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Consolation in Life and Death derived from the Life of Christ

Consolation in Life and Death
derived from the Life of Christ
Category:
Author: Church John
Title: Consolation in Life and Death derived from the Life of Christ
Release Date: 2018-10-06
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Consolation in Life and Death, by John ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: Consolation in Life and Death       derived from the Life of ChristAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: October 6, 2018  [eBook #58048]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CONSOLATION IN LIFE AND DEATH***

Transcribed from the 1824 R. Weston edition by David Price,email [email protected]

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CONSOLATION
IN
LIFE AND DEATH,

DERIVED FROMTHE

Life of Christ;

BEING THESUBSTANCE OF

A SERMON

On the Death of Mrs.Turner,

PREACHED ATTHE

SURREY TABERNACLE,

ON

Sunday Evening, the 15th of August,1824,

BY J.CHURCH.

 

“And blessed is she that believeth, forthere shall be a
performance of those things which are told her from theLord.”

 

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

 

1824.

 

p.3SERMON, &c.

John, Chap. xiv. Ver. 19.

And because I shallLive, ye shall Live also.”

Among the many awful chargesbrought against backsliding Israel by the prophet Isaiah, thiswas reckoned not the smallest.  “The righteousperisheth, (sleepeth) and no man layeth it to heart; and mercifulmen are taken away, none considering that the righteous are takenaway from the evil to come.”  The day of life—ofthe world—and the professing church—is farspent—the sun is going down over the prophets—thebirds are hastening home—the labourer returning—thesubstance of religion declining, and the shadows of it arestretching out.  With these solemn reflections, well may weentreat the company and presence of the dear Redeemer, as thedisciples did.  Abide with us, for it is towards evening,and the day is far spent; p. 4the removal of the Lord’s peoplefrom us, although it is their salvation, and affords peculiar joyto the surviving spiritual friends and relatives that have beeneye and ear witnesses of their peaceful end; yet demandsattention, reflection, self-examination, and solemnity ofmind.  When God strikes he demands an hearing—when heknocks by his messengers, affliction and death, it is—thatwe may open the door, receive the message, detain the messenger,and enquire for what purpose he is sent.  For theLord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdomshall see thy name; hear ye the rod, and who hath appointedit.  I consider, therefore it is our duty to pay attentionto this present affliction, for the loss of a spiritual friend, apious and steady member of the church, an affectionate wife, akind mother and a good neighbour.  Although it is hereternal gain, it is a grief and affliction to us; but I trustthat this, as well as every other appointed trial, was sanctifiedfor us in the eternal covenant of grace, and as an evidence ofit, produce in our minds its suitable effects.  Death is atall times solemn and affecting in the world, in theneighbourhood, and amongst our acquaintance; but when sent moreimmediately into our families, to bereave us of those who arevery dear to our hearts, we are the more sensibly touched withthe stroke, when the Lord says to us, as he did to the prophetEzekiel, “Son of man, behold I take away from thee thedesire of thine eyes with a stroke; and at even my wifedied.” [4]  Such painful dispensations aremost keenly felt; and while we deplore the ravages of death, wecannot help reverting p. 5to its instrumentalcause—“Sin, which brought death into the world, andall our woe:” to this king of terrors, and often a terrorto 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; thesewill probably experience a momentary change, equivalent to thestroke of death, and be changed body and soul, in the twinklingof an eye.  This great mystery was revealed to the apostlePaul; perhaps, the first that was ever led to know it.  Allbeside, the Lord’s people as well as the world at large,must pass through the gloomy territories of this king: but, thedear Saviour has engaged to go with all his people, and conductthem safely through; and though all do not go through with thesame joy, yet all are led on safely.  Their enemies keepstill as a stone, while the purchased people passed over. Nothing, in heaven above or the earth beneath, can possiblyprevent the execution of the decreed sentence, “Dust thouart and unto dust shalt thou return.”  It is thepulling down of the house,—it must come down—theleprosy is in it,—sin has entered every room in the house;and in consequence of bad tenants, which occupy it, the AlmightyLandlord has ordered us to quit it; we have received, with many apain, a writ of ejectment; but we feel reluctant to leave thishouse of clay, though in such a damaged state; the indescribableunity which subsists between the soul and the body, like mutualfriends, renders parting painful here, although they have oftenbeen clogs to each other; but they will meet again under the mostp. 6glorious andhappy circumstances in the resurrection morning.  And whatsoul can conceive the joyful meeting of the glorified spirit, andthe newly-raised, beautiful, immortalized body?  Each willknow 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, mustbe separated; this earthly house must be dissolved;—thistabernacle must be removed—its cords unpinned—itsstakes pulled up—and the whole must be taken down. “Knowing,” saith the apostle, “I must put offthe earthly house of this my tabernacle.”  Death isrepresented as a departure—it is going from one house toanother—it is a loosing from port, and launching into theocean.—Death is the ship or boat which wafts us over to theshores of eternity.  It is going the way of all theearth—going a journey to man’s long home—to aninvisible world—through a dark valley, where we need aguide; and a Covenant God has promised to guide usthrough.—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 wearytraveller—the fatigued labourer—the afflicted p. 7child, is atrest.  Death, through covenant mercy, is the full, the finaldeliverance.  And John is commanded, by God the Holy Spirit,to write it down, and send it to the churches: “Blessed arethe dead which die in the Lord, even so saith the spirit, forthey rest from their labours, and their works of faith and lovedo follow them.”  Like Abraham leaving his nativecountry at the command of God;—like Jacob leaving PadanAram, with all his substance, to return to his kindred. Such the believer’s death.  Perhaps, indeed, athousand alarms may seize his spirit, hearing that Esau, with hisarmed men, is coming out against him; but by prayer and faith heobtains the blessings, and meets Esau with comfort.  Forwhen a man’s ways, through grace, by prayer and faith, thusplease the Lord, he makes even death to be at peace withhim.  Death is the enemy to our natures, although it is acovenant 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, andentwined round the cross, left his sting in the sacred body of adying Saviour: nor can all the powers of darkness, all the sins,backslidings, and infirmities of God’s people, ever unitethe sting to death again.  Sin is abolished; the guilt isgone.—It has been said, that when a bee has fastened itssting in a man’s flesh, it is lost for ever after, andbecomes a drone.  Death, like such a bee, can only hum andaffright, but never sting or hurt: it may, it must destroy thebody, but it cannot hurt; like a fierce dog, whose teeth arebroken out, it can bark and tear a mere tattered coat, but itcannot p. 8biteto the bone.  What a feeble weak enemy is death, since ittook a walk to Mount Calvary!  Unatoned guilt is the stingof death.  But the Lord’s dear people are led, in somedegree, to see for themselves, that Christ has borne away theirguilt, has removed the iniquity of that land in one day; and whenwe are cheered, quickened, strengthened, and well-established inthis pleasing fact, this hope-supporting, spirit-giving,soul-animating assurance, we feel ready to go, to depart, and befor ever with the Lord, in this sweet well-foundedconfidence:—

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

But amidst the dissolutions made by death, what an unspeakablemercy it is for the Lord’s dear people, the union betwixtChrist and their souls can never be dissolved: they are hisproperty, his children, his bride; he is precious to them in lifeand death, as the blessed effect of his love to them, and theirvalue in his sight.  Hence, it is said, “Since thouwast precious in my sight thou hast been honourable, and I haveloved thee;” and precious shall their blood be in hissight; and as they are precious to him living, it is written,“Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of hissaints;” nor should their death be grievous to us,especially dying in lively hope, cheerful confidence, sweetassurance, clear views, and fervent desires.  This is theblessed effect of the glorious union between Christ and the soul,as the eternal spring of life, and the glorious head of his body,p. 9the church,who has graciously declared in most positive terms,“Because I live ye shall live also.”  These mostblessed words were very precious to our dear departed friend;upon one occasion, after a season of peculiar trial, while at theordinance of the Lord’s Supper, and just receiving the cup,these words were sweetly dropped into her mind—they wereever precious to her afterwards: she chose them for her funeraltext; and blessed be God, she most divinely understands them, nowin perfect enjoyment; they have been much blest to thousands, andI trust the Lord will bless them to us in noticing thegracious declaration and the precious promise asconnected with it.

Let us notice the life of our most adorable Saviour. First, as God—He liveth from eternity; he is the livingGod, he is emphatically called life, the true God, and oureternal life; and this is the eternal life which John says wasmanifested: the very knowledge of whom is eternal life begun inthe soul.  In his divine essence, his eternal nature, he isthe 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 onlyhath immortality from everlasting to everlasting; and of hisyears there is no end; one in the divine Trinity,co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal with the Father and theHoly Spirit; one in the sacred society of the adorable Trinity,enjoying the most inconceivable delight and complacency in hisown divine perfections; and in the holy ones, the Fatherp. 10and theSpirit; the divine nature, essence, and perfections were notcommunicated to him as God, but were originally, independently,and eternally his own, in conjunction with the Father, and theHoly Spirit—and as the self-existent God, he has solemnlydeclared to all the enemies of his Godhead—“If yebelieve not that “I AM”—ye shall die in yoursin.”—This awful truth, one would think, is enough toput to silence all the cavil in the world against the divinity ofthe Son

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