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deeply and intimately concerns you. It will add much to your comfort here to be delivered from the bondage of the fear of death, and what a glorious truth, you may be delivered from all fear of death; you may be safe from those neverending evils, and be a partaker of that neverending felicity to which it introduces God's servants. I repeat again and again, you must die; however young, or wise, or strong, or powerful, you must die. Secure then a better life. Like Noah, enter the refuge. He being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house. (Heb. xi. 7.) O let Christ be your refuge. Remember, that preparation for death is not a work to be done in a little time. A whole life ought to be devoted to it, but people defer to the last dregs of life that great work of life which requires all our energies and powers. Here is the great artifice of Satan; he prevails on men to put off till it be too late, the great work of preparation. They say Peace and safety, till sudden destruction comes, and they cannot escape. The longer you defer this work, the greater and more arduous you will find it to be, the less strength you will have for it, and the more your bodily infirmities will disable you. Now, even now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.
Do you ask how you are to prepare for death?
O fly without delay to Christ Jesus, the only Deliverer from death, the only Conqueror over death! He says, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. (John xi. 25.) Now, your sins may be all washed away in his blood; now, your souls may be covered with the spotless and glorious robe of his righteousness; now, his Spirit will make you meet for the heavenly inheritance. O apply, I beseech you, apply this very day to him! Before you give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids, seek your Saviour while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life, (1 John V. 12,) but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John V. 36.) Here is your first and chief preparation for death, to win Christ and be found in him.
But besides the title to heaven there is a meetness, a state of actual readiness which well becomes the Christian, that death may never take him by surprise. The wise virgins slumbered and slept. But the children of the light, and the children of the day, should not slumber. Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but watch and be sober. Christians, let your lights be burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching. Meditate, often, there
fore, on death. Even regard it as one of your blessings; putting on the breast-plate of faith and love, and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
ON THE RESURRECTION.
JOHN V. 28, 29.
The hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.
OUR blessed Lord here distinctly declares the doctrine of the resurrection of the body; to the righteous a most cheering and joyful truth. Those who have wept over the lifeless corpse of a departed saint, and have followed with bitter anguish the funeral bier to the grave, and have seen the coffin which contained all that remained of this beloved friend deposited in the silent grave, and have thought of it as lost, and almost lost for ever, may lift up their heads. That body
is the sacred dust of him who believed in Jesus, and which the Divine Spirit once inhabited: it is not dead, it only sleeps in the Lord, and shall revive again with new beauty and freshness, fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself. (Phil. iii. 21.)
The doctrine of the resurrection is eminently essential and fundamental. When some among the Corinthians denied this doctrine, the Apostle urgently pressed its importance: How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead, (1 Cor. xv. 12)—and alluding to the many sufferings of the first Christians, he tells them, if in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, (1 Cor. xv. 19); and assures them, But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. (1 Cor. xv. 20.)
May your minds then, my brethren, be well established in this truth. It is Satan's great aim to weaken our faith, and to obscure our view of the resurrection. Because we see it not, and there seem apparent hinderances from the decay of the body, sinful man easily persuades himself that there will be no resurrection, and even Christians are often deprived of the comfort and advantage they might possess, were their faith on this momentous subject more clear and distinct.