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But what gain can it be to die if there is no future ftate? If a man is not in existence when he leaves this world, the idea of gain is entirely loft. Whatever be our fi uation in life, we have fome enjoyments, and when we die hefe muft be given up; but if there is nothing to counterbalance this lufs, if there is not fomething fuperior to be obtained, death could not be gain, but a difadvantage. To be with Chrift is far better than any thing here, and this is the felicity the faint enjoys as foon as he leaves this world. The body returns to the duft, but the fpirit goes immedia tely to God who gave it. It was faid to the penitent thief, "This day "fhalt thou be with me in paradife." Chriftian ty, in this refpect, has the advantage of every other fyftem. Probability of future happiness is the very utmost of w'aat philofophy can pretend to give; but the Gospel realizes future glory even while we are in this world, and removes all fears from the mind refpecting the certainty of atual poffeffion. "Faith is the fubftance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not feen."

If death is gain, the future world must be better than this. If a man leaves one country to go to another, if he does not obtain fome advantages by his removal, he gains nothing. In the prefent ftate, there is much difference among the inhabitants of the world in point of poffeffi on and enjoyment. Providence fmiles upon fome who are raised. to the highest pitch of earthly happiness; while others have to encounter complicated mifery in every poffible form: even among good mer there is this difference, for it is of thefe alone we speak. But whatever be their circumstances, they have to die; death is common to the happy and the miferable, in the palace and the cottage; but if a man dies a happy death, though he was here in the very highest degree of worldly greatnefs, and if to this be added all the felicity of religion itself, with the highest attainments and enjoyments in it, death will be gain even to him above all calculation or computation. A man must have a very poor idea of Heaven who conceives of it only as being on a level with human blifs. Indeed, its grandeur, and the various fcenes which conftitute its felicity, are generally reprefented to us by figures taken from worldly things, fuch as kingdoms, poffeffions, and whatever is great and glorious among men; but these images are in conformity to our grovelling conceptions. We are incapable, in our prefent ftate, of forming ideas of things purely Ipiritual and heavenly. But, furely, it is no great ftretch of thought to imagine that Heaven is better than any thing here, either as a place or as a ftate. Recall to mind any


pla ze of which you have read, let all the excellencies of that place be prefented to full view, and compare thefe with H aven, and how great will be the difference! Paradife," with all its spreading trees, its winding rivers, its flowery an eads, and bending walks, claims the preference of any

her. Here was not only the top of worldly blifs in the beauties and productions of nature, but innocence fipped ne draught, and the fmiles of Deity bleffed the enjoyment. But the foil of Paradife was grofs, its productions were from the earth, the bodies of the inhabitants were of the earth, earthy, their delights were chiefly fenfual, and what rendered Adam's garden fo much inferior to Heaven was, danger dwelt therein, and there was a poffibility of lofing all. After this, I need not mention Canaan, Pifgah, or even the Mount of Transfiguration.

As a state Heaven infinitely exceeds. Thofe with which it is most worthy to be compared, are the Gospel state, a ftate of grace, and that in which the Church will be, in the time of the latter day glory. The former things are done away, and behold new things are created. The difpenfation, attended with pomp that charmed the eyes, is fucceeded by a folid and fpiritual glory which far excells. A faint of the Old Teftament had, perhaps, fuch views of the Gospel state as we have of Heaven; for his means of underftanding them were much the fame, by predictions and 1 figures. But what believer at that period would not have died to obtain a full view and feeling of what the Gospel affords, and thought he would have gained much by the change? We enjoy all this felicity. "Bleffed are your eyes," &c. but what is all this to Heaven? The progrefs of religion is like the scale of gradation in the creation, the higher you advance, the more refined and excellent is the fcene, till you arrive at the third Heavens, the fummit of all perfection. A ftate of grace is Heaven begun, but in Heaven the bud will be full blown. In this wintry state, the fap is in the root; the tree is alive, but, alas! how unpleafant is the fight! It ftands its ground indeed, and the branches point towards Heaven, but where is its foliage and fpreading beauty? But it fhall be tranfplanted. Its native foil is Heaven: "there everlasting spring abides." In these happy regions it fhall flourish in eternal bloom. There is time to come infinitely preferable to any thing which has een.. In the latter day the Chriftian state will be at its ighe ft pitch. Who would not feel the pain of dying a ouf. and times over, and all the fenfibility of feparation om: Jl the dearest friends upon earth, to fee the Church

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in this moft bleffed ftate? And yet, after all, it will be in this world. Even at that time death will be gain, yea, infinite gain to a believer.

In any enterprize, it is defirable, if poffible, to ascertain how much will be gained thereby; because views of advan tage fweeten labour, and fmooth the rugged paths of diffi culty. But in all human pursuits this is next to impoffible. Difappointments are unforeseen, and schemes the best laid, and the moft vigorously profecuted, may prove unfuccefsful. In the gain of death, indeed, the mind labours under fome difficulties, but thefe difficulties are not such as arise from fears of difappointment, if we are certain we belong to God; nor about the degree of it, but because we cannot comprehend the whole of it, nor fpeak of all its extent of excellency. Yet we may be certain of fome parts of it, and this will encourage our minds till we obtain the full poffeffion.

At death the Chriftian gains his wifhes in their full extent: He has long defired to depart. However agreeable his fituation and connexions are, he would not live always. A perfon whofe concerns oblige him to live for fome time in a foreign country, among ftrangers, often thinks of his native place, and anticipates the happy time when he shall embrace his friends, and be filled with their company. His mind is reconciled to a further continuance in fome measure, because it is neceffary to accomplish the object of his voyage; but even to fuggeft an idea of remaining there would give him fenfible pain. Having finished his work, and freighted his veffel, with what pleasure would he bend his course to his native fhores!" Now, Lord, what wait I "for? my hope is in thee."

A faint by death gains a complete release from every enemy, and from all evil. The day when he drops his mortal body will be the day of his emancipation. In this tabernacle he groans earnestly, defiring to be clothed with the robe of celeftial glory, when all the causes of his prefent grief will be finally removed. The body will then lofe all its infirmities. The pains which it has felt, and the fickneffes to which it is expofed, will for ever flee away. If we were in prifon, as many good men have been, and expecting the fiery trial every day, this thought would be peculiarly comfortable. But what is more, death will be our grand release from fin. When the walls are taken down the leprofy will be totally removed. Of this evil we have most reafon to complain. It is ever active and inceffant in its operations. Being an enemy within, it has many advan

tages which are always improved against the peace of the foul. But then the war fhall ceafe: God fhall bruise Satan under our feet; with the last enemy we fhall be freed from our worst enemy, from whom we fhall find no further moleftation for ever.

Death will be found to be gain in a comparifon of profit and lofs. Properly fpeaking, gain is a word of trade. To afcertain it, the merchant cafts up his accounts; and what refults from a fair comparison of profit and lofs, he calls gain. This idea may be applied here. The Chriftian certainly lofes fomething by dying, yea, many things which have been highly pleafing and profitable. He will lofe the company of his friends, which he has often found fo edifying to him. It is not without fenfible pain that he takes his laft farewel of the men who were his delight. But he gains more, for he is introduced into the company of all the redeemed: He fits down with Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob. The fpirits of just men made perfect, are his companions; and he is with Chrift, which is far better. If he lofes the opportunities of prayer, and other religious worship on earth, it is because he will now have no further need of them; and furely this lofs will be much more than counterbalanced by the enjoyment of the Divine prefence, and fellowship in the praifes of heaven. Whatever he lofes upon earth he fhall gain in heaven an hundred fold, yea, everlasting life.

The gain of death cannot be fully afcertained while we continue in these tenements of clay. We are neither ca pable of comprehending, nor defcribing it. "Eye hath not feen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God has laid up for them that love him." We now labour to attain as much of it as we can, both in knowledge and poffeffion; but we fall infinitely fhort. If ever we arrive in the heavenly glory, we shall have in perfection what now the holieft and beft have only in part. Our knowledge, which is now attained with un-. wearied application, and is at beft limited in its objects, and very inadequate in degrees; will then be perfect. Then fhall we know even as we are known. Holiness will attain its highest excellency. Being in the prefence of God we fhall be fully affimilated into his likeness. No impure thought, unholy expreffion, or unfanctified action shall ever difturb our felicity. Our zeal will be unclogged, and our love flame in all its ardour. The godly man in his progrefs leaves the ftorm behind. Every ftep he takes brightens hist › VOL. I.

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profpect. At the end of the dark valley, the light and glory of the celeftial hills chear his foul. He enters into rest: all his wishes are now attained, and his happiness shall be eternal.




'Ship Belleraphon, Mediterranean, Sept. 14, 1798.


HAVE now, with pleasure, taken up my pen to inform you of the Lord's goodnefs in faving my life, when fo many of my fellow-creatures have fell by the enemy's fhot. I fuppofe, before this time, you have heard of the engage ment between the English and French fleets off Alexandria (Egypt). I fent to you from Syracufe, the 20th of July laft, which letter I hope you have got, and now I wish to inform you of the Lord's mercy to me.

We left Syracufe harbour, July the 25th, after getting wine, water, and bullocks, for the fleet, and went again in search of the enemy, the 20th July. The 23d we received intelligence that they were seen off Alexandria, unto which place our fleet immediately failed, and on the 1ft of Auguft made the land of Egypt. At three o'clock in the afternoon we faw them at anchor and in order of battle, being 13 fail of the line and four frigates. Our Admiral made the figual to prepare for battle at anchor, and our fhip cleared for action. At a quarter paft fix o'clock beat to quarters; the enemy at this time hoifted their colours. At half past fix began to engage, and foon after the van fhip of the enemy's line was difmafted, our ships ftill engaging as they run down their line. At feven o'clock we let go our anchor alongfide, and came within half piftol shot of the L'Orient of 128 guns, the French Admiral's ship. Now a very heavy fire commenced between that hip and ours, they firing prodigious quantities of grape and mufquetry fhot, which wounded and deftroyed a great number of our men. Now our main and mizen maits were fhot away. At nine o'clock our antagonist began to fiacken his fire, which encouraged us to double ours upon them, though a force fo greatly fuperior. to us. At this time our Captain and Mafter were both

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