That through death he might destroy him
that had the power of death. (Hebrews 2:14)
O child of God, death has lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Spirit that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of your Redeemer’s death, you may be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the Cross of Calvary allows you to think of death with pleasure and welcome it, when it comes, with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord; it is a covenant blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment; it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home—a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched on the deep. How long will its voyage be? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail before it will be reefed in the port of peace? How long will that soul be tossed on the waves before it comes to that sea that knows no storm? Listen to the answer, “Absent from the body, and…present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). The ship has just departed, but it is already at its haven. It spread its sail, and it was there. Like that ship of old, on the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but when Jesus walked on the sea to them and said, “It is I; be not afraid” (John 6:20), immediately the ship came to land. Do not think that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth, they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not on the road even for an instant. Then, O child of God, what is there for you to fear in death, seeing that, through the death of your Lord, its curse and sting are destroyed? Now it is but a Jacob’s ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but whose top reaches to everlasting glory.
Fight the LORD’S battles. (1 Samuel 18:17)
The sacramental host of God’s elect is warring still on earth, and Jesus Christ is the Captain of their salvation. He has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Listen to the shouts of war! Now let the people of God stand fast in their ranks, and let no man’s heart fail him. It is true that just now in England the battle is turned against us, and unless the Lord Jesus lifts His sword, we do not know what may become of the church of God in this land. But let us be of good courage and act like men. There never was a day when Protestantism seemed to tremble more in the scales than now that a fierce effort is being made to restore the antichrist to his ancient seat. We greatly need a bold voice and a strong hand to preach and publish the old Gospel for which martyrs bled and confessors died. The Savior is, by His Spirit, still on earth; let this truth encourage us. He is always in the midst of the fight; therefore, the results of the battle are not in doubt. And as the conflict rages, what a sweet satisfaction it is to know that the Lord Jesus, in His office as our great Intercessor, is powerfully interceding for His people! O anxious gazer, do not look so much at the battle below, for there you will be enshrouded in smoke and amazed with garments rolled in blood. Instead, lift your eyes yonder where the Savior lives and pleads, for while He intercedes, the cause of God is safe. Let us fight as if it all depended on us, but let us look up and know that it all depends on Him. Now, by the lilies of Christian purity, by the roses of the Savior’s atonement, and “by the roes, and by the hinds of the field” (Song 2:7), we charge you who are lovers of Jesus to do valiantly in the holy war, for truth and righteousness, for the kingdom and crown jewels of your Master. Onward!
For the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
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