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speaks with unruffled composure of the time of his continuing here. He describes his death by putting off this his tabernacle, with the sort of indifference with which one would speak of laying aside one's garments at the close of a weary day, to retire to the evening's repose. This is the more observable, when we remember that the Apostle's death was to be accompanied with the torments of martyrdom, as our Lord had expressly foretold. Yet, what intimation of violence or persecution do we find in the text? The putting off a tabernacle, if a description of a death at all, is surely the description of a calm and tranquil departure to the glory of his Lord! We must look to the prophetic language of our Saviour to learn that St. Peter is, in fact, speaking in these words of a martyrdom. Compare, then, the holy peace, the calm fortitude, manifested here, with the previous cowardice of this same Apostle, when he denied his Lord at the voice of a maid-serrant, and learn the efficacy of the grace of Jesus Christ in converting and sanctifying the


This calmness of our Apostle may however be partly referred to his SUBMISSION to the command of his Saviour. He observes expressly, as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me, referring to his Master's declaration, Verily, verily,

John, xxi. 18, 19.


I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. The entire resignation of the Apostle's mind to his Lord's will contributed, together with the other motives to which I have alluded, to produce the holy indifference to life which my text expresses. To such extraordinary intimations of the divine will Christians in the present day can make no pretensions. But we have all of us sufficient notices of the will of our Lord, in the general frailty of our nature, and the perpetual warnings of the approach of death with which the Scriptures abound, and which the experience of every day confirms. We have no need of a particular revelation to be assured that we must soon depart. There is not a moment which may not be our last. Every symptom of decaying strength, all the inroads of particular maladies, all the silent warnings of hastening years, are admonitions to us that we must soon put off this our tabernacle. He who asks for more proof than this, seeks to deceive himself. And yet how common is some measure of this self-deceit! How little did the family and friends of your late minister forebode the speedy termination of his labours! The

progress of the disease having been slow, and some of the symptoms having been suspended, how readily did hope kindle in the anxious eye of his attending relatives and friends! Even your excellent Minister himself, though so well aware in general of the uncertainty of life, was apparently but little aware how speedily he would be called to quit his earthly tabernacle. May we all learn then more practically to consider the brevity and uncertainty of our continuance here; and may every intimation of approaching dissolution, in the progress of age or of infirmity, serve as a sufficient intimation of our Saviour's will!

And we may do this with the greater pleasure, because, in laying aside our earthly tabernacle, we can as Christians look forward to an enduring substance. An allusion, I conceive, to the HOUSE WHICH IS FROM HEAVEN, is contained in the text. For the Apostle has here, as I apprehend, in his eye, the language of Saint Paul, whom he calls his beloved brother, and to whose epistles he refers in another place. For we know, observes Saint Paul, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we

2 Peter, iii. 15, 16.

4 2 Cor. v. 1, 2, 4; an Epistle writte prior to the one from which my text is taken.

about ten years

groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality may be swallowed up of life. It is this prospect which inspires the Christian minister with holy triumph. He looks for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. He knows that from this frail, corrupt, and temporary shed, he is to pass to those abiding mansions of glory, where this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal have put on immortality; and the saying which is written shall be brought to pass, Death is swallowed up in victory! This glorious hope inspired your excellent Minister in his last moments with humble fortitude, and should fill you, even when weeping over his tomb, with sentiments of gratitude and resignation. You sorrow not as those without hope. The eye of faith can pierce even the darkness of the tomb, and see the Christian soldier called from a burthened tabernacle, and dropping the sinful incumbrances of a corrupt body, to put on the glorious body of immortality, to see his Saviour as he is, to be with him and enjoy him for ever. This is the promise which he hath promised us, even eternal life. It is the expectation of this speedy removal from all our labours and toils on the one hand, and all our opportunities

of usefulness on the other, which animates the Christian minister to the utmost exertion during the few moments which he has to pass on earth. This leads me to consider,

II. The EFFECT produced on the Apostle's mind by the consideration of the brevity and uncertainty of life-A resolution to use his utmost diligence to promote the welfare of the Church.

I think it meet as long as I am in this tabernacle, he observes, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance. And in the verses which precede and follow the text: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them and be established in the present truth. Moreover I will endeavour that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance (v. 12 and 15.). What an example of holy zeal and diligence in his apostolical office does this language propose to us; a zeal and diligence quickened as the approach of death was about to terminate his labours. The Apostle seems in it to resolve to employ all his endeavours in constantly exhorting the Christians to whom he wrote, to a remembrance of the special truths of religion which he had been previously inculcating. These things is the expression which he

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