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its orbit, as to escape hell, and attain heaven in this way. This is to join the old Pharisees in principles, and is reprobated by the gospel of Christ Such a system, if true, would overset the whole of Christianity. For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Let every such legalist hear those words of our apostle, and tremble, For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse : For it is written, Cursed is every one, that continueth not in all things which are written in the book o; the law, to do them.
2. A title to heaven is obtained by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the great medium of all friendly intercourse between heaven and earth. It is through him only, that God can extend his mercy to the guilty; and it is through faith in his name, that they may be acquitted from guilt and have a sure title to the heavenly inheritance. He is of infinite consequence in the grand affair of man's salvation. Set aside his righteousness and atonement, and our case would be hopeless and desperate.
But, glory to God in the highest, what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God hath sent his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as a sacrifice for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. Christ hath undertaken the work of our redemption ; he has come into the world, obeyed the law, and died to make atonement for sin, that God might be just, and the justiner of him which believeth in Jesus. Faith in Christ, is the required condition of an interest in the atonement, a compliance with the covenant of grace, and secures a title to heaven. All boasting is excluded, and the crown placed upon the head of the Redeemer. Look through the Gospel, and you will find that faith in the Mediator, is ever considered as the grand essential requisite to a title to heaven. It is that exercise of heart, without which we are condemned, and the wrath of God abides upon us. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature'; he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved ; and he that believeth not shall be damned. He that believeth is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. There
fore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus (hrist.
This is a scheme for sinners to obtain salvation, honourable to God, and suited to their condition. Mercy and truth may meet together, righteousness and peace embrace each other; God may be glorified, the law magnified, and the sinner pardoned and saved.
This is a device worthy of a God, and merits the admiration and wonder of the whole intelligent creation.
2. They must differ from the rest of mankind by having their hearts suited to the great good there enjoyed, and so to relish the bliss and happiness of that world.
The felicity of heaven is not merely negative, but it is positive ; such as is suited only to persons of a distinguished, particular, moral character. In heaven, there is not only no evil endured, but a good possessed, of invaluable worth. This good is of a peculiar nature and kind.
To settle the point then, when persons are prepared to die, by being prepared for heaven, we must consider the nature of the good there enjoyed, and so the nature of the happiness of that world.
In this world, men bave different tastes, appetites, and propensities; hence, they steer their courses differently, seeking happiness in different objects. Riches are the idol of many. Worldly honour dazzles the eyes of not a few. Women and wine are in the highest estimation by multitudes. Some prefer a tavern to any home, where the juice of the grape and intoxicating liquors are plenty, and all is noise and tumult. Some are delighted with music and dancing, and some with chambering and wantonness. In various ways men seek for happiness. But, in heaven, there is neither silver nor gold; no carnal mirth, or any sinful gratifications. That is a world sacred to virtue, purity, and holiness. God is the good there enjoyed, and from thence results its chief felicity. Were the inhabitants of Paradise deprived of enjoying God, their laughter would be turned into mourning, and their joy into heaviness. Every harp would be unstrung, and all the songs of Zion cease. VOL. 1.
But know ye, that God is infinitely holy, and therefore the good there enjoyed is of an holy nature. He declares himself to be holy. The angels pronounce him such. His moral government bears witness to that truth. The law requires holiness, and the great design of the gospel is to recover men to such a state, and so to a conformity to the moral inzage of God. As therefore God is the chief good of heaven, and as he is an holy God, so to be prepared to die, is to have an holy temper of heart, prepared to enjoy him, and to be happy in that enjoyinent.
Without such a disposition, it is absurd to suppose that he can be enjoyed as the portion of the soul. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? what communion hath light with darkness ? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? Destitute of such a temper, it is in the nature of things, impossible for persons to find contentment in God. To this end, they must be conformed to him in holiness. Aecordingly, it is represented, as being the design of Christ, in coming into the world and laying down his life, to redeem his people from all iniquity, and purify them unto himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works.
Analogous to what hath now been said, 3. That persons may be ready to die, their minds must be formed and suited to the society, business, and employment of the heavenly world.
The beings with whom they are to associate in that world, are the elect angels, and 'saints made perfect in holiness. The moral character of the heavenly inhabitants, is one and the same. They are perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. And as their moral character is the same, so it accords to that of God himself. He is an holy being; and as they are conformed to him, so they are holy: To be prepared to die, is to have a mind formed for the society of such beings. And it is also to have a taste suited to the business and employment of that world.
In that blessed region, there is room for the most vigorous exertion ; every inhabitant hath business assigned him, which will demand all his attention, through the whole of his endless existence. And such will it be, as can only delight
the upright in heart, Far different will it be from the temporary concerns of the present state. The products of the earth are the medium by which life in the present state is supported; and to procure them, calls for much attention and care. But the employ of heaven consists, and will for ever, in surveying the works of God, contemplating his perfections, and celebrating his praise. From the enjoyment of him, principally results the happiness of heaven ; hence, the more fully he is enjoyed, the greater will be the felicity. And as the enjoyment will be answerable to the knowledge of the object, the study of his perfections will engage the minds of its inhabitants ; and while they study and investigate, they will not forget to praise. God is infinite; as therefore creatures must obtain the knowledge of him, by the manifestations he makes of himself, they will attend to his works, that they may learn his character, and increase their acquaintance with him. The great work of redemption, being that by which he hath manifested bịinself more clearly than in all his other works, they will contemplate it with ineffable pleasure, increase their knowledge, and heighten their happiness. And praises to God and the Lamb will be sung in such strains of rapturous joy, as surpasses all present conceptions; and a period, as boundless as eternity itself, will be allowed them in that blessed society and divine employment.
Thus I have attempted to point out and show, what is im. plied in preparation for death. Union to Christ by faith, and a holy temper of heart, comprises the whole. Yet, to what hath been said, I may add, that to be under circumstances to say with the Apostle, I am now ready to be offered, it is requisite that persons have comfortable and satisfying evidence of their title to, and meetness for, the world of glory. This is to be attained by living religion, and maintaining a course of persevering fidelity to God. To this end, they must add to faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperence, to temperance patience, and to patience godliness. They mustimitate the example, not of slumbering, but of wakeful virgins, having their lamps trimmed and burning, waiting for the coming of the blessed bridegroom. They must live as strangers apd pilgriinsonearth; asmen on a journey, travelling to a distant
country, who sit not down by the way, but keep their eye on the end of their journey, and make that the goal at which they aspire. That so when death arrests them, they may be ready to bid it welcome, and prepared to enter upon the joys of heaven which are satisfying and everlasting.
I shall now proceed to close this Discourse, with some remarks and addresses. And,
1. Hence let it be remarked, that death is the appointed lot of us all : And whether prepared or not, may be nigh at hand.
That sentence of God to Adam, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, applies to all his posterity. Nothing can give us security of life; no, not for an hour. Are we in childhood, youthful life, or middle age, we know not the day of our death. If we flatter ourselves, that to-morrow shall be as this day; yet, this day, or this night, our souls may be required of us.
2. Let it be remarked, that as preparation for death bath been set before you at this time, so you are under advantages to learn whether you are the subjects of it.
And let me ask you, do you entertain hope, that your title to heaven is sure? If so, on what ground do you build your hope? On the works of the law, or on Christ Jesus, the only sure foundation ? If you think on Christ, why think you 'so ? Have you ever been made sensible of your lost perishing condition in yourselves ? bas the law come home on your consciences, sin revived in your view, and you made sensible, you were dead in sin ? Can you call to mind the time, when he who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shone into your hearts, to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ ?
Have you the spirit of the Gospel? Is the law written in your hearts ? Do you delight in it? And are you pleased with
? the gospel scheme? Do you take God's word to be your rule, and attend with persevering fidelity, upon the duties of the first and second table of the law? Is God the object of your worship, in the closet, family, and sanctuary? Are the righteous in your view, the excellent of the earth? Do you make a point of all personal and relative duties, living soberly, righteously, and godly in the world? Are you persons of