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ness suitable to its nature and desires. To Him, therefore, the believer looks, and goes ; not merely by necessity, but out of choice and inclination ; saying with the Psalınist, “ Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” (Ps. cxvi. 7.) This matter being settled, he walks through the valley of the shadow of death and fears nothing; and when he feels all other props sliding away, the vital band untying, and the soul just ready to take its flight, he renews and confirms the grand consignment, saying (and dying as he says it),“ Into thine hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.'
And this brings us to the next general head, viz. to inquire,
II. What encouragement a dying saint hath to commit his spirit to God.
And I shall confine myself to that which is sugu gested in the latter clause of the text: “ Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth,"
O Lord God of truth,” In these few words the believer finds many encouraging considerations. To instance only in love, power, and faithfulness,
“ Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” (1 John iv. 10) “ Forasmuch as ye know that ye are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, from your vain con. versation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1. 18.) Surely nothing but love, wonderful, matchless, dis vinc jove, could prompt to such an expensive
method of redeeming us.—Why did he “ quicken us when we were dead in trespasses and sins ?” because he loved us.- Why did he “raịse us up together, and make us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ?” because he loved us.- Why did he 6 send down the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, teaching us to call him Father,” and to work in us a child-like love, fear, subjection, and conformity? because he loved us.- Why hath he provided such a glorious inheritance, and kindled in us such strong desires after it, and lively hopes of it; and more than once taken us up to mount Pisgah, and given us a distant view of the promised land; and even sent us a cluster from Eshcol, as an earnest and first-fruit of what we should have hereafter ?-why, indeed, but because he loved us? and will not He that loved us first, and loved us so much, and loved us so far, love us to the end ? “ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Warmed with the recollection of such amazing and divine love, and not doubting but it will operate at least as powerfully in the other world as it hath done in this, the believer determines to trust his all there; and with his last breath cries, Gracious Redeemer into thine hạnd I commit my spirit.
" For ye
And this is another motive to our consigning our spirits to God; because they are his already: they were his by creation ; hence his claim : “ All souls are mine." (Ezek. xii. 4.) But he hath a stronger and more endearing claim by purchase : are not your own, for ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are his.” (1 Cor. vi. 19.) And, to put it beyond all dispute, it is confirmed by solemn compact : Yea, I sware unto thee, and thou becamest mine.” (Ezek. xvi. 8.) We are many times ready to wonder what the Lord, the most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth, could see in such depraved and loathsome wretches to attract his notice--especially to attract his love; and, more still, to prompt him to purchase us at the expense of heaven's choicest treasure. But that declaration of Jehovah, in the 21st verse of the 43d of Isaiah, gives us the reason of it: “ This people have. I formed for myself: they shall shew forth my praise." The believer pleads this, and prays, “Lord, I am thine: save me. From the day that I became thine, I date my life and blessedness. :O Lord, I am thy servant, truly I am thy servant: thou hast loosed my bonds. I glory in my subjection to thee. I would not be disowned by thee, or disa missed from thy service, for a thousand worlds. It is indeed but little that I have done for thee in this world, but I hope to serve thee better in the next : for wheresoever I live, and as long as I live, I am bound to live to thee: therefore, Lord of my life; into thine hands I commit my spirit.”
A necessary consideration this, to encourage our trust in God; for love without power is ineffectual, and power without love is feeble consolation : but Love Omnipotent is invincible and animating: nothing can stand before it. Christians, you have found it so. When you were dead in trespasses and sins, he only looked upon you, and said unto you, Live,” and your souls revived, and you 56 walked before him in newness of life.” When your souls were so deeply infected with the leprosy of sin, that, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, there was no soundness in you, he only said, “ I will ; be thou clean,” and instantly, your sins, which were as scarlet, became white as snow; and those which were red like crimson, became as wool. When you were tossed on the sea of trouble, and all his waves and his billows were going over you, and every refuge failed, and hope seemed as the giving up of the ghost; he came to you, walking upon the waters, and only said, “ Peace, be still,” and presently the storm ceased, and from the most imminent danger, from the very jaws of death, you found yourselves all at once safe and happy on shore.--Indeed, it hath never been known, nor heard, that “the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth,” ever fainted or was weary. The dying saint recollects all the proofs he has upon record of God's wonder-working power, and cries, “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep whatever I shall commit unto him. He that hath redeemed me from sin and Satan, can redeem me from death and hell: and therefore, Lord God Al. mighty, into thine hand I commit my spirit.”
He is here characterised as the “ God of truth :" so that, if he hath once promised to take care of our souls, we may safely trust them in bis hand : for it is impossible for God to lie. " Sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than the least jot or tittle of his word pass unfulfilled.” Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie: there is no dependence on any of them: they promise fair; but if we trust them they prove broken reeds, and fail us most when we lean hardest upon them, and stand most in need of their assistance. But the portion of Jacob is not like unto them: “ He is not a man that he should live; nor the Son of man, that he should repent.” " Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments.” (Deut. vii. 9.)
Here, therefore, the believer finds firm footing for faith and hope. He thinks within himself ; " Have I ever found him slack concerning his promise? It is his own rule, He.that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much.' Better than his word he hath often been, but worse than his word never, and why should I suspect him now? I ought not, I will not. In God have I put my trust, and in his word do I hope. 'lle hath been with me in six troubles, yea also in seven.' He hath promised that he will never leave me nor forsake me ;' and I believe him. I am sure he will be as good as his word : and therefore, · Into thine hand I commit my spirit; for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth."