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spoken-if he have not said such a thing, it matters not who has-but if he have spoken it, believe it to be more sure than heaven or earthfor heaven or earth may pass away, but his word shall not pass away. If you were not welcome
to come and take of the water of life freely, he would have told you-if future happiness were a fancy, or a dream, he would undeceive you; and not suffer you to run and strive in vain. Settle it, therefore, in your minds, that he will notthat he cannot deceive you.
It is expected, therefore, that the believer's confidence in him should be in proportion to his acquaintance with him. Hence, it is said, "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee." And hence, says the apostle, "I know whom I have believed"-my faith is not a blind, rash confidence-I am sure of my ground, and therefore, I tread firmly-I have proved the character I depend upon, and therefore I unreservedly commit myself to him-he is an old friend, a tried friend -O! the evidences I have had of his kindness, veracity, and power! How reproachful would it be, if I would not trust him now! "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.-If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established."
3. What a Master, what a Saviour, do we serve! How sincere! How kind! His heart is made of tenderness; his bowels melt with love! How concerned is he, not only for the safety, but also for the comfort of his followers! With what a soft hand does he wipe away their tears! How graciously does he reward them!-How infinitely does he provide for them! This is my
beloved, and this is my friend, O ye daughters of Jerusalem!"
4. Are you to fill any of these mansions?-Is there a place above prepared for you?-How people long to rise in the state! How they envy the great! How happy would they deem themselves if they could get into such-and such places!To what humiliations will they submit; what sacrifices will they be ready to make, to attain such fleeting, unsatisfying honours! But what are they-what can they be to "Heavenly places!" -in which you are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ."
For whom then are they prepared? I answer, for those who are prepared for them. God makes his people "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." The vessels of mercy are "afore prepared unto glory." Others would be only miserable there: even if God had not determined to exclude them-but he has. "The wicked shall not stand in his sight! he hateth all workers of iniquity: without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Here nothing that defileth can ever enter. For such as love sin, there is another place prepared. "For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared: he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." The place indeed was prepared, as our Saviour says, "for the devil, and his angels," but sinners, by their rejection of his grace, will make it their own-It is therefore said that Judas, when he died, went to his OWN place.
Lastly, let us rejoice in hope. Let us lay open our minds to these everlasting consolations, which our Saviour here reveals and ensures. Let them fill us with a joy unspeakable and full of glory, in all our present trials, and especially under the loss of dear and valuable friends.
Let us remember, that when no longer visible to us, they are not lost. They have reached their Father's house. They are disposed of infinitely to their advantage. And this should subdue the selfishness of our grief. If we love them, we ought to rejoice in their promotion.
-We have no reason to believe that they are acquainted with our circumstances, or can employ themselves for our welfare-yet for us they languish, and for us they die. We may improve their removal; it should draw us away from earth, and attach us the more to heaven. And thus their going away will be for our welfare. When we lose the lives of our friends, we should be careful not to lose their deaths too.
They will not come to receive us to themselves -but they will welcome us when we enter their everlasting habitations-The separation is temporary. A time of reunion will come-we shall see their faces, and hear their voices again in the flesh. O cheering consolation!-how suitableand how sure! 66 I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him-for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them who are asleep; for the
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words."