THE STING OF DEATH; OR, THE STRENGTH OF SINNE. SERMON VI.
1 Cor. 15. 56.
The sting of Death is Sinne, and the strength of Sinne is the Law.
SOlomon telleth thus, that there is a season for*every thing, there is a time to bee borne, and a time to die: These two are the two great seasons of all men, we are as sure to die, as we are sure we have lived, and every degree of our life, is but a steppe to our death. Every man of us hath but a part to act here in the world, when wee have done that that God hath appointed us, we are drawne off from the Stage by Death.
You will say, this is a hard condition for so Noble a creature as Man is to be folded up in the grave, for so faire a beautie as the life of man is, to be closed up in eternall darknesse, that Man should turne to the acquaintance of dust and wormes, and make his habitation with rottennesse and loathsomnesse, that Death should have the victorie of so excellent a Creature, it is a hard condition.
The Apostle thinkes not so, he thinkes otherwise, Death (saith * he, ver. 54.) is swallowed up in victorie; As if he should say, It need Page 122 not trouble you to thinke so of Death, the condition of it is not so strange and hard as men take it to be; It is swallowed up in victo∣ry. If a man have a strong enemy to deale with, it might trouble him, but it is no great matter to deale with a conquered enemie: Christ hath overcome Death, hath conquered that strong enemie, Death is swallowed up in victory. Therefore Saint Paul in the pre∣cedent, and subsequent verses of this Chapter, seemeth to insult and triumph over Death, Oh Death (saith he) where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victorie? As if he should say, before Christ came and conquered thee, Death thou wert victorious; so it was, there was a sting in it: before Christ sweetned the Grave, there was something that was terrible in the Grave, but now because Christ is come, and hath gotten the victory over the one, and sweetned the other, therefore Saint Paul breakes forth thus into an insultation and triumph.
But, how can this be? Why doth the Apostle thus triumph?
The reason is insinuated in the verse I have read to you, the sting of death is sinne, and the strength of sinne is the Law.
But this is the occasion of trouble to Christians?
No, it is not, thankes bee to God, that hath given us victory through Iesus Christ our Lord: As if he should say, I will shew you the reason, of my triumphing over Death, there was a sting in Sinne, and Sinne is the sting of Death, and the Law is the strength of sinne, but Christ hath tooke away sinne, and hath satisfied the Law, sinne being taken away, Death cannot hurt me, the Law be∣ing satisfied, Sinne cannot prejudice me. This was the cause of the Apostles, and in him of every Christians insultation over Death.
The words I have read containe two parts;
First, the sting of Death. *
Secondly, the strength of Sinne.
First, the sting of death, is sinne.
Secondly, the strength of sinne, is the Law.
If there were no law, there would bee no sinne, and if there were no sinne, there would be no death: Sinne is the transgression of the Law, and sinne is the sting of death.
I shall only at this time insist upon the first of these, from whence I shall deliver that, which if it please God to accompany with his Spirit, may be usefull to you.
The proposition. shall be the very words of the Text; *
Sinne is the sting of death.
This Proposition I would not have you understand in this sense only, that death came in by sinne meerely in a habit, though that be true too. But understand it in this sense, That all the horrour Page 123 and terriblenesse of Death, all the power and rage it hath, what∣soever makes it fearefull to a man, it receiveth it all from sinne. It is sinne that armeth Death against a man, if Death have any weapons against a man, Sinne puts those weapons into the hands of Death; if Death have any poyson against a Christian, the sinne of that person putteth that poyson in it.
Death may bee considered two wayes, either as Christ hath * made it, or as we make it.
Death as Christ hath made it, is a medicine to a Christian, a * passage and entrance to happinesse, it is a day of redemption and refreshing, and so we need not be afraid of it.
Death as we by sinne have made it, is the Pale horse Saint Iohn* speakes of in the Revelation, it is as a fearfull arrest to the debtor, it hath a sting in it: and so it is fearefull.
But that I may open this point more profitably, wee will en∣quire into these particulars.
First, what death the Apostle speakes of here.
Secondly, of what sinne he speakes of.
Thirdly, in what respect sinne is called the sting of death. And then we will make the use and application of all this.
First, of what death doth the Apostle here speake of, that sinne * is the sting of?
For answer hereunto, there is a double death, corporall and spirituall.
Corporall death, is the privation of the soule: when the soule is severed from the body.
Spirituall death, when God and grace are severed from the soule.
The Text speakes of the corporall death. Sinne is not the * sting of the spirituall death, for the spirituall death is sinne it selfe. And here I will not contend with any man, if he be full of enqui∣rie, but I will distinguish two parts of spirituall death, and I grant in one of them is this sting.
In spirituall death therefore, there are two parts, or two de∣grees; * The first is called, the first death; That I take to bee the death of the soule in sinne.
The second part is, when soule and body are for ever closed up in Hell. And in this part, sinne is the sting; And remember this by the way, Sinne is not onely a sting now, but it will be a sting to men in Hell: the sting, the deadlinesse, the extremity of punish∣ment that is in Hell, it is received all from sinne: for the damned in Hell when they come there, as they cease not to sinne, so the sting of sinne ceaseth not to be with them: and it may be delivered by conjecture, I thinke Hell were no Hell, if there were not the sting of sinne there.
Page 124 So then you see what death the Apostle speakes of: principal∣ly of corporall death, but it may be extended to the second part of spirituall death, for there sinne continueth, and so the sting re∣maineth.
The next question is, what sinne the Apostle speakes of, when he saith, the sting of death is sinne?
This is not a time to stirre controversies, therefore those anci∣ent controversies, and such as are lately stirred up about originall sinne, how farre it is the sting of death, I let them goe.
In a word, to let you see what sinne is the sting of death, remem∣ber this. Sinne may be considered two wayes, either as it is in∣tire, * untouched, uncrushed. Let that sinne be what it will be, whether it be originall onely, or whether it be any actuall sinne, streaming from originall, whether it be a sinne of ignorance or knowledge, whether it be of pleasure or of profit; A sinne imme∣diatly that respecteth God, or immediatly respecteth our neigh∣bour, whatsoever the sinne be, if it bee not touched, if it bee not crushed, if it scape uncontrouled, if it be in its native power, and keepes in his kingdome, if it rule in a man; that sinne will certain∣ly be the sting of Death. Euery sinne vertually is the sting of death, there is an aptitude in every Sinne. But in the event that Sinne pro∣veth *the sting of death, that is untouched, uncontrouled. Not eve∣ry sinne in the event proveth the sting of death; but that Sinne that liveth in us, or rather that Sinne that we live in, that ruleth in us, that we affect, and love, this is the Sinne that putteth a sting into death. That very sinne that thou lovest, and likest so much, and pleadest for, that sinne will make death terrible.
Secondly; Sinne may be considered as it is galled, and vexed, and mortified in the Soule, When a man setteth upon the root of Sinne, and the way of Sinne, and falleth a crucifying the body of Sinne, and the members of it, I say, howsoever there bee divers motions and stirrings of Sinne in the soule; yet if these be disa∣vowed, disaffected, and mortified, if there be a crucifying vertue, passe over them, if they come not within the judgement to ap∣prove them, or within the affections to embrace and like them; if they come not to be a mans trade, and way, and walke, but fall within the improbation of the judgement to disavow them, and the misliking of the affections to sorrow for them: These shall not be the sting of death, whatsoever the motions are. But these un∣touched, unmortified sinnes, these are the sting of death.
Now these are the sting of death, in a double respect; First, in respect of the guilt; Secondly, in respect of the corruption.
First, they are a sting in respect of guilt. Every Sinne remain∣ing * unsatisfied for, remaineth with his guilt, and when Sinne is not satisfied for, there is the sting of death. When the sinner hath Page 125 nothing to oppose to the justice of God, for the sinne he hath com∣mitted, if the Sinne be in the booke of God uncrossed, bee a debt there not blotted out by the blood of Christ; if Christ have not satisfied for it; if the sinner have not part in him (as we shall heare anone) then Sin is the sting of death.
And then secondly, they are a sting in respect of the corrupti∣on, * and filthinesse of Sins unmortified. Those filthy sinfull mo∣tions, those depraving qualities inthy soule that thou likest, and practisest in thy conversation, they give thee up into the hands of Death, to execute his Sting upon thee; And therefore you that applaud your selves in Sinne, and will goe on in Sin, doe so. But know this, when thou commest to the full strength of thy Sinne, let it be what it will, when Death commeth, it findeth the strong∣est weapon it hath in thy sinne: the very power of thy sinne arm∣eth Death against thy soule. No man is more obnoxious, and o∣pen to the sharpest dart of Death, then that man that will goe on in Sinne.
So you see what Sin is spoken of, that is the sting of death, that Sin is the sting of Death, that a man loveth and doteth on.
The third Question is, in what respect Sin is the sting of Death?*
First by way of Eminencie, because that then the sting of Sin beginneth most sensibly to worke in a man. Not but that Sin hath a sting before Death, but then the deluded sinner feeles his sinne; there be divers times that Sin can sting a person before that, but then (howsoever the sinner hath deluded himselfe, and the word of God, and the world) he can delude them no more, Death then (most ordinarily) fixeth his sting in the soule, and makes the sin∣ner feele the smart of his sinne.
There be three times wherein Sinne can sting a man;
- Before death.
- At death.
- After death.
Before Death. God sometimes letteth loose the conscience of * a man, even of the most resolved sinner, of him that beares him∣selfe up aloft in his owne eyes in scorne, and contempt of the mi∣nistrie of the Word: sometime (I say) God singleth out such a person, and rippeth up all his heart, strikes his Arrowes into his very soule, and stings his conscience so irresistably, that he know∣eth not which way to turne from the wrath that boyleth in his soule. And it is one thing to deale with the Minister, and another to deale with God; When God strikes his Arrowes of uengeance into the soule of a sinner, then such a one is stung indeed, this God doth sometimes before death.
Nay, sometimes God stingeth the consciences of his owne children for sinne. David cries out, hee roared for the disquit∣nesse Page 126 of his spirit, his bones were broken, he was sore vexed, Lord how long? saith he. If there be such deepe disquiet, by reason of this sting in the consciences of good persons, tell me then, what is the disquiet that springeth from sinne, in a Cain, in a Iudas, when it meets with a dispairing disposition? Thus you see Sin hath this time to sting, and therefore thinke not that Sin will never sting till death, sometimes Sinne stingeth a man before death.
Another time is at death. When Death commeth and arresteth * a sinner in an Action from God, seizeth on a person that is under the power of Sin, on one that is in his sinnes untouched, howso∣ever he behaved himselfe in his life-time, yet then the very name of Death breakes his heart, it apaleth him, and then it stings such a person. It is appointed (beloved) for all of us once to die; Death will one day arrest every man, but when Death appeareth before a man, that hath not a part in Christ, that is under the power of his sinnes, when it commeth to a Belshazzar, it makes his very joynts to smite one against another, it is a sting to him amidest all those sweet morsels, his sinnes, which he so much affected, and so earnest∣ly pursued, it is as a very poyson to him; nothing is a poyson now to us but sinne only; but then at the time of death, sinne is a poy∣son indeed.
Lastly, Sinne can sting not onely before, and at, but after death. * Both at the day of Judgement, and after.
At the day of Judgement. Is not the conscience of a sinner * (thinke you) stinged, and his spirit deeply affected, by reason of the great wrath of God that is to be poured out, when he shall cry to the mountaines to cover him, when he shall call to those insensible creatures, that are not able to lend him that courtesie to crush him to nothing? Make this our owne case, thinke of it, it will be our case, as it is appointed for us all to die, so we must all come to judgtment.
And after the Judgement, when the sentence, goe you cursed is * past, the sting of Sin ceaseth not, no, the worme for ever gnaweth in Hell. It were a happinesse for a sinner, if he might onely heare the sentence, if this worme might not still gnaw his conscience, but then, this is his burthen, Sin shall sting him for ever.
This is the first respect in which sinne is called the sting of death, because then Sinne stingeth more emminently and sensibly.
Secondly, it is called the sting of death, in respect of the meta∣phor the Apostle aludeth unto, it is taken from the sting of a Ser∣pent, and so Sinne is a sting in a double respect; First in respect of the fearefulnesse, and then in respect of the hurtfulnesse of it.
First, in respect of the fearefulnesse; It is Sin that makes Death * fearefull to a man. Indeed I confesse, that in the best Christian (though Christ have pulled out the sting of death yet) there are naturall grudgings, and shruggings. As to a Serpent, though the Page 127 sting be pulled away, yet there are some abhorrings, and dissikes in a man. But then how terrible is Derth, when it commeth in compleate Armour, as it doth against a person in whom Sinne re∣maineth in its full power? it must needs then be terrible.
See the difference betweene two persons, the one is afraid of every one he meeteth, the other is not; what is the reason? the one is greatly indebted and ingaged, the other is free. So it is with a Christian, and another man, the one cannot heare of Death but his heart breakes, hee is full of feare and horrour; the other heareth of Death, and is onely somewhat affected in the hearing of it, but not possessed with that feare as is the other, what is the reason? the sting of death remaineth in one, and not in another. Sin therefore is a sting in that respect.
Secondly, it is a sting in respect of hurtfulnesse. The sting of * the Serpent is a hurtfull thing, it poysoneth the vitall parts, it takes away life it selfe. All the evill that commeth to us by death, commeth by sinne. Man need not complaine of the ilnesse of the prison so much, as of his owne folly, that he ingaged himselfe in debt, whereby he is cast into prison. Why complainest thou of the misery in Hell? rather labour to breake off thy sinnes that are the cause of all that miserie: all the hurtfull qualitie, and misera∣ble condition that befalleth a person in Death and Hell, is for Sin: the eternall separation of the soule from God, and all punishment that followes after in Hell, are the fruit of mans sinne. Hell had not beene Hell without Snne: it is Sin that causeth it to become hurtfull.
Thus I have explained these inquiries.
Now I come to make Use and application, and so conclude the Point.
The first Use of this point shall be this; If Sin be the sting of*death, let it be our wisedome to get this sting pulled out in the time of our life. Oh that this people were wise (saith God) then would they consider their latter end. If you were wise that heare mee this day, you would consider that Death will come, and (if it be not taken away before-hand) with a sting upon the soule.
My brethren, we have many enemies to deale with, even now at this very instant, but there is yet an enemie, as the Apostle saith, The last enemie to bee subdued is Deaeh, he his behind: and here is the difference betwixt Death our last enemie, and some other of our enemies: some other of our enemies cannot be sub∣dued, but by their presence, but (let me tell you) this Death is such an enemy, as is never subdued, but by his absence, thou canst never overcome Death in death, thou must not reserve this com∣bat till thou come to the field, but thou must overcome this enemie before he commeth, thou must overcome him in thy life.
Page 128 How is that? Pull out the sting of him now, then Death is con∣quered. How will you disarme the tongues of malicious slan∣derous persons, and deprive them of their viperous speech? by an innocent life. So, how will you take away the sting of death? watch against Sin, take away sinne, and you take away the power from Death, set upon Sin, and Death is overcome, so much sinne as is now dead, so much is Death conquered.
I beseech you seriously consider these particulars.
First, that it will not be long, ere Death knocke at these dores of ours, these houses of clay must shortly be ruinated, wee must certainly be resolved into dust. What is this life of ours, but as a ship that is driven by a gale of breath? When the breath of man ceaseth, the ship lieth in a dead calme. Man goeth to his long home* (saith Solomon) and the mourners follow in the streets. Death is our long home, wee all are the mourners, wee follow in the streetes. This dead carcasse is an example that leads us to our home, and a sermon to tell us that we must follow: we follow now in a charitable ex∣pression, but we shall follow one day, in paying of the same debt. Looke overall the times of the world, and the dispositions of persons, looke over learning and folly, greatnesse or poorenesse, find me a man that escaped Death. Die we must; and we have need to have this much pressed upon us, for it is a hard matter to be∣leeve that we must die, that I must be the man that must die: com∣mon notions of Death are granted, but that I must die, and lie in the dust, and stand before God, it is a hard matter to beleeve this.
And consider this secondly, that Death will be terrible to thee, if he knocke and find a sting in thee. Thou that now wilt not be reclaimed from swearing; Alas what will become of that blas∣pheming soule of thine, when Death shall come and find a sting of blasphemy in thee? How darest thou thinke of giving up that swearing soule of thine to the Judge of heaven and earth? Thou unrighteous person that wilt not sanctifie the Lords day, how da∣rest thou give up that unholy soule of thine to the holy God? Dost thou thinke to have an eternall rest in heaven, and wilt not give God a rest here? So I might say for all kind of sinners. Thinke of this, take heed lest Death find a sting in thee, for all the sting that Death hath, it findeth in thy selfe, looke to it, thy condi∣tion will be fearfull, if Death come and find Sin unmortified, un∣repented of in thee. God will certainly bring thee to judgement, for every thought, and word, and action.
Thirdly consider this, that naturally we are so tempered, that if Death come, he shall find his weapons, and strength in us, in eve∣ry man of us, I meane considered naturally. *
But how shall I know whether Death when he commeth, shall find a sting in me or no?
Page 129 I will only give you two tryals, you shall know it thus. First, if thy conscience now sting thee for some approved sinne, if thou repent not, Death will assuredly meet thee with a sting; that ap∣proved sinne of thine will be the sting of death.
Conscience will sting a man either for the act done, or for the approbation of the act, if conscience sting a man, for his approba∣tion of a sinfull qualitie, or for a sinfull course, if a man continue in that course, surely that will be the sting of death to his soule: therefore looke to thy selfe, perhaps thou art convicted of such a sinne, perhaps thy conscience hath so wrought on thee, that it hath stung thee for such a sinne, thou yet approvest thy selfe in it, and thou wilt goe on in thy pride still, in such and such sinnes stil, thou wilt doe so: doe: but know this, that stand thou never so much upon thy resolution, Death will certainly come, and if he find thee in such a sinne against thy conscience, thou hast reserved in thy selfe a sting for Death.
Secondly, a man shall know if Death come with a sting by this * tryall that Solomon giveth us in Eccles. 11. 9. Rejoyce, oh young man in thy youth, and let thy heart cheare thee in the dayes of thy youth, and walke in the wayes of thy heart, and sight of thine eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring thee to judgement. If thou live a vo∣luptuous life, Death will certainly come with a sting. Dives, hee lived a voluptuous life, had he not a sting for it? So others in Scripture, did not their plentifull tables, and voluptuous courses bring a sting on them? A voluptuous life makes a sting for Death. When a poore wretch is a dying, and shall begin to reflect backe on his life, what have I done? how have I lived? so much time I have spent, or mispent inapparell, in vanitie, in eating, in drink∣ing, in swaggering; What comfort is this to his soule? how can he answer this before God? this is the very thing that will sting him at such a day, when he can reade nothing in his life, but bar∣rennesse, and unfruitfulnesse, nothing that hath honoured God in all his life. Certainly, my brethren, if there be an Epicurious, voluptuous life, this life will provide a sting for Death.
Alas you will say, Is it so, then we may feare that Death will seize on us thus, for we confesse, we have gone on in a voluptu∣ous life, gone on in sinne, that our conscience hath condemned us for, how shall we doe to pull out this sting?
I would to God you were thus affected, that you were convicted, what a fearfull thing it will be, if sinne remaine. But wouldest thou have the sting of death pulled out before death come?
1. How shall I disarme it, that I may looke death in the face with comfort?
I shall give you some wayes and meanes, remember them, and * practise them.
Page 140 First, get but a part in Christ, and the sting of death is gone: *thankes bee to God (saith the Apostle here) that hath given us victo∣ry, through our Lord Iesus Christ. It is he that in the Revelation is said to have the keyes of Hell, and of Death: they are under his com∣mand and subjection, he is victorious over them, hee hath van∣quished them, so that if a man have Christ, he hath victorie and power over Hell and Death. I told you in the beginning, that that which giveth a sting to Death, is the guilt of sinne: It is so, and it is a fearfull sting: Now that which takes away the guilt of sinne, is Christ. If Christ be mine, I have enovgh to answer the guilt of sinne. Therefore the Apostle saith, Death cannot separate*from the love of God in Christ; What shall then? Indeed nothing, it is not the guilt of his sinnes, Christ hath satisfied from them. So that if thou wilt have the sting of death out, get faith in Christ: if thou be not hidden in the clefts of that Rock, in the bloud of Christ, if Christ be not thy Justification, and thy righteousnesse, what hast thou to answer the Justice of God? you must die, and stand before God, and how can you stand before God in your sinnes? you cannot without Christ, why doe you not then studie more for Christ? Why doe you not labour for faith in him? It will be your wisedome to labour earnestly to make sure of him, if you have him, the sting of death is gone. Death cannot hurt a person that hath Christ. Get faith in Christ therefore, that is the first.
Secondly, if you would not have Death terrible, and fearfull * to you: labour for sincerity. My brethren, it is a marvellous thing, and yet the truth, uprightnesse, and sincerity of heart, it is an ena∣bling grace. All the particular things that we account particular, otherwise they have not an inabling vertue in them. Some per∣sons have a great deale of learning and wit, and many friends, much riches, and the like; yet there commeth an occasion some∣times that puzzleth all these, there commeth an occasion some∣time, that a mans learning is of no use, and naturall parts and wit cannot helpe, and riches cannot inable him. What time is that? The time of death, the heart of a man is put to it at such a time, and now these shrinke, nothing can inable a man against feare so much, as sincerity and uprightnesse. When the Prophet Isaiah, told He∣zekiah from God, that he must die, he flieth to this, Lord remember*how I have walked before thee with an upright heart, and done that which was good in thy sight. When Death commeth to a wicked volup∣tuous person, and telleth him, I am here come for thee, thou must appeare before God, what can this man say? Lord I have lived before thee, a voluptuous, proud, wretched life, I was a scorner of thy Word, a contemner and persecutor of thy people, a swearer, &c. What though perhaps he can say, Lord I have heard so many Sermons, I have beene so much in conference, and the like, will Page 141 this inable a man against the feare of Death? No, nothing but this, that he hath a sincere heart, that his heart is unmixed, that sinne is not affected in his soule, that there is no sinne that hee would live in, no duty that he would not doe, Lord remember that I have walked before thee uprightly; I say, nothing will inable a man more against feare then sinceritie, and nothing disgraceth, per∣plexeth the soule in an exigent more then hypocrisie. It is sin∣ceritie that takes away the sting of Death. The Apostle in Rom. 14. saith he; No man liveth to himselfe, but if hee live, hee liveth*to the Lord; and if hee die, hee dieth to the Lord, whether wee live or die, wee are the Lords. Here is the comfort, wee are the Lords, saith he. How proveth hee that? Wee live unto him: That is the worke of a sincere heart; A true Christian liveth not to himselfe, but to Christ; Now, if thy conscience give thee this testimony, I have lived unto Christ, then whether I live or die, I am the Lords; the Apostle concludeth it. So right is that of Solomon, Riches a∣vaileth not in the day of wrath, but righteousnesse delivereth from death. Thy righteousnesse and sincerity delivereth thee, not from dying, but from death; It takes away the sting and power of Death, Death shall not be death to thee, it is onely a passage to thee. Therefore remember as to get a part in Christ, so to get a perfect, and sincere heart, and then the sting of death is gone. But a hypo∣criticall divided heart, a heart and a heart, that will sting a man. That is the second.
Thirdly, wouldest thou have the sting of death pulled out * now; Then mortifie thy sinnes now, doe it presently. Re∣member what Saint Paul saith (but I thinke hee speakes it in re∣spect of afflictions) I professe by our rejoycing in Christ Iesus, I die*daily, If it be meant of afflictions, yet it should be verified of us in respect of sinne, die daily to sinne, and then the sting of death is gone. Oh beloved, our condition will be sad, and discomforta∣ble, when at once we must enter into the field with Death and Sinne; he that dieth daily to Sin, hee hath nothing to doe with Death when it commeth; Death may come to such a party, but it cannot hurt him, he may rest quietly when it commeth. And ob∣serve it, so much sinne as thou now sparest so much sting thou re∣servest for Death, and is it not folly in a man to spare sinne that giveth a sting to Death?
But now, as a man is to crucifie every sinne, (let me put in this caution, and remember this advise) As the sting of every sin is to be pulled out, so pull out especially the sting of that Sin, that now stingeth thy conscience, that now lieth upon thy conscience; for if it worke now, it will worke fearfully at death: Death doth not lessen the work of sin, but inrageth it; God wil then present and set thy sins in orderbefore thee: perhaps God hath brought thee here to Page 132 day to heare this Word; getthee home, and set thy soule in order. The love of Sin, and the feare of Death, seldome pa•…t, and where Sinne is much loved, Death will there be much feared, Death is never more terrible, then where sin is most delighted in. There∣fore crucifie sinne, if thou wilt have the sting of death taken away. It may be thou thinkest it is a troublesome worke: but remember, that those sinnes which thou now so much delightest in, and lo∣vest, and livest in, will then prove the sting of death to thee. If a man would spend his time in the mortification of sinne, when death commeth, he should have nothing to doe, but to let his soule loose to God, and to give it up to him, as into the hands of his most faithfull Creatour and Redeemer. And is it not an excellent thing for a man to have nothing to doe with Death when it commeth?
Lastly, here is a use of comfort. If it hath pleased God to give any of us the grace to pull out the sting of death, it is a great com∣fort. *
But Death is approching, you will say.
Oh, but Death is disarmed, the sting of it is taken away, what a singular comfort is it then to you that Death is comming? In∣deed all the comfort that the soule is capable of is this, that the sting of death is tooke away? Now when Death commeth upon such a man, it doth but free him from all that state of miserie hee is in here, from all that extremitie of condition that he is put into, from all those diversities of occasions, pressing occasions, of tum∣bling about in the world, Death doth but put an end to all.
And (which is an excellent comfort to a Christian) Sin is en∣ded with Death: what afflicteth the soule of a Christian, but that hee carrieth about him a body of sinne, and of death? This was a trouble to Saint Paul, and is to every true Christian: Now, when Death commeth, there is an end of this Body of sinne, thou shalt never sinne more, thou shalt never grieve the Spirit of God more, thou shalt never be clogged with such imperfections, and infirmi∣ties in dutie: that death, that commeth to thee, shall passe thee, to the fruition of eternall glory, and what canst thou desire more, then to be happy in eternall glory with God?