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4. Comfortable evidence of our title to, and meetness for heaven, that so upon our being abfent from the body, we have good hope, we fhall be present with the Lord: this, this will furnish us with strength, not only to fubmit to a remove, but in some measure to delire to be gone. Being able to say, I know that my Re. deemer liveth, and that he is gone to his Father, and my Father, to prepare
my coming ; how readily will one raised to this, wel come the order to go and be with him, though it be by dying? Upon notice given to a faint by some mortal disease or danger, that he muit set his house in order, for that he shall die and not live, with what fatisfaction in the divine will, will he receive the message, as being able to fay, I bave fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have done my work, and I have a prospect of
my reward: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Fudge zeill give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them alo that love bis appearing. 'Lord Jesus receive my foul : Angels do your office, and bear me to him.
In such things as these lies our strength for a final departure out of this world into another. And hence, it is easy to collect, who have reached it.
They that have yielded themselves to God through Jesus Christ, and are restored to the favour God bears to his own people: They who are pardoned and renewed; washed, justified and Sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ, and by the Spirit of God: they who have grace implanted, and growing by exercise : they who have the love of God thed abroad in their hearts; who have their evidences for heaven clear, and some foretastes of what it means. Where it is thus, those happy souls may be faid to have reached a good measure of strength for their remove hence.
This leads me to consider,
IV. How much we are concerned to pray, that God would spare us to get or recover strength, preparatory to our final remove.
1. Strength consisting in habitual readiness, by obtaining an interest in Christ, and pardon and fanctification by his blood and Spirit, is necessary to our safe departure.
How terrible must be the thoughts of dying, to the man that is not at peace with God? How dreadful to appear before God, for one that is liable to his wrath? What hope can there be of heaven, where there is nothing of grace
and holiness to fit for it? Is it not of the last importance when life is threatened, for such to beg its continuance ? What heart has that man who considers what it is to die unrenewed, and in this state does not earnestly pray, Lord Spare me? Cut me not off in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity ; unmeet for heaven, when there remains no other place but hell. If I die in this state I am lost for ever : glorify thy patience in sparing a little, and thy grace in preparing me for my great change. This is the strength I need, and beg with all the vehemence of one that knows his fafety as
to eternity, depends upon it. Who can dwell with devouring fire? Who can endure everlasting burnings ? Spare me a little, that I may recover strength, before I go bence, and be no more.
2. Strength, as it respects grace in exercise, and satisfaction as to our interest in Christ, and title to heaven:: this is necessary to our dying comfortably, and finishing our course with joy.
And how earnestly should we be concerned for time, in order to get this ? considering it will be far from being easy to go from hence never to return, uncertain what shall become of us for ever. To believe there is an everlasting hell, and be in doubt, whether I shall be delivered from it : a state of glory, and not to know, whether I shall be received into it: To be entering upon my unchangeable state, and at a loss of what kind it shall prove ; how dejecting must this be? And on the other hand, how transporting will it be, to be able to look to heaven, and say, my Father is there? To Christ, and at the same time be able to add, I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day? I am leaving the world, and I do it freely, knowing I shall have, in exchange, better and more enduring substance. Farewel earth, welcome heaven, where I shall dwell with
my Lord for
V. To get strength thus to go hence, is the great thing, good men have, and ought to have in their eye, in defiring life. Vol. II. D
It was not to be rich, or great, or honourable, that the Psalmist here prayed for ; but that he may recover strength, such strength as the change he was going to make called for, viz. that he might die safely, and that he might depart
peace, or die comfortably. And the children of God may, and ought, with submission to his will, to defire this:
1. That they may be fresh, and renewed inftances, that when flesh and heart faileth, God can be the strength of his people's heart, by giving them a lively hope that he will be their portion for ever.
2. That Christ may be glorified in their death, as well as life, by making them more than conquerors over the king of terrors : he. having loved and died for them, and enabling them to triumph in him, in whom they have righteousness and strength, and in whom all the house of Israel is to be justified and to glory.
That their grand enemy Satan may be the more signally baffled, when seeing them rejoice as dying, and going finging to glory, where he
can never come..
4. That such as survive may have a cordial to reconcile them to their own removal, from the comfortable manner in which they see them
5. That these may be encouraged too to trust the same Jesus, for all the grace they shall need living, or dying. And
6. Lastly, That they may be quickened to follow them in the same way, as ever they would go off in the same manner, and finish well.
There is one thing more under the doctrinal
VI. When may a child of God be led to pray with the Psalmist, o spare me ?
1. After some great or grievous fall; that so they may live to testify the truth of their
repena tance, and repair the dishonour which the glory of God, and their holy profession may have suffered through their transgression.
2. Under fad and sensible decays as to gracé ; that they recover the ground they have loft.
3. When deprived of the light of God's countenance; that they may not set in a cloud, or be fnatched away under darkness or doubt of their relation to him, or acceptance with him ; that they may not fadden the hearts of those that God would not have to be saddened, nor leave the enemies of God any ground to imagine, That there was no difference between the death of the righteous and the wicked, tho' it be faid, The wicked is driven away in bis wickedness : but the righteous hath hope in his death, Prov. xiv.
If it be asked, To what purpose should any put up the requelt, Lord, spare me, when
prayer cannot change God's mind, or set death and the grave at a greater distance? The answer is obvious. 1. We may, and ought to
and ought to pray, whilst we are uncertain as to the event. God knows the day of our death, but we do not: and his revealed will is to be our rule, who has said, Is any afflicted? let him pray ; Call zipon me in the day of trouble, &c. Pfal
. I. 15. D 2