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est wretch in the world will cry, I hope to be saved, though they have no notion of being saved but after their death; as a woman in Virginia, told me once, when I said she must be born again ; I believe you, sir, but that must be after I am dead. And by people's living as they do, one would suppose that they think they are not to be saved till they die, because they live so. But as I have told you, I tell you again, Christ's salvation is a great salvation; and all that Christ does for his people on earth, is but an earnest of good things to come, an anticipation of what he is to do for them in heaven. Our Lord says the kingdom of God is within you ; the kingdom is come nigh unto you. You must not only believe on Christ, but believe in him: we are not only to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but we are to be baptized into the nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; this is the baptism of the Spirit, and this is that salvation which God grant we may all partake of We are to be saved, my brethren, from what? Why, from the fear of death. “He came to deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” What, are there no children of God but those that have full assurance " You never heard me say so; yet I am apt to speak a little fast, but at the same time I would choose not to speak so fast as to speak contrary to the word of God. There are a great many good souls, that at times may doubt the reality of this work upon their souls: a relaxed habit of body, a nervous disorder, you may say what you please, will make a weak child of God doubt of what God has done in them, and that hurts the mind as it has such a close connection with the body; but then a believer is low: God's people are low persons: as the greatest geniuses are most liable to lowness of spirit, for the scabbard is not strong enough for the sword, and persons that talk much must wear out in time; but this I affirm, it is our privilege to live above the fear of death. We do not live up to our dignity till every day we are waiting for the coming of our Lord from heaven; and I am persuaded of this, though I believe there may be some exceptions, that the reason why we do not live more above the fears of death is, because we keep in so much with these polluted earthly things. You may have the best eyes in the world, and only put your hands before them, you will find the sun hid from you; and so you may have a large fire, but throw some earth upon the fire that is in your parlor, or drawing rooms, and you will find the fire damped. And how can people have much of God or heaven, when they have so much of the earth in their hearts It is our privilege to live above the fear of death, though we are not to be saved from dying; and I am sure a believer would not be saved from dying for a million of worlds; it would be death to him not to die; but a soul touched with the love of God, even in sickness, in the midst of a burning fever, in the midst of a fire that will burn a thousand bodies up, convulsed with tortures and pains in every limb; a believer is enabled sometimes to say, O my God, O my God, thou art love; I am ready to come to thee in the midst of all. Blessed be God, I need not go far for example; yonder, under the gallery, lies the remains, the carcass of a dear saint, who was for twenty-five days together, burned with a fever, enough to scorch any creature up; yet, one filled with love and power divine, blessed the Lord Jesus; though she cried out, if I was not supported, the agony of my body would make me impatient ; yet never said a murmuring word, but in the midst of all cried out to those about her, God is love / O my joys / O the comforts that I feel ! and in her very last moments cried out, I am coming ; dear Lord, I am coming ; and so sweetly slept in Jesus. If this is enthusiasm, God give us a good share of it when we come to die! These are dying and yet living witnesses that God is love? She was in raptures when Mr. Shepherd went to visit her; she desires me to tell you, that God is love: desired me to tell you in the chapel pulpit, that she was called about four years ago. I think Mr. Lee was the instrument of her conversion. Now her body is to be put to bed at noon ; but her soul is crying, O the joys / the joys 1 the joys / of being saved by a blessed Emmanuel / Now will any one dare to deny this evidence Do you see worldly people work themselves up into that frame when they die o Visit them when they are near death : ah dear! they are in the vapors; they are so afraid of dying, that the doctor will not suffer us to come near them; no, not common clergymen, for fear we should damp their spirits: till they find they are just gone, and then they give us leave to say the farewell prayer to them : but they that are born from above, that are made new creatures in Christ, feel something that smiles upon them in death. She told them, she believed God would let her go over Jordan dry shod ; that was her expression. If this is salvation on earth, what must it be in heaven If in the midst of the tortures of a burning fever, a raptured soul can cry, O the joys / O the comforts / Lord I am coming / I am coming / what must that be when inclosed in a Redeemer's arms? In order to which, the glorious angels stand at the top of the ladder to take a poor wearied pilgrim home. Lord, give us not only such a frame when we are dying, but while we are living; for if it is comfortable to die in such a frame, why not to i. in it! to live in heaven on earth. O, say you, I thank God I walk by faith; I have the promise. Well, thank God you have the promise; but with the promise, learn to walk by that “faith, which is the evidence of things not seen,” which brings God down, brings heaven near, and gives the soul a heart-felt experience, that God is love. Here is a salvation worthy of a God! Here is a salvation worthy of the Mediator's blood! For this he groaned—for this he bled—for this he died—for this he arose —for this he ascended—for this he sent the Holy Ghost—and for this purpose he now sends him into the hearts of his people. My brethren, what say you to this I hope it is enough to make you cry out, Lord, let my latter end be like hers. This may comfort you that are mourners about her corpse— this may comfort a fond husband, whose beloved is now taken away by a stroke. What a mercy is it sir, that you was instrumental to bring her under the word? She was once averse to coming here : what, leave my parish church 1 said she what, go to a conventicle, to a Tabernacle of Methodists / He advised her again and again to come: at last, one day as they were going to St. Giles's, she says, “well, come put up your walking-stick, if it falls towards St. Giles's I will go there; if to the Chapel, I will go there.” The stick fell towards the Chapel, she came, and was converted to God. O, with what joy must her husband meet her again in the kingdom of heaven and O happy day, in which she was encouraged to seek after God. Last week, another was buried in the like circumstances; and, blessed be God, in yonder burying-ground are the remains of many precious souls, that in the day of judgment will let the world know whether this Chapel was built for God or not. O what an awful word is that in the latter clause of the text, he that believeth not shall be damned. Pause, I will give you time to think a little; if you would have Christ as good as his word of promise, remember he will be as good as his word of threatening. You hear the necessity of preaching the gospel, because upon believing or non-believing, our salvation or damnation will turn. What, will you laugh at the minister that cries out, Lord help you to come; come, come, do you think that we have nothing else to say, and are at a loss for words, when we cry come, come, come, to fill up our sermons 3 No, it is part of our commission; it is one great part. And, my fellow sinners, we are come to tell you, that our Master has a two-edged sword, as well as a golden scepter; and if you will not come under the sound of the word, and do not feel the converting power of it, you must feel the confounding weight of it. I repeat it again to you, he that believeth not
shall be damned: the very word is terrible, God grant you may never know how terrible it is. , You are condemned already; he that believeth not is so, John iii. 18. why? “Because he hath not believed on the name of the Son of God.” It is not his being a whoremonger or adulterer that will damn him, but his unbelief is the damning sin; for this he will be condemned; for ever banished from the presence of the ever blessed God: and how will you rave, how will you tear, and how will you wring your hands, when you see your relations, your friends, those whom you despised, and were glad they were dead out of your way, “see them in Abraham's bosom, and yourselves lifting up your eyes in torment." O my dear hearers, do let me plead, let me entreat you; if that would do, I would down on my knees; if that would do, I would come down from the pulpit, I would hang on your necks, I would not let you go, I would offer myself to be trodden under your feet. I have known what it is to be trodden under the foot of men thirty years ago, and I am of the same temper still: use me as you will, I am a poor sinner; and if I was to be killed a thousand ways, I suffer no more than my reward, as an unprofitable servant of God: but do not trample the dear Jesus under foot; what has he done to you? Was it any harm to leave his father's bosom, come down and die, and plead for sinners? See him yonder hang on the tree behold him with his arm stretched out! see him all of a bloody gore, and in his last agony preaching love Would you give him a fresh stab? Are there any of you here that think the sword did not pierce him enough; that they did not drive the briars and thorns into his head deep enough? And will you give him the other blow, the other thorns 7 And will you pierce him afresh, and go away without believing he is love? I cannot help it; I am free from the blood of you all. Oh that you may not damn your own souls Do not be murderers; nor like Esau, sell gyour birth-right for a mess of pottage. God convince you; God convert you; God help those that have believed to believe more; that they may experience more and more this salvation, till faith is turned into vision, and hope into fruition; till we have all, with yonder saint, and all that have gone before us, experienced complete salvation in the kingdom of heaven: even so, Lord Jesus. Amen and Amen.
JAcoB's LADDER.—A FAREweLL SERMON.
GENESIs xxviii. 12–15.
And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth ; and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south : and in thee, and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places, whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land: for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
THE wise man observes, that “in the multitude of dreams there is many vanities,” being often the effects of a peculiar disorder of body, or owing to some disturbance of the mind. They whose nervous system has been long relaxed, who have had severe domestic trials, or have been greatly affected by extraordinary occurrences, know this to be true by their own experience; but however this may be, there have been, and possibly may be still, dreams that have no manner of dependence on the indisposition of the body, or other natural cause, but seem to bring a divine sanction with them, and make peculiar impressions on the party, though this was more frequent before the canon of scripture was closed, than now. God spoke to his people in a dream, in a vision of the night; witness the subject of our present meditation, a dream of the patriarch Jacob's, when going forth as a poor pilgrim with a staff in his hand, from his É. house, deprived of his mother's company and instruction, persecuted by an elder brother, without attendants or necessaries, only leaning on an invisible power. I need not inform you in how extraordinary a way he obtained the blessing, which provoked his brother to such a degree, as determined him to be the death of Jacob, as soon as ever his aged father dropped: to what a height did this wicked man's envy rise when he said, “the days of mourning for my father will soon come,” and what then Why, though I have some compassion for the old man, and therefore will not lay violent hands upon my brother while my father is alive, yet I am resolved to kill him before my father is cold in his grave.