Charles Buck, 1855

Death, considered in any light, is a very solemn and awful scene; but it is peculiarly so as it respects the wicked; such are said to be driven away in their wickedness. They do not descend willingly to the grave. They would be happy always to exist in the present state; they possess no regard for a Superior Being—and therefore a future state of heavenly felicity makes little or no impression on their minds. All their happiness is confined to the present world; they are therefore driven, or, as it is said, "chased out of the world." Job 18:18. And what is still worse, they are driven away not only in a hopeless state, but a sinful state as well. Who can contemplate the sad scene without horror? Who can bear to witness it without inexpressible feelings of a nature? How awful to behold in his very countenance, everything that indicates guilt and misery; to hear his groans and prayers, that his wretched life may be protracted yet a little longer; to witness his whole frame convulsed, his features changing, his lips quivering, and his mind overwhelmed with despair! Ah!

"How shocking must your summons he, O Death!
To him that is at ease in his possessions;
Who, counting on long years of pleasure here,
Is quite unfurnished for the world to come!
In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Eaves round the wall of her clay tenement,
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help,
But shrieks in vain! How wishfully she looks
On all she's leaving, now no longer hers!
A little longer—yet a little longer!
Mournful sight!
Her eyes weep blood, and every groan
She heaves is big with horror. But the foe,
Like a staunch murderer, steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close through every lane of life,
Nor once misses the track; but presses on,
Until, forced at last to the tremendous verge,
At once she sinks to everlasting ruin!"

But what a different scene do we behold in the death of the righteous man! "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace." Psalm 37.37. Death has no terrors to him. His sins are pardoned and his guilt is removed. No bitter reflections on his past conduct. No anxiety to return and prolong his existence in the present world. No fearful looking for of the day of wrath and punishment.

Not that the righteous all depart with the same feelings. The joys of some are not so high as others; yes, some expire with but a small degree of confidence and joy—but this is not the case in general. Few but can say, when the moment actually arrives, "O death, where is your sting! O grave, where is your victory!" 1 Corinthians 15:54.

Indeed, from the great felicity many good men enjoy at death, it seems, as a good writer observes, "as if the weakness of the bodily frame gave occasion to the awakening of some faculty, until then dormant in the soul, by which invisible realities are not only believed but seen, and unutterable realities s are heard and understood." In order, however, that we may see how peculiarly welcome it is to the righteous, let us consider the scriptural account of it.

It is called a DEPARTURE. "The time of my departure is at hand." 2 Timothy 4:7. "Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ." Philippians 1:23. He is not violently torn or driven away in a storm, as the wicked—but he departs as one that is set at liberty from his chains. The present world is a state of confinement, when compared to the heavenly world; the soul is here lodged in the body as in a contracted prison. Her powers are cramped, her exertions are fettered, her prospects are bounded. But death unlocks the gate, destroys the chains, and says to the prisoner: Go forth, enjoy your liberty; depart to yonder celestial mansion.

What an idea does this give us of the happiness of a believer at the hour of death! Here, alas! the chain confines and galls us. We feel the sad effects of being immured in a prison where so much darkness and depravity dwells. Gladly would the soul leap out and fly; but what powerful hindrances, what sad restraints!

When death, however, arrives, liberty is proclaimed, and a departure is announced to a land where we shall no more be reduced to captivity; where no enemy will oppose, no chain be worn, forever-

When godly men die, they depart as travelers to a better country, or as from an inn to their home. That is truly a happy land where knowledge is diffused, peace enjoyed, sociality indulged, health promoted, property secured, and persons protected. Such a country is Heaven, and to depart for such a state must be pleasant and delightful.

This, too, is his home. He is not going to a place where he will be a stranger, where it will be uncertain whether he shall be received.

It is the kingdom of his Father, where everything is provided for his happiness.

It is to his own inheritance, purchased and bestowed on him as a free gift by Jesus, his elder brother.

Who, then, feels distress, who laments, who can be unhappy, at the thought of a departure from a temporary accommodation, where the storm is so often felt—to that glorious state where majesty and splendor indeed dwell, but where love and joy forever reign!

The departure of a believer is the departure of the mariner from a distant country to his desired haven. He quits the shores of time to launch into eternity. He has been at a distance from his own land, but how willingly he leaves all to meet his happy connections, to breathe his native air, to taste the fruit of that delightful soil where all is fertile and rich. And, O, pleasing thought! to return no more, but forever to be secured from the wasting storm, and the dangerous rocks of this evil world!

Death, to a godly man, is called a dissolving of the body. "For we know (says the apostle) that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God; a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!" 2 Corinthians 5:1. He considers it only as the taking down of the human frame, to be built on a diviner plan.

He does not approach the grave as the infidel or the skeptic, uncertain what will become of him; whether his body shall mingle with the dust, or whether it will be raised again. He believes that every atom will be preserved, and, though scattered in a thousand directions, that all shall be collected by the great power of Him who first created him. He has no melancholy ideas of annihilation; he wavers not in dark uncertainty; now hoping, then fearing; now trembling, then presuming; now wishing, then sinking again into the dark gloom of uncertainty.

No! these are not the views, the feelings, the scenes attendant on the dying bed of the righteous. He justly considers his body as a tabernacle, a temporary building, that must be taken down at the will of the Creator. He submits to its dissolution. He sees one pin taken out, and then another; this part falling, and that part decaying. But all this he beholds without dismay. He knows there is a building of God eternal in the heavens, and cherishes the sweet hope of body and soul being again united, to part no more.

Further; the death of the righteous is compared to REST. "He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds." Isaiah 57:2. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; they shall rest from their labors, and their works follow them." Revelation 14:13. "There the wicked cease from troubling; there the weary are at rest." Job 3:17.

With what pleasure must a godly man contemplate the hour when he is called to put off the armor, to lay aside the :ler, the shield, and the helmet forever! Here the conflict is often both long and painful. Every step is contested. His heart at times sinks within him for fear. He feels his weakness, and trembles lest he should be allowed to desert the great Captain of his salvation.

But when death arrives, with what joy is he inspired at the thought of being no more exposed to danger! Now, says he, "I am done! The battle is over, the victory is won. No more shall I feel the fiery darts of Satan! No more shall I be subject to the attacks of an evil world! No more shall I be deceived by a depraved heart! I shall now sit down with all the redeemed in the kingdom of Heaven."

Again; the death of the righteous is represented in the sacred Scriptures under the idea of SLEEP. "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep; that you sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14.

So of Stephen it is said, notwithstanding he was stoned to death, that he fell asleep. Acts 7.60. What a pleasing idea does this afford us of the death of a believer—who, after labor and conflict, danger and toil, trouble and opposition, fears sleep? What more desirable than sleep? what more refreshing than sleep? How it strengthens the body, how it relieves the mind!

Thus a godly man lies down, and forgets all his toils. Now his sorrows and his pains terminate forever. Now the troubles of the day are done with. Now the conflict ceases, no more to return.

Let it be remembered, too, that it is not in the house of an enemy, a place of danger, where he reposes. He "sleeps in Jesus," says the apostle. Happy situation! Lovely security! Where can an immortal spirit rest better?

"Blessed Redeemer! who can be afraid of falling into your arms? Who fears to sleep under your protection? If death is no more than this, then happy are your servants when called away from this valley of tears. If this is the privilege peculiar to your redeemed people, then Lord, let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!

To confirm the ideas above suggested relative to the dying experience of the righteous, let us now advert to some few examples in which we shall see these remarks exemplified.

Behold the patriarch Jacob drawing near to the gates of death. With what composure he exclaims, "I die, but God shall be with you. I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!" His sons gather round him; he blesses them. He talks of death without fear; he beholds its approach without alarm. He willingly resigns his spirit, gathers up his feet into the bed, and expires. Genesis 49.33.

Behold Moses, in his latter end, triumphing in God, and bearing a noble testimony to his providence and grace. "Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the gentle rain upon the tender herb, as the showers upon the grass. Because I will publish the name of the Lord, ascribe greatness unto our God. He is the rock; his work is perfect, for all his ways are judgment. A God of truth, and without iniquity: just and right is he." Deuteronomy 32:1 etc. To die with a mind impressed with such noble sentiments as these, is to die happy.

See Joshua. How calmly he speaks of his own death! but with what energy he dwells on the good providence of God to him and the people! "Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass unto you, and not one thing has failed thereof." Joshua 23:14. Glorious testimony of a dying saint!

Witness David. "Although my house be not so with God, yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire." 2 Samuel 23:5. His views of death we may easily collect from his own words. "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4. As if he had said, "It is death, indeed, that is before me; but it is but the shadow of death; there is no substantial evil in it. The shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is the valley of the shadow; deep, indeed, and dark; but the valleys are fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is but a walk in this valley—a gentle, pleasant walk. The wicked are chased out of the world, and their souls are required; but the saints take a walk to another world as cheerfully as they take their leave of this. It is a walk through it; I shall not be lost in the valley, but arrive safe at my desired abode!" (See Matthew Henry on Psalm 23:4.)

Behold Simeon. He had long been waiting for the consolation of Israel. At last Jesus appears. The good old man takes the babe in his arms, and with ecstasy prays, "Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation." Luke 2:28, 30. Life to him was no longer desirable, and death appeared as a welcome messenger, now he had been favored with the presence of the Savior.

Nothing can exceed the holy joy and triumphant language of the great apostle Paul, in the view of death and an eternal world. "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. I am ready, not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus. I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all those who love his appearing." 2 Timothy 1:12, Acts 21:13, 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

Happy apostle! how wondrous must death have been in your view; and how unimportant the passing scenes of this world, when compared with the glorious objects of that to come!

Behold Peter. "I think it fit, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance. Knowing that shortly I must put off my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has showed me." 2 Peter 1:14,15. Death appeared no more to him than taking off his clothing, and lying down to rest. He knew he had not followed a cunningly devised fable, but that, after death, there was an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away, to be enjoyed by him, and all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.

Such was the hope, such was the prospect, of these illustrious characters. And to them what a long list might be added of primitive Christians, of martyrs, of noble confessors, who died in the faith; who indeed considered themselves as strangers and pilgrims here; who desired, and at last enjoyed, a better country!

But lest any should imagine that such happy experience belonged only to those characters whom God raised up in early times for arduous and important work, and, being inspired of God, naturally enjoyed more than others when living, and were more supported in their dying moments—let us come down to later times, and we shall find that the same grace was exemplified in the solemn hour of dissolution.

Mr. Halyburton, when dying, thus addressed those around him: "Here is a demonstration of the reality and power of faith and godliness. I, a poor, weak and timorous man, once as much afraid of death as anyone; I, who was many years under terrors of death, come, in the mercy of God, and by the power of his grace, composedly and with joy to look death in the face. I have seen it in its paleness, and all the circumstances of horror that attend it. I dare look it in the face in its most ghastly shape, and hope to have, in a little while, the victory over it. Glory, glory to him! O, what of God do I see! I have never seen anything like it! The beginning and end of religion are wonderfully sweet! I long for his salvation, I bless his name! I have found him! I am taken up in blessing him! I am dying, rejoicing in the Lord! O, I could not have believed that I should bear, and bear cheerfully as I have done—this rod which has lain on me so long."

This is a miracle. Pain without pain! You see a man dying a monument of the glorious power of astonishing grace! Some time after, he said, "When I shall be so weakened as not to be able to speak, I will give you, if I can, a sign of triumph when I am near to glory." This he did; for when one said, "I hope you are encouraging yourself in the Lord;" not being able to speak, he lifted up his hands, clapped them, and quickly after expired.

When Matthew Henry was dying, he said to a friend, "You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men; this is mine: A life spent in the service of God, and communion with him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that anyone can live in this world."

Dr. Evans, in his last moments, said, "All is well. All is well."

Dr. Watts said, "I bless God, that I can lie down with comfort at night, unsolicitous whether I awake in this world or another."

"I am full of confidence (said Dr. Doddridge); there is a hope set before me: I have fled, I still fly for refuge to that hope. In him I trust. In him I have strong consolation, and shall assuredly be accepted in the beloved of my soul."

"Do not think (said Mr. Hervey) that I am afraid to die! I assure you I am not. I know what my Savior has done for me; and I want to be depart and be with him. But I wonder and lament to think of the love of Christ in doing so much for me, and how little I have done for him." A little before his death, he said, "The great conflict is over! Now all is done!"

Dr. Gill said, "I have nothing to make me uneasy." And his last words were, "O my Father! my Father!"

"It will not be long (says Mr. Toplady) before God takes me; for no mortal man can live (bursting into tears) after the glories which God has manifested to my soul."

Mr. Ryland cried out, "Happy, happy, happy! O, what ease of body! O, what ease of soul!"

Mr. Brewer said, "O, what a world am I going to! Here all is sin, and all is sorrow; but there, all is everlasting joy. Jesus is standing to receive my spirit. My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."

These are testimonies from public characters; but what multitudes of private Christians have experienced the same support! "You will excuse my saying much," said a godly man whom I visited in a dying hour, "but I declare before God, he is my delight, he is my all. Rejoice with me. It is done. I am no more afraid of death than an infant in its mother's arms. I have no doubt but my name is written in the book of life. Hasten it, Lord. Cut short your work, if it be according to your will. Praise! Praise! Praise!"

It would be easy to enlarge this list; but the reader may consult the obituary in our religious and periodical publications for pleasing accounts of this kind. We shall only just stop to ask, whether the death-beds of infidels and the profane can produce anything like this? Instances, indeed, of apathy and awful unconcern are numerous; but is it not to the sacred religion of Jesus that we are indebted for the bright scenes, the manly fortitude, the holy joys we often witness in a dying hour?

But it is natural for us to inquire into the causes of such a happy experience. What prospect is there afforded by Christianity that makes death so welcome? What real grounds have Christians for rejoicing in this hour? Why is death so welcomed by true Christians?

First. It is a matter of the highest joy to the godly that they are leaving a world where there is so much sin—for a world where all is perfection and holiness. Of all the sources of grief to a godly man, none is equal to that of sin. It is this which often breaks his peace, interrupts him in duty, and is a barrier to his fellowship with God. Wherever he goes, in whatever situation he is fixed, or whatever changes take place as to other things, his imperfect and sinful nature still remains. He cannot divest himself of this; and what is still more painful, his corruptions break out again, after, perhaps, he thought they were nearly subdued.

Death, therefore, becomes very desirable to terminate a conflict which is so distressing. To get rid of an enemy which is always assaulting us, must be no small joy.

The thought of sinning no more is delightful to a godly man. If he could live in the present state but for a year, a month, a day, an hour, without sin—it would be his highest joy. With what willingness, then, can he meet death, which will remove him from every occasion of sin; which will deliver him from every temptation, every corruption, and introduce him to a world where holiness and happiness perpetually dwell!

Secondly. The Christian rejoices at the thought of death, because he forever leaves all his troubles. A wicked man may well tremble at death, because it is comparatively the beginning of his sorrows! But the righteous, on the contrary, may rejoice, as it is the beginning of his joys! It is true, that even in the present state his happiness has sometimes been great; but permanent joy is reserved for another world.

With what pleasure may he look forward and say, "Soon I shall be done with all the troubles of life. No more doubts and fears. No dark and cloudy days. No more weary steps and painful conflicts. Here on earth, how sudden and numerous are the troublous vicissitudes of life! One difficulty follows another. No dependence to be placed on earthly good. The best frames soon change, and the greatest trials attend the greatest comforts. But in a little while, and I shall be delivered from all. There is a glory to be revealed. "God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

But is not death in itself awful and terrific? And are not believers men of the same feelings, the same fears as others? Truly so, as it respects themselves; but the terror of death is in a great degree removed, as they have the promise of a safe guide through the dark valley. Angels are sent forth to minister to them who are the heirs of salvation. "These encamp about them in the time of their life, and surely they will not leave them in the day of their death." But the Lord Almighty has promised to be with them in that trying moment. "I will never leave you," is the kind declaration made to every saint. He who does not leave them in their common troubles, will not leave them now, when everything around them is incapable of affording them support.

With what composure, therefore, may they leave themselves in his hands, and trust to his goodness and power to bring them safe through! Yes, Christian, you may say, without presumption, with the poet:

"Though I walk through the gloomy valley,
Where death and all its terrors are,
My heart and hope shall never fail,
For God my Shepherd's with me there."

Besides, they are going home to their best Friend. The child is not afraid of being sent for from school to his parents. Death is but God's servant, which he sends to take his children Home. No wonder the Christian rejoices at the thought of going where his Father dwells, where his brethren are, and where he shall enjoy perfect liberty, holy familiarity, and endless pleasure. "In my Father's house are many mansions (says our Lord); if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also." John 14:2, 3.

With a firm belief in these delightful declarations, with what joy can a Christian leave the world, especially when he considers that he is not merely to be admitted, but gladly received to glory; received with the acclamations of the heavenly hosts; received by Christ with the highest joy and the strongest love; received into the presence of Him whose favor constitutes the glory and happiness of the celestial world.

But what, above all, affords a ground of rejoicing is, that the felicity of the heavenly kingdom is never to end.

"For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever!" 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

"There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever!" Revelation 22:5

What delightful prospects do these Scriptures afford us of a future state! Here we are sometimes interrupted in the midst of our earthly joys, by the recollection that they are so short-lived. A succession of hopes and fears, of pains and pleasures, attend us in this mortal state. However calm the present moment may be, we must prepare for the upcoming storm. However happy, we must remember we are still in this wilderness world, subject to innumerable changes and perpetual trials. But how consoling for the Christian to reflect that he is traveling to a better country, whence he shall not return, where he shall go no more out!

What terrors then can death have for the man whose hopes center in that glory which shall never fade? What happiness is there in the thought that every moment brings him nearer to that bright abode where he shall forever enjoy the divine presence!

An eternity of happiness! How little must everything appear in this world, when contrasted with this! How insignificant all the trials along the way, when we consider the felicity of the end! How welcome is death, which introduces us to the grand scene!

How bright the Christian appears as he draws nearer to it! What a majesty in his death! What a glory in his hope! "As the rivers roll the smoothest the nearer they approach the ocean; as the rose smells the sweetest when dying; as the sun appears most glorious when setting—so it is with the Christian." Hear his expiring language! Farewell all terrestrial scenes! I know that my Redeemer lives. What a happy change! Earth for Heaven, time for eternity, conflict for victory, sorrow for uninterrupted joy! Into your hands, O immortal Savior, I commit my spirit. Yours it is to conduct me through the valley; yours to raise to glory; and yours to crown me with eternal joy. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Even so come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Thus we see what grounds the Christian has for rejoicing at the thought of death. It may be objected, that however good these grounds, yet many even of the righteous die without any remarkable sensation of joy; yes, some die in darkness and fear, others die suddenly, without leaving a verbal testimony. This certainly must be granted, but let not the weak Christian be discouraged on this account. Some, it is true, are said to be saved so as by fire; and some are saved who have remained in a doubting state almost to the last; but I believe these will be found to be but few compared with the generality.

God has, indeed, allowed some of his most useful and most eminent servants to depart without any great evidences of triumph and joy; but this is wisely permitted, for were such always to die in triumph, then the weak and fearful would be ready to despond, and imagine, perhaps, that they were not the objects of divine love, because they are not favored with high joys in that trying hour.

It is also good to remember that our frames do not affect our state. The salvation of the soul may be secure; but the joys of that salvation may, for wise reasons, be suspended. We may die safe, though we may not die happy.

There are many things that may press hard on the mind even of a godly man at that season. The thoughts of his family, separation from dear and intimate friends, the recollection of besetting sins, spiritual sloth and decay, the solemness of eternity, the pains of death, natural timidity—some or all of these may affect the mind to a great degree. But, notwithstanding, I believe it is generally found that believers are wonderfully supported in the hour of death. In the course of my ministry, and the visits I have paid to dying beds for several years, I have found but few who were truly serious, but what, if they had not all a high degree of joy, yet were resigned to the will of God, bearing testimony to his goodness in fulfilling his word, and being with them even to the end.

It is, however, at all times, a different scene from the death of the wicked. They die trembling in an awful suspense and dark uncertainty, or presuming that all will be well, while their hearts are still hardened in sin. But the righteous depart in peace, and often in triumph and ecstacy, with a hope full of immortality and joy!

And now, my dear reader, do you wish to die comfortably? Then live wisely. Not that this can merit Heaven; but a worldly, careless, lukewarm spirit is not a proper frame to die in. Let it be your constant care to keep a clean conscience—a conscience void of offense toward God and man. Acts 24:16. Beware of any standing controversy between God and you, on account of some iniquity cherished in the heart. When an honest man is about to leave his country, and not to return, he settles accounts with those he had dealings with, and lays down methods for paying his debts in time, lest he be reckoned a bankrupt, and be arrested by an officer when he is going off.

Guilt lying on the conscience is a fountain of fears, and will sting severely when death stares the criminal in the face. Hence it is that many of God's people, when dying, are made to wish passionately and desire eagerly that they may live to do what they ought to have done before that time.

Walk closely with God, be diligent, strict and exact, in your course; beware of a loose, careless, and irregular conduct, as you would not lay up for yourselves anguish and bitterness of spirit in a dying hour. And because, through the infirmity cleaving to us in our present state of imperfection, in many things we all offend—renew your repentance daily, and be ever washing in the Redeemer's blood. As long as you are in the world, you will need to wash your feet, (John 13:10,) that is, to make application to the blood of Christ anew, for purging your consciences from the guilt of daily sins. Let death find you at the fountain, and, if so, it will find you ready to answer its call.

Believer, wait patiently. "All the days of my appointed time," says Job, "I will wait until my change come. Job 14:14. Stand at your post until God calls you; for "it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." Lamentations 3:26. A few more storms, a few more dark and cloudy days—and you shall enjoy the eternal rest that remains for the people of God. It is but a little while, and you shall lay aside the helmet, for the crown; the garments in which you sustain the conflict, for the white robe; and the sword, for the palms of victory! The enemy shall no more be seen; for the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joys upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10.

While, however, you exercise patience, watch constantly. Be like men who wait for their lord, that, when he comes and knocks, you may open to him immediately. Luke 21:36.

Remember you are still in an enemy's land, and that no past experience, no long standing in the church, no exemptions which you have hitherto had from public falls—can insure you in time to come without divine grace. Many have carried it well until nearly the last, when one unguarded moment, one imprudent step—has been the occasion of much grief, and caused them to descend to the grave in sorrow.

Watch, therefore, to the end. The enemy, perhaps, will be more artful, more violent, more anxious to injure you, in proportion as you draw nearer to your home, where he knows you will be beyond his reach.

Sit loose to this poor world. Remember that you are a pilgrim, and therefore you are not to be only looking, but going forward. Watch against everything which would detain you along the way. Take leave of all sublunary objects, and thus, forgetting the things that are behind, press forward towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus! Philippians 3:14.

And now, reader, let me ask: have you reason to believe that you are traveling to this better country? No doubt you wish to die happy; but remember this cannot be the case while sin is loved and unrepented of. The life of a wicked man is often a life of gaiety, thoughtlessness, and presumption; but his death is an awful scene of horror and misery. No light from Heaven irradiates his dying moments. It is all thick darkness, for there is no peace, says my God, to the wicked.

To die in poverty, without friends, without attendants, all solitary, without any kind aid to wipe off the cold sweat that bedews the face, without any affectionate help to alleviate pain, or sympathize with misery—is considered as a grievous and deplorable state; but, alas! what is this? This is of but little consequence, when compared to the state of him who dies without God, without a saving interest in him who alone is able to save.

Reader, examine your own heart. Remember how short your time is. A little longer, and your body will be in the grave, and the soul—where shall I say it is? In Heaven? No, if you die without repentance! On earth? No. But in the dark abodes of eternal despair! For the wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalm 9:17.

Arise, therefore; cry for mercy! The door is not shut. Now is the day of salvation! Flee to the refuge set before, you. Behold the Savior! He is willing to receive, willing to pardon, willing to bless you. Believe in him, and you shall be saved; but if you reject him, you are undone forever!