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pointment in death but for sin ; no sense of loss, no anguish of bereavement, no wishful looking back to life. The soul would have nothing to fear from God, but for sin ; no wrath to dread, no curse to bear, and judgment would be no terror to it. There would be nothing but the mere pain of dying, but for sin. Then is not sin the sting of death?
All that I have said of the person supposed to be without sin, is substantially true of every Christian, for though he be not perfectly free from sin in every sense, he is free from its curse, and from its dominion. He is pardoned, he is no longer a child of wrath. God is favorable to him, and sin does not reign in his mortal body. The light of the divine countenance shines on him. He is willing, ay, sometimes desirous to die. The everlasting arms are under him, and he knows that heaven is his in prospect. He knows where he is going, and even the judgment has no terrors for him, since the very judge is his retained advocate and friend. To die with the consciousness of sin forgiven, of holiness begun, of God reconciled, and of heaven in reserve is to die and feel no sting in death. Oh ! may you so die; drink the cup, and expect no bitterness or be disappointed in the expectation ; die, saying, “Oh ! death, where is thy sting ?” The sting of death is sin, my hearers. It is, depend upon it, it is. Contemplate death attended by sin, and judge for yourself.
See there the sinner dying. He is unwilling to die, loth to leave the world; he hangs back and has to be driven away. There is no submission, or it is a forced submission as to an inevitable necessity. It
were strange if he were willing; willing to go from what he knows and loves, to that which he has neither knowledge of, nor love for; to go from his portion and his treasure, and his loved resorts, and his favorite occupations, and his dear companions, and to carry nothing with him, and to find nothing where he goes, that he can call his own; to go to a trial which he has made no preparation to meet, and to an interview with the being whose acquaintance he has never cared to cultivate; no wonder he is unwilling. Ah, there is someting piercing and poignant in this, to be forced to die and go we know not where. He cannot say “Oh death, where is thy sting?" for here it is, penetrating his very soul. Again, the sinner dying, so far from having an assurance of being a gainer by death, fears, if he is not certain that he will be a loser by it. Whither shall he go? To heaven? He has no title to it. His sins are unforgiven, he has no part in the justifying righteousness of Christ. He has no fitness for it, he is consciously destitute of that holiness, without which he is inadmissible to it. He has no liking for it. Its joys are not such as he relishes. Its society not such as he would select. He cannot go to heaven; nor would he. And there is but one other place; and there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. How is he to gain by dying? Again, in dying the sinner has not the enlivening presence of God with him, he hears not his cheering voice, feels not his supporting
He is left to die alone. Again, his conscience is full of fearful forebodings, in view of that meeting to which he is going, and that judgment to whose
scrutiny he is to be subjected. There is guilt upon his conscience, which the blood of Christ has not · removed. He is going into the presence of him whose law he has transgressed, whose government he has rebelled against, and whose Gospel he has not embraced. He goes unpardoned, impenitent, with this malediction upon him, “cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” He is going to give account, and he has nothing to say for himself, and he has no merit of another to plead.
The sting of death is sin. And the strength of sin is the law. Sin derives its power to pierce and destroy from the fact of its being a transgression of the law of God.
But thanks he to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. We do not achieve the victory. God gives it to us, and through Christ, of whom we have pardon for sin and peace of conscience.
Learn hence what it is of death that is most to be dreaded ; it is its sting.
Do we dread death itself, how much more should we its sting, sin.
Learn hence how the sting of death is to be removed. It is by doing away with sin ; repenting of it and obtaining pardon for it, by application to Christ.
Is this religion to be despised?
Learn also that sin is no trifle. It is the sting of death.
They that make a mock of sin, and trifle with the law of God, play with the sting of death.
See here the preeminence of the Christian. He is the conqueror of death. He is superior to the king of terrors. We hear of the hero of Marengo, and of Waterloo ;, and the Christian is the hero of the grave.
. He can say, "Oh! death, where is thy sting? Oh! grave where is thy victory ?" Can you say it? Can you say,
Can you say, "Thanks to God, who has given me the victory ?" Do you, instead of answering my question, ask me, "Can you ?!' I will not say, yes or no, but I will, if you will, this day adopt a joint resolution of this sort, “Resolved that, with the help of God, we will never rest, never cease to pray, and labor, until we are able confidently to adopt this language of triumph.”
Do not despair of being able to say, “Oh ! death, where is thy sting.” Hearer, you may, sooner than you imagine, be engaged with death. One that but a few Sabbaths ago was here, has met with the enemy. The campaign lasted but one short week. Are you armed for this inevitable combat? Is your enemy disarmed of his sting, so that he can do no more than kill the body? Is that sting by which he reaches the soul taken away?
That he might go to his own place.-Acts i. 25.
One cannot help observing and admiring the uniform and apparently studied reserve which the sacred writers maintain in reference to the eternal condition of persons who may be presumed to have died in their sins. In speaking of characters and classes of persons, all reserve is laid aside. It is uniformly and explicitly said that those of mankind who answer to a certain intelligible description, shall go to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Declarations to the same effect are innumerable. This is the law, and in regard to the matter of fact, I suppose it is not doubted by any one, that multitudes do forget God, and do never repent and turn to him. Certainly many die without giving the smallest evidence of having repented. The inference therefore to which we are inevitably conducted is, that many perish. Indeed so much our Saviour himself asserts, rendering it unnecessary for us to inferit. He says of the gate which opens to destruction, “Many there be which go in thereat." But neither he nor those who wrote as they were