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us,” say they, "eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." Alas! how many are there plagued with this ? their souls are festered with the desire of present good, which is their all, and, having no hope of better after this life, they give the swing to their lusts after these.
(2.) A sluggish despair, Prov. xxii. 13, "The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets." Their sloth musters up difficulties to them, forming some that are groundless, imaginary ones, and aggravating real ones, so that they conclude beforehand that they will not be better, their endeavours will not succeed, and therefore they lie still, and will do nothing for their own help; this ruins many.
(3.) A sorrowful despair, which ariseth from strong fears, which raise such a mist in the soul, that grounds of hope in its case, are hid out of sight, and they are in their soul's case as in Acts xxvii. 20, neither sun nor stars for many days appear, no small tempest lies on them, and all hope that they shall be saved is then taken away. There are different degrees of this; sometimes it is silent and sullen, making little noise, but is smothered in one's breast like a burning fire. In such a case, one would do well to give it a vent before God, his servants, or godly experienced Christians, lest it ruin theni. This is the way David took when in such a case, Psalm xxxix. 2.-4, “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace even from good, and my sorrow was stirred; my heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned, then spake I with my tongue, Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what-it is, that I may know how frail I am." Sometimes it is raging as in Judas, who, under horror laid upon his sin, did miserably end his life.
Beware of all these, and resist the beginnings of despair, and if it has fastened on any soul, let them strive to quench it, as they would do a fire. The former makes way for the latter, and altogether makes way for remediless despair in hell.
I shall only say two things of it.-(1.) It is defiling, and makes the soul most loathsome before God; for it conceives most basely and abominably of God and Christ, directly opposing itself to the grand design of the gospel; it blasphemes the power of God, and the efficacy of his Son's blood and Spirit. (2.) It is ruining, for it makes the sinner flee from God, and cast away the means of recovery, and so ensures their destruction; besides that it often drives the sinner to put an end to his torment here, by leaping into endless torments before the time, as in the case of Judas. And while we see how Satan is ready to take advantage, we had need to take heed.
2. Beware of presumption. Take heed that ye do not flee from the one rock to dash on the other. Indeed, despair is tormenting, while presumption is easy. Nevertheless, though none of them is good, yei a person presuming is ordinarily in greater hasan than one despairing; for the presumptuous sees not his case as the other does: the one is well pleased with his damnable condition, the other is weary of his, and wishes to hare it changed; so that many more perish by the one than by the other.
To conclude: Remember, on the one hand, God is a holy jealous God, who cannot away with sin, or a state of siu, but the tire of his jealousy burns against it. On the other hand, remember that the blood of Christ takes away all guilt, his Spirit overcomes the most hopeless case, and his merey reaches wide for every condition. Fear him, ye that hope in him; hope in his merey, ye that fear him; for “the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy," Amen.
JESUS VICTORIOUS OVER DEATH."
Isaiah xxv. 8,
Such as are desirous duly to manage this solemu communion occasion, will have in their view the other world. We are all ou a journey towards it, and, if suitably exercised, will improve this 00casion to lay down our measures for eternity. Betwixt us and that other world, lies the great gulf of death; through it aro two passages; one deep and devouring, where the sinner passes alono; thero the waters flow with all that force and strength which they acquired by the broach of the covenant of works. By this passage, sinnors are thrown out into the land of utter darkness and misery. Tho text shews us the other passage, which is shallow and safo, whore the sinner passes on at tho Mediator's back, the waters being dried up by the soles of his feet, whoso passeth this way, enters into Immanuel's land, the land of lifo; for “ho will swallow up death in victory."
In these words, we have a prophecy of the happy success of a battle fought by the Mediator on account of elect sinners. The suc
Delivered Saturday, October 4, 1718.
JESUS VICTORIOUS OVER DEATH.
cess is most certain; therefore it is in the Hebrew, “He hath swallowed up," &c.—Here consider,
1. The combatants; the two mightiest that ever encountered. Upon the one hand is death, with his devouring mouth, a champion who never yet could find his match among the children of men, till the great HE, in the text, entered the lists against him, even Jesus Christ, who being man, was capable of feeling the force of death; but being the Lord of hosts also, ver. 6, could not but be conqueror at length. So death and the Mediator are the combatants.There is,
2. The encounter of the combatants, implied in these words, “He will swallow up death in victory.” Death attempting to prey upon that elect world which was given to Christ by the Father, he, as Mediator, to pluck that prey out of death's devouring mouth, encounters the terrible enemy while he is making havock of poor sinners; and, having taken upon him the guilt of his elect, which gave death a power over them, death advances against him, and attacks him, and he abides the contest. No sooner was he born, than Death, mounted on bis pale horse, advanced against him, and striking at him, filled Bethlehem with the blood of babes and the shrieks of parents. Though it could not then reach him the deadly blow, it pursued him still, shot out its poisonous arrows against him all along, till they came to a close engagement on the cross, where it wrestled him down even into the grave, the proper place of its dominion. So the Mediator got the first fall.
3. But behold the issue of the battle. Death, who in all other battles wins whatever party loses, loses the day here; the victory is on the side of the slain Mediator. The slain Saviour again revives, gets up upon death, stands conqueror over it, even in its own territories, breaks the bars of the grave, takes away the sting it fought with against him, and puts it and all its forces to the rout; so that it can never show its face against him any more, Rom. vi. 9, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him.”
4. The Mediator's pursuit of the victory, till it be complete for these that are his, as well as for himself: “He will swallow up death in victory." The vanquished enemy has yet many strongholds in his hand, and he keeps many of the redeemed ones at under; some of them as prisoners, that they cannot stir; others of them though they can stir, yet can go nowhere, but they must drag the bands of death after them. But the Mediator will pursue the victory till he swallow up death, totally abolish it out of his kingdom, that there shall no more of it be seen there for ever, as a thing that is swal
lowed up is seen no more at all; our Lord is cutting it down daily, and the last of it shall go over at the last day, 1 Cor. iv. 54, “So when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory - These words contain in them this
Doct. That our Lord Jesus, having fought death, and obtained the victory, will pursue the victory, till death be utterly abolished out of his kingdom.-Three things are here to be attended to.
1. The battle.
I. We shall consider the battle betwixt death and the Lord of life.- And,
1. Under what character has the Lord of life fought this battle? He fought it,
(1.) As the head and representative of the elect world, as their Mediator, who took burden on himself for all that the Father had given him; for otherwise he had nothing to do with death; nor had it any concern with him: John v. 15, I lay down my life for the sheep.” Adam, the head of all mankind, had betrayed us all into the snare of death, we were not able to break it, or to make our escape thence; but Christ oudertook it for the elect, as their Head, and so sought death in their room and stead : 1 Tim. ii. 6, “ Who gave himself a ransom for all.” “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was npon him, and with his stripes we are healed,” Isa. liji. 5. He bare what we should have borne, stood the shock which would have ruined us; he was wounded and brused in this battlu, but all for us. Ver. 8, “For the transgression of my people was he stricken.” And hence we are reckoned in law to have died in him: Rom. vi. 10, 11, “ For in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(2.) As their Redeemer and Deliverer : Hos. xiii. 14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death: 0 death! I will be thy plagues ; 0 gravo ! I will be thy destruction.” By sin we fell a prey to devouring death, the broken law concluded us under the power of it. The prey could not be taken from this mighty one, without both price and power; so Christ
engaged with death, and by his death ransomed death's prisoners : Heb. ii. 15, “ That through death he might destroy death, and him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” He spoiled it of its power, that they might get free. The kingdom he had received of his Father could not be recovered, nor the captives set free, without stroke of sword, his overcoming death, that held them fast; therefore he fought the battle.
(3.) As a captain or general at the head of his people : Heb. ii. 10, “ For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” God has designed that the elect shall fight their way to heaven, and therefore has given them Christ as a leader and commander: Isa. lv. 4, “ Behold I have given him for a leader and commander to the people.” They must march through the Red Sea of death to the upper Canaan; but Christ goes before, drying up the waters. There are cords of death on the most lively believer, yet he must set himself to break them; but Christ has made them like a thread of flax, when it toucheth the fire. They must encounter the king of terrors; but the King of glory, marching in the front, has received all the deadly sting—I shall consider,
2. The attack made upon him by death. Death, finding the Mediator standing in sinners' stead, advances against him with all its forces, with which it was furnished by the breach of the first covenant; and, when managing this contest,
(1.) Death brings up its strength against him, that is, the law, 1 Cor. xv. 56, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law,” which, finding him a sinner by imputation, cut him down, Gal. iv. 4,“ God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” The law cries for justice against sin, and justice takes the Mediator by the throat, saying, Pay what thou owest ; then he “restored what he took not away," Psalm lxix. 4. The law brings up against him a black band of curses, and pours into his soul: Gal. iii. 13,“ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” It soon began to shoot its arrows against him. When he was born, he must be born in a stable, laid in a manger, for there was no room for him in the inn; persecution is raised against him in his infancy; he must be all along a man of sorrows, poor, not having where to lay his head; he is hungry, thirsty, weary, &c. At length the battle grows hotter, the heavens are black above his head; and in the garden, and on the cross, showers of arrows dipt in the curse fly at him. He sweats bloody