Imatges de pÓgina
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But we shall be no more in a state of probation, either by returning to this world, or enjoying thofe means or advantages for it in another, which here we are taken from.

1. No more reftored to live on earth, to make a new choice for eternity, or do the work preparatory to it, that was not finished before we were called away. This is the day and ftate in which we are to work out our falvation, and endeavour to make our calling and election fure. Happy they, who while the feafon lafts, finish the work on which eternity depends. But they with whom it is gone over in vain, will no more be favoured with its return.

If importunity could prevail how earnestly would they beg and cry for this? What paffionate requests would they put up? O that we might be permitted again to live upon earth, in a ftate of hope, and under the means of grace we once enjoyed! O that we might again fee one of the days of the Son of man, and therein hear the joyful found; feel the ftrivings of the bleffed Spirit; have former opportunities and helps reftored, to make better preparation for an endless life, than once we did! But this fhall not be. One life is appointed to us on earth, wherein to flee from the wrath to come, and make fure of heaven and eternal glory; and they that lofe this, fhall not be favoured with another. They that now will not hear, and pray, and watch, and strive, fhall, when this life is at an end, have no more opportunity for any of these.

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A life of trial on earth once over, is no more to begin. If we go hence unholy and unprepared, before our great work is done, or our fouls fafe, we are to come back no more, to do what was left undone, or rectify what was done amifs. In the prefent life, the carnal may be renewed, the guilty pardoned, the perifhing faved enemies to God may be reconciled, and they that are afar off may be brought nigh. This we are not only invited to, but have the greatest helps and advantages for: but all this ends at death, as by this we depart once for all from the present ftate. On the other fide of death, it will be in vain to cry, Lord fend us again to earth, to hear the voice of mercy, and have the tenders of life and falvation by Chrift, and we will not neglect and make light of all, as once we did. Such cries could they be made, would be immediately filenced with the cutting reply, 'Tis now too late.

If ever we make provifion for death, judg ment and eternity, it must be whilst this life lafts, it being no more to be restored.

2. Sinners that are removed unchanged, shall not again, in an after-ftate, be favoured with the like means and advantages which they enjoyed here. Death tranfmits us to judgment, which determines our eternal ftate without poffibility of change. This is the life of trial and preparation; the next of reward or punishment, according as we carried it here. There is no repentance in hell, nor call to it; a Saviour, in order to their release from that place of torment, and obtaining everlasting life.

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They that here made fure of heaven, fhall
at death be admitted into it, and go out no
more: they that, notwithstanding the offers of
a Saviour, died in their fins, are caft into the
prison of hell, from whence there is no redemp-

tion.

No meffengers are to be sent after loft finners from this to the next world; no hope of mercy is to be vouchfafed them there. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of falvation; but it concludes with the finners laft breath. If a man dies fhall he live again, i. e. in fuch a state as this? It is apparent to all, it cannot be, Job xiv. 14. Probationers for an after-state, when they go hence shall be no more here. Hereupon,

III. Wherein lies our ftrength for going hence ?

The answer to this is obvious. Being to remove out of time into eternity, our strength for this confifts in our readiness for a blessed eternity; that fo it may go well with us in the next world, whenever we are taken out of this. And this readiness in general, confifts in having an interest in Chrift the only Saviour, and through him, in being in a state of peace with God, before whom we are going to appear. It confifts particularly, in having our fins done away in the blood of the Lamb; our natures healed

by the power of his Spirit; grace accompany-
ing falvation in exercife; comfortable evidence
of a title to heaven, and meetnefs for it; and
fo a lively hope that we fhall change for the
better, whenever removed from hence.

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are the things that make up our ftrength for our long journey, and enable us to go through the valley of the fhadow of death, and fear no evil.

It cannot but be delightful to hold our thoughts a little upon them. In general our ftrength for dying or going hence, is when we have an intereft in Chrift the only Saviour, and are through him in a state of peace with God, before whom we are going to appear, and are among the happy number that shall find mercy of the Lord in that day. From the very mention of this, we may learn what strength there lies in it for our going hence, and how weak and difcouraged, faint and feeble, we must be without it. Well may that foul tremble and be afraid, when ready to take its flight into the other world, that is going to appear before an angry Judge, and having no relation to Chrift, the only Mediator, to plead for him. But with what fafety and fatisfaction may the penitent believer depart; being to go to God as a Father through Jefus Chrift, the most potent and prevalent advocate with him? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect, now, or at the laft day? It is God that juftifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Chrift that died, yea rather that is rifen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh interceffion for us, Rom. viii. 33, 34.

This is our ftrength in general for going hence.

Particularly, We may be said to be ready to go hence,

1. When

1. When our fins are done away in the blood: of the Lamb. We go hence to be judged. Now when fin lieth at the door, no wonder if we have little ability or inclination to go forth. Unpardoned guilt hakes the confidence of the departing foul, and fills it with horror, as about to appear naked and defencelefs before an angry God. But when fin is pardoned in the blood of Jefus, the foul is prepared, and fo ftrengthened for a remove: having no guilt to keep him out of heaven, and having a prevailing Advocate attending, to plead for his admiffion thi ther.

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2. We may be faid to be prepared, and sa ftrengthened for going hence, when our nature is healed and fanctified by the Holy Spirit. Blef fed are the pure in heart: for they shall fee God... And where this heart is found, the perfon is difpofed for a happy remove. Impure fouls will be carried downward by the weight of corruption as well as guilt; but they that are born from heaven, are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the faints in light, and fo may fweetly mount upward to take poffeffion.

3. Grace accompanying falvation in vigorous exercife, is a farther addition to our strength for a remove. When repentance, faith, hope and love are excited, and fet a work by the hand by which they were firft implanted, the foul is dreffed to meet its Lord. This is intimated in our Lord's Command of having our loins girt, and our lights burning, like men that wait for

their Lord.

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