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changes and periods of our existence and condition, as mortals and immortals, " to DEATH, a RESUR"RECTION from the dead, a future JUDGMENT, and દ an ETERNAL WORLD to come."
The consideration of these subjects-the greatest and most interesting which can engage the heart of a MAN or a CHRISTIAN-(in the order I had designed) would have formed the concluding part of that body of sermons, which I had begun to deliver before these congregations, preparatory to their publication, agreeably to the request, and under the sanction, of the BISHOPS, CLERGY, and LAITY of our church, in general convention met*. Too long delayed (from that time indeed to the present) by the most serious family concerns, added to unavoidable duties of another nature, public as well as private; and uncertain of the number of days, or months, or years remaining to me, but certain that they cannot be many, and those attended with the decay of mental as well as bodily faculties; I cannot now flatter myself with the hopes of completing the whole of my proposed system, or leaving it, as intended, to my friends and the public, as the weak, but best fruits I can offer, of my oc casional ministry among them for near half a century past. And what, in that order of things, would have been last, now presses forward as first on my mind The impressions of the dreadful calamity, from which we who are alive, remain monuments of God's mercy in the midst of his righteous judgments, must have awakened and alarmed the most secure and thought
• See the Preface to this volume.
less among us; and have made us feelingly alive to every sober reflexion that concerns our future state and condition-viz. DEATH, A RESURRECTION from the dead, a future JUDGMENT, and the opening the heavenly paradise-the everlasting KINGDOM of GLORY, to the Redeemed of God" to those who
sleep in the faith of Jesus."-For, amidst the shafts of Providence, which have flown so thick around us, and amongst us, where is the man or the woman in this assembly, whose bosom is not deeply pierced, or whose tears do not this moment flow, for the loss of some of those, who were lately nearest and dearest to him or to her? a husband, a wife, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter? For me-ah! my throbbing breast-deep, deep, have the arrows* pierced-yet be still, in just resignation to his unerring will, who gives and takes away, by whom we live, move, and have our being-be still, while we proceed in the further review of this mournful groupe of departed friends and acquaintance! Who is there among us, who does not recall to memory many younger and stronger than themselves; between whose summons from this life and their commitment to that long home, the grave, few were the days or hours that intervened; while we yet remain, with time and opportunity offered, to examine the past, and to think of the future.
To assist your meditations in this respect, and to mingle comfort in our bitter cup of affliction, I have
*The author lost a beloved wife, one of the most accomplished among women; whose memory remains dear to all who knew her. She died October 23, 1793.
chosen the words of St. Paul, which have been just read as our text; a choice which I have the rather made, as the whole volumes of inspiration contain no words more evangelically comfortable, or suitable to our present situation; and, as I trust, the same words, and the reflexions thereon arising, which, through God's grace, I have found experimentally efficacious to pour balm into my own wounds, while yet fresh and bleeding, will, through the same grace, be acceptable and effectual among you, in the like circumstances!
The text naturally divides itself into the following heads; each of which will afford subject-matter for at least one discourse
1st. Considerations on death; the nature and cause of his awful terrors; and how, through divine assistance, to combat and conquer them; to allay our sorrows for our departed friends, and prepare for our own departure.
2d. The certainty of a resurrection of the body from the grave; shewing that death is but a temporary evil; and that our sorrow should not be without hope, as others who have no belief in the resurrection of the dead.
3d. The certainty of a future judgment, and the award of an eternity of happiness to those who sleep in the Lord, or in the faith of the Gospel "For them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with "Him, and so we shall be forever with the Lord!"
4th. That, from all these considerations, the devout Christian may not only overcome the fear of death in himself, but derive an abundant source of conso
lation for the death of others-according to our apostle, who, in the sweetest accents of evangelical sympathy and love, in the last verse of our text-calls us to "comfort one another with the hopes, after Death, "and a Resurrection, of being forever with the "Lord!"
I proceed now to the first head of discourse as pointed out in the text, namely—" Considerations on
death, and how, through divine assistance, to sub"due and overcome his mighty terrors"-and Oh! Thou almighty fountain of all wisdom and grace, and Heavenly fortitude, aid me with thy divine spirit, that the great and awful subjects, which I am to handle, may not suffer through my feeble endeavours; but give me, for the sake of Jesus and his Gospel, to follow, with clear and unembarassed view, the steps and arguments of thy divinely enlightened apostle, who is every where superlatively instructive and sublime, -but especially when he opens to us the prospects of a future world! Lo! he stands, though with his feet on earth, his eye stedfast on Heaven, considering death, not as a tyrant sent to disturb our peace; but as a messenger of God, employed to "dissolve our earthly "house of this tabernacle that we may be clothed upon with our house, which is from Heaven."_
"For we know," says he, in another place*, "that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dis"solved, we have a building of God, an house not "made with hands, eternal in the Heavens? For "in this [earthly] house we groan, earnestly desir
"ing to be clothed upon with our house which " is from Heaven."
Brethren! when I read this passage, frem car blessed apostle, in conjunction with our text, as well as many others expressive of the true spirit of primi tive christianity; I am doubtful 'as saith an cid commentator) whether most to admire the exalted temper of the apostles and first followers of Christ; or to deplore the low and desponding spirit of the modern professors of Christianity-so heavenly and magnanimous were the former! so earthly and abject the latter! The former were always raising their affections to things above-to their "house not made with hands, "eternal in the Heavens;" the latter too often immuring themselves deeper and still deeper within the walls of their "earthly house of this tabernacle!"
And whence comes this difference between the truly primitive and modern spirit of professing Christians? Whence, brethren, but from what the apostle suggests? The former considered the present life only as a pilgrimage, and this whole world as but an inn, or short refreshing place, in their way to the regions of immortality and glory! They looked upon their passage thither as a scene of perils-a passage through a wwicy of sorrow and tears-and that, for the trial of their faith and exercise of their hope, they were called to a constant warfare with enemies both within and without them. The soul they considered as their truly better and immortal part, worthy of all their care-The boly but as of an inferior nature-a tabernacle, a *nt, a cottage, an earthen vessel, a mere temporary abode, or rather the prison-house, of the soul; in