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1. It was no small encouragement to the people of Israel in their passage over Jordan, to see the priests of the Lord go before them, and their feet stand firms and sure on dry ground in the midst of it. So when private christians behold their faithful guides and ministers stand fast in the faith, both in life and at deach ; whole faith they follow, and the end of whose conversation they consider ; it greatly animates and encourages them to look to and trust in the Lord and Saviour, they do ; who is the same to-day, yesterday, and for everd: when they observe that they abide stedfastly by the doctrines of the gospel they preach throughout the whole of their lives; and when they come to die, these are the support of their souls, and by means of which their feet stand firm in Jordan's river, and they stagger not in the view of death and eternity; this gives a lift to weaker saints, and is a nieans to encourage them to follow them chearfully, who through faith and patience inberit the promises. Besides, ministers of the gospel, as they are useful in their public ministrations to speak comfortably to the people of God, which is a principal branch of their work, even to assure those that believe in Christ of the pardon of their lins through his blood, and of their juftification by his righteousness, and of eternal life as the free gift of God through him ; so they are often serviceable to the faints in their last momenis, by speaking a word in season to them; which tends to encourage their faith and hope, and to increase their joy and peace in believing, and to direct their views to that glory they are haftening to, in the hope of which they rejoice and are glad.
2. Another thing which served greatly to encourage the people of Israel to follow the priests through Jordan's river, was the ark of the covenant which they bore before them as they passed through ; and which ark was a type of Christ, and of the law being fulfilled in him, and of the covenant of grace made with him. And a light of Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, and as the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness, and of an interest in the covenant of grace, and the blessings and promises of it, and of an interest in God, as a covenantGod, and in Christ as the mediator of it, will set a soul above the fears of death, and cause it to pass chearfully and comfortably through it; as it did David, fome of whose last words, a little before his death, were these; Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all ibings and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow
3. Not only the priests of the Lord, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth, went before the Israelites when they passed over Jordan, but che living God himself was among them; and which was manifest from that wonderful display of his power in parting the waters, and causing them to stand up
d Hebxüïi. 7, 8.
e 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
on an heap, for them to pass through as on dry ground; which must be a great inducement to go on chearfully into the midst of it, fearing nothing: nor can any thing be a greater encouragement to saints in their last moments, and when upon the brink of eternity, than to have some plain manifestations of the prefence of God with them, and the displays of his love and grace to them : hence says David, Though I walk through ibe valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me". And this God, who is the God of his people, and their guide in life, will be their God for ever and ever, and will never leave them nor forsake them; and he will be their guide unto deaths; until they come to it, and will then be their guide through it ; so that it must be safe and comfortable walking through Jordan's river, when God is with his people as their God and guide ; and which he has promised to be, and they may depend upon.
A sight of the waters of Jordan divided; those that came down from above rising up and standing on an heap; and those that came from the sea of the plain failing, being cut off, and the midst of the river appearing to be dry ground, nust needs give the people of Israel courage to venture into it, and follow the priests in it. And so when the believer has a view of all difficulties in his passage removed, which before presented to him, and all his doubts and fears fcattered, and his objections answered, death is no more formidable to him; he meets it with pleasure, and passes through it with boldness and chearfulness; having no fearful apprehensions of danger in it, or hurt from it, of being overwhelmed with the foods of it, or of perishing in his passage through it. But,
5. The stillness of the enemies of Christ's purchased people, while they pass over, is attributed to Jebovab's arm; who has such an arm as no creature has ; best tbou an arm like God"? no, none has : kings are said to have long arms, because their power is large and extensive, they can come at persons and things out of the reach of others; but their arm is not to be compared with the arm of the Lord, of whom it is said, thou bast a mighty arm, Brong is thy band, and bigb is thy right hand': so mighty, as not to be resisted by any; so strong, as. 10 crush his most potent enemies; and so high; as not to be reached by any of them, or hindered from striking a fatal blow; and which, the higher the hand is, or is lifted up, comes with the greater force. On this mighty arm che purchased people of Christ lean, whilst they are passing through the wilderness of this world, and are coming up out of it; and fo go on safely, chearfully, and comfortably : it is on this they are borne, and carried all their days, even to old age and hoary hairs; by the mighty power of this arm they are preserved from their enemies; they are kept through faith unto salvation, and they are
f Plalm xxij.
& Plalm xlviii. 14.
Job xl. 9.
i Psalm lxxxix. 13.
conducted safely through the dark valley of death, and over this river Jordan into che land of uprightness. And it is owing to this that their enemies are as still as a stone, while they pass over; the arm of the Lord is greater than theirs; his power is infinitely superior to what is in them; their hands are held, their mouths are stopped, their clamours are silenced; they are not suffered to move cheir lips, to bring any charge against the saints, and much less exert any power over them. Jehovah fubdues their iniquities, removes all the objections, doubts and fears of an unbelieving heart ; rebukes the tempter, and stills the enemy,
and ibe avengerk; and so a safe, easy and quiet enterance is ministered abundantly, richly, plenteously' into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jens Christ". But I shall now close this discourse, by observing the use that may be made of it.
1. This may serve to put us in mind of death, and to expect it; it lies in our way to the heavenly Canaan; there is no entrance into the one, without palling through the other : if therefore we are looking for the blessed hope laid up for us in heaven, or are waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith; we should live in a continual expectation of death, and should frequently medicace upon it, and endeavour to make it familiar to us; that when we come to the brink of this river, we may not be surprised and intimidated with its swelling foods.
2. This may have a tendency to take off che fears of death, which often actend the people of God, when their thoughts are led to dwell upon it; they are fearful what frame of soul they shall then be in ; they are afraid their graces will be weak, and their enemies strong; their sins will stare chem in the face; their hearts will fail through unbelief; Satan will be busy with his temptations, noisy and clamorous with his charges; and the terrors of death will let themselves in array against them. But when they observe, that God has promised his prefence with his people ; that he will never leave them in life nor in death; will be their God and guide to it, and through it: will silence all their enemies, and make them as still as a stone; they have then nothing to fear, but may say as David did in the view of death, and with respect unto it, I will fear no evil".
3. This may encourage the weakest believer, and assure him, that he shall go lafely and even quietly through this dark valley, and over this swelling river; who is sometimes ready to argue after this manner, that if he has run with the footmen, and they have wearied him ; either striving to keep pace with fellowsaints of the same class with him, or to get before them, but through the weakness and weariness of the Aesh has not been able'; or (triving with the corruptions of his nature, and endeavouring to overcome them, is wearied by them; tben how can he think to contend with horses, or horsemen ; to enter the lists with those that are above his match, with Satan and his principalities and pow
U ụ 2
ers? Pralm yiii. 2.
* Psalm xxiii. 4.
ers ? and if in the land of peace wherein he trusted, he has been wearied and distressed in a time of health and outward prosperity, which he promised himself a continuance of; then how shall he do in the swelling of Jordano! or in the hour of death, when that shall appear formidable and terrible to him? but God can abate this swelling, and bring down its rising waves and foods, and make it smooth and quiet; yea, divide its waters, and form a path of dry land between them to pass through, easily and safely; or, in other words, remove the seeming difficulties in the passage, and make it a comfortable and pleasant one. 4. This
may instruct us to look beyond death and the grave to the heavenly glory. As on the other side of Jordan's river lay a most delightful and fruitful country, the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey; so on the other side of death, and the grave, lies a land of promise, a land of rest, a land of uprightnes; a better country than this earthly one, abounding with heavenly fruits, and rivers of pleasure ; and where there is fulness of joy; and which the Elysian fields can give us no idea of; but faith gives us a glimpse of them, being the evidence P of those unseen glories and invisible realities; wherefore lec us look by faith, not at things which are seen, which are temporal, but at things which are not seen, which are eternal”; and let us gird up. tbe loins of our minds, and be in a waiting posture, expecting to enjoy those everlasting things; end bope unto the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ'.
5. This may assure the Lord's purchased people, such who have any reason to believe that they are purchased with the blood of Christ, that as they shall lafely and quietly pass over Jordan's river, so they shall most certainly poffefs the promised land, and inherit everlasting life; for Christ will surely see the travail of his soul; he will never lose his purchase; the price of his blood can never be paid in vain, as it so far would be, if any of those he has purchased should come short of eternal glory and happiness. Beside, such have not only Christ's purchase to trust unto, and depend upon for their security; but they have the Spirit, and his grace, as the earnest of their enjoyment of the inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased poleffon': wherefore it may with the greatest assurance be concluded, that the ranfomed of the Lord Mall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their beads; and they fall obtain joy and gladness, and forrow and sigbing Mall flee away'.
FUNERAL SER MON S.
S E R M O
The Glory of God's Grace displayed, in its abounding over the
aboundings of Sin.
Occasioned by the Death of Mr John SMITH, Preached at the Time of
his Interment, April 15, 1724.
ROMANS V. 20, 21.
Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound : but where fin
abounded, grace did much more abound: That as, fin bath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.
T is the manifest design of this Epistle to explain and vindicate the great
doctrine of a finner's free justification before God by, the imputed righteoufness of Christ : And in order to set this doctrine in its proper light, our apoftle takes this following method; he first proves that all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, are involved in the guilt, and are under the power of fin; that they are all destitute of a righteousness, and not capable of attaining one by the deeds of the law: and then proceeds to tell us, that that righteousness, by which a sinner is justified before God, is manifested without the law, though both the law and the prophets bear testimony to it; that it is the righteousness of God, wrought out by one who is God, as well as man; that our justificacion by it fprings from pure, free, and rich grace, through the redemption that is in Chrift; and that the way by which it is conveyed and applied to us, is by an act of God