28 NOVEMBER (PREACHED CHRISTMAS MORNING 1769)
Precious is the death of his saints
‘And Jacob called unto his sons and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.’ Genesis 49:1
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Genesis 48:1–49:2
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints; the season and every circumstance is under the appointment of his wisdom and love. Our times are in his hands and to him we may cheerfully refer them. Some have an early dismission and perhaps are suddenly called away. These escape many a trouble and pain, and when the state is safe, and we are firmly assured of his interest in the covenant, we might be ready to say, if we think only of ourselves, ‘May this be my lot’. But they likewise are highly honoured, who, after having borne testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of God in the sense of a long life, are enabled to administer to the edification and comfort of others in their dying moments. The sun in his noonday height does not behold a more glorious spectacle than that of an aged believer, strengthened in the close of life to declare his own full assurance of faith, and, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, advising and blessing his family and surrounding friends, and commending them with his latest breath to the care and keeping of his God and their God—which was good old Jacob’s deathbed scene. In the presence of his children and dependants he expressed the confidence with which he waited for the Lord’s salvation. And being endued not only with the Spirit of grace but of prophecy, he delivered in a few comprehensive words the future history of the twelve tribes.
FOR MEDITATION: Mr Webb is gone—fully ripe I doubt not, like a shock of corn in due season. I knew him chiefly as a Christian; as such I thought him eminent, solid, humble, spiritual, peaceful in himself, and of course a friend of peace. Grace reigned in his heart, and out of the abundance of his heart his mouth spoke. In his last illness he did not speak of any remarkable consolations, but expressed an edifying, encouraging example of a calm, unshaken confidence in Jesus Christ crucified, as the alone and sufficient ground of his hope. I have lost for a season a valuable friend, but I hope by and by to see him again. Blessed are the dead who die thus in the Lord, they rest from their labours and conflicts, and are now before the throne.324
SERMON: GENESIS 49:10–12 [1/3] [ALSO PREACHED CHRISTMAS 1780]