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dead ? he rests from his labours,' and is crowned with glory. Shortly, he is perfect gold, that comes more pure out of the fire than it went in; neither had ever been so great a saint in heaven, if he had not passed through the flames of his trial here
His Conflicts. He knows himself never out of danger, and therefore stands ever upon his guard. Neither of his hands is empty: the one holds out “the shield of faith; the other manageth “the sword of the spirit: both of them are employed in his perpetual CONFLICT.
He cannot be weary of resisting, but resolves to die fighting. He hath a ward for every blow; and as his eye is quick to discern temptations, so is his hand and foot nimble to avoid them.
He cannot be discouraged with either the number or power of his enemies; knowing that his strength is out of himself, in him in whom he can do all things, and that there can be no match to the Almighty.
He is careful not to give advantage to his vigilant adversary, and therefore warily avoids the occasions of sin: and if, at any time, he be overtaken with the suddenness or subtilty of temptation, he speedily recovers himself by a serious repentance, and fights so much the harder because of his foil.
He hates to take quarter of the spiritual powers : nothing less than death can put an end to bis quarrel, nor nothing below victory.
He is not so careful to keep his soul within his teeth, as to send it forth well addressed for happiness; as knowing, therefore, the last brunt to be most violent, he rouseth up his holy fortitude to encounter that king of fear, his last enemy, DEATH.
And now, after a painful sickness and a resolute expectation of the fiercest assault, it falls out with him as in the meeting of the two hostile brothers, Jacob and Esau; instead of grappling, he finds a courteous salutation ; for stabs, kisses; for height of enmity, offices of love. Life could never befriend him, so much as death offers to do: that tenders him (perhaps a rough, but) a sure hand, to lead him to glory, and receives a welcome accordingly.
Neither is there any cause to marvel at the change. The Lord of life hath wrought it; he, having by dying subdued death, bath reconciled it to his own; and bath, as it were, beaten it into these fair terms with all the members of his mystical body; so as while unto the enemies of God death is still no other than a terrible executioner of divine vengeance, he is to all that are in Christ a plausible and sure convoy unto blessedness.
The Christian, therefore, now laid upon his last bed, when this grim messenger comes to fetch him to heaven, looks not so much at his dreadfnl visage as at his happy errand; and is willing not to remember what death is in itself, but what it is to us in Christ; by whom it is made so useful and beneficial, that we could not be happy without it.
Here, then, comes in the last act and employment of faith (for after this brunt passed, there is no more use of faith but of vision) that heartens the soul in a lively apprehension of that blessed Saviour, who both led him the way of suffering, and is making way for him to everlasting glory; that shews him. Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right-hand of the throne of God; that clings close unto him, and lays unremoveable hold upon his person, his merits, his blessedness. Upon the wings of this faith, is the soul ready to mount up toward that heaven which is open to receive it; and, in that act of evolation, puts itself into the hands of those blessed angels, who are ready to carry it up to the throne of glory.
SIC, O SIC JUVAT VIVERE, SIC PERIRE !
| The reader can hardly have refrained from exclaiming, more than once, while perusing this brief but most expressive treatise, were the picture here drawn but moderately realized in every one of those whose profession binds them to the imita. tion of such a model, not only would the world be free from the greatest portion of those evils which now afflict it, but human laws might be dispensed with as superfluous.-ED.