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i! O my beloved, we shall live cr die, be faved or
damned for ever, according as we do or do not get an union with Christ, and an interest in Christ. , This is that which lies at the bottom and founda
tion of all, of all our hopes, and of all our mercies, or all our Comforts, of all our acceptation and communion with God, of all grace on earth, and all glory in heaven; and without it, whatsoever our attainments in religion are, whatever our profesfion may be, whatever place or esteem we may have in the Church of God, though never so raised and eminent, yet we have not any thing that will avail us in a dying hour. I remember a saying of a learned man, That thou mayest live in death, faith he, get into Christ, implant thyself into Christ by believing. Faith joins and unites us to Christ, and they that are in Christ cannot die, for Christ is their life. And indeed, if we can have union with Christ, he will be life in death itself to us:-Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; that is, die, having union with Christ, being implanted into Christ, Rev. 14. 13.
· If we have union with Christ, he will not be only life in death to us, but he will even turn death itself into life: the king of terrors, into a king of comforts; insomuch that the soul shall be able to triumph over it, as the apostle doth, 1 Cor. 15. 55, 55, 57. Wherea without this, without union
with Christ, an interest in Christ, we shall never be able to look death in the face with comfort, but shall, when we come to die, be some of the miserablest spectacles in the world. It is the speech of a worthy divine, who is so long since gone hence, a christless dying man or woman (Iaith he) is one of the saddest spectacles in the world: for a man to be dying, and not christless, that is comfortable; for such a one dies but to live for ever; he dies the death of nature, to live the life of glory; for a man to be christless, and not dying, is something tolerable : for who knows, but that the next meeting at an ordnance, may be the time of God's love to him of drawing him into Christ?
But for a man to be dying and christless; christless and dying too, that is intolerable, that is terrible indeed; for such an onę dies to be damned, and he is going off from all hopes and possibilities of mercy for ever: oh therefore above all, press after an union with Christ, and an interest in Christ: this was Paul's great care and solicitude to the very last, tbat so he might go off the stage with comfort; and that for which he accounted all things but dung, -as most base and vile, Phil. 3. 8, 9.
O soul, didst thou indeed know and consider of how much weight and importarice an interest in
Christ is to thee, with reference to thine eternal happiness, thou wouldīt cry out as eagerly for Christ, as Rachael did for her children, saying,'give me Christ, or else I die; give me union with Christ, and an interest in Christ, or I am undone eternally. O look to the great uniting act of faith, make a right choice of Christ; chuse him as your Lord and head, your King and Saviour, and renew your choice of him every day, resigning up yourselves entirely to him, to be saved and governed by him in his own way.
Secondly: Would you indeed have all set right, and made ready in the matters of your souls for a dying hour? Then press after a firm and unshaken assurance of an interest in God, and his love, and of your right and title to eternal life of another, and better life than this here. Without some good evidence for heaven, and some well-grounded assu. rance of an interest in God and eternal life, things are not ready with us, nor are we in such a preparedness for a dying hour, as we ought to be.
Though a man have an interest in God and his love; though he hath a right and title to eternal life and happiness; yet as long as he is in the dark, and at an uncertainty in his own soul about it, things are out of order with him, and he is greatly anready for a dying hour: for pray mark, as our
interest in this is requisite to our dying happily; so the fight and affurance of that interest, is requisite to our dying comfortably: indeed, when a man hath attained to some good evidence for heaven, to some well-groanded assurance of his interest in God and Christ, then are things in a good posture with him in reference to a dying hour; then he can play with death, and triumph over it; as Foö did, when he could say, I know that my Redeemer liveth, Job 19. 25, 26. And as the apostle seems to speak of it, 2 Cor. 5. 12. We know that when our earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, we have a building of God. An house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens: for this we groan earnestly, defiring to be cloathed upon with our house which is from heaven. None of you do comfortably leave your house unless you have another to go unto; much less can you comfortably quit this world, unless you have some well-grounded affurance of another and a better life. Take a man that is in the dark, and at a loss as to his interest in God and Christ, and he knows not what death will do to him, nor where it will lodge him, whether in heaven or hell, whether upon the throne of glory, or in the prison of eternal darkness ; in the bosom of Christ's love, or under the revelation of his infinite and eternal wrath: and is such a one ready for a dying hour? surely no.. As evalt
therefore, you would have things right and ready within, indeed, for a dying hour, you must press after an assurance of your interest in God and Christ; you must do as the apostle exhorts, Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, 2 Pet. 1'. 10. You must every day press after a fulJer and firmer assurance as to your eternal interest; you must be much in faith, much in prayer, much in examining your evidences, much in proving your state, much in looking after the seal and evidences of the blessed fpirit ; which is indeed all in all; and never rest till you can say, my Lord, and my God, my heaven, my glory ; God is the rock of my heart, and my portion for ever. O then all will be sweet and well with you. - This is that which the saints of old have laboured after with their whole might. Say unto my soul (faith David to God) I am thy falvation, Pfal. 35. 3. Sit me as a seal upon thy heart, and a signet upon thina farm, Cant. 8. 6. This Austin presked much after, Lord, faith he, tell me what thou art to me. Say unto my soul I am thy falvation : so say it, that I Inay hear it: behold, the ears of my heart are before thee; open them, O Lord, and say unto my soul I am thy salvationa
O my beloved, this is worth presling after, for this is the welcomeft news a poor soul can possibly hear, to be told that God is his, and heaven is hisą