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A49700 Victory over death a sermon preached at Steeple-Ashton in the county of Wilts, upon the 17th day of April, 1676, at the funeral of Mr. Peter Adams, the late reverend, pious, and industrious minister of Gods word there, sometime fellow of University Colledge in Oxford / by Paul Latham ... Lathom, Paul. 1676 (1676) Wing L575; ESTC R7734 32,624 52

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it v. 55. O death where is thy sting O grave where is thy victory Which he further amplifieth by representing the length and strength of Deaths weapons v. 56. The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the Law And concludes with this 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 or song of triumph in the words I have chosen to insist upon But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ Wherein we have this blessed Apostle expressing the courage and yet the humility of a Christian His confidence through Faith and withal the lowly deference that he owns to Almighty God through our Lord Jesus Christ Or more particularly we have the true Christians victory over Death First joyfully reported 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 a victory to us Christians over Death Secondly thankfully resented 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 thanks be to him that giveth us this victory Thirdly the Author of it acknowledged and magnified 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 thanks be to God Fourthly the procuring or meritorious cause of this victory signified 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 through our Lord Jesus Christ I begin with the joyful report of this victory over Death 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 This word victory is a martial term and intimateth First that Death is an Enemy There may be an obliging victory in the friendly contests of Lovers who endeavour to outstrip each other in offices of kindness and good-will But this victory is of another nature it is like the battel of the warriour with confused noise and garments rolled in blood Isa 9.5 It is the overcoming of a great and formidable enemy Such is Death and that First To the natural concerns of man To destroy either the Soul or Body of man is a work beyond the reach of Death or any other on this side that infinite power that made them both But what Death aims at is the separating of these old friends and dissolving the union that was so intimate between them And this is that which Nature so industriously endeavoureth to maintain that the dissolution must be an act of great violence to it To maintain this union Nature is not only forward to gratifie sense by eating and drinking what is pleasant and delightful but sometimes content to affront and annoy it by submitting to severe abstinences laborious exercises ungrateful and nauseous doses of Physick To maintain this the most greedy Mammonist will break off some pieces of his adored Idol employing his bags to compass this greatest purchase of continued health Yea the industrious Merchant will discharge his Ship of the most promising return to secure what he accounts the most precious thing aboard his life To continue this union how many are content to undergo the tediousness of a lingering distemper and chuse a dying life before death it self To maintain this how many do meet force with force and make their neighbours life a commutation for their own Yea for this end how oft do men expose and sometimes yeild to part with some of the less useful members of their own bodies to secure by composition the health of the whole All which sheweth how earnest desires and what diligent care Nature hath inspired us with of maintaining this union of Soul and Body and perpetuating it as far as may be And consequently what an enemy Death is in attempting the dissolution thereof Secondly to a man in his moral concerns Death is an enemy Even a criminal while he can escape the arrest of the Law thinks the best of his own condition and a sinner while he can hold up his head in the land of the living is apt to bless himself in his own sanguine conceits and to laugh at the doctrine of a Judgment to come But look what an enemy the Malefactor esteems him that hales him before an earthly Tribunal or a Debtor him that calls him to account for his scores such an enemy doth every man that knows himself to have offended and hath not sued out his pardon every man that hath run in score to Gods justice and hath not applied himself to that Surety that so graciously offers to pay his debts esteems Death that comes to bring him before Almighty God as a righteous Judg from whom he may expect a dreadful sentence and the great Creditor to whom he knows himself not responsible Secondly this term Victory supposeth a conflict Over a Coward that dares not to fight or a Town that surrenders upon summons we are not ordinarily said to obtain a victory This is properly the effect of strugling and striving for mastery And with this enemy Death every man hath a great conflict And that both First Eminùs at a distance when it threatens us and thus it begetteth fear which is a passion that commonly makes impression especially upon persons of soft and tender natures not inferiour to those that attend the approaches of evil Especially O death how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that lives peaceably in the enjoyment of his friends to him that is quiet and prosperous in his business and to him that hath an appetite and can relish his meat Ecclus 41.1 This is such a conflict as doth quietos sollicitare disquiets those that are at ease in Sion and disturbs them that are setled upon their Lees. To think that this healthy body must e're long be distempered with diseases that those pleasures that have been the darlings of their souls must everlastingly forsake them that those riches for which they have toiled and laboured must take themselves wings and for ever fly away yea that this stately and beautiful structure of the body must yeild to dissolution and which is more dreadful than all the rest that when the dust shall return to the earth the spirit shall return to God that gave it Eccl. 12.7 to pass an account of the things which it hath done in the body and to receive a reward according to them whether they be good or evil 2 Cor. 5.10 This is that terror of the Lord through which so many are all their life time subject to bondage Heb. 2.16 Secondly and especially Cominùs when Death comes to conflict with us hand to hand when the battel is set in array and pila minantia pilis Can thy heart endure or thy hands be strong in the day when God thus dealeth with thee Ezek. 22.14 When Death is represented in its most ordinary habit this ghastly Skeleton armed with Scyth and Spade beset with the skulls and bones of dead men as trophyes of its multiplied conquests how dismally doth it look how far from the aspect of one that designs to court delicate Ladies yea more like to a Mormo designed to affright mankind But especially when it clothes it self in an habit of extraordinary terror when it appears in the scarlet cloak of a violent calenture in the purple robes of a pestilential feaver when it enamels its weapons with the stone or stains them
with the strangury or when it comes raging in a violent and masterless phrenzy In a word when it endeavours to appear more formidable than it self who ever could pretend to such strength as should not grow seeble or to such hardiness as should not be dismayed before it Its first encounter baffles the appetite and causeth it to languish it disturbeth and interrupteh the sleep weakens the joynts commands a cessation of the usual exercises spreads paleness and wanness upon the skin Its next proceedings subject a staff for the necessary support of the enfeebled structure call in the Druggist to supply the place of the Cook and Confectioner cast a man upon his bed as the retirement of his wearied and fainting limbs and by degrees invade the seats of the vital and animal spirits afflict the heart with faintings the head with pains obstruct the vessels serving for the passage of the blood and spirits cause the keepers of the house to tremble the strong men to bow themselves and those that look out of the windows to grow dim for want of the usual supply of animal spirits Till at last the cold sweat takes possession of the Hippocratical face the disturbed soul sits upon the trembling lip threatning to take its leave of that body where the enfeebled spirits will not prevail to fetch up that phlegm that lyes ratling and betokening suffocation And then is the dust prepared to return to the dust whence it was taken Eccl. 12.7 Then doth man set forward in his joyrney toward his long home and the mourners go about the streets Then comes a shrowd to be the modish apparel and a sepulcher the bed for repose then begins this proud aspiring Nimrod to know himself and to own his original saying to corruption thou art my father and to the worms ye are my brethren and sisters Job 17.14 Then he that so bustled above ground as to think the world too strait for him is content with six foot of earth for his patrimony A rare conquest the fruit of a signal conflict Thirdly victory as it is here applied supposeth Death accustomed to conquer That challenge or triumphant insultation v. 55. O death where is thy victory seems to suppose Death a tryed Champion fleshed in conquest And if First we look to its power over mans body we must confess it an irresistable enemy and a constant victor Pallida mors aequo c. It is not the robes and pallaces of Kings any more than the rags and cottages of beggars that exempt them from the arrest of this Sergeant neither are those so high as to affright death from attempting them nor these so low that it should scorn to meddle with them It is not the long delay and forbearance of Death in demanding its due that can make it forget the debt that is owing by the aged The short histories of the strangely long lives of those Antedeluvians that survived the elapsing of several hundreds of years are every-where closed up with and he dyed Gen. 5. Nor it is the pittiful cryings and pulings of the infant in swadling clothes that is loth to be snatched away form its beloved breast and seems to plead that it hath tasted nothing of the pleasures nor understood the design of its being set a-shore upon the earth that can move this Skeleton void of bowels to hold its hand and to draw back its envenomed darts But these things are done in the green tree yea in the tender plant as well as in the dry Luke 23.31 The wisdom of Solomon or of the seven Sages of Greece would in vain have attempted to out-wit Death The strength of Samson or of Davids worthies whose countenances were like the countenances of Lions 2 Sam. 17.10 could not daunt this Messenger of Gods justice or prevail in the last conflict with it but these also yeilded to be led in triumph by Death In Golgotha are skuls of all sorts and sizes as tokens of the impartial conquest that Death is making There lyes Absolom so perfect in beauty as well as Mephibosheth a deformed Cripple There lyes the wanton and amorous youngster as well as the old man that doted and leaned on his staff There lyes Goliah a man of overgrown nature as well as David a ruddy youth There lyes Hector and Achilles so famous for manly valour as well as Thesites a cowardly and seditious brawler We may see there that wise men dye as well as the foolish and brutish persons Psal 49.10 There have Xerxes and all his vast army that threatned to level the mountains and to drink the Oceans dry laid down their skuls and owned deaths soveraignty Nor could those many million of millions that like piles of grass have stood before Death yet blunt the edge of its Scyth but hitherto it goes on conquering and to conquer Secondly if we take measure of its strength in arresting the Soul of man we must needs own it as an absolute victor It hath a sting put into it by sin which makes it assault the sinner with deadly strength and violence Man by his wilful and disingenuous transgression incurred the sentence of the Law which was Death in the comprehensive notion of it To bring men to that which the Scripture calls the second death Rev. 20.6 the former death hath commission And who is able to withstand a Messenger of the Almighty or refuse appearance when he summons us to that tribunal It is not mens hiding their sins like Adam nor covering them with the fig-leaves of trifling excuses it is not gilding over the potsherd of abomination with the silver dross of Pharisaical pretences or outside holiness It is no palliating colours no cunning conveyances no subtil evasions no critical subterfuges can deliver a man in that last encounter or stand him instead when Death summons him to appear before the judgment seat of Christ 2 Cor. 5.10 So that in every respect Death pleads custom for the victory it demands over mankind But yet Fourthly the term here used and applied to a Christian doth signifie that a good man may obtain a victory over this mortal enemy in the great conflict though so accustomed to conquer and so proud with success And the joining of the subject we with the adjunct victoriousness shews that it is the peculiar priviledg of true Christians so that strangers do not intermeddle with this joy Prov. 14.10 Not that a good man can expect to be exempt from the stroke of Death nor be secure as to any particular time or season of his life nor plead exemption from any sort of disease or circumstance of Death for what man is he that liveth and shall not see death shall he deliver his soul from the power of the grave Psal 89.48 And it is appointed for men indefinitely and without distinction once to dye Heb. 9.27 This being the passage through which we are to enter into another world But yet though it may seem a wonder even when good
Christ. Secondly to satisfie us on the contrary concerning the dejectedness and despondency wherewith some men do meet death from whom yet better things might have been expected Men of strong bodies athletick constitution happy education great parts much reading how fearful have they been to look death in the face yea a good man when God hides the light of his countenance from him doth tremble to think of death and judgment of this a reason is easily given from what hath been spoken the Author of so great a blessing with-holds it where it doth not seem good to his infinite wisdom to bestow it Thrirdly this directs us whether to apply our selves to obtain strength in the last encounter We must not trust to our selves to natural or acquired gifts but we must go forth in the strength of the Lord and make mention of his name even of his only Psal 71.16 On him let us call by prayer him let us sollicite by acting faith on him who giveth power to the faint and to them that have no might he encreaseth strength Isa 40.29 Fourthly what thanks and obedien●e can be sufficient for a just acknowledgment to God from them to whom he hath vouchsafed this glorious triumph over death It is the greatest victory that can be imagined to conquer this king of terrors the greatest gift we can think of imploring the divine favour to bestow upon us in this world that he will furnish us with that strength and resolution that will make us not afraid to leave the world It is one of the blessed fruits of our Saviours meritorious sufferings and obedience And therefore what shall we return unto the Lord for this and all other his benefits What thanks offering can be of due value to present unto him what fruit of the lips what obedience of heart and life can be sufficient to express 〈◊〉 r●s●●ment of this favour O give thanks unto the Lord for he is God 〈◊〉 h●● me●●y ●●du●●eth for ever Let the redeemed of the L●●d 〈◊〉 whom he h●●h redeemed from the hand of the enemy O 〈◊〉 would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his w●nderful wor●s towards the sons of men Psal 107.1 2 8. But from the Author of this victory which was proposed as the third thing considerable let us advance to the Fourth General to be considered in the Text the procuring cause of this victory by whom it was acquired and purchased for us 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 through our Lord Jesus Christ. The main argument whereby the Apostle had established that great Article of our Faith the resurrection of the body in the precedent part of this Chapter was grounded upon the resurrection of Christ from the dead Who not only shewed that it was neither impossible nor yet incredible that God should raise the dead Acts 26.8 because he himself overcome the sharpness of death and broke its bonds but also by rising as a publick person the second Adam the first-fruits from the dead hath made way for us also to follow him in the resurrection of our bodies And this expression in the Text seems to be the Epiphonema or close of that discourse and arguing It is in Christ that God blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things Eph. 1.3 And particularly this blessed victory over death is derived unto us through Christ several ways hath Christ overcome death and made way for our being victorious over it First he hath destroyed the sting of death even sin by his merits and sufferings The sting is the most formidable part in those animals that are arm'd therewith And sin which rendred us obnoxious to the wrath of God and curse of the Law was the chief thing that made death dreadful to mankind as arresting us in order to bringing us before the Judg of all the earth who will render to every man according to his works Rom. 2.6 But this sting hath Christ plucked out from death by his voluntary and meritorious obedience answering the exaction of the Law and by his unparallel'd and meritorious sufferings enduring the malediction thereof So that there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus Rom. 8.1 As a great High Priest he hath by one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctified Heb. 10.14 As our surety he hath paid our debts and cancelled the hand-writing that was against us As our God he hath redeemed us not with corruptible things as silver and gold but with his own most pretious blood 1 Pet. 1.19 And in each respect God is just and yet the justifier of the ungodly when he believeth in Jesus Rom. 3.26 In him mercy and truth are met together righteousness and peace have kissed each other Psal 85.10 Secondly he hath overcome the pains of death by his example and promises By his example who as the Captain of our Salvation was made perfect through sufferings Heb. 2.10 He suffered perfectly all that the Law of God could exact or the rage of his enemies inflict And he was perfect under his sufferings so as not to entrench the least upon the bounds of compleat patience Jam. 1.2 He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth Isa 53.7 When he was reviled he reviled not again when he suffered he threatned not 1 Pet. 2.23 Further by his sufferings he perfected the work of our Redemption and fully satisfied Divine Justice And hereby he hath engaged and encouraged us to arm our selves likewise with the same mind because Christ hath suffered in the flesh for us 1 Pet. 4.1 And by his promises he hath encouraged us telling us that this strait way leadeth to life that in the mean time he will never fail us nor forsake us Heb. 13.5 But when we pass through the fire and water he will be with us Isa 43.1 2 and that these light afflictions that endure but for a season do work for us a far more excellent and eternal weight of glory 2 Cor. 4.17 Thirdly he hath wiped away the scandal of death by his leading the way in suffering death and lying in the grave It is a great affront to this stately piece of well-formed earth to own kindred with corruption and worms Job 17.14 But Christ the best of men yea the Son of God hath led us on the way to Golgotha and we need not be ashamed to follow him in the steps he hath troden He suffered before he was glorified he endured the cross and digested the shame of that scandalous death before he set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high Heb. 12.3 And therefore it is no disgrace to us to die and be laid in the grave Yea it was a far bitterer cup that he drank off for us than what God useth to put into the hands of his people and therefore we should not scruple at drinking our own portion He hath perfumed the grave by laying
mature consideration finds this to be best for him Phil. 1.23 An heathen may take some satisfaction in reflecting upon his life past with Vixi et quem dederat cursum natura peregi I have lived and filled up the station wherein nature hath placed me But this comes short of the stable confidence of the Apostles when in leaving the world he could say I have fought a good fight I have finished my course I have kept the faith Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous Judg shall give me in that day 2 Tim. 4.7 8. A Socrates from principles of Philosophy might conclude the immortality of the soul and consider his wages in some sort An opera nostra sit probaturus Deus nescio certe sedulò conati sumns ut ei placerent Est mihi tamen certa spes conatus nostros eum fore accepturum But by what means imperfect good works could obtain acceptation with the strict justice of God and how sin could obtain pardon with him this Philosophy could not teach them But the Scripture tells us that God will own his people in the day when he maketh up his jewels and will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him Mal. 3.17 That with the Lord there is mercy and with him there is plenteous redemption and that he shall deliver Israel from all their sins Psal 130.18 So that we may say Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who of his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 1 Pet. 1.3 and hath hereby given us comfort through faith in our conflict with this last and mortal enemy Secondly If a true Christian is conqueror over death why then should he fear it The spirit of a man will help him to sustain his infirmities or bodily pains Prov. 18.14 Manly courage should help to bear us up under outward trials And the Spirit of God bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God Rom. 8.16 will help us to master the fear of death as an enemy to the soul Why then should we fear that Serpent that is disarmed of his sting that Lion whose mouth is shut and his jaw-teeth pulled out that adversary whose weapons are taken from him It is enough for them that know no better place to go unto to to be affraid and unwilling to leave the world enough for them that have not a God to support them to sink under pains and sickness enough for them that do not beleeve themselves to have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous who is a propitiation for their sins 1 Joh. 2.1 to be affraid to appear before Gods tribunal Christian religion hath taught better things to all that duly embrace it And therefore let us comfort our selves therewith and with joy draw water out of these wells of salvation Isa 12.3 Thirdly If we have overcome death why should we sink under the fear of any other troubles Death is called the King of terrours Job 18.14 in the same sence as the Lion is called King among the beasts and the Eagle among birds because it is the chief of all the rest And if the leader of terrors be overcome why should we fear those that follow and are less formidable The uttermost that can be threatned by any worldly misery is to bring us to death under disadvantageous and dreadful circumstances And if this be conquered what need we fear that which can but threaten to bring us thither Therefore let us not fear these fears nor be afraid but sanctifie the Lord of hosts himself and let him be our fear and our dread Isa 8.12 13. Let us with chearfulness expect and with patience endure all the troubles of this life because we have victory over the last enemy Death Thus much for the joyful report of this victory which was propounded as the first general to be considered The Second general in the Text is the thankful resentment of this victory vouchsafed to us 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 thanks be to him that giveth it to us How thankfully every good man should and doth resent the victory vouchsafed unto him over Death will appear by considering how great a priviledg this is And that will be evident to him that considers on the one hand the miserable estate of him that lyes under the dominion of Death and at its mercy and on the other the happy estate of him that through Gods mercy hath obtained this victory First for the misery of those that are in subjection to Death whose tender mercies are cruelty this will appear if we take notice of their estate either when Death is apprehended at a distance and under a remote prospect or when it is at hand and comes to do execution upon them First let us take notice of them when Death is apprehended at a distance and under a remote prospect and so the thoughts of Death as victorious over them do First allay the generosity and abate the sweetness of all worldly comforts He that duly considers that his time is in Gods hands Psal 31.15 and that himself is not master of the next moment that is to pass by that man goeth down to his grave and returneth no more and if a man dye shall he live again Job 14.14 What a cooler doth this afford to his spirits when warmed and made brisk with the enjoyment of worldly affluence This is apt to make a man despair of all his labour under the Sun and to reckon all but vanity and vexation of spirit Eccles 2.20 Considering that the riches for which he hath toiled and about which he hath disturbed himself the pleasures in which he hath delighted to wallow the honours to which he hath aspired and climbed up by such a steep and slippery ascent shall then cease from affording him any more satisfaction And withall that he is not within the prospect of a better enjoyment that may recompence his loss of these present good things but must go naked out of the world in all respects as he came naked in and so lye down in eternal misery Secondly this abates the lively and generous actings of the soul and dismays it for any noble designs and attempts When a man seriously considers all his endeavours under the the Sun to be like Spiders webs spun with a great deal of painful labour and exenterating care and contrivance and after this in a moment swept down and destroyed by the besom of Death that when mans breath goeth forth he returneth to his earth and in the same day all his thoughts perish Psal 146.4 And if withall there be not a greater and more noble design which such a man hath proposed to himself and hath attained probable hopes of the accomplishment of it this is apt to make him conclude that truly man walketh in a vain shadow verily
and neglected in the grave keeping an everlasting fast yea instead of faring deliciously every day it self must afford a meal to the worms and say to corruption thou art my father Job 17.14 But this is not all nor the worst yet Sixthly Death sends the Soul to be a prey to the worm that never dyes Here is the Morral of Prometheus his Vulture the preying of the Conscience upon it self with the ungrateful and corroding remembrance of the pleasures of this life when they are to part as never to return of the sins of a mans life for which God doth now bring him into judgment of the day of grace which he neglected being like the fool that had a price put into his hands to get wisdom but had no heart to make use of it Prov. 17.16 This is a vengeance worthy of God a punishment suitable to the nature of a separate Soul when it hath not the company of the Body to partake of the other torment the fire that never shall be quenched Mar. 9.44 To this torment death sends the soul as judgmet shall hereafter send the body to the other This is the unhappiness of those that so live as to fear death and justly to fear it because under its power and dominion in the worst and severest sense But as we have seen the dark side let us also take a view of the bright side of the cloud let us Secondly consider the happy and comfortable condition of those that have attained a blessed victory over death and and live in the enjoyment of the sense thereof and so it will appear to be matter of thankfull resentment and worthy of giving praise to the author thereof For First such a man enjoys more comfort in the world then another man doth or can God as a bountiful Creator hath given us variety of comforts in the things of this world and it is his will that we should serve him with gladness and cheerfullness of heart in the abundance of all things Deut. 28.47 And he is best able to rejoyce and take comfort in the fruits of Gods goodness who hath overcome the danger and fear of Death For First This sets his Aflections above the world It is most certain that whatsoever we have of worldly enjoyments either imperat aut servit to some the world is a master to others a servant And as it is a very useful and obsequious servant when it is kept under so it is a very imperious and tyranical master when we subject our selves to it Now he only is a truly free man who hath placed his most lively affections upon better things this frees him from those eager desires after getting more which like a 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 in the body do gnaw the mind with perpetuall unquietness from those distracting sollicitudes about worldly matters which keep the soul continually upon the Rack drawing it this way and that way And in the affluence of the things desired this prevents that puffing up with pride which like a status in the Hippocondries or a tumor in any part of the body renders the mind subject to an uneasy calendure that pinching greediness in keeping together the heap which like a compressed vessel in nature hindring the free motion of the blood and spirits bindeth the soul and hinders it from a comfortable enjoyment of its portion This dischargeth the mind from that anxiety as to losing these things which in many takes away the pleasure they should reap from the enjoyment of them and finally so suits the spirit to a compliance with the Divine Providence that it reckons the lines fallen to it in a pleasant place Psal 16.8 and shakes off that repining and discontent which like an unfit shooe makes a man step uneasily in the condition wherein he walketh Now this is the victory whereby we overcome the World even our Faith 1 Joh. 5.4 This raiseth the heart above it when we with comfort look on our selves as strangers and pilgrims in it and such as seek a better Countrey that is an heavenly Heb. 11.16 Secondly this satisfies a mans mind that his main concerns are secured and the greatest of fears overcome Go thy way eat thy bread drink thy drink with a merry heart for God accepteth thy works Eccl. 9.7 In worldly matters then are we at ease and can enjoy a friend or take satisfaction in any other comfort when our greatest concerns are secured and our main business over And especially in spiritual affairs then do a mans morsels go down sweetly and he doth sleep with freedom and security when the fear of God's wrath is removed and an interest in his love and favour secured This is bread that the World knows not of hidden Manna Rev. 2.17 such joy as a stranger intermedleth not with Prov. 14.10 Such is the sweetness and satisfaction that this affords that the like is in vain sought for in worldly acquisitions Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us And this puts gladness into our hearts more than the men of the World have in the time when their Corn and Wine and Oil encreaseth Ps 4. 6 7. Secondly such a man goes along in the way of his duty with vigour and delight It is a great happiness as well as a duty to cut with a keen edge in doing the will of God to proceed with vigour and to take delight and complacency in doing well And there is nothing so much conduceth to work in us this temper of mind as confidence of a reward added to a conscientious sense of God's command Be not weary of well-doing knowing that in due time ye shall reap if ye faint not Gal. 6.7 Be stedfast unmovable always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord 1 Cor. 15.58 Thirdly he will pass through the difficulties of a Christian course with courage and serenity of spirit The Apostle tells us that we have need of patience that after we have done the will of God we may inherit the promises Heb. 10.36 because through much tribulation we pass into the kingdom of heaven Act. 14.22 And if we faint in the day of adversity it sheweth our strength to be small Prov. 24.10 Now this consideration that death will put an end to all these troubles and a confident perswasion that death shall be an happy change to us will help us to hold out with courage and chearfulness in opposition to fainting or fretting at the difficulty of the way Thus Moses chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin because he had respect to the rceompence of reward Heb. 11.25 26. Yea the master of that house in which Moses was faithful as a Servant was by the joy that was set before him encouraged to endure the cross and despise the shame Heb. 12.2 Fourthly he will be fit for every condition and know how to
his own body there before us This Unicorn by dipping his own horn before-hand hath rendred these waters safe and wholsome So that we shall rest in our graves as in beds every man that hath walk'd before him in his uprightness Isa 57.2 Fourthly he hath vanquished the power of death by his resurrection Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who of his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 1 Pet. 1.3 Hereby he shewed to the World that he had by death overcome him that had the power of death even the Devil Heb. 2.14 Yea that he hath not only commanded a passage for himself whom death could not possibly hold any longer than was necessary for the satisfying of Divine Justice Acts 2.24 but hath also taken away the keys of power from this surly Porter and made way for his own people to follow him And because I live ye shall live also Joh. 14.19 Fifthly he killed the Hopes of death by his Ascension Thereby he made it evident that he had fully accomplished his mediatory Function upon earth and that Christ being risen from the dead dieth no more death must have no more dominion over him Rom. 6.9 that he should no more submit to take on him the form of a servant and to be obedient to death Phil. 2.8 And consequently it may encourage Believers that as it is appointed for men once to die Heb. 9.27 so this trouble shall be dispatched at once so that they that have part in the first resurrection over them the second death shall have no power Rev. 20.6 Sixthly he shall destroy the very being of death at the last day Death hath its commission extended to the end of this World and then the rod that hath so long been used for the trial and chastisement of mankind shall it self be cast into the fire The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death 1 Cor. 15.26 Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written I will ransom them from the power of the grave I will redeem them from death O death I will be thy plagues O grave I will be thy destruction repentance is hid from mine eyes Hos 13.14 As consequents of this that hath been last spoken First we may consider how glorious was the Conquest of Christ in his sufferings Well might it be said that he was made perfect by them Heb. 2.10 For he obtained by dearh a most compleat victory over death in all its circumstances and over him that had the power of death both for himself and also for all his people Secondly therefore how great was God's love in sending his Son into the World Joh. 3.16 So God loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son Scarcely for a righteous man would one die Yet peradventure for a good or useful man some might be found that would even dare to dye But God commended his love to us in that when we were so far from being good and useful men that we were not so much as righteous and innocent men yet in due time Christ dyed even for the ungodly Rom. 5.7 8. Thirdly let us hence learn to fly unto Christ and to secure our interest in him This is the way to have a right to that comfort that flows from his incarnation and death and thereby to have satisfaction and comfort both in our life time and at our death to be secure under the preapprehensions of it and to entertain it with joy and comfort when it cometh If his wrath be kindled yea but a little blessed are all they that put their trust in him therefore let us kiss the Son Psal 2.11 12. and give all diligence to make our calling and election sure 2 Pet. 1.10 let us examine our selves whether we be in the faith and prove and know our own selves whether Christ Jesus be formed in us 2 Cor. 13.5 that when death shall summon us to an encounter we may be victorious over it Fourthly let the redeemed of the Lord walk with joy and thankfulness before him as in a sense of all other his mercies so particularly of this blessed fruit of our Saviours death and resurrection the glorious victory thereby obtained for us over death Bless the Lord O our souls and all that is within us bless his holy name Bless the Lord our souls and forget not all his benefits Who forgiveth all our iniquities who healeth all our diseases Who redeemeth our life from destruction who crowneth us with loving-kindness and tender mercies Psal 103.1 2 3 4. And let us walk chearfully before God in a sense of our great priviledg amongst all the troubles of the world that accompany us in our abode here and under the thoughts of leaving this world at last forasmuch as this last enemy is vanquished let us not fear any thing else but under our dependencies let us call up our souls to a more comfortable and chearful temper let us chide away dejectedness and drooping and say why art thou cast down O my soul and why art thou disquieted within me Hope in God for I shall yet praise him who is the help of my countenance and my God Ps 42.11 And that I may come to a closer application of the point and pass à thesi ad hypothesin this victory over death which I might have been representing unto you from the words of the Apostle as attainable by a Christian and his singular priviledg was no doubt the acquisition and priviledg of our dear and reverend Brother whose Remains we are now assembled to inter And for that reason I have insisted upon this subject to press us all to imitate him in fighting for the same victory The name of the wicked shall rot saith the wise man but the memory of the just shall be blessed Pr. 10.7 Of wicked Jehoram it is said he departed without being desired 2 Chr. 21.20 But of good Jehoiadah and I am now speaking of a Priest though not an High Priest that the people did him honour at his death because he had done good in Israel ch 24.16 The wicked leaves the world like a filthy Lamp leaving an offensive stench in the Nostrils of all that knew him but a Good man ends his dayes like a Wax-taper that exchangeth its pleasant and useful light for the grateful scent it leaves behind it The Psalmist tells us That precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints Ps 116.15 And our Lord Jesus Christ when he conversed with men on earth when Lazarus a good man was dead although as man he believed his Soul to be removed to present Bliss and as God he knew that he should return to life again in this world being free from those turbulent Passions that are our sin and at once our burden it is said 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Jo. 11.33 He troubled himself and expressed his trouble of mind by
as the God of love and peace Add to this his natural and unaffected gravity which as it prevented his years in the beginning so it favoured not of pride or furliness but was a very good ornament to ministerial Authority and left no man just reason to despise him Thirdly let us look upon him in a yet more enlarged capacity as a Christian or a member of the Church of God and thus he left matter of commendation to himself and of imitation to us by his singular sobriety and temperance Wherein possibly through his great self-denial he might have needed St. Paul's advice to Timothy to drink oftner a little Wine for his stomacks sake and his many infirmities 1