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grave; and he will not leave me till he bring me to the blessed sight of God in glory: and this faith will be your comfort in like afflictions.
4. I have, as you know, been dying many years, and, at my appointed time, departed from among you, as well as others. I, your neighbour, friend, pastor, can speak no more to you, can pray no more for you, can converse no more with you, can walk no more amongst you; but my Redeemer and your Redeemer liveth, to do all these offices of love for you; he liveth to bring to your remembrance my doctrine, examples, counsels, admonitions; to bless the word I have preached to you, to answer the prayers I have put up to God for you; he will raise up living instruments for your instruction, support, and comfort; his Spirit liveth to be an instructor and comforter; the word liveth to be the food of your spiritual life; there shall be living ordinances, living and life-cherishing societies of redeemed ones, with which, if you hold communion, both in public and private, you shall find your spiritual life maintained and increased.
5. I die in an evil time, and leave you and the church of God in great and general affliction-I, by the goodness of God, notwithstanding all my enemies, die in my own house and bed, and come to my grave in peace, according to my heart's desire. I have lived to see evils come upon the church I expected not: but what you may live to see, I know not. You may drink deeper of the cup of affliction than I have done. Be of good comfort; I leave you this living comfort-your Redeemer liveth, and will redeem you out of all, as he hath done me.— He gives life and being to all afflictions, and instruments of them, even the greatest, and takes it away at his pleasure. He outlives them all; "and because he lives, ye shall live also," and outlive them, John xiv. 19.
6. Some of you, to whom I have preached, and with whom I have walked, have greatly distressed my heart, with your errors in doctrine, and disorderly walking, your scandals and divisions. Some of you have returned me evil for good, and hatred for my good will; have filled me with reproaches; some of you have remained under censures, and have not repented.-These things have grieved me, and sent me often to heaven with a sad heart; even to my living Redeemer, that he would redeem you from sin, and me from sorrow. It may be, when I am at rest in my grave, and turned to dust, you may remember these things, and be grieved for your sins against God, and wrongs done to me. If you repent, and believe in your Redeemer, whom I have preached to you, and to whom I have poured out my grieved heart, he will redeem you from all your sins, and from the harm of all the smarting afflictions you may meet with, and
I shall give up my accounts concerning you with joy. But be sure, I say be sure of this, that you do not meet me before the living Redeemer at the last day, in a state of impenitency : how sad, O how sad will it be, if my merciful Redeemer be your severe judge!
2. We may collect hence, from Job's confession of faith, and the safety and comfortableness of his state, included therein, the great loss sustained when those die who are like Job, eminent in station and grace, who have such faith in Christ, and upon just occasions profess it: for, (1.) They do greatly honour God in the world; what an honour was this to God, that in a time of hardest trials, when Satan was let loose upon Job, and he was under all sorts of affliction, when God dealt with him as an enemy, and all his comforters judged him to be a hypocrite in religion, and a notorious sinner, that then he should believe. God to be his Redeemer, comfort himself in him, boldly profess his faith in him, and not be drawn to speak evil of him, or decline his way, but should keep his hold of God though beaten off.
(2.) They have interest in Christ as a Redeemer, therefore he hath a special care of them in evil times; there is more hope, therefore, in dangerous times, sinful times, while they are living; God hath respect to their persons, prayers, presence; in any place we know not of what use one of them may be, to continue mercies, keep off evils: much more many; the hope is less, and danger is greater when they are removed.
(3.) They are understanding and knowing persons, conversant with the mysteries of religion, able to instruct others concerning Christ the Redeemer, his divine and human nature, concerning the resurrection, day of judgment, vision of God in glory; there is a loss of spiritual instructors, and the greater loss of these that have been authorized by God and richly qualified for the work. (4.) Having access to the sources of consolation they are enabled by grace to comfort themselves and others, in many, and great afflictions; they are acquainted with God's promises of comfort, they have had experience of the power of them in their own souls, and can comfort others from their own experience of the power of them in themselves; there is a loss of comforters.
Let us all be stirred up after the example of holy Job, to give diligence to attain the assurance of faith, that we may be able to say, particularly, My Redeemer liveth. We are sure of sin, guilt, and affliction more or less; of death and judgment, and shall we not get assurance of a Redeemer? give diligence for assurance, take a right course: 1. Be convinced of your sin and misery that you need a Redeemer. 2. Labour to know this Redeemer God hath provided, in his person, nature, offices.
3. Consider and meditate upon the general offer of the gospel; Christ is willing to be thy Redeemer, he offers himself to thee, if thou wilt accept of him. 4. Accept him therefore, be willing he should redeem thee from the law of sin, service of it, guilt and condemnation of it. 5. Pray earnestly for assurance; search thyself narrowly, whether thou hast not accepted of Christ. Where Christ is a Redeemer, the effects of his redemption will appear; for instance, 1. Thou wilt love Christ as a Redeemer, thy soul will be endeared to him; heretofore thou lovedst sin, now Christ that loved thee and gave himself for thee. 2. Thou praisest Christ as a Redeemer, art greatly thankful to him, Oh! what a kindness hath he done thee; what a tyrant was sin, a slave thou wast to it. 3. Thou dost earnestly desire more of the power of Christ's redemption, more power against sin, it grieves thy soul when sin puts up its head; thou complainest to thy Redeemer. 4. Thou wilt assuredly love and long for perfect redemption, Rom. vii. 24. 2 Tim. iv. 8.
Where Christ is accepted there is the seal of the Spirit, the graces of the Spirit, Eph. i. 13.
Where the soul bears fruit to God it is undoubtedly married to Christ, Rom. vii. 4.
It will necessarily follow, from the example of Job's safe and comfortable condition, when having this knowledge of a Redeemer, that the state of all those that have not this faith in a Redeemer must be dangerous and uncomfortable: they see no need, they have not sought after him, have no interest in him; sin hath power over them, to command them: afflictions do them hurt: hence many that were troubled about their sins in afflictions, are worse after; death will have power over them, as God's executioner to force their souls out of their bodies; the grave shall have power over them, as God's prison to hold them in prison-chains till the great assize; the resurrection shall have power over them, to raise them, against their wills, as God's jailor, to bring them before the judge; and then he that would have been their gracious Redeemer, shall be their terrible judge; their own consciences, witnesses; and God's redeemed ones, whose hearts were grieved with their sins, also witnesses against them; ministers who have proclaimed a Redeemer shall testify against them; and God himself shall acknowledge their witness to be true; and they having nothing to say for themselves, shall be cast and condemned. This shall aggravate their misery, that a Redeemer was offered-they refused him; loved sin and perdition more than Christ and redemption. They shall see the redeemed go with Christ into glory, while themselves are thrust with Satan, into everlasting fire.