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event, willing to meet it; not because they cannot avoid it, but because it meets their approbation. They discern in the death of the body, the righteousness and graciousness of God. His righteousness in punishing the remains of corruption in their members, by dissolving the parts thereof. His graciousness by making this dissolution the means of purging away this corruption for ever. They admire the wisdom and power of God in thus making that event which is the abhorrence of natural feeling, the instrument of producing the highest and most perfect happiness of which they are capable; in constraining the king of terrors himself to be the agent to introduce them into the temple above, where they shall never go out.
Their willingness to die, therefore, is the result of principle, not of necessity.. They are willing even in time of health and prosperity. They are willing, with deliberation, distinctly understanding the nature of death. In the language of the great Dr. Owen, each in the exercise of living faith can say to his body,“ Die then, thou frail s and sinful flesh, dust thou art, and unto “ dust thou shalt return : I yield thee up “ unto the righteous doom of the Holy One. “ Yet therein also, I give thee into the “ hands of the great Refiner, who will hide “ thee in thy grave, and by thy consump« tion purify thee from all thy corruption " and disposition to evil. And otherwise “ this will not be. After a long sincere - endeavour for the mortification of sin, I “ find it will never be absolutely perfect, “ but by this reduction into the dust. Thou “ shalt no more be a residence for the least “ remainder of sin unto eternity, nor any “ clog unto my soul in its actings on God. “ Rest, therefore, in hope; for God in his “ appointed season, when he shall have a “ desire unto the work of his hands, will “ call unto thee, and thou shalt answer him “out of the dust. Then shall he by an “ act of his Almighty power, not only re“ store thee unto thy pristine glory as at “ the first creation, when thou wast the “ pure workmanship of his hands; but en“ rich and adorn thee with inconceivable “ privileges and advantages. Be not then “ afraid: away with all reluctancy: go into
* the dust, rest in hope, for thou shalt stand “ in thy lot at the end of the days”.”
2. Believers are desirous of being clothed upon with their house which is from heaven.
Their desires are not to be unclothed, that is, separated for ever from their bodies, but to have their mortal and corruptible frames become immortal and incorruptible. These desires spring from a deep sense of their present infirmities, and a believing apprehension of their future glory. They groan, being burdened whilst in the flesh. They suffer so much uneasiness, pain, trouble, fatigue, care, as to make them exclaim, each for himself, “ O wretched man that I “ am! who shall deliver me from the body “ of this death?” Their desires for deliverance are ardent, because with deliverance is connected glory. This glory, including in it every thing which the understanding approves and the heart chooses, is a good for the enjoyment of which they long and pant. Oft-times they cry out to the Saviour, “ Why are thy chariot-wheels so long in
6 Owen's Medl. and Disc. on the Glory of Christ, the Preface. Edin. ed. VOL. II.
THE ETERNAL INHERITANCE (SER. II. “ coming ?-Come, Lord Jesus, come quick( ly.”
Such desires are perfectly consistent with resignation to God's will, and patient wait. ing for death. They also accord with the great principle of self-preservation, which grace sanctifies and directs to a proper object in all believers. The highest and most perfect good is before them, and they look towards it with steadfastness and affection. To be put in possession of it, they must pass over the Jordan of death. The passage is to them desirable, for beyond the cold stream is heaven. In no other way can they enter into the rest which remaineth for the children of God. They therefore fearlessly encounter the darkness, the chillness, the terrors thereof.
3. Believers are confident that when they die they shall be happy. “ We know,” says the apostle, “therefore we are always “ confident.”
They know it as an indubitable truth; they are confident about it, satisfied that they are not and cannot be deceived. Their knowledge of it is as much a reality, as their knowledge of any other matter; and
their confidence, as well founded-as rational, as their confidence in any thing which is the object of sense. Their understandings are enlightened and convinced; their affections are captivated and directed towards that which the understanding approves. In this there is not the least delusion or fanaticism. They are as rational, as sober, as intelligent, as deliberate in their confident expectation of the exceeding and eternal weight of glory which they shall receive, as any of you are in the discharge of your various duties in life; yea, more so, infinitely more so, than you can be.
I do not say that all believers, at all times, have this confidence. But this I maintain, that it is an attainable privilege, and ought to be sought after with assiduity and perseverance. When gained, it has inherently all the essential attributes of a sound understanding, a correct judgment, a chaste imagination, a pure heart. Fanaticism cannot be ascribed to it, without charging good sense, profound wisdom, and irreproachable conduct with insanity.
III. We shall now examine the ground which believers have for expecting this glo