Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 37.
( ...continued from File 36)
Sermon 37. Christ's Funeral illustrated, in its Manner, Reasons, and 
excellent Ends. 
John 9: 40, 41, 42. 
Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with 
the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place 
where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new 
sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus 
therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre 
was nigh at hand. 
    You have heard the last words of dying Jesus commending his 
spirit into his Father's hands. And now the life of the world hangs 
dead upon a tree. The light of the world, for a time, muffled up in 
a dismal cloud. The Sun of Righteousness set in the region and 
shadow of death. The Lord is dead, and he that wears the keys of the 
grave at his girdle, is now himself to be locked up in the grave. 
    All you that are the friends and lovers of Jesus, are this day 
invited to his funeral: such a funeral as never was since graves 
were first digged. "Come see the place where the Lord lay." There 
are six remarkable particulars, about this funeral, in these three 
    1. The preparations that were made for it, and that was mainly 
in two particulars, viz. the begging and perfuming of the body. His 
body could not be buried, till, by begging, his friends had obtained 
it as a favour from his judge. The dead body was by law in the power 
of Pilate, who adjudged it to death, as the bodies of those that are 
hanged, are in the power of the judge to dispose of them as he 
pleases. And when they had gotten it from Pilate, they wind it in 
fine linen clothes with spices. But what need of spices to perfume 
that blessed body? His own love was perfume enough to keep it sweet 
in the remembrance of his people to all generations: however, by 
this they will manifest, as far as they are able, the dear affection 
they have for him 
    2. The Bearers that carried his body to its grave, Joseph of 
Arimathea, and Nicodemus, two secret disciples; they were both men 
of estate and honour: none could imagine that these would have 
appeared at a time of so much danger, with such boldness for Christ; 
that ever they would have gone openly, and boldly to manifest their 
love to Christ, when dead, who were afraid to come to him (except by 
night) when he was living. But now a spirit zeal and courage is come 
upon them, when those that made greater and more open confessions of 
him are gone. 
    3. The Attendants who followed the hearse, were the women that 
followed him out of Galilee: among whom the two Maries, and the 
mother of Zebedee's children (whom Marls calls Salome) are only 
    4. The grave, or sepulchre, where they laid him. It was in 
Joseph's new tomb, which he had prepared in a garden near unto 
Golgotha, where our Lord died. Two things are remarkable about this 
tomb; it was another's tomb, and it was a new tomb. It was 
another's; for he had not a house of his own to lay his body in when 
dead. As he lived in other men's houses, so he lay in another man's 
tomb; and it was a new tomb, wherein never man was yet laid. 
Doubtless there was much of providence in this; for had any other 
been laid there before him, it might have proved an occasion both to 
shake the credit and slur the glory at his resurrection, by 
pretending it was some former body, and not the Lord's, that rose 
out of it. In this also divine Providence had a respect to that 
prophecy, Isa. 53: 9 which was to be fulfilled at his funeral "He 
made his grave with the rich, because he had done no violence," &c. 
    5. The disposition of the body in that tomb. It is true, there 
is no mention made of the groans and tears with which they laid him 
in his sepulchre; yet we may well presume, they were not wanting in 
plentiful expressions of their sorrow that way; for as they wept, 
and smote their breasts when he died, Luke 23: 48 so no doubt, they 
laid him with melting hearts, and flowing eyes in his tomb, when 
    6. And lastly, The last remarkable particular in the text, is 
the solemnity with which his funeral rites were performed, and they 
were all suitable to his humbled state: it was, indeed, a funeral as 
decently ordered, as the straits of time, and state of things would 
then permit; but there was nothing of pomp or outward state at all 
observed: few marks of honour set by men upon it; only the heavens 
adorned it with divers miraculous works, which in their proper place 
will be spoken to. Thus was he laid in his grave, where he continued 
for three incomplete days and nights in the territories of death, in 
the land of darkness and forgetfulness: partly to correspond with 
Jonah his type, and partly to ascertain the world of the reality of 
his death. Whence our observation is, 
    Doct. That the dead body of our Lord Jesus Christ was decently 
    interred by a small number of his own disciples, and continued 
    in the state of the dead for a time. 
    This observation containing matter of fact, and that so plainly 
and faithfully delivered to us by the pens of the several 
evangelists, we need do no more, to prepare it for our use, than to 
satisfy these two enquiries: why had Christ any funeral at all, 
since his resurrection was so soon to follow his death? And what 
manner of funeral Christ had? 
    First, Why had Christ any funeral at all, since he was to rise 
again from the dead, within that space of time that other men 
commonly have to lie by the wall before their interment; and had it 
continued longer unburied, it could see no corruption, having never 
been tainted by sin? Why, though there was no need of it at all upon 
that account that a funeral is needful for other bodies, yet there 
were these four weighty ends and reasons for it. 
    Reason 1. First, it was necessary Christ should be buried, to 
ascertain his death; else it might have been looked upon as a cheat: 
for, as they were ready enough to impose so gross a cheat upon the 
world at his resurrection, "That the disciples came by night, and 
stole him away," much more would they have denied at once the 
reality, both of his death and resurrection, had he not been so 
perfumed and interred. But this cut off all pretensions; for in 
their kind of embalming, his mouth, ears and nostrils were all 
filled with their spices and odours; bound up in linen, and laid 
long enough in the tomb to give full assurance to the world of the 
certainty of his death; so that there could be no latent principle 
of life in him. Now, since our eternal life is wrapt up in Christ's 
death, it can never be too firmly established. To this, therefore, 
we may well suppose Providence had special respect in his burial, 
and the manner of it. 
    Reason 2. Secondly, He must be buried, to fit the types and 
prophecies that went before. His abode in the grave was prefigured 
by Jonah's abode three days and nights in the belly of the whale, 
Matt. 12: 40. So must the Son of man be three days and three nights 
in the heart of the earth. Yea, the prophet had described the very 
manner of his funeral, and, long before he was born, foretold in 
what kind of tomb his body should be laid, Isa. 53: 9 "He made his 
grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death:" pointing, by 
that expressions at this tomb of Joseph, who was a rich man; and the 
scriptures cannot be broken. 
    Reason 3. Thirdly, He must be buried, to complete his 
humiliation; this being the lowest step he could possibly descend to 
in his abased state. They have brought me to the dust of death: 
lower he could not be laid; and so low he must lay his blessed head, 
else he had not been humbled to the lowest. 
    Reason 4. Fourthly, But the great end and reason of his 
interment was the conquering of death in its own dominion and 
territories; which victory over the grave furnished the saints with 
that triumphant "epinikion" song of deliverance, 1 Cor. 15: 55. "O 
death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy destruction?" Our 
graves would not be so sweet and comfortable to us, when we come to 
lie down in them, if Jesus had not lain there before us and for us. 
Death is a dragon, the grave its den; a place of dread and terror; 
but Christ goes into its den, there grapples with it, and for ever 
overcomes it; disarms it of all its terror; and not only makes it to 
cease to be inimical, but to become exceeding beneficial to the 
saints; a bed of rest, and a perfumed bed; they do but go into 
Christ's bed, where he lay before them. For these ends he must be 
    Secondly, Next let us enquire what manner of funeral Christ 
    And if we intently observe it, we shall find many remarkable 
properties in it. 
    First, We shall find it to be a very obscure and private 
funeral. Here was no external pomp or gallantry: Christ affected it 
not in his life, and it was no way suitable to the ends and manner 
of his death. Humiliation was designed in his death; and state is 
inconsistent with such an end; besides, he died upon the tree; and 
persons so dying, do not use to have much ceremony and state at 
their funerals. Three things show it to be a very humble and obscure 
funeral, as to what concerned outward glory, with which the great 
ones of the earth are usually interred. For, 
    1. The dead body of the Lord was not brought from his own 
house, as other men's commonly are, but from the tree. They begged 
it of his judge. Had they not obtained this favour from Pilate, it 
must have been buried in Golgotha; it had been tumbled into a pit 
digged under the cross. 
    2. As it was first begged, then buried, so it was attended with 
a very poor train: a few sorrowful women followed the bier. Other 
men are accompanied to their graves by their relations and friends: 
the disciples were all scattered from him; afraid to own him dying, 
and dead. 
    3. And these few that were resolved to give him a funeral, are 
forced, by reason of the straits of time, to do it in great haste. 
Time was short; they take the next sepulchre they can get, and hurry 
him away that evening into it; for the preparation for the passover 
was at hand. This was the obscure funeral which the body of the Lord 
had. Thus was the Prince of the kings of the earth, who has the keys 
of death and hell, laid into his grave. 
    Secondly, Yet though men could bestow little honour upon it, 
the heavens bestowed several marks of honour upon it: adorned it 
with divers miracles, which wiped off the reproach of his death from 
him. These miracles were antecedent to his interment, or 
concomitants of it. 
    1. There was that extraordinary and preternatural eclipse of 
the sun; such an eclipse as was never seen since it first shone in 
heaven; the sun fainted at the sight of such a rueful spectacle, and 
clothed the whole heaven in black. The sight of this caused a great 
philosopher, who was then far from the place where this unparalleled 
tragedy was acting, to cry out upon the sight of it, "Either the God 
of nature now suffers, or the frame of the world is now dissolved." 
The same Dionysius, writing to Apollophanes, a philosopher, who 
would not embrace the Christian faith, thus goes about to convince 
him. "What thinkest thou, (saith he) of the eclipse when Christ was 
crucified? were we not both of us at Heliopolis, and standing in the 
same place? Did we not see the moon in a new manner following the 
sun: and not in the conjunction, but from the ninth hour until the 
evening, by a reason unknown in nature, directly opposite to the 
sun? Didst thou not then, being greatly terrified, say unto me, O my 
Dionysius, what strange communications of the heavenly bodies are 
    Such a preternatural eclipse is remembered in no other history; 
for it was not in time of conjunction, but opposition, the moon 
being then at full. From the sixth to the ninth hour, the sun and 
moon were together in the midst of heaven; but in the evening she 
appeared in the east, her own place, opposite to the sun. And then 
miraculously returning from east to west, did not pass by the sun, 
and set in the west before it, but kept it company for the space of 
three hours, and then returned to the east again. And whereas in all 
other natural eclipses, the shadow always begins on the western 
parts of the body of the sun, and that part is also first cleared; 
it was quite contrary in this; for though the moon was opposite to 
the sun, and distant from it the whole breadth of heaven, yet with a 
miraculous swiftness it overtook the sun, darkened first the eastern 
part of it, and soon prevailed over its whole body; which caused 
darkness over all the land; i.e. say some, over the whole earth; or, 
as others, over the whole land of Jewry; or, as others, over the 
whole horizon, and all places of the same altitude and latitude, 
which is most probable. 
    Secondly, And as Christ's funeral was adorned with such a 
miraculous eclipse, which put the heavens and earth into mourning; 
so thee rocks did rend: the vail of the temple rent in twain from 
top to bottom; the graves opened, and the dead bodies of many saints 
arose and went into the holy city, and were seen of many. The 
rending of the rocks was a sign of God's fierce indignation, Nahum 
1: 6, and a discovery of the greatness of his power; shewing them 
what they deserved, and what he could do to them that had committed 
this horrid fact; though he rather chose at this time to show the 
dreadful effects of it upon inanimate rocks, than rocky hearted 
sinners; but especially it served to convince the world, that it was 
none other but the Son of God that died; which was farther 
manifested by these concomitant miracles. 
    As for the rending in twain of the vail, it was a notable 
miracle, plainly shewing that all ceremonies were now accomplished 
and abolished; no more veils now: as also that believers have now 
most free access into heaven. At that very instant when the vail 
rent, the high priest was officiating in the most holy place, and 
the vail which hid him from the rest of the people, being rent, they 
might freely see him about his work in the holy of holies; a lively 
emblem of our High-priest, whom now we see by faith in the heavens 
there performing his intercession work for us. 
    The opening of the graves, plainly shewed the design and end of 
Christ's going into it; that it might not have dominion over the 
bodies of the saints, but being vanquished and destroyed by Christ, 
lets go all that are his whom he ransomed from the grave as a prey 
out of its paws: a specimen whereof was given in those holy ones 
that rose at that time and appeared to many in the holy city. Thus 
was the funeral of our Lord performed by men: Thus was it adorned by 
miracles from heaven. 
    Use. And now we have seen Jesus interred; he that wears at his 
girdle the keys of hell and death, himself locked up in the grave. 
What shall I say of him whom they now laid in the grave? shall I 
undertake to tell you what he was, what he did, suffered, and 
deserved? Alas! the tongues of angels must pause and stammer in such 
a work. I may truly say, as Nazianzen said of Basil, "No tongue but 
his own can sufficiently commend and praise him." He is a sun of 
righteousness; a fountain of life; a bundle of love. Of him it might 
be said in that day, Here lies lovely Jesus, in whom is treasured up 
whatsoever an angry God can require for his satisfaction, or an 
empty creature for his perfection; before him was none like him, and 
after shall none arise comparable to him. "If every leaf and spire 
of grass," (saith one,) "nay, all the stars, sands and atoms, were 
so many souls and scraphims, whose love should double in them every 
moment to all eternity, yet would it fall infinitely short of what 
is due to his worth and excellency. Suppose a creature composed of 
all the choice endowments that ever dwelt in the best of men since 
the creation of the world, in whom you find a meek Moses, a strong 
Samson, a faithful Jonathan, a beautiful Absalom, a rich and wise 
Solomon; nay, and add to this, the understanding, strength, agility, 
splendour, and holiness of all the angels, it would all amount but 
to a dark shadow of this incomparable Jesus." 
    "Who ever weighed Christ in a pair of balances?" saith another. 
"Who has seen the foldings and plaits, the heights and depths of 
that glory that is in him! O for such a heaven, as but to stand afar 
off and see, and love, and long for him, while time's thread be cut, 
and this great work of creation dissolved! -- O, if I could yoke in 
among the throng of angels and seraphim, and now glorified saints, 
and could raise a new love song of Christ before all the world! I am 
pained with wondering at new opened treasures in Christ. If every 
finger, member, bone and joint, were a torch burning in the hottest 
fire in hell, I would they could all send out love praises, high 
songs of praise for evermore, to that plant of renown, to that royal 
and high Prince, Jesus my Lord. But, alas! his love swelleth in me, 
and finds no vent. -- I mar his praises, nay, I know no comparison 
of what Christ is, and what he is worth. All the angels, and all the 
glorified, praise him not so much as in halves. Who can advance him, 
or utter all his praise? -- O, if I could praise him, I would rest 
content to die of love for him. O, would to God I could send in my 
praises to my incomparable Well-beloved, or cast my love-songs of 
that matchless Lord Jesus over the walls, that they might light in 
his lap before men and angels! -- But when I have spoken of him till 
my head rive, I have said just nothing; I may begin again. A 
Godhead, a Godhead, is a world's wonder! Set ten thousand thousand 
new made worlds of angels and elect men, and double them in number 
ten thousand thousand thousand times: let their hearts and tongues 
be ten thousand times more agile and large than the hearts and 
tongues of the seraphim, that stand with six wings before him; when 
they have said all for the glorifying and praising of the Lord 
Jesus, they have spoken little or nothing. O that I could even wear 
out this tongue in extolling his highness! But it is my daily 
admiration, and I am confounded with his incomparable love," 
    Thus have his enamoured friends faintly expressed his 
excellencies; and if they have therein done any thing, they have 
shown the impossibility of his due praises. 
    Come and see, believing souls, look upon dead Jesus in his 
winding-sheet by faith, and say, Lo, this is he, of whom the church 
said, "My beloved is white and ruddy:" his ruddiness is now gone, 
and a death paleness has prevailed over all his body, but still as 
lovely as ever, yea, altogether lovely. 
    If David, lamenting the death of Saul and Jonathan, said, 
"Daughters of Jerusalem, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, 
with other delights; who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel;" 
Much rather may I say, Children of Zion, weep over Jesus, who 
clothed you with righteousness, and the garments of salvation. 
    This is he who quitted the throne of glory; left the bosom of 
unspeakable delights; came in a body of flesh, produced in perfect 
holiness; brake through many and great impediments, (thy great 
unworthiness, the wrath of God and man,) by the strength of love to 
bring salvation home to thy soul. Can he that believingly considers 
this, do less than faint at the sense of that love that brought him 
to the dust of death, and cry out with that father, "My Lord was 
crucified!" But I will insist no longer upon generals; but draw down 
the particulars of Christ's funeral to your use, in the following 
    Corollary 1. Was Christ buried in this manner? Then a decent 
and mournful funeral, where it can be had, is very laudable among 
    I know the souls of the saints have no concernment for their 
bodies, nor are they solicitous how the body is treated here; yet 
there is a respect due to them, as they are the temples wherein God 
has been served, and honoured by those holy souls that once dwelt in 
them, as also upon the account of their relation to Christ, even 
when they lie by the walls; and the glory that will be one day put 
upon them, when they shall be changed, and made like unto Christ's 
glorious body. Upon such special accounts as these, their bodies 
deserve an honourable treatment, as well as upon the account of 
humanity, which owes this honour to the bodies of all men. 
    To have no funeral, is accounted a judgement, Eccles. 7: 4. or 
to be tumbled into a pit without any to lament us, is as lamentable. 
We read of many solemn and mournful funerals in scriptures, wherein 
the people of God have affectionately paid their respects and 
honours to the dust of the saints, as men that were deeply sensible 
of their worth, and how great a loss the world sustains by their 
remove. Christ's funeral had as much of decency and solemnity in it, 
as the time would permit; though he was a stranger to all pomp, both 
in life and death. 
    Corol. 2. Did Joseph and Nicodemus so boldly appear at a time 
of so much danger, to beg the body, and give it a funeral? Let it be 
for ever a caution to strong Christians, not to despise or glory 
over the weak. You see here a couple of poor, low spirited, and 
timorous persons, that were afraid to be seen in Christ's company, 
when the other disciples professed their readiness to die with him: 
yet those flee, and these appear for him, when the trial comes 
indeed. If God desert the strong, and assist the weak, the feeble 
shall be as David, and the strong as tow. I speak not this to 
discourage any man from striving to improve inherent graces to the 
utmost; for it is ordinarily found in experience, that the degrees 
of assisting grace, are given out according to the measures of 
inherent grace: but I speak it to prevent a sin incident to strong 
Christians, which is to despise the weak, which God corrects by such 
instances and examples as this before us. 
    Corol. 3. Hence we may be assisted in discerning the depths of 
Christ's humiliation for us: And see from what, to what his love 
brought him. It was not enough, that he who was in the form of God, 
became a creature, which was an infinite stoop, nay, to be made a 
Man, an inferior order of creatures; nay, to be a poor man, to spend 
his days in poverty and contempt, but also to be a dead corpse for 
our sakes. O what manner of love is this! 
    Now, the deeper the humiliation of the Son of God was, the more 
satisfactory to us it must needs be, for as it shows us the 
heinousness of sin, that deserves all this, so the fulness of 
Christ's satisfaction, whereby he makes up that breach. O, it was 
deep humiliation indeed! how unlike himself is he now become! does 
he look like the Son of God? What! the Son of God, whom all the 
angels adore, to be hurried by three or four persons into his grave 
in an evening! to be carried from Golgotha to the grave in this 
manner, and there lie as a captive to death for a time! Never was 
the like change of conditions; never such an abasement heard of in 
the world. 
    Corol. 4. From this funeral of Christ results the purest, and 
strongest consolation and encouragement to believers, against the 
fears of death and the grave. If this be so, that Jesus has lain in 
the grave before you; let me say then to you, as the Lord spake to 
Jacob, Gen. 46: 2, 3. "Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will go 
down with thee, and I will also surely bring thee up again." So 
here, fear not believer, to go down to the grave, for God will be 
with thee there, and will surely bring thee up thence. This 
consideration that Jesus Christ has lain in the grave himself, gives 
manifold encouragements to the people of God, against the terrors of 
the grave. 
    First, The grave received, but could not destroy Jesus Christ: 
death swallowed him, as the whale did Jonah his type, but could not 
digest him when it had swallowed him, but quickly delivered him up 
again. Now Christ's lying in the grave, as the common head and 
representative of believers, what comfort should this inspire into 
their hearts: for, as it fared with Christ's body personal, so it 
shall with Christ's body mystical: it could not retain him; it shall 
not for ever retain them. This resurrection of Christ out of his 
grave, is the very ground of our hope for a resurrection out of our 
graves. "Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first fruits 
of them that slept," 1 Cor. 15: 20. 
    Secondly, As the union betwixt the body of Christ, and the 
Divine nature was not dissolved, when that body was laid in the 
grave, so the union betwixt Christ and believers is not, cannot be 
dissolved, when their bodies shall be laid in their graves. It is 
true, the natural union betwixt his soul and body was dissolved for 
a time; but the hypostatical union was not dissolved, no, not for a 
moment: that body was the body of the Son of God, when it was in the 
sepulchre. In like manner, the natural union betwixt our souls and 
bodies is dissolved by death; but the mystical union betwixt us and 
Christ, yea, betwixt our very dust and Christ, can never be 
    Thirdly, As Christ's body, when it was in the grave, did there 
rest in hope, and was assuredly a partaker of that hope; so it shall 
fare with the dead bodies of the saints, when they lay them down 
also in the dust: "My flesh also shall rest in hope," saith Christ, 
Psal. 16: 9, 10, 11. In like manner the saints commit their bodies 
to the dust in hope: "The righteous has hope in his death," Prov. 
14: 32. And as Christ's hope was not a vain hope, so neither shall 
their hope be vain. 
    Fourthly, and lastly, Christ's lying in the grave before us, 
has quite changed, and altered the nature of the grave; so that it 
is not what it was: it was once a part of the curse. "Dust thou art, 
and unto dust thou shalt return," was a part of the threatening, and 
curse for sin. The grave had the nature and use of a prison, to keep 
the bodies of sinners against the great assizes, and then deliver 
them up into the hands of a great and terrible God; but now it is no 
prison, but a bed of rest: yea, and a perfumed bed, where Christ lay 
before us. Which is a sweet consideration of the grave indeed; "They 
shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds," Isa. 57:2. O 
then let not believers stand in fear of the grave. He that has one 
foot in heaven need not fear to put the other into the grave. 
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear no evil, for thou ant with me," Psal. 23: 4. 
    Indeed, the grave is a terrible place to them that are out of 
Christ; death is the Lord's sergeant to arrest them; the grave is 
the Lord's prison to secure them. When death draws them into the 
grave, it draws them thither as a lion does his prey into the den to 
devour it. So you read, Psal. 49: 14. "Death shall feed (or prey) 
upon them." Death there reigns over them in its full power, Rom. 5: 
14. And though at last it shall render them again to God, yet it 
were better for them to lie everlastingly where they were, than to 
rise to such an end; for they are brought out of their graves, as a 
condemned prisoner out of the prison, to go to execution. But the 
case of the saints is not so; the grave (thanks be to our Lord Jesus 
Christ!) is a privileged place to them, whilst they sleep there; and 
when they awake, it will be with singing. When they awake, they 
shall be satisfied with his likeness. 
    Corollary 5. Lastly, Since Christ was laid in his grave, and 
his people reap such privileges by it; as ever you expect rest or 
comfort in your graves, see that you get union with Christ now. 
    It was an ancient custom of the Jews, to put rich treasures 
into the graves with their friends, as well as to bestow much upon 
their sepulchres. It is said, Hircanus opened David's sepulchre, and 
took out of it three thousand talents of gold and silver. And to 
this sense many interpret that act of the Chaldeans, Jer. 8: 1. "At 
that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the 
kings of Judas, and the bones of his princes, &c. And they shall 
spread them before the sun and moon," &c. This is rather conceived 
to be an act of covetousness than cruelty: they shall ransack their 
graves for the treasure that is hid there among their bones. It is 
possible the case so stands with many of you, that you have no great 
matter to bestow upon your funerals, nor are they like to be 
splendid; no stately monuments; no hidden treasure; but if Christ be 
yours, you carry that with you to your graves, which is better than 
all the gold and silver in the world. What would you be the better 
if your coffin were made of beaten gold, or your grave-stone set 
thick with glittering diamonds? But if you lie in the Lord, i.e. 
interested in and united to the Lord, you shall carry six grounds of 
comfort with you to your graves, the least of which is not to be 
purchased with the wealth of both the Indies. 
    First, The first ground of comfort which a believer carries 
with him to the grave, is, that the covenant of God holds firmly 
with his very dust, all the days of its appointed time in the grave. 
So much Christ tells us, Matt. 22: 31, 32. "I am the God of Abraham, 
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob: God is not the God of 
the dead, but of the living;" q. d. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are 
naturally dead; but inasmuch as God, long after their deaths, 
proclaimed himself their God still, therefore they are all alive, 
foederally alive to God: they live, i.e. their covenant-relation 
lives still. "Whether we live, or whether we die, (saith the 
apostle) we are the Lord's," Rom. 14: 7, 8, 9. Now, what an 
encouragement is here! I am as much the Lord's in the state of the 
dead, as I was in the state of the living: death puts an end to all 
other relations and bonds, but the bond of the covenant rots not in 
the grave: that dust is still the Lord's. 
    Secondly, As God's covenant with our very bodies is 
indissolvable, so God's love to our very dust is inseparable. "I am 
the God of Abraham." God looks down from heaven into the graves of 
his saints with delight, and looks on that pile of dust with 
complacency, which those that once loved it cannot behold without 
loathing. The apostle is express, Rom. 8: 33, that death separates 
not the believer from the love of God. As at first it was not our 
natural comeliness or beauty that drew, or engaged his love to us; 
so neither will he cease to love us when that beauty is gone, and we 
become objects of loathing to all flesh. When a husband cannot 
endure to see a wire, or a wife her husband; but saith of them that 
were once dear and pleasant, as Abraham of his beloved Sarah, "Bury 
my dead out of my sight;" yet then the Lord delights in it as much 
as ever. The goldsmith does not value the dust of his gold, as God 
values the dust of his saints, for all these precious particles are 
united to Christ. 
    Thirdly, As God's love will be with you in the grave, so God's 
providence shall take order about your graves, when they shall be 
digged for you. And be sure he will not dig your graves till you are 
fit to be put into them: he will bring you thither in the best time; 
Job 5: 26. "Thou shalt come to thy grave as a shock of corn in its 
season:" you shall be ripe and ready before God house you there. It 
is said of David, that "after he had served his generation by the 
will of God, he fell asleep," Acts 13: 36. O what a holy and wise 
will is that will of God, that so orders our death! And how equal is 
it, that our will should be concluded by it? 
    Fourthly, If you be in Christ, as God's covenant holds with you 
in the grave, his love is inseparable from your dust, his providence 
shall give order when it shall be digged for you, so, in the next 
place, his pardons have loosed all the bonds of guilt from you, 
before you lie down in the grave: so that you shall not die in your 
sins. Ah, friends, what a comfort is this! that you are the Lord's 
free men in the grave! sin is a bad bed-fellow, and a worse grave 
fellow. It is a grievous threatening, John 8: 24. "Ye shall die in 
your sins." Better be cast alive into a pit among dragons and 
serpents, than dead in your graves among your sins. O what a 
terrible word is that, Job 20: 11. "His bones are full of the sins 
of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust!" But from 
the company of sin, in the grave, all the saints are delivered. 
God's full, free, and final pardons have shut guilt out of your 
    Fifthly, Whenever you come to your graves, you shall find the 
enmity of the grave slain by Christ: it is no enemy; nay, you will 
find it friendly, a privileged place to you: it will be as sweet to 
you that are in Christ, as a soft bed in a still quiet chamber to 
one that is weary and sleepy. Therefore, it is said, 1 Cor. 3: 21, 
22. "Death is yours;" yours is a privilege; your friend: there you 
shall find sweet rest in Jesus; be hurried, pained, troubled no 
    Sixthly, To conclude: if in Christ, know this for your comfort, 
that your own Lord Jesus Christ keeps the keys of all the chambers 
of death: and as he unlocks the door of death, when he lets you in, 
so he will open it again for you when you awake, to let you out; and 
from the time he opens to let you in, till the time he opens to let 
you out, he himself wakes and watches by you while you sleep there. 
"I (saith he) have the keys of death," Rev. 1: 18. O then, as you 
expect peace or rest in the chambers of death, get union with 
Christ. A grave with Christ is a comfortable place. 

(continued in file 38...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-37.txt