II Cor. 11:23

Robert Hawker

"In deaths oft."–2 Cor. xi. 23.

What did the apostle mean by this expression, but that from living in Christ, he was always on the lookout for dying in Christ; so that death could make no change of state, whatever change it made of worlds; for that living or dying, he was still in Christ? Paul seems to be speaking out his whole soul in the thought. It seems as if the conscious sense of his union and interest with Jesus was so inwrought in his very nature, that he was "in deaths oft," hoping that this providence, or that appointment, would be found the messenger to call him home to his Redeemer, to be with him for ever. My soul!, as every night the bed of sleep to thy wearied body becomes a representation of the night of death, and the chamber of the grave, sit down this evening, and look over the memorandums of thine heart, whether there are some of the same sweet testimonies, and arising out of the same blessed source, as the apostle's, thou art "in deaths oft," and canst protest, as be did, by the rejoicing which thou hast in Christ Jesus, that "thou diest daily?" - If the apostle's state is thine, the habitual frame of thine heart, from a well-grounded interest in Jesus, must be such as to leave a constant impression on thy mind, that the change of death, come when it may, and coming, as it must, from thy Lords own appointment, must be to thy happy account. It is to die and be with Christ, which is far better. Here we live, we walk, we enjoy Jesus, but by faith; there we shall ever be with the Lord; we shall see him as be is, we shall be like him. As here Jesus imparts all the grace the souls of his redeemed need in life to carry them on, and bring them home, so there he imparts glory: as he shines in one glorious fulness as the sun, so they as the stars of heaven for multitude and brightness. He that is the source and fountain of all grace in this fife, is the source also of glory and happiness in the world to come. If then, my soul, thou art "in deaths oft," as one on the look-out for the coming of thy friend to call thee home to himself, is not the prospect delightful? Wouldest thou shrink back, if his chariot-wheels were now at the door? - Pause. Are you daily pleading his blood and righteousness before God? Are you most firmly, and most satisfactorily convinced of his conquest over sin, death, hell, and the grave? Do you heartily, cordially, fully approve of God's rich covenant mercy in Christ? Can you, do you, will you take God at his word, and give him the credit due to him, in believing the record which he hath given of his dear Son? And are you living daily upon these precious, blessed things, and under his grace, determined to die in the faith of them? What sayest thou to these solemn, but precious soul-transactions? Can a throne of grace witness for thee, that thou art constantly pleading them there, as the only means, the only security thou art looking to for thy acceptance? If so, and should the messenger of Jesus come, and find you upon your knees, would you say, not yet, Lord? Would any thing make you linger here, when Jesus stood above, calling to thee, 'Come up hither?' Oh! dearest Jesus, for more of that grace, for more of that faith, to overcome all fears, doubts, and misgivings. Oh! for some sweet increasing manifestations from thyself, dear Lord, day by day, that the nearer I am drawing to the period of my departure, the closer I may cling to thy embraces, and the more sensibly I may hang my soul upon thee; that when death comes thou mayest impart such strength to my poor dying frame, that like the patriarch I may cry out: "Into thine arms, Lord Jesus, do I commit my spirit; for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth!

Robert Hawker

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