, God may hide his face
from those whom his foul loves, and caufe them to go on their way forrowing. Poffibly this may continue to the close of life! But if it doth, the clouds are all difperfed at the moment of death. No fooner are the clayey tabernacles diffolved, than the veil is rent, and the brightness of celestial glory fhines in upon them. Peace eternal and divine, is theirs forever. Clouds will no more hide God's face-Fears and doubts, no more distress them; nor Satan caft his fiery darts at them again forever.
In the other world, God will dwell with his people, and " "wipe away all tears from their eyes: There will be no more death, neither forrow, nor crying, nor any more pain; for the former things will all have paffed away. There will be no more curse, because no more fin. For the fpirits of the just will be made perfect." They will then be with God and rejoice before him; for they will have "entered into his temple to go no more out."
I. THE Confiderations which have been fuggefted afford comfort to the righteous, while groaning under the burdens and forrows of life, and fupport in the folemn hour of death. They minifter confolation alfo to those who mourn the lofs of pious friends-an occafion of forrow which we often experience in this vale of tears.
HERE all have trials and afflictions-the perfect and upright not excepted. But the time is fhort. The good man's trouble terminates with mortal life. His end is peace-his immortality glorious.