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intelligence ever formed: If God be for us, , be encountered, of a crose to be borne, of cru. who can be against us. He that spared not cifixion to be endured. It is hard for a man to his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, mortify himself, while all around him are rehow shall hé not with him also freely give us joicing; while they are refining on pleasure ; all things ?' Rom. viii. 31, 32.
while they are employing their utmost ingeAnd, to conclude this discourse by repre- nuity to procure new amusements ; while they senting the same images which we traced in are distilling their brain to diversify their de the beginning of it, if we consider the cross of lights; while they are spending life in sports, our Lord Jesus Christ, relatively to the glory in feasting, in gayety, in spectacle on spectacle. wbich followed, it still presses us to adopt the The conflict is long, it is violent, I acknowsentiments of St. Paul in the text. The idea ledge it; but it draws to a period ; but your of that glory carried Jesus Christ through all cross shall be followed by the same triumph that was most painful in his sacrifice. On the which that of your Saviour was: • Father, the eve of consummating it, he thus addresses his hour is come, glorify thy Son:' but you, in heavenly Father: The hour is come that the expiring on your cross; you shall with holy Son of man should be glorified. Father, glo- joy and confidence commend your soul to Goil, rify thy name Father, the hour is as he commended his, and, closing your eyes in come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may death, say, 'Father! into thy hands I comglorify thee. I have glorified thee on menu my spirit,' Luke xxiii. 46; but the anthe earth; I have finished the work which gels shall descend to receive that departing thou gavest me to do: and now, O Father, spirit, to convey it to the bosom of your God; glorify thou me with thine own self, with the and after having rejoiced in your conversion, glory which I had with thee before the world they shall rejoice together in your beatitude, was,' John xii. 23. 28; xvii. 1. 4,5. This ex. as they rejoiced in his ; but in the great day pectation was not disappointed. The conflict of the restitution of all things, you shall ascend was long, it was severe, but it came to a peri. on the clouds of heaven, as Jesus Christ did; od; but heavenly messengers descended to re- you shall be exalted, like him, far above all ceive him as he issued from the tomb; but a heavens ; and you shall assume, together with cloud came to raise him from the earth; but him, a seat on the throne of the majesty of the gates of heaven opened, with the accla. God. mations of the church triumphant, celebrating Thus it is that the cross of Christ forms us his victories, and hailing his exaltation in these to the sentiments of our apostle ; thus it is that strains : · Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and we are enabled to say, • The world is crucifibe ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the ed unto us, and we are crucified unto the King of Glory shall come in,' Ps. xxiv. 7. world :' thus it is that the cross conducts us to
Christians ! let our eyes settle on this ob- the true glory. O glorious cross ! thou shalt ject. To suffer with Jesus Christ, is to have ever be the object of my study, and of my mefull assurance of reigning with him. We do ditation! I will propose to myself to know nonot mean to conceal from you the pains which thing, save Jesus Christ and him crucified! await you in the career prescribed to the fol. . God forbid that I should glory, save in the lowers of the Redeemer. It is a hard thing to cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the renounce all that flatters, all that pleases, all world is crucified unto me, and I unto the that charms. It is hard to be told incessantly world! May God grant us this grace! Amen. of difficulties to be surmounted, of enemies to
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of fiesh and blood, he also him
self likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ; and deliver them who
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. To know what death is, without being ter- y death without fearing it; and it is in the union rified at it, is the highest degree of perfection of these two things we are to look for that efattainable by the human mind; it is the high- fort of genius so worthy of emulation, and that est point of felicity which a man can reach, perfection of felicity so much calculated to while in this valley of tears. I say, to know kindle ardent desire, For to brave death without knowing what it is; to shut our eyes, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, against all that is hideous in its aspect, in or- he also himself likewise took part of the same,' der to combat it with success, this is so far I shall only remark, that by thechildren referred from indicating a superior excellency of dispo- to, we are to understand men in general, and sition, that it must be considered rather as a believers in particular: and by that flesh and mental derangement ; so far from being the blood we are not to understand corruption, as height of felicity, it is the extreme of misery. in some other passages of Scripture, but human
We have seen philosophers shaking off (if nature ; so that when it is said, 'as the children after all they did so in reality, and if that in are partakers of Aesh and blood, Jesus Christ trepid outside did not conceal a trembling likewise took part of the same,'the meaning is, heart), we have seen philosophers shaking off he assumed a body such as ours is. the fear of death; but they did not know it. Having made these few short remarks on the They viewed it only under borrowed aspects. first words, we shall confine ourselves to the They figured it to themselves, as either re- two ideas which have been indicated, and shall ducing the nature of man to a state of annihi- employ what remains of our time, in proving lation, or as summoning him before chimerical this fundamental truth, that Jesus Christ, by tribunals, or as followed by a certain imagina- his death, has destroyed him that had the powry felicity.
er of death, that is, the devil, in order that he We have seen heroes, as the world calls might deliver them who through fear of death them, pretending to brave the terrors of death; were all their lifetime subject to bondage.' but they did not know it: they represented it The terrors of death are expressed in terms to themselves as crowned with laurels, as de- powerfully energetical, in this text. It reprecorated with trophies, as figuring on the page sents to us a mighty tyrant causing death to of the luistorian,
march at his command, and subjecting the We have seen, and still see every day, li- whole universe to his dominion. This tyrant bertines pretending to brave the terrors of is the devil. He is the personage here dedeath, but they know it not. Their indolence scribed, and who, through the fear of death, is the cause of that assumed firmness : and they subjects men to bondage.' are incapable of enjoying tranquillity, but by You stand aghast, no doubt, on beholding banishing the idea of a period, the horror of the whole human race reduced to subjection which they are unable to overcome. But not under a master so detestable. The fact, howto disguise this formidable object; to view it ever, cannot be called in question ; this great in its true light; to fix the eye steadily on enemy of our salvation unquestionably exerevery feature; to have a perception of all its cises a sort of empire over the universe. terrors; in a word, to know what death is, Though the Scriptures speak sparingly of the without being terrified at it, to repeat it once nature and functions of this malignant spirit, more, is the highest degree of perfection at they say enough of them to convey a striking tainable by the human mind; it is the highest idea of his power, and to render it formidable point of felicity which a man can reach while i to us. The Scripture tells us, I. That he in this valley of tears.
templa men to sin; witness the wiles which he Sovereign wisdom, my brethren, forms his practised on our first parents ; witness that children to true heroism. That wisdom effects which St. Paul says of him in chap. i. of the what neither philosophers by their false max. Epistle to the Ephesians, the spirit that workims, nor the heroes of the world by their affect- eth in the children of disobedience;' witness ed intrepidity, nor the libertine by his insensi- the name of Templergiven to him in the gospel bility and indolence; that wisdom effects what history, Matt. iv. 3. The Scripture informs all the powers in the universe could not have us, II. That he accuses men before God of produceil, and alone bestows on the Christian those very crimes which he solicited them to the privilege of knowing death without fearing commit; witness the prophet Zechariah, who it. All this is contained in the words which I was showed Joshua the high-priest, standing have read as the subject of the present dis- before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standcourse : through fear of death, men were all ing at his right hand to resist him;' or, as it their lifetime subject to bondage :' there is the might have been rendered, to be his adversary power of death; there his empire; there his or accuser : witness the descriptive appellation triumph. Jesus Christ, through his death, has of calumniator or accuser given him by St. destroyed him that had the power of death, that John in the Apocalypse. The Scripture tells is the devil, and delivers them who through us, III. That he sometimes tormenls men; wit. fear of death were all their lifetime subject to ness the history of Job; witness what St. Paul bondage: Behold death vanquished! there are says of his delivering up unto Satan' the inhis spoils; there is the triumph over him : sa- cestuous person at Corinth. This power of lutary ideas ! which will present themselves in delivering up to Satan, to mention it by the succession to our thoughts in the sequel of this way, was a part of the miraculous gifts conserexercise. • Forasmuch then as the children red on the apostles; gifts transmitted to the imare partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself mediately succeeding ages of the church, at likewise took part of the same; that through least if Pauliness is to be credited on this subdeath he might destroy him that had the power ject,* who relates that an abandoned wretch of death, that is the devil: and deliver them was, by St. Ambrosius, delivered up to Satan, who through fear of death were all their life who tore him in pieces. Finally, IÙ. We find time subject to bondage.' With respect to the first words, .forasmuch
* Paulin. de Vit. Ambros.
the devil designated in Scripture, the god of Jesus Christ restores confidence and joy, for it the world,' 2 Cor. iv. 4, and the prince of the is the expiation of all our sins. The devil power of the air,' Eph. ii. 2. You likewise see clothes death with terror, by rendering us senhim represented as acting on the waters of the sible to the loss of those possessions of which sea, as raising tempests, and as smiting the death is going to deprive us; the death of Jesus children of men with various kinds of plagues. Christ tranquillizes the mind, because it is a
But if the devil be represented as exercising pledge to us of an eternal felicity. The first an influence over the ills of human life, he is of these ideas represents Jesus Christ to us a still more especially represented as exerting his a martyr, who has sealed with his own blood a power over our death, the last and the most doctrine which rests entirely on the immortal. formidable of all our woes. The Jews were ity of the soul. The second represents him a impressed with ideas of this kind. Nay, they a victim, offering himself in our stead, to divine did not satisfy themselves with general notions justice. And the third represents him as a on this subject. They entered into the detail conqueror, who has, by his death, acquired for (for, my brethren, it has been an infirmity in- us a kingdom of everlasting bliss. cident to man in every age, to assert confident. Had we nothing farther in view, than to prely on subjects the most mysterious and conceal- sent you with vague ideas of the sentiments of ed), they said that the devil, to whom they the sacred authors, on this subject, here our gave the name of Samuel,* had the empire of discourse might be concluded. But these death :' that his power extended so far as to truths, treated thus generally, could make but prevent the resurrection of the wicked. St. a slight impression. It is of importance to press Paul, in the words of our text, adopts their them one by one, and, opposing in every partimode of expression, as his custom is, without cular, the triumph of the Redeemer, to the propagating their error: he describes the evil empire of the wicked one, to place in its clearspirit as the person who possesses the empire of est point of light, the interesting truth containdeath, and who, through the fear of death, ed in our text, namely, that Jesus Christ, subjects men all their lifetime to bondage.' through his own death, has destroyed him who
But Christians, be not dismayed at beholding had the power of death, that is, the devil ; that this fearful image. •Surely there is no enchant- he might deliver them who, through fear of ment against Jacob, neither is there any divina- death, were all their lifetime subject to bondtion against Israel,' Numb. xxiii. 23.
• Now age.' is come salvation and strength, and the king- 1. The first consideration which renders dom of our God, and the power of his Christ ; death formidable: the first yoke imposed on for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, the necks of the children of men, by that trewhich accused them before our God day and mendous prince who has the power of death, night. And they overcame him by the blood is the fear of falling back into nothing, which of the Lamb, Rev. xii. 10, 11. Let us, how the prospect of death awakens. The greatest ever, reduce our reflections on the subject to of all the advantages which we possess, and method. Three considerations render death that which indeed is the foundation of all the formidable to man; three considerations disarm rest, is existence. We accordingly observe that death in the apprehension of the Christian; old people, though all their faculties are much 1. The veil which conceals from the eyes of impaired, always enjoy a certain nameless sethe dying person, the state on which he is periority over young persons. The reflection about to enter : 2. The remorse of conscience that there was a time when they existed, while which the recollection of his guilt excites: 3. as yet the young did not exist, constitutes this The loss of titles, honours, and every other superiority; and young persons, in their turn, earthly possession. In these respects chiefly, feel a superiority suggested to them by the
he who has the power of death subjects men thought, that a time is coming when they shall to bondage :' these are the things which render exist, whereas the others shall be no more. death formidable.
Death terminates, to appearance, an advantage In opposition to this, the death of Jesus which is the foundation of every other. And Christ, 1. Removes the veil which concealed is it any wonder that the heart of man should futurity from us, and constitutes an authentic sink under such a consideration ? proof of the immortality of the soul: 2. The death of Jesus Christ is a sacrifice presented to pressing reflection, to the arguments which
In vain will we flee for refuge from this dedivine jastice for the remission of our sins: 3. reason, even a well-directed reason, supplies. The death of Jesus Christ gives us complete Ifthey are satisfying of themselves, and calcuassurance of a blessed eternity. These are the lated to impress the philosophie mind, they are three considerations which disarm death in the far beyond the reach of a vulgar understandapprehension of the dying believer. And this ing, to which the very terms spirituality and is a brief abstract of the important truths deli- existence are barbarous and unintelligible. To vered in this text.
no purpose will we have recourse to what has The devil renders death formidable, through been said on this subject, by the most enlightuncertainty respecting the nature of our souls; ened of the pagan world, and to what, in partithe death of Christ dispels that terror, by de- cular, Tacitus relates of Seneca,* on his going -monstrating to us that the soul is immortal. into the bath which was to receive the blood,
The devil renders death formidable by awaken as it streamed from his opened veins: he beng the recollection of past guilt; the death of sprinkled the by-standers with the fluid in
* Thalm, in Libo. Capht.
Annal. Lib. xv.
which his limbs were immerged, with this me- have sign upon sign, prodigy upon prodigy. morable expression, that he presented those Jesus Christ restricts himself to one: • Destroy drops of water as a libation to Jupiter the De- this temple, and within three days I will liverer. In order to secure us against terrors build it up again,' Mark xiv.58. An evil and eo formidable, we must have a guide more safe adulterous generation seeketh after a sign ; than our own reason. In order to obtain a per- and there shall no sign be given to it, but the suasion of the immortality of the soul, we must sign of the prophet Jonas,'Matt. xii. 39. This have a security less suspicious than that of a sign could not labour under any ambiguity. Socrates or a Plato. Now that guide, my bre. And this sign was accomplished. There is no thren, is the cross of Jesus Christ : that security longer room to doubt of a truth demonstrated is an expiring Redeemer. Two principles in a manner so illustrious. concur in the demonstration of all-important Our ancestors devised,* with greater simtruth,
plicity, it must be allowed, than strength of 1. The doctrine of Jesus Christ establishes reasoning, a very singular proof of the innothe immortality of the soul.
cence of persons accused. They presented to 2. The death of Jesus Christ is an irresisti- them a bar of hot iron. If the person under ble proof of the truth of his doctrine. trial had the firmness to grasp it, and received
1. That the doctrine of Jesus Christ esta- no injury from the action of the burning metal, blishes the immortality of the soul is a point he was acquitted of the charge. This proof which no one pretends to dispute with us. Awas, as we have said, devised with more sim-, man has but !o open his eyes in order to be plicity than strength of reasoning: no one haconvinced of it. We shall, accordingly, make ving a right to suppose that God will perform but a single remark on this head. It is this, a miracle, to evince his innocence to the conthat the doctrine of the immortality of the soul viction of his judges. I acknowledge at the ought not to be considered merely as a particu- same time, that had I been an eye-witness of lar point of the religion of Jesus Christ, inde- such an experiment; had I beheld that elependent of which it may subsist as a complete ment which dissolves, which devours bodies whole. It is a point without which Christianity the most obdurate, respecting the hand of a cannot exist at all, and separated from which person accused of a crime, I should certuinly the religion of Jesus Christ, the fullest, the have been very much struck at the sight of most complete, and the most consistent that such a spectacle. ever was presented to the world, becomes the But what shall we say of the Saviour of most imperfect, barren, and inconsistent. The the world, after the proof to which he was put? whole fabric of the gospel rests on this founda. He walked through the fire without being dation, that the soul is immortal. Wherefore burnt,' Isa. xliii. 2. He descended into the was it that Jesus Christ, the Lord of universal bosom of the grave: the grave respected him, nature, had a manger for his cradle, and a sta- and those other insatiables which never say bie for his palace ? because his • kingdom was it is enough,' Prov. xxx. 16, opened a passage not of this world,' John xviii. 16. This supposes for his return to the light. You feel the force the immortality of the soul. Wherefore is the of this argument. Jesus Christ, having died Christian encouraged to bid defiance to tyrants, in support of the truth of a doctrine entirely who may drag him from a prison, from a dun. founded on the supposition of the immortality geon, who may nail him to a cross, who may of the soul, there is no longer room to doubt mangle his body on a wheel? It is because whether the soul be immortal. their power extends no farther than to the Let us here pause for a few moments, and killing of the body,' Matt. x. 28, while the before we enter on the second branch of our soul is placed far beyond their reach. This subject, let us consider how far this position, supposes immortality. Wherefore must the so clearly proved, so firmly established, has a Christian deem hinıself miserable, were he to tendency to fortify us against the fears of death. achieve the conquest of the whole world, at Suppose for an instant that we knew nothe expense of a good conscience? Because it thing respecting the state of souls, after this will profit a man nothing to gain the whole life is closed, and respecting the economy on world, if he lose his own soul,' Matt. xvi. 26. which we must then enter; supposing God to This supposes immortality. Wherefore are we have granted us no revelation whatever on not the most miserable of nll creatures ? Be- this interesting article, but simply this, that cause we have hope in Christ not for this life our souls are immortal, a slight degree of me. only,'1 Cor. xv. 19. This supposes immortal-ditation on the case, as thus stated, ought to ity. The doctrine of Jesus Christ, therefore, operate as an inducement rather to wish for establishes the truth of the immortality of the death, than to fear it. It appears probable that soul.
the soul, when disengaged from the senses, in 2. But we said, in the second place, that the which it is now enveloped, will subsist in a death of Jesus Christ is a proof of his doctrine. manner infinitely more noble than it could do He referred the world to his death, as a sign here below, during its union with matter. We by which it might be ascertained whether or are perfectly convinced that the body will, one not he came from God. By this he proposed day, contribute great!y ") our felicity; it is an to stop the mouth of incredulity. Neither the essential part of our hiing, without which our purity of his life, nor the sanctity of his deport- happiness must be incomplete. But this nement, nor the lustre of his miracles had as yet cessity, which letters down the functions of prevailed so far as to convince an unbelieving world of the truth of his mission. They must * Raajuier Recher, de la France, Liv, iv. 2.
the soul, on this earth, to the irregular move are susceptible of a thousand unknown sensa: ments of ill-assorted matter, is a real bondage. tions; but they receive them not, in this econoThe soul is a prisoner in this body. A prisoner my of imperfection and wretchedness, because is a man susceptible of a thousand delights, it is the will of God that they should perceire but who can enjoy, however, only such plea- only through the medium of those organs, and sures as are compatible with the extent of the that those oryans, from their limited nature, place in which he is shut up: his scope is limit- should be capable of admitting only limited ed to the capacity of his dungeon: he beholds sensations. the light only through the aperture of that But permit the soul to expatiate at large, dungeon: all his intercourse is confined to the let it take its natural flight, let these prison persons who approach his dungeon. But let walls be broken down, O, then! the soul behis prison-doors be thrown open; from that comes capable of ten thousand inconceivable moment, behold him in a state of much higher new delights. Wherefore do you point to that felicity. Thenceforward he can maintain social ghastly corpse? Wherefore deplore those eyes intercourse with all the men in the world; closed to the light, those spirits evaporated, thenceforward he can contemplate an un- that blood frozen in the veins, that motionless, bounded body of light; thence forward he is lifeless mass of corruption? Why do you say able to expatiate over the spacious universe. to me, "My friend, my father, my spouse is no
This exhibits a portrait of the soul. A pri- more; he sees, he hears, he acts no longer. He soner to the senses, it can enjoy those delights sees no longer, do you say? He sees no longer, only which have a reference to sense. It can I grant, by means of those visual rays which see only by means of the cuticles and the fibres were formed in the retina of the eye; but he of its eyes : it can hear only by means of the sees as do those pure intelligences which never action of the nerves and tympanum of its ears: were clothed with mortal flesh and blood. He it can think only in conformity to certain mo- bears no more through the medium of the acdifications of its brain. The soul is susceptible tion of the ethereal fluid, but he hears as a pare of a thousand pleasures, of which it has not so spirit. He thinks no longer through the intermuch as the idea. A blind man has a soul ca- vention of the fibres of his brain ; but be thinks pable of admitting the sensation of light; if he from his own essence, because, being a spirit, be deprived of it, the reason is, his senses are the faculty of thought is essential to him, and defective, or improperly disposed. Our souls inseparable from his nature,
ON THE FEAR OF DEATH.
HEBREWS ii. 14, 15.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself
likewise took part of the same : that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. IN discoursing from these words we observed, disarm death of his terrors to the dying bethat death is rendered formidable to man, by a liever. threefold consideration, and that three conside- We have finished what was proposed on the rations of an opposite nature strip him of all his first particular, and have shown, 1. That the terrors, in the eye of the believer in Christ doctrine of Jesus Christ fully establishes the Jesus. Death is formidable, 1. Because of the soul's immortality; and, 2. That the death of veil which conceals from the eyes of the dying Jesus Christ is an irresistible proof of the truth person, that state on which he is about to en- of his doctrine. ter. 2. From remorse of conscience, which the But to no purpose would it be to fortify the recollection of past guilt excites. 3. From mind against the apprehension of ceasing to the loss of titles honours, and all other earthly exist, unless we are delivered from the terror possessions.
of being for ever miserable. In vain is it to In opposition to these, the death of Christ, have demonstrated that our souls are immortal, 1. Removes the veil which conceals futurity, if we are haunted with the well-grounded apand constitutes an authentic proof of the im- prehension of their falling into the hands of mortality of the soul. 2. It is a sacrifice pre- that God who is a consuming fire. In this sented to divine justice for the romission of sin. case, what constitutes a man's greatness would 3. It gives us complete assurance of a blessed constitute bis misery. Let us endeavour, eternity. These are the consideration, which II. In the second place, to dissipate the dread.