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he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.” This too is partly the meaning of that expression in the 116th Psalm, “ Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Every peaceful, every triumphant death-bed is a commentary on this passage ; for the glory, the faithfulness, the mercy and love of the Saviour, and the love of his dear disciples to him, stronger than death, and the greatness of his atoning sacrifice, and the power of his blood to cleanse from sin and give peace to the conscience, are here exhibited, as they are nowhere else. Here the cross shines in its saving power and glory. Every precious thing in the character of Christ and the scheme of redemption, all the lovely attributes of God, and the unspeakable blessedness of those who have their portion in him, are here manifested together. All the lessons of the law and the Gospel seem brought to a point; but above all, the preciousness of Christ to the soul that rests on him is so illustrated, and the necessity of faith so demonstrated, that it seems as if the sight of one such death-scene, if all men could behold it, would draw all men to the Saviour. It does make all men exclaim, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!
Let us now turn the light of Death upon our own life, for Death is the great Enlightener, in whose presence we see things as they really are, all delusions being withdrawn, all dreams having vanished, and an overpowering flood of light being thrown back upon the vanities through which we have been treading. Let us flee to Christ, and, by his grace,
live the life of the righteous, and so our last end shall be like his! Of true peace in death there is no possibility but by being in Christ; but even the peace of a true Christian may be greatly obscured and troubled if he has been willing to live at a distance from his Saviour. But where the soul is in Christ, relying on his precious blood and righteousness, and the affections are habitually fixed upon the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, then indeed dying is but going home ; and such blessedness is worth all the daily watchfulness in life, that can possibly be given for it. Such blessedness makes the soul live on the borders of Heaven, in the Land Beulah; for to be in the Land Beulah is to be spiritually minded, and that is the secret of all the blessed visions to be seen in that land. To be spiritually minded is life and peace ; and they who are eminently so, are eminently happy. Nor is any labor to be accounted painful, in comparison to the sweetness of so resting upon God.
God. The to such blessedness may be trying, the steps to be taken may cost much self-denial, but the results are unspeakably glorious and delightful. Nor is there any happiness to be compared with that which is enjoyed by a growing Christian, a saint, whose life is truly hid with Christ in God. The happiness of walking with God daily is very great. It is blessed to breathe after God, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and to long for the communication of his Spirit. It is blessed to feel with the Psalmist that the soul thirsteth for God, thrice blessed to cry out, As the hart panteth after
the water-brook, so panteth my soul after thee, O God!
And if the experience of such desires is blessed, much more is the fruition of them, when God reveals himself to the soul that waiteth on him. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. A watchful, earnest attention to the increase of one's personal piety makes every part of Christian experience animated and delightful. There is a divine relish in all the exercises of the Christian life, a savour of heaven, a foretaste of the enjoyment of the saints in glory. The Word of God is precious, the duty of prayer is precious, the vision of faith is clear and strong, and heavenly realities come in with vivid power upon the soul, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeps the heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant. He will hold it up to their view, unfold its rich blessings in their sight, and show them that they have a part and a place in it. He will open and expound its glories, its glories of wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Christ, its glories of spiritual things, into which the angels desire to look, its glories in the purchased possession of the saints and the riches of their heavenly inheritance, and the wonders of that infinite love, by which such celestial, everlasting treasures were procured. All this, and infinitely more than can be described, is the heritage of them that fear the Lord, that rest upon the Saviour, and who earnestly endeavour, renoun.
cing every sin, to maintain daily that close walk with him which he requires, and to follow on after that perfection, which he has exhibited as the only right standard of the soul.
Is not this a life to be chosen, to be greatly desired, to be labored after with exceeding great diligence, perseverance and earnestness ?
Is it not worth a great deal of self-denial and fervent energy in prayer, and a great deal of time given to the Word of God, and to all the secret exercises of the Christian life? Is it not worth a great many sacri. fices of external ease and comfort, if that were necessary, and of external business, if that presses too urgently? Is it not worth every thing, and are not all things else laid in the balance with it empty and worthless? Is it not the pearl of great price which he that is wise will readily sell all that he hath to be master of; the one thing needful, for the attainment of which all other things may well be given up, and forgotten as of no moment?
Yea, it is the kingdom of God and his righteousness, without which the universe cannot make you happy, but with which all things else shall be added unto you. Give what God will, without that you are poor, but with that rich, take what he will away. For when he gives himself, he gives all blessings. Who would not rather be the poorest wanderer that walks the earth, the most downtrodden and despised outcast of creation, and have his daily meals at God's spiritual table, his daily walks with his Redeemer, his daily visits of refreshment at the full fountain of his love, than without that refreshment to possess the riches of all king
doms, or be the worshipped idol of the world! Yea, who would not rather be perishing for want of daily bread, or begging from door to door, if that were necessary, and yet daily faithful in prayer, growing in grace, and having his life hid with Christ in God, than surrounded with all affluence and at ease amidst all luxuries, and yet living in that worldly frame and at that distance from the Saviour, and in that gloomy coldness of spirit, which worldly prosperity, without great secret diligence in walking with God, so invariably produces !
The close of the Pilgrim's Progress is rendered exceedingly instructive, solemn, and admonitary by the fate of Ignorance. It is as if the writer had interposed a check to the gushing fulness of our feelings excited by the heavenly splendors of the preceding description, and had said to us, as we were thinking ourselves almost in Heaven beforehand, “ Beware!"
“ While I was gazing at all these things," says the Dreamer, “I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side; but he soon got over, and that without half the difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was then in that place, one Vainhope, a ferry-man, that with his boat helped him over; so he, as the others I saw, did ascend the hill to come up to the gate ; only he came alone, neither did meet with any the least encouragement. When he was come up to the gate, he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock, supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him ; but he was asked by