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n^HIS sermon teas, by sacred authority, styled the author's own funeral sermon, most fitly, whether we respect the time or matter. It was preached not many days before his death, as if, having done this, there remained nothing for him to do but to die: and the matter is of death— the occasion and subject of all funeral sermons. It hath been observed of this reverend man, that his faculty in preaching continually increased, and that, as he exceeded others at first, so at last he exceeded himself. This is his last sermon; I will not say it is therefore his best, because all his were excellent. Yet thus much: a dying man's words, if they concern ourselves, do usually make the deepest impression, as being spoken most feelingly, and with least affectation. Now, whom doth it concern to learn both the danger and benefit of death? Death is every man's enemy, and intends hurt to all, though to many he be occasion of greatest goods. This enemy we must all combat dying, whom he living did almost conquer, having discovered the utmost of his power, the utmost of his cruelty. May we make such use of this and other the like preparatives, that neither death, whensoever it shall come, may seem terrible, nor life tedious, how long soever it shall last.
Psalm I.xviii. 20, in fine.
And unto God the Lord belong the issues of death, i. e.
BUILDINGS stand by the benefit of their foundations that sustain and support them, and of their buttresses that comprehend and embrace them, and of their contignations that knit and unite them. The foundations suffer them not to sink, the buttresses suffer them not to swerve, and the contignation and knitting suffers them not to cleave. The body of our building is in the former part of this verse. It is this: He that is our God is the God of salvation and salutes; of salvation in the plural, so it is in the original; the God that gives us spiritual and temporal salvation too. But of this building, the foundation, the buttresses, the contignations, are in this part of the verse which constitutes our text, and in the three divers acceptations of the words amongst our expositors. Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death, for, first, the foundation of this building (that our God is the God of all salvation) is laid in this, that unto this God the Lord belong the issues of death; that is, it is in his power to give us an issue and deliverance, even then when we are brought to the jaws and teeth of death, and to the lips of that whirlpool the grave. And so in this acceptation, this exitus mortis, this issue of death is liberatio a morte, a deliverance from death, and this is the most obvious and most ordinary acceptation of these words, and that upon which our translation lays hold, the issues from death. And then, secondly, the buttresses that comprehend and settle this building, that he that is our God is the God of all salvation, are thus raised; unto God the Lord belong the issues of death, that is, the disposition and manner of our death; what kind of issue and transmigration we shall have out of this world, whether prepared or sudden, whether violent or natural, whether in our perfect senses or shaken and disordered by sickness, there is no condemnation to be argued out of that, no judgment to be made upon that, for, howsoever they die, precious in his sight is the death of his saints, and with him are the issues of death ; the ways of our departing out of this life are in his hands. And so in this sense of the words, this exitus mortis, the issues of death, is liberatio in morte, a deliverance in death; not that God will deliver us from dying, but that he will have a care of us in the hour of death, of what kind soever our passage be. And in this sense and acceptation of the words, the natural frame and contexture doth well and pregnantly administer unto us. And then, lastly, the contignation and knitting of this building, that he that is our God is the God of all salvations, consists in this, Unto this God the Lord belong the issues of death; that is, that this God the Lord having united and knit both natures in one, and being God, having also come into this world in our flesh, he could have no other means to save us, he could have no other issue out of this world, nor return to his former glory, but by death. And so in this sense, this exitus mortis, this issue of death, is liberatio per mortem, a deliverance by death, by the death of this God our Lord Christ Jesus. And this is Saint Augustine's