The happinesse of those who sleep in Jesus, or, The benefit that comes to the dead bodies of the saints even while they are in the grave, sleeping in Jesus delivered in a sermon preached at the funeral of ... Lady Anne Waller, at the new church in Westminst[er], Oct. 31, 1661 : together with the testimony then given unto her
Calamy, Edmund, 1600-1666.

Doctrine 1.

That the death of a Child of God is nothing else but a quiet, com∣fortable, and happy sleep.

For the understanding of this I shall answer to three Que∣stions.

Quest. 1. What part of a Child of God is it that sleepeth when he dieth?

Ans. There are some who say, That the soul sleepeth as well as the body, and that when a man dies both Body and Soul lye asleep till the Resurrection. And this they prove from the example of Stephen,* because it is said of him, That he fell asleep. But still the question is, What part of Stephen fell asleep? Not his Soul: For he commends that into the hands of Christ; Lord Iesus receive my Spirit. And he saw the heavens opened, and the Son of Man stand∣ing on the right hand of God ready to receive his Soul immediatly. It was the Body of Stephen fell asleep, but his Soul was presently received by the Lord Jesus into heaven. When a man dies, his body returns to dust from whence it came, but the soul returns to God who gave it,*either to be judged to everlasting happiness, or everlasting misery. Indeed, In one sence the soul may be said at death to fall asleep, that is, It is at rest in Abrahams bosome: But it is not asleep in the Anabaptistical and Socinian sence, so as to lie in a dead Apoplexy or Lethargy▪ neither capable of joy or sorrow, of happi∣ness or misery till the Resurrection. This is a most uncomfortable and unscriptural opinion.

When St. Paul desires to be dissolved and to be with Christ, he doth not desire to lye asleep till the Resurrection, and neither to see, know, or enjoy Christ, but to be made happy with him, and by him.

When Christ promised to the penitent Thief, * That that day he should be with him in Paradice; his meaning was, That he should enjoy unspeakable pleasures with him. Thence the Jews write upon the graves of their dead friends, Let their souls be Page  4 gathered in the Garden of Eden, Amen, Amen, Amen. Selah.

The Souls under the Altar, of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the Testimony which they held, are not in a dull Lethargy without sence or understanding, but cry with a loud voice,*How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our bloud on them that dwell on the earth, &c.

The Souls of just men made perfect in heaven are not asleep, * but enjoy Coelestial felicity. And the soul of Lazarus was immedi∣ately upon his death received into Abrahams bosome, and filled full of consolation.

Polycarpe,* that ancient and stout Champion of Jesus Christ, when he was at the Stake, amongst many other excellent words which he uttered, this was one, That his soul should that very day be represented before God in heaven.

The truth is, This opinion of the Soul-sleepers is as pernicious as the opinion of those who say, That the Soul dies with the Bo∣dy, and riseth with the Body. For this sleep must be either Na∣tural, or Metaphorical; Of the first the Soul is not capable, and the second is nothing else but Death it self. * Therefore Calvin, in his Book written on purpose against these Hypnologists, saith excellently, They that say, that the soul lives when out of the body, and yet deprive it of all sense and understanding,*do feign to themselves a Soul which hath nothing of a Soul in it, and divorce the Soul it self from it self: For the nature of the Soul, without which it cannot any way consist, is to have motion, sence, and understanding. And as Ter∣tullian saith, That Sence is the very soul of the Soul. So much in answer to the first question.

Quest. 2. Is not the death of a wicked man called a sleep as well as the death of a Saint?

Answ. This cannot be denied. It is said of Baasha, Omri, and Ieroboam, who were three wicked Kings, that they slept with their Fathers. But then I answer:

1. That this is but very seldome used.

2. That the death of an ungodly man, though it be a sleep, yet it is not a quiet, and comfortable, but a disquietting and terrify∣ing sleep. As Nebuchadnezzar was much troubled in his sleep, and, as many sick men have very unquiet sleeps, so as they are more sick when they awake than before they slept, so is it with a wicked man. Both good and bad (saith St. Austin) sleep at death; Page  5 But it fares with them as with those who dream in their sleeps: *Some dream of things delightful, and are comforted: Some of terrifying things, insomuch as when they awake they are afraid to sleep again, left their terrifying dreams should return. So (saith he) every man sleeps at death according to the condition of the life he hath led, and ac∣cordingly riseth and is judged. The Souls of good and bad at death have different receptacles; The good have joy and happiness: The wicked, misery and torment. The Soul of the wicked goeth imme∣diately to Hell, where it hath little list to sleep, and his body lieth asleep in the grave. But how? Even as a Malefactor that sleeps in Prison the night before he is executed, but when he awakes he is hurried and dragged to execution. So the wicked man falls asleep at death, but when he awakes, he awakes to everlasting damnati∣on. But a Child of God, when he sleeps the sleep of death, he sleeps in the arms of his Eldest Brother, and when he awakes, he awakes unto everlasting happiness.

Quest. 3. In what particulars may the death of a Child of God be compared to sleep?

Answ. I have already in a Sermon printed (without my knowledge) given thirteen resemblances between death and sleep, and therefore must of necessity here omit them lest I should seem actum agere. At the present I shall only mention these two.

1. The death of a Child of God is called a sleep, *because he is thereby layed to rest. The Scripture calls their graves, their beds of rest. And the Apostle tells us, That they which dye in the Lord rest from all their labours. They are at rest from all corporal and spiritual evills.

First, From all corporal evills.

1. From all sicknesses, diseases, pains, and all other bodily in∣firmities. * Death is that great Physitian which will cure Gods peo∣ple of all diseases at once, and for ever. Thus the blind and lame man said one to the other at the Stake: *Bishop Bonner will cure thee and me this day.*

2. From all worldly griefe and sorrow. For at death all tears shall be wiped from their eyes, and there shall be no more sorrow, Rev. 21.4.

3. From all laborious and painful employments; Martha shall have no more need to complain of Mary, nor shall the Page  6Prophets of God waste their bodies by preaching. Ipsa cessabunt misericordiae spera ubi nulla erit indigentia, nulla miseria.

4. From all the wrongs, injuries, and persecutions of the wicked world. In this life they are mocked, scoffed, and perse∣cuted, but when death comes, they are like a man above in the upper Region, where no winds nor storms can come.

5. From the evils to come upon the wicked world. Thus St. Austin was layed to rest immediately before Hippo was taken by the Vandals. Luther, before the Wars brake out in Germany, and Paraeus before Heidleburgh was sack'd by the Spaniards.

Secondly, From all spiritual evils.

1. From the hurt of the Devil and his temptations. Death puts them above his reach, so as he shall not be able to hurle one fiery dart any longer at them.

2. From evil company, and evil examples. In this life the Wheat are mingled with Chaff and Tares, and cannot but hear the name of the Great God blasphemed and dishonoured, which is a great vexation to them, * as it was to Lot in Sodom. But at death they shall be separated from all chaff and tares, and shall never hear God dishonoured any more.

3. From Divine desertions. In this life God many times withdraweth the light of his countenance from his sinning Chil∣dren, which is more terrible to them than death it self: For if his loving kindness is better than life,* then his frowns are worse than death. But after death the light of Gods countenance shall shine perpetually upon them, and never admit either of a cloud, or Eclipse.

4. From the very being and existence of sin. The death of the body frees them perfectly from the body of death. Death drieth up the bloudy issue of sin, * root and branch. As sin at first begat and brought forth death, so death at last destroyes sin, as the worm kills the tree that bred it. Therefore St. Austin saith, Plus resti∣tuitur quam amittitur. More is restored to a Child of God than he lost in Adam: For Adam had only a power not to sin, but he by death hath an impossibility of sinning. Sin was Obstetrix mortis, a Midwife to bring death into the World, * and death is Sepulchrum peccati, a Sepulchre to bury sin in. Insomuch as death is now become not so much the death of the man, as of his sin and misery.

Page  7Hence it is that our burying places are called by the Greeks Dormitories,* or sleeping-places, and by the Hebrews, The houses of the living.

2. The death of a Child of God is called a sleep, propter spem resurrectionis. To intimate unto us the assurance of a Resurre∣ction. * Thus Christ saith of Lazarus, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. Death is nothing else (saith St. Chrysostome) but a temporary sleep.* Sleep is a short death, and death a longer sleep. As he that goeth to sleep, sleeps but for a certain time, and awakes in the morning out of sleep: So he that sleeps the sleep of death, when the Trump of God shall found, shall awake, & arise out of his grave as out of his bed in the morn∣ing of the Resurrection: St. Austin saith, That the Scripture saith of those that are dead, that they are but asleep, because of the cer∣tain hope of a Resurrection, by which they shall speedily be awakened from the sleep of death, and raised out of their Sepulchres as out of their beds. Hence it hath formerly been, and still is a godly cu∣stom amongst Christians when any of their religious friends die, to say of them, They are not dead, but Obdormint in Domino, They are asleep in the Lord. And this they do for the comfort of their Relations, and to create in them a contempt of this present life, and a sure and certain hope of a Resurrection unto life everlasting.

Before I make use of this, I shall speak something to the se∣cond Doctrine.