Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 36.
( ...continued from File 35)
Sermon 36. The seventh and last Word with which Christ breathed out 
his Soul, illustrated. 
Luke 23: 46. 
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into 
thy hands I commend any spirit; and having said thus, he gave 
up the ghost. 
    These are the last of the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ 
upon the cross, with which he breathed out his soul. They were 
David's words before him, Psal. 31: 5. and for substance, Stephen's 
after him, Acts 7: 27. They are words full, both of faith and 
comfort; fit to be the last breathing of every gracious soul in this 
world. They are resolved into these five particulars: 
    First, The person depositing, or committing: The Lord Jesus 
Christ, who in this, as well as in other things, acted as a common 
person, as the head of the church. This must be remarked carefully, 
for therein lies no small part of a believer's consolation: When 
Christ commends his soul to God, he does as it were bind up all the 
souls of the elect in one bundle with it, and solemnly presents them 
all with his, to his Father's acceptance: To this purpose one aptly 
renders it. 
    "This commendation made by Christ, turns to the singular profit 
and advantage of our souls; inasmuch as Christ, by this very prayer, 
has delivered them into his Father's hand, as a precious treasure, 
whenever the time comes that they are to be loosed from the bodies 
which they now inhabit." Jesus Christ neither lived nor died for 
himself, but for believers; what he did in this very act, refers to 
them as well as to his own soul: You must look therefore upon 
Christ, in it is last and solemn act of his life, as gathering all 
the souls of the elect together, and making a solemn tender of them 
all, with his own soul to God. 
    Secondly, The depository, or person to whom he commits this 
precious treasure, and that was to his own Father: "Father, into thy 
hands I commend my spirit." Father is a sweet encouraging, assuring 
title: Well may a son commit any concernment, how dear soever, into 
the hands of a father, especially such a son into the hands of such 
a father. "By the hands of the Father into which he commits his 
soul, we are not to understand the naked or mere power, but the 
fatherly acceptation and protection of God." 
    Thirdly, The depositum, or thing committed into this hand, [my 
spirit] i.e. my soul, now instantly departing, upon the very point 
of separation from my body. The soul is the most precious of all 
treasures, it is called the darling, Psal. 35: 17. or, "the only 
ones," i.e. that which is most excellent, and therefore most dear 
and precious: A whole world is but a trifle, if weighed, for the 
price of one soul, Mat. 16: 26. This inestimable treasure he now 
commits into his Father's hands. 
    Fourthly, The Act by which he puts it into that faithful hand 
of the Father, "parathesomai", I commend. We rightly render it in 
the present tense, though the word be future: For, with these words 
he breathed out his soul. This word is of the same import with 
"sunhiemi" I present, or tender it into thy hands; It was in Christ 
an act of Faith, a most special and excellent act intended as a 
precedent for all his people. 
    Fifthly, and Lastly, The last thing observable is, the manner 
in which he uttered these words, and that was with a loud voice; he 
spake it that all might hear it, and that his enemies, who judged 
him now destitute and forsaken of God, might be convinced that he 
was not so, but that he was dear to his Father still, and could put 
his soul confidently into his hands: "Father, into thy hands I 
commend my spirit." Talking then these words, not only as spoken by 
Christ, the head of all believers, and so commending their souls to 
God with his own, but also as a pattern, teaching them what they 
ought to do themselves, when they come to die. We observe, 
    Doct. That dying believers are both warranted, and encouraged, 
    by Christ's example, believingly to commend their precious 
    souls into the hands of God. 
    Thus the apostle directs the faith of Christians, to commit 
their souls to God's tuition and fatherly protection, when they are 
either going into prisons, or to the stake for Christ, 1 Pet. 4: 9. 
"Let them (saith he) that suffer according to the will of God, 
commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a 
faithful Creator." 
    This proposition we will consider in these two main branches of 
it, viz. what is implied and carried in the soul's commending itself 
to God by faith, when the time of separation is come. And what 
warrant or encouragement gracious souls have for so doing. 
    First, What is implied in this act of a believer, his 
commending or committing, his soul into the hands of God at death? 
    And if it be thoroughly weighed, you will find these six 
things, at least, carried in it. 
    First, It implies this evidently in it, That the soul outlives 
the body, and fails not, as to its being, when its body fails; it 
feels the house in which it dwelt, dropping into ruins, and looks 
out for a new habitation with God. "Father, into thy hands I commend 
my spirit." The soul understands itself a more noble being than that 
corruptible body, to which it was united, and is now to leave in the 
dust: it understands its relation to the Father of spirits, and from 
him it expects protection and provision in its unbodied state; and 
therefore into his hands it puts itself. If it vanished, or breathed 
into air, and did not survive the body, if it were annihilated at 
death, it were but a mocking of God to say, when we die, "Father, 
into thy hands I commend my spirit." 
    Secondly, It implies the soul's true rest to be in God. See 
which way its motions and tendencies are, not only in life, but in 
death also. It bends to its God: It reposes, it even puts itself 
upon its God and Father; "Father, into thy hands." God is the centre 
of all gracious spirits. While they tabernacle here, they have no 
rest but in the bosom of their God: when they go hence, their 
expectation and earnest desires are to be with him. It had been 
working after God by gracious desires before, it had cast many a 
longing look heaven-ward before; but when the gracious soul comes 
near its God (as it does in a dying hour) "then it even throws 
itself into his arms;" as a river, that after many turnings and 
windings, at last is arrived to the ocean; it pours itself with a 
central force into the bosom of the ocean, and there finishes its 
weary course. "Nothing but God can please it in this world, and 
nothing but God can give it content when it goes hence." It is not 
the amenity of the place, whither the gracious soul is going, but 
the bosom of the blessed God, who dwells there, that it so 
vehemently pants after; not the Father's house, but the Father's 
arms and bosom: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: Whom 
have I in heaven but thee? And on earth there is none that I desire 
in comparison of thee, Psal. 73: 24,25. 
    Thirdly, It also implies the great value believers have for 
their souls. That is the precious treasure; and their main 
solicitude and chief care, is to see it secured in a safe hand: 
"Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit:" They are words speaking 
the believer's care for his soul, that it may be safe, whatever 
becomes of the vile body. A believer when he comes nigh to death, 
spends but few thoughts about his body, where it shall be laid, or 
how it shall be disposed of: He trusts that in the hands of friends; 
but as his great care all along was for his soul, so he expresses it 
in these his very last breathing, in which he commends it into the 
hands of God: It is not, Lord Jesus receive my body, take care of my 
dust, but receive my Spirit: Lord, secure the jewel, when the casket 
is broken. 
    Fourthly, These words imply the deep sense that dying believers 
have of the great change that is coming upon them by death; when all 
visible and sensible things are shrinking away from them, and 
failing. They feel the world and the best comforts of it failing: 
Every creature and creature comfort failing: For, at death we are 
said to fail, Luke 16: 9. Hereupon the soul clasps the closer about 
its God, cleaves more close than ever to him: "Father, into thy 
hands I commend my spirit." Not that a mere necessity puts the soul 
upon God; or that it cleaves to God, because it has then nothing 
else to take hold on: No, it chose God for its portion, when it was 
in the midst of all its outward enjoyments, and had as good security 
as other men have for the long enjoyment of them: but my meaning is, 
that although gracious souls have chosen God for their portion, and 
do truly prefer him to the best of their comforts; yet in this 
compounded state, it lives not wholly upon its God, but partly by 
faith, and partly by sense; partly upon things seen, and partly upon 
things not seen. The creatures had some interest in their hearts; 
alas, too much: but now all these are vanishing, and it sees they 
are so. I shall see man no more, with the inhabitants of the world, 
(said sick Hezekiah;) hereupon it turns itself from them all, and 
casts itself upon God for all its subsistence, expecting now to live 
upon its God entirely, as the blessed angels do; and so, in faith, 
they throw themselves into his arms: "Father, into thy hands I 
commend my spirit." 
    Fifthly, It implies the atonement of God, and his full 
reconciliation to believers, by the blood of the great Sacrifice; 
else they durst never commit their souls into his hands: "For it is 
a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," Heb. 12: 
29. i.e. of an absolute God, a God unatoned by the offering up of 
Christ. The soul dare no more cast itself into the hand of God, 
without such an atoning sacrifice, than it dares approach to a 
consuming fire; And, indeed, the reconciliation of God by Jesus 
Christ, as it is the ground of all our acceptance with God; for we 
are made accepted in the beloved: So it is plainly carried in the 
order or manner of the reconciled soul, committing itself to him: 
For, it first casts itself into the hands of Christ, then into the 
hands of God by him. So Stephen, when dying, "Lord Jesus receive my 
spirit:" And by that hand it would be put into his Father's hands. 
    Sixthly, and lastly, It implies both the efficacy and 
excellency of faith, in supporting and relieving the soul at a time 
when nothing else is able to do it; Faith is its conductor, when it 
is at the greatest loss and distress that ever it met with: it 
secures the soul when it is turned out of the body; when heart and 
flesh fail, this leads it to the rock that fails not: it sticks by 
that soul till it sees it safe through all the territories of Satan, 
and safe landed upon the shore of glory; and then is swallowed up in 
vision: many a favour it has shown the soul while it dwelt in its 
body. The great service it did for the soul was in the time of its 
espousals to Christ. This is the marriage knot, the blessed bond of 
union between the soul and Christ. Many a relieving sight, secret 
and sweet support it has received from its faith since that; but, 
surely, its first and last works are its most glorious works. By 
faith it first ventured itself upon Christ; threw itself upon him in 
the deepest sense of its vileness and utter unworthiness, when 
sense, reason, and multitudes of temptations stood by, contradicting 
and discouraging the soul: by faith it now casts itself into his 
arms, when it is launching out into vast eternity. 
    They are both noble acts of faith; but the first no doubt, is 
the greatest and most difficult: for, when once the soul is 
interested in Christ, it is no such difficulty to commit itself into 
his hands, as when it has no interest at all in him. It is easier 
for a child to cast himself in the arms of his own father, in 
distress, than for one that has been both a stranger and an enemy to 
Christ, to cast itself upon him, that he may be a father and a 
friend to it. 
    And this brings us upon the second enquiry I promised to 
satisfy, viz. 
    Secondly, What warrant or encouragement have gracious souls to 
commit themselves at death into the hands of God? I answer, Much 
every way; all things encourage and warrant its so doing: For, 
    First, This God, to whom the believer commits himself at death, 
is its Creator: the Father of its being; he created and inspired it, 
and so it has the relation of a creature to a Creator: yea, of a 
creature now in distress, to a faithful Creator, 1 Pet. 4: 19. "Let 
them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of 
their souls to him in well doing; as to a [faithful Creator]." It is 
very true, this single relation, in itself, gives little ground of 
encouragement, unless the creature had conserved that integrity in 
which it was originally created. And they that have no more to plead 
with God for acceptance, by their relation to him as creatures to a 
Creator, will doubtless find that word made good to their little 
comfort, Isa. 27: 11. "It is a people of no understanding, therefore 
he that made them, will not have mercy on them; and he that formed 
them, will show them no favour." But now, grace brings that relation 
into repute: holiness ingratiates us again, and revives the 
remembrance of this relation; so that believers only can plead this. 
    Secondly, As the gracious soul is his creature, so it is his 
redeemed creature; one that he has bought, and that with a great 
price, even with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 1: 18. 
This greatly encourages the departing soul, to commit itself into 
the hands of God; so you find, Psal. 31: 5. "Into thy hands do I 
commend my spirit, thou hast redeemed it, O Lord God of truth." 
Surely this is mighty encouragement, to put itself upon God in a 
dying hour. Lord, I am not only thy creature, but thy redeemed 
creature; one that thou hast bought with a great price: O, I have 
cost thee dear! for my sake Christ came from thy bosom, and is it 
imaginable, that after that thou hast in such a costly way, even by 
the expense of the precious blood of Christ, redeemed me, thou 
shouldst at last exclude me? Shall the ends both of creation and 
redemption of this soul be lost together? will God form such an 
excellent creature as my soul is, in which are so many wonders of 
the wisdom and power of its Creator? will he be content, when sin 
has marred the frame, and defaced the glory of it, to recover it to 
him self again, by the death of his own dear Son, and after all 
this, cast it away, as if there were nothing in all this? "Father, 
into thy hands I commend my spirit:" I know thou wilt have a respect 
to the work of thy hands; especially to a redeemed creature, upon 
which thou best expended so great sums of love, which thou hast 
bought at so dear a rate. 
    Thirdly, Nay, that is not all; the gracious soul may 
confidently and securely commit itself into the hands of God, when 
it parts with its body at death; not only because it is his 
creature, his redeemed creature, but because it is his renewed 
creature also: and this lays a firm ground for the believer's 
confidence and acceptance; not that it is the proper cause, or 
reason of its acceptance, but as it is the soul's best evidence, 
that it is accepted with God, and shall not be refused by him, when 
it comes to him at death: for, in such a soul, there is a double 
workmanship of God, both glorious pieces, though the last exceeds in 
glory. A natural workmanship, in the excellent frame of that noble 
creature, the soul; and a gracious workmanship upon that again; a 
new creation upon the old; glory upon glory. "We are his 
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus," Eph. 2: 10. The Holy Ghost 
came down from heaven on purpose to create this new workmanship; to 
frame this new creature; and indeed, it is the top and glory of all 
God's works of wonders in this world; and must needs give the 
believer encouragement to commit itself to God, whether at such a 
time, it shall reflect either upon the end of the work, or upon the 
end of the workman; both which meet in the salvation of the soul so 
wrought upon, the end of the neck is our glory. By this "we are made 
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," 
Col. 1: 12. It is also the design and end of him that wrought it, 2 
Cor. 5: 5. "Now he that has wrought us for the self same thing, is 
God." Had he not designed thy soul for glory, the Spirit should 
never have come upon such a sanctifying design as this: surely it 
shall not fail of a reception into glory, when it is cast out of 
this tabernacle: such a work was not wrought in vain, neither can it 
ever perish: when once sanctification comes upon a soul, it so roots 
itself in the soul, that where the soul goes, it goes; gifts indeed, 
they die: all natural excellency and beauty, that goes away at 
death, Job 4 ult. but grace ascends with the soul; it is a 
sanctified, when a separate sent. And can God shut the door of glory 
upon such a soul, that by trace is made meet for the inheritance? O, 
it cannot be! 
    Fourthly, As the gracious soul is a renewed soul, so it is also 
a sealed soul; God has sealed it in this world for that glory, into 
which it is now to enter at death. All gracious souls are sealed 
objectively, i.e. they have those works of grace wrought on their 
souls which do, (as but now was said,) ascertain and evidence their 
title to glory; and in many are sealed formally; that is, the Spirit 
helps them clearly to discern their interest in Christ, and all the 
promises. This both secures heaven to the soul in itself, and 
becomes also an earnest or pledge of that glory in the unspeakable 
joys and comforts that it produces in the soul: So you find, 2 Cor. 
1: 22. "Who has sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in 
our hearts." God's sealing, us gives his security; his objective 
seal makes it sure in itself, its formal seal makes it so to us. 
but, if over and above all this, he will please, as a fruit of that 
his sealing, to give us those heavenly inexpressible joys and 
comforts which are the fruit of his formal sealing-work, to be an 
earnest, a foretaste and hansel of that glory, how can the soul that 
has found all this, fear in the least at a rejection by its God, 
when at death it comes to him? Surely, if God have sealed, he will 
not refuse you; if he have given his earnest, he will not shut you 
out; God's earnest is not given in jest. 
    Fifthly, Moreover, every gracious soul may confidently cast 
itself into the arms of its God, when it goes hence, with "Father, 
into thy hands I commit my spirit." Forasmuch as every gracious 
soul; is a soul in covenant with God; and God stands obliged by his 
covenant and promise to such, not to cast them out, when they come 
unto him. As soon as ever thou became his, by regeneration, that 
promise became thine, Heb. 13: 5. "I will never leave you, nor 
forsake you." And will he leave the soul at a time when it never had 
more need of a God to stand by it, than it has then? Every gracious 
soul is entitled to that promise, John 14: 3. "I will come again, 
and receive you to myself." And will he fail to make it good when 
the time of the promise is come, as at death it is? It cannot be. 
multitudes of promises; the whole covenant of promises, give 
security to the soul against the fears of rejections, or neglect by 
God. And the soul's dependence upon God and his promise; its very 
casting itself upon him, from the encouragement the word gives it, 
add to the engagement upon God. When he sees a poor soul that he has 
made, redeemed, sanctified sealed, and by solemn promise engaged 
himself to receive, coming to him at death, firmly depending upon 
his faithfulness that has promised, saying, as David, 2 Sam. 23: 5, 
Though Lord, there be many defects in me, yet thou hast made a 
covenant with me, well ordered in all things, and sure; and this is 
all my salvation, and all my hope." Lord, I am resolved to send out 
my soul in an act of faith; I will venture it upon the credit of thy 
promise. How can God refuse such a soul? How can he put it off, when 
it so puts itself upon him? 
    Sixthly, But this is not all; the gracious soul sustains many 
intimate and dear relations to that God into whose hands it commends 
itself at death. It is his spouse, and the consideration of such a 
day of espousals, may well encourage it to cast itself into the 
bosom of Christ, its head and husband: it is a member of his body, 
flesh and bones, Eph. 5: 30. It is his child, and he its everlasting 
Father, Isa. 9: 6. It is his friend. "Henceforth (saith Christ,) I 
call you not servants, but friends," John 15: 15. What confidence 
may these, and all other the dear relations Christ owns to the 
renewed soul, beget, in such an hour as this is! that husband can 
throw off the dear wife of his bosom; Who in distresses casts 
herself into his arms! What father can shut the door upon a dear 
child that comes to him for refuge, saying, Father, into thy hands I 
commit myself! 
    Seventhly, and lastly, The unchangeableness of God's love to 
his people, gives confidence they shall in no wise be cast out. They 
know Christ was the same to them at last as he was at first: the 
same in the pangs of death, as he was in the comforts of life: 
having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the 
end, John 13: 1. He does not love as the world loves, only in 
prosperity; but they are as dear to him when their beauty and 
strength are gone, as when they were in the greatest flourishing. If 
we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord; so 
then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's, Rom. 14: 8. Take in 
all these things, and weigh them both apart, and together, and see 
whether they amount not to a full evidence of the truth of this 
point, that dying believers are both warranted and encouraged to 
commend their souls into the lands of God; whether they have not 
every one of them cause to say as the apostle did, 2 Tim. 1: 12 "I 
know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep 
that which I have committed to him against that day." The 
improvements of all this you have in the following practical 
    Deduction I. Are dying believers only warranted and encouraged 
thus to commend their souls into the hands of God? What a sad strait 
then must all dying unbelievers be in about their souls? Such souls 
will fall into the hands of God, but that is their misery, not their 
privilege: they are not put by faith into the hands of mercy, but 
fall by sin into the hands of justice: not God, but the devil is 
their father, John 8: 4. Whither should the child go but to its own 
father? They have not one of those aforementioned encouragements to 
cast themselves into the hands of God, except the naked relation 
they have to God as their Creator, and that is as good as none, 
without the new creation. If they have nothing but this to plead for 
their salvation, the devil has as much to plead as they. It is the 
new creature that brings the first creation into repute again with 
    O dismal! O deplorable case! A poor soul is turning out of 
house and home, and knows not where to go; it departs, and 
immediately falls into the hands of justice. The devil stands by, 
waiting for such a soul (as a dog for a crust) whom God will throw 
to him. Little! ah little, do the friends of such a one think, 
whilst they are honouring his dust by a splendid and honourable 
funeral, what a case that poor soul is in that lately dwelt there; 
and what fearful straits and extremities it is now exposed to! He 
may cry, indeed, Lord! Lord! open to me, as in Mat. 7: 22. But to 
how little purpose are these vain cries! Will God hear him when he 
cries? Job 27: 9. It is a lamentable case! 
    Deduction 2. Will God graciously accept, and faithfully keep 
what the saints commit to him at death? How careful then should they 
be to keep what God commits to them, to be kept for him while they 
live? You have a great trust to commit to God when you die, and God 
has a great trust to commit to you whilst you live: you expect that 
he should faithfully keep what then you shall commit to his keeping, 
and he expects you should faithfully keep what he now commits to 
your keeping. O keep what God commits to you, as you expect he 
should keep your souls when you commit them unto him. If you keep 
his truths, he will keep your souls. "Because thou hast kept the 
word of my patience, I also will keep thee, &c." Rev. 3: 10. Be 
faithful to your God, and you shall find him faithful to you. None 
can pluck you out of his hand; see that nothing wrest his truths out 
of your hands. "If we deny him, he also will deny us," 2 Tim. 2: 12. 
Take heed lest those estates you have gotten as a blessing, 
attending the gospel, prove a temptation to you to betray the 
gospel. "Religion (saith one) brings forth riches, but the daughter 
devours the mother." How can you expect acceptance with God, who 
have betrayed his truth, and dealt perfidiously with him. 
    Deduction 3. If believers may safely commit their souls into 
the hands of God, how confidently may they commit all lesser 
interests and lower concernments into the same hand? Shall we trust 
him with our souls, and not with our lives, liberties or comforts. 
Can we commit the treasure to him and not a trifle? Whatever you 
enjoy in this world, is but a trifle to your souls. Sure, if you can 
trust him for eternal life for your souls, you may much more trust 
him for the daily bread for your bodies. I know it is objected, that 
God has made over temporal things to his people upon conditional 
promises, and an absolute faith can never be grounded upon 
conditional promises. 
    But what means this objection? Let your faith be but suitable 
to these conditional promises, i.e. believe they shall be made good 
to you so far as God sees them good for you: do you but labour to 
come up to those conditions required in you, and thereby God will 
have more glory, and you more comfort: If your prayers for these 
things proceed from pure ends, the glory of God, not the 
satisfaction and gratification of your lusts: If your desires after 
them be moderate as to the measure, content with that proportion the 
Infinite Wisdom sees fittest for you: If you take God's way to 
obtain them, and dare not strain conscience, or commit a sin, though 
you should perish for want: If you can patiently wait God's time for 
enlargements from your straits, and not make any sinful haste, you 
shall be surely supplied; and he that remembers your souls will not 
forget your bodies. But we live by sense, and not by faith; present 
things strike our affections more powerfully than the invisible 
things that are to come. The Lord humble his people for this. 
    Deduction. 4. Is this the privilege of believers, that they can 
commit their souls to God in a dying hour? Then how precious, how 
useful a grace is faith to the people of God, both living and dying? 
    All the graces have done excellently, but faith excels then 
all: faith is the Phoenix grace, the queen of graces: deservedly it 
is stiled precious faith, 2 Pet. 1: 1. The benefits and privileges 
of it in this life are unspeakable: and as there is no comfortable 
living, so no comfortable dying without it. 
    First, While we live and converse here in the world, all our 
comfort and safety is from it; for all our union with Christ, the 
fountain of mercies and blessings, is by faith, Eph. 3: 17. "that 
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." No faith, no Christ: all 
our communion with Christ is by it: he that cometh to God must 
believe, Heb. 11: 6. The soul's life is wrapt up in this communion 
with God, and that communion in faith. All communications from 
Christ depend upon faith; for look, as all communion is founded in 
union, so from our union and communion are all our communications. 
All communications of quickening, comforts, joy, strength, and 
whatsoever serves to the well-being of the life of grace, are all 
through that faith which first knits us to Christ, and still 
maintains our communion with Christ; believing we rejoice, 1 Pet. 1: 
8. The inner man is renewed, whilst we look to the things that are 
not seen, 2 Cor. 4: 18. 
    Secondly, And as our life, and all the supports and comforts of 
it here, are dependent on faith, so you see our death, as to the 
safety and comfort of our souls then, depends upon our faith: he 
that has no faiths cannot commit his soul to God, but rather shrinks 
from God. Faith can do many sweet offices for your souls upon a 
death-bed, when the light of this world is gone, and all joy ceases 
on earth: it can give us sights of things invisible in the other 
world, and those sights will breathe life into your souls, amidst 
the very pangs of death. 
    Reader, do but think what a comfortable foresight of God, and 
the joys of salvation, will be to thee, when thine eye-strings are 
breaking; faith can not only see that beyond the grave, which will 
comfort, but it can cleave to its God, and clasp Christ in a 
promise, when it feels the ground of all sensible comforts 
trembling, and sinking under thy feet: "My heart and my flesh 
faileth, but God is the strength (or rock) of my heart, and my 
portion forever." Reeds fail, but the rock is firm footing; yea, and 
when the soul can no longer tabernacle here, it can carry the soul 
to God, cast it upon him, with "Father, into thy hands I commend my 
spirit." O precious faith! 
    Deduction 5. Do the souls of dying believers commend themselves 
into the hands of God? Then let not the surviving relations of such 
sorrow as men that have no hope. A husband, a wife, a child, is rent 
by death out of your arms: well, but consider into what arms, into 
what bosom they are commended. Is it not better for them to be in 
the bosom of God, than in yours? Could they be spared so long from 
heaven, as to come back again to you but an hour, how would they he 
displeased to see your tears, and hear your cries and sighs for 
them: They would say to you as Christ said to the daughters of 
Jerusalem, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your 
children." I am in a safe land, I am out of the reach of all storms 
and troubles. O did you but know what their state is, who are with 
God, you would be more than satisfied about them. 
    Deduction 6. Lastly, I will close all with a word of counsel. 
Is this the privilege of dying believers, to commend their souls 
into the hands of God.? Then as ever you hope for comfort, or peace 
in your last hour, see that your souls be such, as may be then fit 
to be commended into the hands of an holy and just God: See that 
they be holy souls; God will never accept them if they be not holy, 
"Without holiness no man shall see God," Heb. 12: 24. "He that has 
this hope, (viz. to see God) purifieth himself even as he is pure," 
1 John 3: 3. Endeavours after holiness are inseparably connected 
with all rational expectations of blessedness. Will you put an 
unclean, filthy, defiled thing into the pure hand of the most holy 
God? O see they be holy, and already accepted in the beloved, or use 
to them when they take their leave of those tabernacles they now 
dwell in. The gracious soul may confidently say then, Lord Jesus! 
into thy hand I commend my spirit. O let all that can say so then, 
now say, 
                 Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 

(continued in file 37...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-36.txt