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and blood He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
But what Christ became incarnate to give, all who trust in Him may possess. The deliverances He wrought for us may be ours. We need be in awe of no enemy whom He has conquered on our behalf. Instead then of being enslaved by dread, we may walk in the liberty of God's children, and go to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon our heads.
And this is what Christ desires with regard to us. He has no pleasure in seeing His people afflicted and oppressed by fear. He wants to see them assured and trustful, keeping in the Divine presence as their proper sphere, and having the Lord for their ever. lasting light, and God for their glory,
But death has to be endured ; and so long as that is the case, there are many who feel that they cannot get rid of the fear that subjects to bondage. The instances which the following pages record teach another doctrine; that there is no one who may not contemplate death, whether as remote or near, with a calm and undisturbed mind, and have in its endurance the presence and joy of the Lord.
But how necessary it is that the liberty of Christ here should be possessed! So long as men are kept in the bondage which the fear of death entails, they are not in a condition to make progress in the things of God; to fulfil the services to which appointed, and be the representatives of Jesus to others. Only those who are trustful and joyous, and look out upon a future that is ever attractive and bright, are qualified to walk before the Lord unto all pleasing, and be a blessing and an encouragement to those around them.
To accomplish the end I have in view in this volume, I have endeavoured to show that there is an inseparable connection between the life that a man leads and the death that he dies; that the latter is the outcome of the former, and that only those who fully receive and follow Christ in life have Him with them in dying hours for their comfort and support. So much of the history of the instances adduced is therefore given, as shows the ground and secret of the blessedness experienced by them at the last. And this was indispensable to secure the object of the work. I want to know how men have lived who have died happily ; who and what they were, whose sun went down in glory. Only a good tree can bring forth good fruit; and they that sow to the Spirit reap life everlasting. Holiness in life is the necessary condition of happiness in death. There is no fear in love, while they that are Christ's by a whole-hearted faith and
consecration find Him all-sufficient for them in the hour of decease.
May He who has so often made the deathbeds of His saints scenes of triumph and joy do so on an ever-widening scale, and graciously use this volume as a contribution to that end !
KENTISH TOWN, 1877.