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´╗┐Title: Consolation in Life and Death - derived from the Life of Christ
Author: Church, John
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1824 R. Weston edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



CONSOLATION
IN
LIFE AND DEATH,


                             DERIVED FROM THE

                             Life of Christ;

                          BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF

                                 A SERMON

                       On the Death of Mrs. Turner,

                             PREACHED AT THE

                            SURREY TABERNACLE,

                                    ON

                Sunday Evening, the 15th of August, 1824,

                              BY J. CHURCH.

                                * * * * *

    "And blessed is she that believeth, for there shall be a
    performance of those things which are told her from the Lord."

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                R. WESTON, PRINTER, CROSBY ROW, SOUTHWARK.

                                * * * * *

                                  1824.

                                * * * * *



_SERMON_, _&c._


                          JOHN, Chap. xiv. Ver. 19.

             "_And because I shall Live_, _ye shall Live also_."

AMONG the many awful charges brought against backsliding Israel by the
prophet Isaiah, this was reckoned not the smallest.  "The righteous
perisheth, (sleepeth) and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are
taken away, none considering that the righteous are taken away from the
evil to come."  The day of life--of the world--and the professing
church--is far spent--the sun is going down over the prophets--the birds
are hastening home--the labourer returning--the substance of religion
declining, and the shadows of it are stretching out.  With these solemn
reflections, well may we entreat the company and presence of the dear
Redeemer, as the disciples did.  Abide with us, for it is towards
evening, and the day is far spent; the removal of the Lord's people from
us, although it is their salvation, and affords peculiar joy to the
surviving spiritual friends and relatives that have been eye and ear
witnesses of their peaceful end; yet demands attention, reflection,
self-examination, and solemnity of mind.  When God strikes he demands an
hearing--when he knocks by his messengers, affliction and death, it
is--that we may open the door, receive the message, detain the messenger,
and enquire for what purpose he is sent.  For the Lord's voice crieth
unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name; hear ye the rod,
and who hath appointed it.  I consider, therefore it is our duty to pay
attention to this present affliction, for the loss of a spiritual friend,
a pious and steady member of the church, an affectionate wife, a kind
mother and a good neighbour.  Although it is her eternal gain, it is a
grief and affliction to us; but I trust that this, as well as every other
appointed trial, was sanctified for us in the eternal covenant of grace,
and as an evidence of it, produce in our minds its suitable effects.
Death is at all times solemn and affecting in the world, in the
neighbourhood, and amongst our acquaintance; but when sent more
immediately into our families, to bereave us of those who are very dear
to our hearts, we are the more sensibly touched with the stroke, when the
Lord says to us, as he did to the prophet Ezekiel, "Son of man, behold I
take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke; and at even
my wife died." {4}  Such painful dispensations are most keenly felt; and
while we deplore the ravages of death, we cannot help reverting to its
instrumental cause--"Sin, which brought death into the world, and all our
woe:" to this king of terrors, and often a terror to kings, all _have_
submitted but two, Enoch and Elijah; and all _must_ submit, except those
of the people of God, who will be found alive at the second coming of our
Lord; these will probably experience a momentary change, equivalent to
the stroke of death, and be changed body and soul, in the twinkling of an
eye.  This great mystery was revealed to the apostle Paul; perhaps, the
first that was ever led to know it.  All beside, the Lord's people as
well as the world at large, must pass through the gloomy territories of
this king: but, the dear Saviour has engaged to go with all his people,
and conduct them safely through; and though all do not go through with
the same joy, yet all are led on safely.  Their enemies keep still as a
stone, while the purchased people passed over.  Nothing, in heaven above
or the earth beneath, can possibly prevent the execution of the decreed
sentence, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return."  It is the
pulling down of the house,--it must come down--the leprosy is in it,--sin
has entered every room in the house; and in consequence of bad tenants,
which occupy it, the Almighty Landlord has ordered us to quit it; we have
received, with many a pain, a writ of ejectment; but we feel reluctant to
leave this house of clay, though in such a damaged state; the
indescribable unity which subsists between the soul and the body, like
mutual friends, renders parting painful here, although they have often
been clogs to each other; but they will meet again under the most
glorious and happy circumstances in the resurrection morning.  And what
soul can conceive the joyful meeting of the glorified spirit, and the
newly-raised, beautiful, immortalized body?  Each will know its own
again.

    --"Nor shall the conscious soul
    Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd,
    Singling its other half, into its arms
    Shall rush, with all the impatience of a man
    That's new come home; and having long been absent,
    With haste runs over different rooms,
    In pain to see the whole.  Thrice happy meeting!
    Nor time nor death shall ever part them more."

But however dear to each other, the union must be dissolved; the bands
and ligaments, by which soul and body are united, must be separated; this
earthly house must be dissolved;--this tabernacle must be removed--its
cords unpinned--its stakes pulled up--and the whole must be taken down.
"Knowing," saith the apostle, "I must put off the earthly house of this
my tabernacle."  Death is represented as a departure--it is going from
one house to another--it is a loosing from port, and launching into the
ocean.--Death is the ship or boat which wafts us over to the shores of
eternity.  It is going the way of all the earth--going a journey to man's
long home--to an invisible world--through a dark valley, where we need a
guide; and a Covenant God has promised to guide us through.--It is going
to sleep in hope of waking again, sweetly refreshed in the morning of the
resurrection; fresh, lively, active, and divinely fitted for heavenly
exercises.  The shipwrecked mariner has gained the shore;--the weary
traveller--the fatigued labourer--the afflicted child, is at rest.
Death, through covenant mercy, is the full, the final deliverance.  And
John is commanded, by God the Holy Spirit, to write it down, and send it
to the churches: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, even so
saith the spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works of
faith and love do follow them."  Like Abraham leaving his native country
at the command of God;--like Jacob leaving Padan Aram, with all his
substance, to return to his kindred.  Such the believer's death.
Perhaps, indeed, a thousand alarms may seize his spirit, hearing that
Esau, with his armed men, is coming out against him; but by prayer and
faith he obtains the blessings, and meets Esau with comfort.  For when a
man's ways, through grace, by prayer and faith, thus please the Lord, he
makes even death to be at peace with him.  Death is the enemy to our
natures, although it is a covenant blessing.  The last enemy that shall
be destroyed, is death: but its enmity is slain in the death of Christ.
Here that serpent that crawled up the hill of Calvary, and entwined round
the cross, left his sting in the sacred body of a dying Saviour: nor can
all the powers of darkness, all the sins, backslidings, and infirmities
of God's people, ever unite the sting to death again.  Sin is abolished;
the guilt is gone.--It has been said, that when a bee has fastened its
sting in a man's flesh, it is lost for ever after, and becomes a drone.
Death, like such a bee, can only hum and affright, but never sting or
hurt: it may, it must destroy the body, but it cannot hurt; like a fierce
dog, whose teeth are broken out, it can bark and tear a mere tattered
coat, but it cannot bite to the bone.  What a feeble weak enemy is death,
since it took a walk to Mount Calvary!  Unatoned guilt is the sting of
death.  But the Lord's dear people are led, in some degree, to see for
themselves, that Christ has borne away their guilt, has removed the
iniquity of that land in one day; and when we are cheered, quickened,
strengthened, and well-established in this pleasing fact, this
hope-supporting, spirit-giving, soul-animating assurance, we feel ready
to go, to depart, and be for ever with the Lord, in this sweet
well-founded confidence:--

    "Lord, let me rest my head, close last these eyes,
    Yield thee my breath; and, with exulting soul,
    Smile a peace-uttered, dying, sweet Amen."

But amidst the dissolutions made by death, what an unspeakable mercy it
is for the Lord's dear people, the union betwixt Christ and their souls
can never be dissolved: they are his property, his children, his bride;
he is precious to them in life and death, as the blessed effect of his
love to them, and their value in his sight.  Hence, it is said, "Since
thou wast precious in my sight thou hast been honourable, and I have
loved thee;" and precious shall their blood be in his sight; and as they
are precious to him living, it is written, "Precious in the sight of the
Lord, is the death of his saints;" nor should their death be grievous to
us, especially dying in lively hope, cheerful confidence, sweet
assurance, clear views, and fervent desires.  This is the blessed effect
of the glorious union between Christ and the soul, as the eternal spring
of life, and the glorious head of his body, the church, who has
graciously declared in most positive terms, "Because I live ye shall live
also."  These most blessed words were very precious to our dear departed
friend; upon one occasion, after a season of peculiar trial, while at the
ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and just receiving the cup, these words
were sweetly dropped into her mind--they were ever precious to her
afterwards: she chose them for her funeral text; and blessed be God, she
most divinely understands them, now in perfect enjoyment; they have been
much blest to thousands, and I trust the Lord will bless them to us in
noticing the _gracious declaration_ and the _precious promise_ as
connected with it.

Let us notice the life of our most adorable Saviour.  First, as God--He
liveth from eternity; he is the living God, he is emphatically called
life, the true God, and our eternal life; and this is the eternal life
which John says was manifested: the very knowledge of whom is eternal
life begun in the soul.  In his divine essence, his eternal nature, he is
the self-existent, independent Jehovah; underived, unoriginated, and
incommunicably God, without beginning, succession, or end; without the
shadow of a change; he is eternal, immortal, who only hath immortality
from everlasting to everlasting; and of his years there is no end; _one_
in the divine Trinity, co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal with the
Father and the Holy Spirit; one in the sacred society of the adorable
Trinity, enjoying the most inconceivable delight and complacency in his
own divine perfections; and in the holy _ones_, the Father and the
Spirit; the divine nature, essence, and perfections were not communicated
to him as God, but were originally, independently, and eternally his own,
in conjunction with the Father, and the Holy Spirit--and as the
self-existent God, he has solemnly declared to all the enemies of his
Godhead--"If ye believe not that "I AM"--ye shall die in your sin."--This
awful truth, one would think, is enough to put to silence all the cavil
in the world against the divinity of the Son of God, as God.  Some indeed
admit all that can be said about his divinity, but they vainly suppose
that his Godhead was communicated to him from the Father; but this
thought is an awful insult upon him, no better than high treason and
daring blasphemy.  Let such read again and tremble,--"If ye believe not
that I AM--ye shall die in your sins."  "I AM," is the self-existent,
independent God--and as the living God, he is author of all the life
which has been, or shall be given to creatures; in him was life, for by
him were all things made, and by him do all things subsist, created by
him, and upheld by him; and, while I exist as God, ye shall live also.

2.--As the Son of God in his divine person, which implies his eternal
relationship to the Father, he lived in eternity as a person existing
with the Father; He is in the bosom of the father, the only begotten of
the Father, the express image of the Father, the son of God, without the
consideration of the human nature, either body or soul.  He was a divine
person: the human nature did not make him a person; but the Son of God
did take the human nature into union with himself, and though possessing
two natures he is but one person.  As the adorable son of God, he lived
before all the world, a life with the Father--a life of inconceivable
delight.  Hence the Father has said of his dear son, "in whom my soul
delighteth;" and the dear Son of God has said of the Father, "I was daily
his delight--constantly and invariably rejoicing--always before
him--delighting in the Father before the world was rejoicing," that he
possessed the same nature, being, and perfections, and that he stood in
such a relation to him as the Son of the Father--and "because I live _as_
the Son of God, ye shall live also."

3.--As the Head of the Church.--In this most blessed relation he ever
lived, does now, and ever will; he is their head as a general is head to
his army; as a king is head to his subjects; as a husband is head to his
wife; as a father is head to his children; as a master is to his
servants; but besides these, our most blessed Lord is that to his people
as the natural head is to the natural body; and the members of it, of the
same nature with it; superior to it; communicates life, sense, and motion
to it; overlooks and protects it; he is the representative head of his
body, the church; being united to him, we are in him, and have a
representative existence in him; he was chosen to be the head of the
elect family, out of the boundless love of God the Father; and they were
chosen in him.  Eternal election gives us a subsistence, a representative
being, in Christ; he lives in God's eternal mind and love, as the head of
the church, and his people live in him, and shall live for ever in him;
nor _sin_, nor _time_, nor _death_, can part them.  Christ as head, and
his people were chosen together; He first, in order of nature, as the
head, and they as members; as in the womb, head and members are not
conceived apart, but together, so was the church and Christ in the womb
of eternal election.  God views us in him, and never did, nor never will,
consider his dear people separate from him as the chosen head of the
chosen body.  All other blessings flow to us from, and by virtue of, this
union.  We live in Christ, we have a covenant subsistence and
representative being in him; and as the root, the trunk, the branches,
and leaves, are folded up in the acorn, so all God's family are in
Christ, and shall be brought forth in their appointed time; their
adoption, justification, redemption, preservation, pardon, calling,
perseverance, resurrection, and glorification, all depend upon their
election union,--and this union depends upon the everlasting love of God;
it is not faith that unites to the Lamb, that is only a spiritual faculty
given to us by the holy spirit, to discern this blessing, which leads
forth the mind, in affection and gratitude, to a covenant God for it.
This union is dated from eternity, revealed in the word, preached in the
gospel, manifested in our effectual calling, enjoyed by faith, and will
be celebrated in the most open and glorious manner, in the thousand years
personal reign of our Lord Jesus Christ upon earth, and blessed are they
that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Nothing done by he
church of God, before or after calling, can destroy this union.  In the
very existence of Christ, as head, they must live--"For because I live,
ye shall live also."

4.--As Mediator--he ever did, now does, and ever will, live for his
people; and in his glorious title as the son of God, as God-man, he has
received all blessings for his church; and these are comprehended under
the term LIFE.  The Lord hath commanded his blessing, even life for
evermore; and as the Father hath life in himself, even so hath he given
to the son to have life in himself.  Christ, as God-man lived in the
purpose of God from eternity; and though he is compared to many things
which have not life--to water, to bread, to a stone, a way, a tree--yet
they have these additions, _living_ water, _living_ bread, _living_
stone, _living_ way, _tree_ of life.  In this most blessed character the
ancient saints saw him by faith, received him, and lived and died upon
him.  Job's faith was fixed here, and rose to sweet confidence, to full
assurance--"I know that my redeemer liveth"--yes, now--in this character
before God for me, and I see my interest in him.  Every believer is now
more or less thus favoured.  God gives, 1st. Faith to believe in him as
such--2ndly. To rely upon him--and, 3rdly. To enjoy interest in him.  He
lives, the ever-living Mediator; considered as God-man, he is the
Mediator of union between God and his creatures--_as elect_--both angels
and men; and he is the Mediator of reconciliation for his church, as
fallen; as the Head of the Church, and the Son of God, he was called to
act for her as fallen; and when declared Son of God by the Father, he was
sworn into his office as High Priest; to which, in the boundless love of
his heart, he gave his consent to make reconciliation for the sins of his
people, to give perfect satisfaction, and to harmonize all the sacred
perfections of Jehovah.  In this most sacred character he appeared in
heaven as the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world; to him the
old testament church looked, and in the fullness of time, he came and
began his work in the wonderful and mysterious act of his
incarnation:--made of a woman--made under the law, he was circumcised,
and became a debtor to fulfil the whole law for his people.  The nature
that he assumed, although it was perfectly flesh and blood, yet it was
perfectly holy.  Hence his appeal to God the Judge of all: "Search me, O,
God, and try me, and see if there be any wicked way in me."  His human
nature was a holy thing; and possessed in it more holiness than all the
angels of light; and in it, he did all the churches' duty in obedience to
the law; he obeyed the ceremonial law as the seed of Abraham, and kept
the law of God in thought, mind, will, and deed perfectly.  He worshipped
one God, never bowed to creatures, or profaned the holy name: honored the
sabbath and his parents; nor felt a base desire; nor tinged with sinful
anger, much less murder; nor with heart or hand did he ever rob God or
man; nor ever bore false witness against any; nor could a covetous
thought enter his sacred breast; but with his whole nature loved God and
his neighbour, and did unto all men what men in their doings ought to do
to each other.  This he performed for us; and, in consequence of the
essential dignity of his person, as God as well as man, He is styled
Jehovah, our righteousness.  This is imputed and placed to the account of
his people by the Father.  God the Holy Spirit opens the grand subject to
us, we receive it in the mind and affections.  Conscience testifying
this, we have peace with God.  In this righteousness the church is
perfected; in it they stand justified before God, and shall never come in
to condemnation.  But in his glorious character as Mediator, his having
become surety for his people, he had to pay the dreadful debt of
suffering the awful penalty.  As the consequence of the sins of his
church, he engaged to endure the hell we had merited.  The curse of a
broken law, and all which that awful idea contains.  He took the bitter
draught, the dreadful cup, and drank eternal health to his dear people.

                      "He sunk beneath our heavy woes."

All our guilt met on him--the chastisement due to us he bore--the pangs
of the damned seized his holy soul; and with convulsive struggles on the
ground, with heart-rending sighs, and prayers, and tears; with thorns,
scourges, contempt, griefs, and unknown agonies, awful storms, and
inconceivable torments, he sweat out, cried out, and bled out the sins of
his people.  He by himself purged our sins--the physician's heart was
opened by a spear to heal all the diseases of his patients--_was ever
love like this_?

    "Our ransom paid in blood for deadliest guilt--
    Oh! hide thy shame-spread face, and turn thy eyes
    In mournful prospect back to Calvary, now
    Back to the garden, to the dolorous ground,
    Grief-moistened with his blood-sweat agony.
    Ah, what agony! ah! felt for whom?
    Say, angel, near him then that heard: 'Behold
    Thy humbled Maker'--agonized thyself--
    Asked, but thou canst not say.--No thought can pierce
    Of man or angel, that profound of pains:--
    'Twas the soul's travail, sorrow's sharpest throe."

As our surety, sponsor, representative, and mediator, he has put away all
our sins; he died, he rose, he triumphed over all his and our foes, and
kindly speaks to us--"Fear not, I am he that liveth, was dead, am alive
for evermore, and because I live, ye shall also."  While he lived upon
earth, he lived a life of faith, hope, dependance, love, humility, and
holy zeal, and the believer's privilege is to _live_ and _say_, as he
lives, "The life I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of
God"--a life of faith, dependance, hope, confidence, love, humility, and
zeal, though daily interrupted, and the subject of much deadness,
carnality, and unbelief; yet as fresh life is given from his fulness, I
possess a life that will never die.  The Lord has promised to water his
people every moment--"every thing liveth where this water comes; and it
is in the believer, a well, springing up to eternal life."  And as we use
the means, we sing, "Spring up, O, well."  Sing ye unto it: for as well
the singers as the players on instruments, shall be there.  All my fresh
springs in Thee, who hast said, "because I live, ye shall live also."

4.--His life of intercession and advocacy in heaven.  Hence the apostle
declares, that "he ever liveth to make intercession for all that come
unto God by him;" and as we have been redeemed and reconciled to God by
his death; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
He appears in the high court of heaven for us, in the full virtue of his
blood, and righteousness--

    "Looks like a lamb, that's newly slain,
    And wears his priesthood still."

This is ever available to the Father for us; he is our priest before the
throne, carrying on the work of manifestatives.  Salvation, the great
sacrifice, once offered, has infinitely more voices for us before God,
than all our sins can have against us.  His blood is said to speak for
us; it cries aloud to the God of justice for the church; yea, for every
sensible sinner, that mercy might be shewn, and pardon enjoyed by him
upon the ground of strict justice, truth, holiness, righteousness, and
judgment; it speaks _for_ us to God--and _to_ us from God--"I have loved
thee, I have redeemed thee, I have called thee, thou art mine."  Our
great high priest bears all the names of his dear people upon his heart,
and though exalted above all principalities and powers, he cannot forget
his poor relations on earth.  The days of his _passion_ are ended, but
not of his _compassion_.  Our spiritual Joseph, though Lord of all, is
not ashamed to own his brethren, the poor.  Many, when exalted, forget
their former poor acquaintances; but our ever-living, ever-loving,
everlasting friend, has sworn by himself as the living God--"I will not
forget you;" he lives in heaven for his people; by his death he paid the
debt; by his resurrection he came out of prison; and by his ascension he
shews himself openly to God, the creditor, and pleads satisfaction; he in
acting in heaven as our advocate with the Father; he is the faithful
friend at the bar of justice, answering all the charges that sin, natural
conscience, and Satan, can accuse us of.  Hence, for his people, he gives
the challenge--"who is mine adversary, let him come near," and by the
apostle asks, "who shall lay any thing (unpardoned) to the charge of
God's elect, seeing he maketh intercession with God," and this precious
portion has warned and cheered thousands.  "My little children, I write
these things unto you, that you sin not; but if any man sin, we have an
advocate with the Father," and such an advocate must carry the cause; he
has never failed--and demands no fee, but _the fruit of the lips giving
thanks to his name_; and while his personal appearance in heaven has any
virtue before God, his mourning disciples are safe, to whom he has said,
"and because I live, ye shall live also."

5.--His life of glory in heaven.  He is the very glory of the place.  We
say at times, of some persons, they are the very life of the
company--Christ will be the very bliss, the very joy, the very life of
the church above for ever, when he is surrounded with all his
blood-bought throng, and with all his holy loving angels; the lamb in the
midst will make all their heaven; his person, his glory, his looks, his
smile, his love, will feast their happy minds to all eternity; while the
glorious majesty of God shall be enjoyed, through the all glorious body
of Jesus Christ, as the rainbow round the throne, to behold this glory.
The Lord has made choice of his people, set them apart for this very
purpose, redeemed them to God, called, fitted, qualified their souls, and
will raise them up again in the last day, and for this the Redeemer prays
and demands, "Father, I will that those whom thou hast given be with me,
where I am, that they may behold my glory,"--and as he smiles, they will
sing--or,

    "Overwhelmed with raptures sweet,
    Sink down, adoring at his feet."

And what adds a blessing to the whole is, that this bliss, this felicity,
will be for ever; yea, lasting as the very existence of him, who, for the
everlasting consolation of his people, hath said, "and because I live, ye
shall live also."  Our most blessed Lord is the author, giver, and
maintainer, of all natural, spiritual, and eternal life, for all live in
him; he is the root and spring of all the life of sanctification, and
glorification of his people, and though they are said to live in him by
faith, yet more properly it is Christ living in them.  Christ liveth in
me--all the blessings of the covenant of grace are in him--the eternal
favor of God, which is our life, is in him--and this is the grace which
was given us in him before the foundation of the world; he came, that his
people might have life, and have it more abundantly in experience and
enjoyment; he came that he might abolish death, and bring life and
immortality to light by the gospel.  Justifying, pardoning, and
regenerating grace, is brought to light in the word, and often brought to
light in the souls of God's children, and they by virtue of union to
their covenant head, live--live in the love, favour, mind, purposes,
decrees, covenant, and promises of God--live in Christ, secured, hid,
locked up--where Christ is hid as head, there they are hid--live
representatively before God--live spiritually by quickning power, and
this life in the soul is the holy spirit as the spirit of life.  The Lord
and giver of life, producing as an evidence of his indwelling--a
spiritual hungring and thirsting after the favor of God, the sense of
pardon, holiness, love, and communion, humility, self-abhorrence,
spiritual repentance, holy confidence, resignation, and joy--and where
these are found in the soul, by divine teaching they are the evidences of
being disciples indeed, and it is to such genuine disciples our dear Lord
speaks in the sweet language of the text--"ye see me; and because I live,
ye shall live also."  Such indeed was our dear departed
friend--spiritually quickened and made alive to God, she possessed those
immortal principles which supported her through the changing scenes of
her pilgrimage--cheered her heart at times--subdued her fears--brought
her mind to God--endeared the Saviour--bowed her will to the Lord's
will--and caused her to long to be dissolved, and to be with Christ: to
grace, and grace alone, she attributed all her salvation from first to
last; her soul hated every system that was calculated to exalt the
creature in any sense whatever.  Convinced deeply of the depravity of the
human heart, she was often led to self-abasement, self-loathing, and
self-condemnation, taught out of God's law--she felt her need of a
surety, a mediator, a law fulfiller, a better righteousness than her own;
she saw the way of forgiveness by the great atoning sacrifice of Christ;
and was taught to believe, to receive Christ with his whole finished
salvation; she loved to hear him extolled; his very name was precious to
her; his word was dear to her; she loved his people who stood manifest to
her conscience, that they were taught of God; she highly esteemed those
ministers, whom she considered faithful to God, to truth, and to souls;
she prized the ordinances, because they were of divine appointment, and
because the Lord had often met her in them.  Her poor mind was often
discouraged by heavy trials, within and without; her path, in many
instances, was rough; she was often in many waters; the floods at times
lifted up their waves; but here she learned the vanity of all things
below the stars, the emptiness of the creature, her own weakness,
unbelief, and rebellion, these were matters of humility to her; but in
this _right_ though _rough_ way, she also learnt the faithfulness, power,
wisdom, and goodness of God--the value of a throne of grace to carry her
burden to, and empty her ashes at the foot of the altar.  Her mind was
seldom long from the general infirmity of the Lord's people, I mean the
fear of death; she often gloomily anticipated the last act, the struggle
of body and soul at parting her weak nerves, lowness, and dejection.
Satan also, taking the advantage, was frequently the cause of great
distress in the prospect; yet her dear Lord, in due time, delivered her
from these fears; and that same grace which made her willing to be saved
in God's way, made her also willing, yea, desirous of departing, to be
with Christ.  How true is the language of our poet,

       "Who can take Death's portrait true?--Fear shakes the
    Pencil--Fancy loves excess--Dark ignorance is lavish of
    Her shades--and these the formidable picture draws:
    Man forms a death that nature never made;
    Then on the point of his own fancy falls,
    And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one."

None, indeed, return from the grave to tell us what it is; but it is well
known, that most of those who have been much troubled in mind all their
days, have had the most serene moments at last.  That God, who has
delivered in six troubles, has always been found faithful in the seventh,
_the last_.--Descending into the waters of Jordan, the deep has never
swallowed them up: they have found the rock of ages for their feet to
stand upon, at the bottom of the brook.

I remember, after a season of long and painful affliction our dear friend
was enabled to come up to chapel.  I was totally ignorant of her coming:
but previous to this, I could find no portion of scripture to speak on
but _this_: "And came to deliver them who, all their life-time, were
subject to bondage, through fear of death."  This was the last sermon she
ever heard: and the truths contained in it, she sweetly felt.  Her
direful complaint increased.  Her sufferings were very great indeed.  And
as all other persons in like sorrows, so she ebbed and flowed in mind;
but her God was with her in her final hour.--

                  "Her final hour brought glory to her God."

In point of gospel principles, she was always at a point: but at times
sorely troubled about an interest in Christ, by reason of the cloud that
cometh betwixt.  But every fresh smile from the Saviour, every sweet word
dropped into her mind.  Frequently reading the word and precious hymns,
the visits of God's dear people and humble prayer relieved her again.

The last visit I paid her, I perceived she was near home.  Not being able
to speak for a time, I feared she would speak no more: but after waiting
a little while, (as a proof of what her mind was fixed upon) she
exclaimed, with peculiar solemnity, "By thine agony and bloody sweat, by
thy cross and passion, by thy precious death and burial, by thy glorious
resurrection and ascension, good Lord deliver me!"  Here, on this rock
her faith was built in life, and firm in death.  A friend asked her if
she was happy.  After pausing, she said, "Happy, happy!  I know that
Christ died for sinners, and it is _there_ I am fixed."  She requested
the twelfth chapter of Isaiah to be read to her.  While reading, she
said, "How precious!" and begged to hear it again.  At the last verse,
"Cry out and shout thou inhabitant of Zion," she said, "Do so, do so; for
_our_ God is a great God."  Soon after this, she repeated, in a very
peculiar manner, the whole of Mr. Hart's hymn:

         "Christ is the friend of sinners, be that forgotten never."

On this she commented as she went on, in a most striking manner.  One
thing she observed: "Oh, it is easy to say we are sinners, but hard to
feel it.  Yes it is the righteousness of Christ that I must appear in
before God--nothing but the work of a precious Christ wherein I can stand
justified before God, and whether I sink or swim I am fixed there."  She
then wished to hear the eighth chapter of Acts; and coming to the fifth
verse, she seemed delighted.  "Philip went down to Samaria, and preached
Christ unto them."  "He did not tell them some great nobleman was coming
to bestow great riches upon them; but he went simply to preach Christ to
poor sinners."  She then repeated the sweet verses: "Not all the blood of
beasts, &c."  She begged the prayers of the Church when they met; and
often asked if she had been remembered by them.  To those around her, she
said, "Oh, do beg of the Lord to cut the thread, for I long to be with
him."  Then she said:

    "The holy triumphs of my soul,
       Shall death itself out-brave;
    Leave dull mortality behind,
       And fly beyond the grave."

One of her dear daughters telling her, she would _soon_ be with her dear
Jesus, she said, "do you think I shall, you have told me so so many
times--Oh, why is he so long coming."  Soon after, finding herself very
low, nature sinking, and feeling she was going, she said to her daughter:
"Are yon alone? call up the rest of the family:" and while standing
around her, they witnessed her struggle.  But recovering, she burst into
tears.  "Come back again! dear Lord!  I thought that I was going! how
long, Lord."  She requested a gentleman to fetch a doctor, merely to let
her know, by her pulse, the pleasing news, that she was near her end.  On
being informed she was near, she was more composed.  At one time, she
exclaimed: "As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my
soul after thee, O, God.--I want to drink at the fountain."  Lifting up
her hands, as if filled with increased joy, she said; "Too much, dear
Lord--dear Jesus, I want to embrace thee, as thou dost embrace me."  She
begged they would lift her poor suffering arm out of bed, that she might
embrace her dear Jesus.  Some sweet verses were spoken to her, on the
soul's entrance into glory.  She said: "Jesus said unto the woman, 'Go,
and sin no more.'"  "Now," said she, "is the time for that; those words
used once to distress me; but Christ the Heavenly Lamb takes all our sins
away--that is where I rest."  One of her daughters said, "Upon the rock
still, mother?"  She answered: "None but Jesus!--look up to the Lord for
me.--Why are his chariot wheels so long in coming?"  Just before her
departure, she said to her husband, waving her hand: "All is well."  Mr.
King and Mr. Borrows coming into the room--one of them observed, that
though she had lost her sight, what a mercy that the light and holy fire
in the tabernacle, should never go out--nor never be put out.  On hearing
these words, she waved her hand; and presently, without a sigh, she
breathed her last.

And blessed are the dead which thus die in the Lord: all the Lord's
people die safe--all die in faith.  They all die in peace and friendship
with God and conscience.  But this is meeting death, and finishing the
warfare in militant glory.  May the dear family, who were kind,
affectionate, and perpetually attentive to her, experience the like grace
in death--sweetly sleep in Jesus; and whatever may be their fears in
life--Oh, that their end may be blessed.

    "Shudder not to pass the stream,
    Rest with all thy care on him;
    Him whose dying love and power,
    Still'd its tossing, hush'd its roar.
    Safe is the expanding wave,
    Gentle as a summer's eve;
    Not an object of his care
    Ever suffered shipwreck there."

And while we thus record the riches of sovereign grace, as experienced in
life and death, by our dear departed friend, we must not, we cannot,
forget the memory of departed worth.  Again, another friend in the Lord,
a lover of his truth, a respectable member of the church, Mrs. WALTON,
who sat just before Mrs. TURNER, in the chapel; a debtor to grace indeed;
she was the daughter of a most respectable and pious deacon of a church,
who was much esteemed for his piety and usefulness--beloved of his God,
and by those who knew him--and after a life of usefulness in the church,
was suddenly called home to a grace-provided glory.  While at chapel, he
had joined in singing the hymn before the sermon; the minister gave out
his text--"Oh come taste and see that the Lord is gracious; blessed is
the man that trusteth in him,"--when he was seized with death, and
shortly after expired; to the grief of his family, the church, and the
neighbourhood.  Our departed friend was of course religiously educated,
which is no small mercy impressed by grace; at a very early period of her
life, the Lord led her to see her own state, as a sinner before God, and
gradually drew her mind into a spiritual acquaintance with divine
truth--led her soul to the glorious person, and finished work of Christ,
as her refuge, surety, atonement, righteousness, and advocate--here she
often found rest and peace--these important truths were the very delight
of her soul, when she thought, read, conversed, or heard of them--she
loved the truth, as it is in Jesus, nor would she attend any place of
worship where she thought the Minister was shy of any precious doctrine
of the gospel--she was decided, though far from being disputatious; and
as grace made her so, the Lord fulfilled his promise in her soul's
experience--"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will
keep thee in the hour of temptation, and if any man love me, and keep my
words, I also will love him" (manifestatively); but like almost all the
family of God, she often experienced much lowness, dejection, fear,
unbelief, and doubtings; sweetly revived again, the graces of the holy
spirit gained the victory over these sad corruptions of the human heart.
Sinking and rising, rising and sinking in mind, was her experience till
victorious grace gained the conquest in death.  For

    "To patient faith the prize is sure,
    And all, who to the end endure
    The cross, shall wear the crown."

Her attendance upon the word was _early_, _constant_, and _uniform_--as a
wife, a relation, a neighbour, and a friend, few could equal
her--diffident, humble, and serious, loving, kind, peaceable, and
benevolent, none perhaps exceeded her; and this she was by the power of
electing grace.  How great her gain, how deep the loss of all who were
related to her in her respectable family, and in the church of God;
possessing a spiritual knowledge of Christ, precious faith in him, a hope
that maketh not ashamed, founded alone on the person, blood, and
righteousness of the Son of God, love to his person, to his truth, his
people, his ministers, his ways, and works, evidenced her eternal
election of God, her complete redemption from the ruins of the fall, and
that the work of grace was genuine on heart, carried by the arms of
divine power and faithfulness.  She persevered, _because carried_ to the
end of her days; this is indeed the privilege of all the Lord's people.
For in his love, and in his pity, he saved them, bare them, and carried
them all their days; nor can there be any final perseverance of the
saints, but as they are carried--

    "But he that hath loved them, bears them through,
    And makes them more than conquerors too.

                                                              Hallelujah."

However dear the Lord's people may be to their families, or to the church
on earth; as sinners, all must bow to the awful sentence of "dust thou
art, and to dust thou must return."--Even

    "An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
    Legions of Angels can't confine me there."

An old divine of the last century remarks that "mankind are like sheep
grazing upon a common--death is the butcher appointed to take away first
one and then another."  Surely then we may ask who next shall be summoned
away, my merciful God is it I?

What a mercy for the people of God they cannot die unprepared--none
unfit; the grace that provided the kingdom has provided a fitness for it,
in the person and work of the dear Redeemer, and in the effectual
operations of the holy-making God the Divine Spirit; and without this
holiness no man shall see the Lord--without this holy change of _state_,
of _principle_, and of _pursuit_, none can enjoy either the liberty of
the Gospel now, or the glory beyond the grave; and however the wicked may
be _driven_ away in his wickedness, the righteous hath hope in his death,
"for thou shalt come to thy grave in full age, like a shock of corn, that
cometh in his season, fully ripened for the heavenly garner."  Such was
our dear departed friend--deeply afflicted in body, such as baffled all
human skill; she gradually descended to the grave, sweetly supported,
kept up by mighty grace, and consoled by the word of truth.  She beheld
her pious and affectionate family around her.  On one occasion she had
been remarkably low in thinking of death, when the Lord kindly, but very
powerfully whispered to her heart, "blessed are the dead which die in the
Lord, even so saith the Spirit."  This sweet sentence being clothed with
such energy delivered her mind from all fears of death.  Often did she
exclaim "oh! why is the Lord so long in coming? come, come Lord, I long
to be at home;" and although her sufferings were great, her faculties
were kept amazingly strong, so much as to enable her to repeat the whole
of her favorite hymn she had often heard sung at the chapel, on
preparation to meat God, ending with--

    "And if pale death to me appears,
    Creating new alarming fears,
    My last appeal to Calvary's blood,
    And I'm prepar'd to meet my God."

One of her affectionate family read to her the 40th _Isaiah_, and sweetly
commented upon it, which she very much enjoyed.  Her desire to depart and
be with Christ seemed to increase, and her affliction continuing still,
she hastened quickly to meet the last enemy of her nature, though the
covenant friend of her soul; prayerful, sincerely, solemnly, and
composedly she breathed her soul into the hands of her redeeming Lord;
she slept in peace--she fell asleep in Jesus, and experienced all that is
contained, in the precious declaration, "blessed are the dead which die
in the Lord."--Her sun sweetly set to rise in another horizon, where it
will never be clouded--never set again--never, no never go down: but
there the Lord is her everlasting light--her God--her glory; and the days
of her mourning are for ever over.

    "Forbear the righteous to deplore,
    They enter into rest;
    Released from care, and sin, and woe,
    To everlasting bliss they go,
    And learn what they might doubt below,
    To die is to be blest."



HYMN.


    Saints, who mourn the slumbering dead,
    Look to your incarnate head!
    See him mounting from the tomb,
    Death and hell await their doom.--_Hallelujah_.

    Now, on glitt'ring thrones above,
    Seraphs chaunt redeeming love;
    Ransom'd saints the concert join,
    Echoing the hymn divine.--_Hallelujah_.

    Borne on clouds of azure light,
    Angels wing their rapid flight,
    And around the bursting grave,
    Welcome him, who-died to save.--_Hallelujah_.

    Come ye rescu'd, sing his praise,
    Jesus loves to hear your lays;
    He who conquered hell and death,
    Hears the humblest sinner's breath.--_Hallelujah_.

    Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
    Triune God! of saints the boast;
    Let us soon amid the throng,
    Join the chorus in their song.--_Hallelujah_.

                                                                J. C. jun.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

  [Picture: Graphic of hand with finger pointing right] Shortly will be
  published, CHOICE SAYINGS OF DYING SAINTS, selected from some of the
  best Authors.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

       R. Weston, Printer, Queen's Gardens, Crosby Row, Southwark.



FOOTNOTES.


{4}  Ezekiel 24.





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