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and unto dust shalt thou return. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by tin," Rom. v. 14. "By one man came death," 2 Cor. i. 10. Here we trace the source of bodily destruction. Death is Jehovah's threatening put into execution; not the debt of nature, (as is commonly observed) but the debt of justice. Man, by transgression, put the scythe of death into the hands of awful justice; and all flesh is grass, mowed down from the earth at the time appointed. God made man upright, and while he continued in Eden purity was incorruptible and immortal; when he disobeyed he forfeited his life. Satan, the old serpent, seized upon our nature, infused his poisonous sting, which finally falls a ruinous heap of dust. Not only is it founded in original sin, but actual transgression. "Sin when finished bringeth forth death—the wages of sin is death —the soul that sinneth shall die;" not only death to the body, but eternal death to the soul, called " the second death." The temporary part of the curse is endured by the whole human race; the eternal part is removed from the church, being endured by her substituting Head. The arch enemy of God and man, laid the plan of our destruction. Adam, the root of the human household, listened to his devilish insinuations, and thereby brought condemnation and destruction on his posterity ; sapped the basis of the once noble structure of infinite wisdom, and levelled the masterpiece of Jehovah's works with the dust. Well might the Lord God say to his rebellious worm, " What hast thou done?" Here was the dreadful downfall of our nature, the pregnant source of all our woe; that fatal deed that spoiled the whole creation, and defaced the image of his Maker, made man mortal, and converted the earth into a grave. Can we behold our dear relatives and friends in the agonies of death, witness the awful wreck of humanity, see them turn to corruption, and convey them to the tomb, and not be smitten with the awfumess of sin, its dreadful nature, and ruining consequences. Oh, the direful effects of that one transgression that consigned the whole creation to the tomb! But, believer, dry up thy tears of sorrow over Eden's ruin with the skirt of Immanuel's righteousness, and rejoice in the second Adam, who has brought life and immortality to light, and provided for thee a paradise, where no tree of temptation grows, world without end.
We will, as the Lord shall aid, look at the conquest gained over this enemy. Who could enter the field, or undertake to rescue the prey from this mighty one—this universal king of terrors? Angelic ranks viewed creation's lordly tyrant sweeping its myriads off the earth, but could render no help ;—but the Lord of angels declared from his eternal throne, "O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction;" I will swallow up death in victory. In the fulness of time, when the enemy's sable banner waved in triumph—
"Lo! he leaves those heav'nly forms,
equipped from the arsenal of nature. "Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he himself likewise took part of the same, that through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Behold the great representative of a countless host, travelling in the greatness of his strength !—it is the day of the vengeance of his heart; he is prepared for battle; death and hell in menacing attitude meets this furious avenger alone; death pierces his heart, and pours in its venemous sting ;—he falls, but conquers in falling. He dies under the curse of the law, enduring its vast penalty; destroying thereby the guilt of sin, and yielding up his life a satisfaction to all the claims of inflexible justice. Hereby he unhinges the gates of death, carries them up from the mouth of hell to the top of the hill, the very entrance to the heavenly world; making death the passage-way to eternal glory. Here we behold our spiritual Sampson seizing hold of the two pillars of original sin and actual transgression, and destroying the citadel of death for ever;—who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to his chosen. By offering up himself a sacrifice for sin, he made a full atonement to the offended Majesty of heaven; by bearing its curse, he removed the guilt; by the greatness of his offering, he magnified the law; by yielding up his life, he made an end of sin, and therefore removed the damning consequences of transgression, which is eternal death in hell. In dying, he meritoriously destroyed the dominion of sin, and redeemed his people from the grasp of death, and the power of the grave; when death seized hold of him, he became its plague and destroyer. In what sense may it be said, he destroyed death? Not in a literal sense as to the body, for " in Adam all die." "One generation passeth away, and another cometh." Not as to the pains of dying; for many of the saints suffer more in death than the ungodly; the natural consequences of disease have their effect in one as well as another. This staggered one of old, "The wicked have no bands in their death." Nor does it simply lay in rising again; for the wicked dead will rise also. But in the absolute removal of the charge of sin, and its total annihilation from the saints,, he destroyed all that that would make life miserable for ever. So trifling is the bitterness or pains of dying, in compare with eternal torment in hell, that it is almost overlooked by our God; yea, is called a falling asleep in Jesus. Then I view it in this sense;—when Adam sinned, he lost the image of his God, which is termed moral death; Jesus when he died, laid the basis of our new creation-standing, which consists in righteousness, knowledge, and true holiness. His body was doomed to destruction, Jesus secured its uprising in conformity to his own; he swallowed up death in victory, when he triumphed over the foe of God and man, whose dominion and power he virtually destroyed when he expired on the cross. "He tasted death for every man" that should hereafter believe in his name. As a proof of his conquest, when he led captivity captive, (and to inspire his followers) he declares, he has the keys of death and hell, all authority and
dominion over death and hell. As Satan gained a power and mastery over us by sin, (and, " his servants ye are to whom ye obey,") Jesus rescued that power from him when he overcame him by death; for even in weakness he destroyed this mighty foe, and now reigns in greatness, proclaiming from his triumphant throne, "I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of death and hell." And that is not all; but the final destruction of this last enemy will be the crowning glory of the Son of God, and will let out the immortal triumphs of his conquest, when Satan will appear in utter confusion, (while saints in deafening shouts to his name will make the new heavens ling) while this saying is brought to pass, "Death is swallowed up in victory!" All the myriads redeemed from death, and ransomed from the grave, will, at the Almighty voice of death's vanquisher, rise from their dusty beds, in full conformity to their glorious Head—will wake up in his brilliant likeness—their glorified souls will be re-united to their spiritual and incorruptible bodies, which will be then fashioned like unto his glorious body. Then will be brought to pass—will be verified this blissful saying, "Death is swallowed up in victory!"—death is engulphed in immortal life—is lost like a spark in the ocean, or the light of the stars in the blaze of the meridian sun. How expressive the word—" who hath abolished death!" Truly it is said of those who have passed over Jordan, there is no more death nor sorrow. As Satan triumphed in the ruin of soul and body, he will witness to his eternal mortification the uprising of myriads clad in perfection and immortal glory, living resemblances of the image of invisible Majesty. O ye followers of the Lamb, fear not to go down to Jordan; even at the brink of the river, look death in the face ; and say, " 0 death, where is thy sting!" There thou wilt bid an everlasting adieu to all thy tormenting inmates, and bury the old man of sin in the watery grave, to have no resurrection world without end. O glorious and final separation, when I shall be for ever divorced from this body of death!
It is only the believer on the Son of God that is prepared to meet this foe, and meet him as a vanquished one too: and by faith alone can he triumph over his power. To all the rest the exit is dreadful, it is their birth unto hell, they enter an inheritance of eternal wrath, the merited punishment of their God-provoking crimes. Of mere grace and sovereign redemption are the discriminated objects of divine love lifted over the sea of destruction by the Almighty power of the Holy Ghost; by his -indwelling they are distinguished and divinely fitted for the heavenly world, upon such the second death hath no power, for it is the manifestation of being interested in him who overcame death. The man of God thus made meet to be a partaker of heaven is led forth under divine operation to embrace God's Christ as his eternal all, and thereby triumph over death and the grave; like Simeon of old, he exclaims, "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." Another ground of the believer's triumph over death, is a knowledge of his being justified before God in the perfect performances of death's abolisher! Righteousness delivereth from death; in his yielding up his life, it was the finishing act of his righteousness, which delivers all to whom it is imputed from death eternal. "There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." Interest in Christ and life-union to his person, a holy recumbency on his work, and a sense of acceptance in his perfect righteousness, peace with God by an apprehension of the peace-making deed of the cross, and reconciliation everlastingly established in the blood of the covenant, gives boldness and confidence at death's approach. It is friendship and fellowship with Him, that has power to destroy both body and soul in hell, that gives a holy quietude in the prospect of sinking into the icy arms of death. This is the experimental basis on which a godly man anticipates his closing scene: no works, nor services, nor deeds, nor sufferings; no prayers, nor alms; no exercise of grace, nor any other actions of his (which alas! are all sad witnesses of his ruin, and shew the need of an atonement) can he for a moment look at with the least satisfaction—but renounces all, and flies to the only refuge revealed in the gospel, exclaiming, " that I may be found in Him."
Now, my dear fellow traveller to the ever-continuing city, our Father's house, we also must grow sick, and die. The moment is fast hastening when friends will cease to minister to our comfort, earth will shake us off its lap, and time for ever close its doors upon us. The thought is soiemn—the aspect affecting, but unavoidable and certain. Oft the serious reflection will cross the mind—how will it go with me in that trying hour! The retreat of the mind is—that God that has loved me with an everlasting love, that has ransomed me with his precious blood, that has helped me in many sore troubles, that has been my guide even unto death, will not forsake me in that last difficulty. When I most of all need his help, will not that tender-hearted omnipresent Jesus, care for me while I am grappling with affliction and pain? 0 yes, the sweet promise remains, "I will make all their bed in their affliction." What will bear up the soul when nature is all a wreck—not my knowledge, attainments, assurance of faith, or past experience? Oh no, but the heart-refreshing presence of Jesus—a faith's plunge in the ocean of blood and love—a reviving view of rich, free, and sovereign grace, and absolute redemption—a renewed enjoyment of forgiving love, and a sensible realization that I am covered in the robe of his righteousness—a sacred anchoring in a promise-fulfilling God—and a sweet assurance of a heaven beyond the dull gates of mortality, and an abundant entrance for all that love him! God alone can support the mind, when all around is giving way. O then for the rich anointing of the Holy Ghost, to rest by faith on the covenant transactions of the Holy Three-One God, and under a renewed enjoyment of Jesus' finished redemption to glide off the shores of time into the ocean of infinite bliss, and ravishing immortality! Ofor grace to leave that predestinated moment, with all that is connected, to Him, whose grace myriads have proved all-sufficient for a dying hour:
"In living, may I die to sin;
In dying, may I live in him." .
Ye saints of God! the re-capture of your mortal bodies by their original owner from the grasp of Satan, and the dominion of death, demand unceasing thanksgiving and adoring gratitude; and call upon you to remember, ye are not your own, but are ransomed with a great price; that ye are the habitation of God, by the indwelling of the Spirit. How wondrous the grace, that these very breathing frames tending to corruption, should be the temples of the Holy Ghost; and when he takes off our earthly clothing, he will put it by in his wardrobe of his ground floor (the earth) till we are re-dressed to spend an eternal sabbatism with him in the holy of holies above! What an honour has our God put upon our frail bodies, by sanctifying them to his service! For we are called to holiness, "to yield our member's servants to righteousness unto holiness." Your bodily powers are God's, "walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise—put off the old man with his deeds—let your body be a lantern to reflect the glories of your new-born soul—ye are a city set upon an hill, which cannot be hid." May the Holy Ghost so consecrate our bodies, thai we may be'followers of the Lamb, and reflectors of his glory.
"O may that shine of excellence,
The leprosy is in the house, which must come down, that it may be fitted for the heavenly world. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." The tabernacle was adapted for the wilderness, but the temple for the city of Jerusalem; where we shall go no more out, but be pillars in the house of our God for ever.
Being called to witness the power and grace of Jesus, in a near neighbour and beloved brother in the Lord, in a way that will never be forgotten while memory retains a seat in the brain; and strikingly so, as he was perpetually under the fear of death, always dreading the last struggle: the more so, as he laboured under a distressing asthmatic complaint. He likewise was weak in faith, born and brought up under a religious roof, without any very powerful convictions of sin, or striking manifestations of mercy; so that his state always hung in doubt (though not to others) even down to Jordan's brink. It was a hope he should be there ;—but at even-tide it was light. "Gad, a troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at last." The close was one of the most encouraging and confirming testimonies I ever met with. Therefore, with a view to the Lord's glory, and the encouragement of his flock, I now record the same.
On Sunday evening, January 17, 1831, I returned from the house of God, at half-past eight; and was told, he was breathing his last. When I entered the room, to all appearance the hour of his de