(Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1845).
(Preached on Friday Afternoon; Vigil of All Saints.)
PHIL. iii. 18, 19.
The enemies of the Cross of Christ, whose end is destruction.
WE turn our minds for a while to sad and fearful things, that we may rejoice and be comforted the more safely, and that perchance, through the mercy of our Lord, we may bring some to be comforted with us who must first be made sad before they can be rightly comforted. I do not mean only those who are altogether 'enemies of the Cross of Christ,' but those also who have never thought seriously enough of the misery of being so, and who through 'minding earthly things,' are in danger of being drawn away by the wicked one till they become so.
Let us think awhile then of the end of an unchristian life, that we may be the more earnest to prepare ourselves for a very different end, that we may be the more thankful for all means of so preparing ourselves, and the more diligent in using them; and that we may do what we can to bring others to think wisely in time. It is but madness to take the present hour by itself, and leave the end out of our thoughts, save only in one way--when we leave the end to God. This we may do in faith if we do His will for the present; but if we take the present time for doing our own will, it is only daring His vengeance to say 'we leave the end to Him.' 'In well doing' we may commit our souls to Him as to a Faithful Creator, but in carelessness and self-pleasing it is but presumption to expect that He will provide for us.
Let us look, then, at the-end of a sinner's way, that we may learn to look more anxiously and seriously at our own ways. Let us look at him as finishing his life here, without having taking care in due time to secure his interest in the Cross of Christ. Let each one think of himself as one whose lot may be or might have been such, that he may fear, and the more surely escape it.
Death comes about in many ways, but it is one thing. From that moment, whether it finds us in the midst of life or on a sick bed, prepared or unprepared, all our life in this world is past. All our interests, all our pleasures in this world are over. We are gone, and its course passes on without us--coldly for the most part and forgetfully, and if not, its remembrances are here, and we are far off, in another state of being. I speak not now of souls united by communion in Christ; how great may be their privilege in one another we know not; but of those which are joined together by mere natural and worldly affection, relations, connections of business and social life, where all has been of this world. The dying man may keep up a kind of illusion to the last, and feel that they are still his own, and be eager about his designs for them and amongst them. But when he dies all this is at an end for him. His eyes may be blinded to this truth to the last. The eyes of survivors may be blinded to it by the continuance (for a little while) of the effects of his labour. But so it is; he is gone; and it is no more for him. He is gone; and a new world opens upon him. "The soul returns to God Who gave it." Is it prepared to meet Him as its Judge? The body goes to the common dust, till it be raised again for judgment. Has it been kept pure and undefiled, as the Temple of the Holy Ghost? If sin has been committed in it, has it been again brought under and chastised and purified? These are now the questions that concern the departed, and which must be answered now, as the case now stands.
Holy Scripture leads us to think that the departed soul is aware of other spirits that are near it, angels, devils, souls of men, and that it finds its lot among these according to the state in which it departs. A dreary lot for those who have not shared the communion of saints here! What shall they do then, who while on earth made no "friends to receive them into everlasting habitations?" Who had their good things in this life, and lived for it, and made no acquaintance that they might know again for good in the world to come, but joined hands with Mammon and Belial disguised under gain and pleasure, and now are in their grasp and cannot shake them off? Who in all their ways turned their back on Him, in Whose presence alone 'is the fulness of joy for evermore.' To Whom shall they turn for help, when they find Satan, who once had to flatter, now sure of them, and able to pour out on them his spite against their Creator--to the increase of his own damnation and confusion, but not the less to their misery? Who would not tremble to think that in that aweful hour the Prince of evil should 'find any thing' in him, even though he were not to fall into his hands? Who would not long at such a time to have his conscience clear, and his lot among the saints without question, contest, or drawback? And even on this side the grave, only think of the man who has not made himself ready drawing near to his end. Suppose him lying on the bed of sickness--let each one suppose himself in that case--not with all possible comfort and calmness, and the consolations of religion already taken to him, but as he has been when in greatest sickness Before, when he did not expect to die, with much pain, weakness, and wandering of thought--when at last--from some sign never seen before--some slight word--some tone or look of the physician--the heavy countenance of a friend, or the skance eye of a concealed enemy--he comes to the conviction that Death is not far off.
If his thoughts are of earth; what a blank is here! How crushing and confounding is the thought of becoming as though he had not been, being blotted from the world, of all its interests and enjoyments no thought left but' this shall never be mine again!' and then the cold tomb, and perchance the pageant of a funeral--in which the deceased shall take no part.
If his thoughts pass on with friends and kindred, still comes in the fearful jar--'all I seem to foresee may be or may not be,--but I shall not see it,--and it will come to an end too.'
And suppose him even to dream upon these things to the end, and to be comforted in them, what then? still there is a further end. He that would be wise must look to it.
So then let the sick man turn his thoughts now at last to the world to come. What will those thoughts be? True, there is hope for him yet, but why more than in all his past life, when Wisdom called and he would not answer? There is hope yet, but there is something to be done to lay hold on that hope at all, and much to be done to make it clearly and perfectly his own, and what can he do now? I do not say he cannot do it; but is this the time that any man in his senses would choose for doing the most important work of his life? Let pass all the gains he might have laid up in store for Heaven, all the fruit of good works, in which he might have been rich against the day of account, and not one of which should have lost its reward. One can hardly think of degrees of more or less while the great question is not yet decided, is he to be saved at all? What are now his opportunities? One perhaps he has, upon which men reckon far too much--the knowledge that his end is approaching. I say perhaps he has it, for the common practice is to keep it from the dying man as much as possible. The Physician says it may aggravate his sickness, and break down his spirits, and take away one chance of recovery, to tell him of his real state; and not only so, but many have it not even when they have been warned. The thought is uncomfortable to them--nay more--dreadful--intolerable--and they cling to any hope of recovery, and bind their thoughts on that, rather than on what ought to have been the work of their whole life. But this knowledge, which he has perhaps trusted would set all right with him, and make him all at once a dutiful child of God,--what comes of it? We know but too well by experience that it is not to be reckoned upon for doing all. Satan is at the dying man's right hand, if he has been there all his life, and he has his way of dealing with him at this hour no less craftily than before. One weapon he has especially for this time, a fearful, crushing weapon, Despair. He calls up past sins in all their number and blackness, he turns mock-monitor, and says when and how often the wretched man ought to have listened to the voice of God, and says that now it is of no use, the time is over. This may not be true, but if his lie is believed but for a few short hours, it serves his purpose. He puts in hard thoughts of God, and notions that if it had been so, and if it had been so, it had been better. Any thing to turn the bewildered mind from laying hold on its last remaining hope, any thing to keep out a thought that has in it a gleam of Divine Love. And such sometimes is the end even in the sight and hearing of men. Bitter regrets without a better choice. Miserable exclamations of despair, and a soul shut up in its own hardness, that refuses to hear the voice that invites to prayer, and gnashes its teeth upon its own anticipated doom. But forget not that the real awefulness of death is not here. There may be those who shew it beforehand in despair, but there are other kinds of hardness that lead to the same end hereafter. Hardly more fearful to the Christian Minister is the very blasphemy of despair, than the much more common, dull, and immoveable calm of the death-bed. He does not wonder at it, but trembles. It is the summing up of a life of false peace. It is but too well in character with all that he has seen before. It is not worse than what went before, but it is not better; and all his hope before was that it might one day be better. The time of hope draws fast to a close, but no light shines from above. There is no sign of the conscience being enlightened or cleansed, or of the love of God, or even the fear of Him, being awakened. The man perhaps expresses a trust in God's mercy, but is no whit more earnest in seeking that mercy than he was before. This is but the peace of blindness, that sees not perils even close at hand.
More hopeful to the common eye is the death of those who at last think with much feeling of the mercy of God in Christ, and say much in condemnation of their past life, and declare their trust to be only in Him. And indeed it is well that their thoughts are so far seriously turned to Him at last; but still this is not enough to assure us that all is well. Many times has the sick man said and felt all this, and then recovered, and gone back to his sins. A soul that is gone far astray from God has more to do than to feel, it has a great submission of the will to make, without which feelings are but as the morning cloud that passes away. The man who has, in the face of Gospel light, in spite of continual warnings, or in wilful keeping out of the way of them, taken himself for his own, and given himself to this world, has more to do than merely to feel that this has been a bad choice. He has to make the contrary choice, and give himself up to it. Feeling may be the means of moving him to do so, but it is not the perfect act. The man who is burdened with heavy guilt may feel deep remorse one hour, and the next hour drown his misery in intoxication. His remorse is not penitence, though it might lead to penitence. Another man might be led by the same terrors of conscience to open his grief to the Minister of God, and to seek relief in exercises of penitence. And so even on the bed of sickness, fearful as it is to think of, it is not uncommon for a man deliberately to smother the voice of conscience with such opiates or distractions as are at hand. So too, even there, is there another course for the penitent, who obeys that last call of the grace he had slighted before. Even then might such an one, through the powerful grace and tender mercy of God, be led to confess his sin without reserves or excuses, "every night" to "wash his bed, and water his couch with his tears;" to grieve for and hate what he had been, because God hated it, and so to begin to be of one mind with God; to love only the bitterness of sorrow for his past unholy joy, and Him Who, he trusted, had given Him his sorrow, and had died for him, that he might not die the sinner's death; to take every pang of his sickness patiently, and pray that, in union with the sufferings of his Redeemer, it might be sanctified to his soul's health; to repair as he could, the ill he had done to others; to conform his will, now at the last, since he had no more, with strong desire, wholly to the Will of God; to give himself up to God for time and for eternity, in earnest striving after obedience, in the hope of His mercy. So different may be the acts of will in which the same feeling issues.
Now, to make sure that he is really performing such an act, a man must collect all his powers, and be thoroughly himself. It will not do for some of his inclinations afterwards to come in and say, 'we were not considered.' God and the immortal soul treat for Eternity.
And this it is not easy to do at any time. Were it easy, men would not put it off till the last. Their folly is great both ways; both in that they think it matters little when the change is made; and in that they think it will be easier then. The world still hangs about the dying man. He has his friends to take leave of, perhaps his affairs to settle, and many things that claim shares of the little time he has left. The flesh is still with him, and cries out for ease amidst pain and weakness. It would sleep awhile, and attend to Religion when rested. It wakes weaker than before, or a little refreshed and able to take some relief in amusement, or the sight of a friend, to which the hour is given, and then comes weakness and drowsiness again. Such is the course of nature then, so that even were not Satan at hand to throw in his temptations, there is enough to hinder any serious work being done in those few precarious days that end our sojourn here.
The only security for the mind being serious and ready for a great work then, would be its having actually accomplished such a work before. What has been made familiar to it before is likely to be easy then, to dwell on the memory, and to fill the intervals allowed by pain and weakness. Happy for the soul if good thoughts and words have been thus laid up in store for the trying hour! Otherwise it is listless, and knows not what it has to do, just as it used to be. Old habits go on, and there is less and less strength to throw them off. The man dies unchanged. And if he dies unchanged from the state of a fallen Christian, it were better for him never to have been born.
O that men would be wise in time, and not let death creep on them unawares, but die to the world before it comes near them! The things that death will open to them are always about them, and always true. Death, come when it will, is the same thing, the passage from this state into another, in which we shall actually perceive what we now only know by faith, and in which all that we now see will be at an end.
Death is a solemn thing to all. Our life here is cut off, because it has been defiled with sin. But the new life, which is to carry us through death, and to triumph over it, is given us here. If we are fallen from this, death seals our destruction, and makes sure our lot amongst the enemies of Him Whose Cross we have dishonoured. But let him who is in that state remember that he is already in that depth of misery, and has to escape from it. "He knoweth not," says Holy Scripture, of him who is ensnared by the "foolish woman," the enemy of true holy Wisdom, whether in the lusts of the flesh, or of the carnal mind, or of the perverse will, "he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell." Death can but fix him where he is. It will not be a change of his state, but an opening of it. He is a friend of the world and an enemy of God now; Death is not needed to make him so, but it is needed to shew him what is his everlasting portion.
There is all the same reason now that there will be at the hour of death for making sure the great work of recovering the new life. And the willing and active submission of the days of strength and health is much surer to be real and effectual, than the trembling interrupted efforts of a death-bed. Now, a man has time to think how he has fallen; what have been his chief sins; what are still his chief temptations; to confess and renounce his sins, and the things that are likely to be occasions of sin; to open his mind clearly and freely in all this to the Minister of God, and to receive not only his absolution, but his directions for self-chastisement and self-government; to make trial of himself, and ensure his own sincerity; to strengthen himself afresh on any side where he has not at first been guarded enough; to seek the healing of wounds that escaped his first search; to go on to higher graces.
How different is this steady and thorough execution of his great work from all that can be expected of a deathbed! How different will be his state at last who has gained all this beforehand!
But let every one who sets about such a work set about it with death in his view, and do it now as he would do it if he believed that death would cut it short, and fix it at what he is now attempting. It is not done, if there is a sin left which he means to repent of at some future time, but neglects now. It is not done, if he makes reserves in his submission, or is careless in searching out his faults. By our Baptism we are already dead to this world, and if we have begun to live to it again, this life must die. We must treat it as though we were passing out of this world altogether, only with the firmness of a man in the full vigour of his powers.
We can carry nothing with us when we die, no more should we attempt to carry any worldly affection with us when we return to God, and strive to recover the new life. Then only can we be sure that we are really submitting ourselves to Him, when we give up willingly, with life before us, all those hindrances to His service, which we shall have to give up, willing or unwilling, when we die. The dying man can scarce know whether he is ready to surrender them or not; he feels them going from him, and knows they must go, he has scarce the opportunity of an act of the will to give them up. All the time of life, that should have been given to God, is gone. There is scarce time even to bewail the misspending of it. He must go into the presence of his Judge, at best scarce knowing whether he is prepared or not.
The Day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night. Hear therefore and obey the word which Christ said unto all,--"Watch."
fOne only study need we in our whole life, to "learn to die." All before looks on to this hour; all after it, the never-ending "afterwards" of eternity, hangs upon it. That one moment contains eternity. As all the growth and decay and restorations of nature, our sleep and our waking, do but prepare for the death of the body, so every action, motion, thought, word, deed, consent of will, balancing of the soul, defeat, strife in God's strength, victory, fainting and falling, stumbling, rising again, carelessness, wilfulness, joy, sorrow, suffering, prayer, Sacrament;--every moment in the manifold, shifting, fleeting variety of human life, looks to this one hour, and tends to decide it. It gathers into one the whole past; all that is past may influence it. Not a wound which the soul has ever received, but may, except for God's grace, reopen then. Not a thought of sin admitted once, but may, except for His mercy, assault the soul then. Not a careless habit, but may, unless He strengthen the soul, weaken it. Not a thought of vanity, but may draw down the soul to self; no care, but may distract it; no unloving thought, but may chill it, when, with its whole force and strength of unwavering love and trust, it should hold fast to God.
It is a perilous hour at best. The body is weakened; the soul often partaking of its weariness; and Satan puts forth then all his strength and malice and subtlety, because he "hath but a short time," and his prey, if he escape him then, escapes for ever. "The snare is broken, and we are delivered." He is allowed often to assail even the good then, to put forth his hand upon them, although He Who made them His own by dying for them withholds him, that be touch not their life. An aweful image is it of what may go on with the soul then, that, as our Blessed Lord reveals, that unholy, miserable, being dared to approach then", to Him His Judge, not discerning His Divine Holiness in "the likeness of our sinful flesh." "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." Nothing had he in Him "in Whom," says a father, "dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily, from Whom virtue went forth and healed all, in Whom was the Substance of virtue, the richness of Wisdom, and Knowledge, and Righteousness. For he skilleth not to see save what is his own, he knoweth not to find save what is his own; what are the things of Christ, he skilleth not to recognise." And therefore, the more, woe to us, in whom he may so often find so much which has been his own, his own ways, his own thoughts, his own words, his own pride, his own bad passions, his own wages, for which the sinner hired himself unto him, through whom he has insulted God, and trampled on His image! Woe to us, if we have not by deep and heart-searching penitence turned to Him Who blotteth out our misdeeds; so that the evil one should no more find in us what is his own, since God has effaced it by His pardoning grace. Woe to us at our best estate, but that He, in Whom the evil one "had nothing," has, at so dear a Price, paid our ransom in whom he had so much.
Yet was he allowed to vent "the whole phrenzy of his unwearied malice" even on the blessed martyrs, whose toils we this day commemorate, as to-morrow, with the rest of the redeemed and perfected, their rest. They who witnessed their sufferings, felt, in the superhuman malice of their maddened torturers, the presence of fiercer hate, than man at his worst was capable of, as well as the consolations of Christ. And so too in peaceful deathbeds, he has been even seen. Even by the death of holy children in our own day, his presence has been almost felt; it has been seen how in a long protracted struggle, hour after hour, in death, he seemed to put forth his skill to injure the sacrifice which he was allowed to mar; and then at last, came serene triumph and victory and the sight of the Unseen.
But so systematic his assaults, that the wisdom to repel them, has become the subject of ruled. Sometimes he assaults the faith, sometimes hope; inexhaustible in his dreadful cunning, he shifts the attack; he will take ways the very opposite, will seek to turn the weapons which the faithful soul has used against him, back upon itself. When it meets thoughts of vain-glory with humility, he tempts to despair; when it meets his suggestions of despondency with the thought of God's loving mercy, he tempts to self-complacency. He will turn quick round, and, but for God's mercy, almost thrust a person through, before he is aware. Our Lord compares the evil spirits, as other Scripture does the blessed Angels, to lightning; they, like lightning to do God's will, seen at once in East and West, he "like lightning," which "falls from heaven," fallen to earth, and here only with great wrath to destroy; an Angel's wisdom changed into a devil's cunning, yet with Angel powers still, even as one must suppose that in Hell every power will remain which God has given, all but love. Even here we see what dreadful skill bad men at last acquire in wickedness; and now Satan has an Angel's intelligence with his own hate and all the experience of six thousand years of men's manifold sin. He knows too well the souls which he influences, to which he is often so very near, within men's very bodies. And if he be permitted so to deal with the pure and hallowed, what, when he has a whole course of sin to appeal to! If he have such power to try God's servants, what power must he not have over the ungodly and sinner, who has through his whole life, given him the mastery over himself, and would now, in weakness and distraction and pain, dispossess the strong man, to whom by each separate sin, in Scripture words, he "sold himself!"
Our past sins, even when forgiven, are not dead, but asleep. They are as dragons, the offspring of the Dragon, the head bruised, so long as the Cross of Christ lies heavy upon them, but ready to start up again in their deadly life, to devour, if it be but removed. And Satan is often permitted to use them,--in his own purpose, to destroy; in that of God, to try the soul anew, and give it the victory, wherein it had been defeated, that it may please Him wherein it had displeased Him. But where is searching trial, in that degree is there peril. And Satan avails himself of every thing to the utmost that he is permitted. He clouds the mind, and then tempts it to despair because it is clouded; he will make even the confession of sin to God a snare, by tempting the soul to consent to past remembered sins; the act of expressing forgiveness, he will make an occasion of renewed angry thought; he will use feverishness or weariness and weakness of mind, to infuse thoughts connected with past sin or wayward and hard thoughts of God, or fantastic and unholy images, so that the mind shall not know whether they are its own, or shall seem to itself incapable of thinking a holy thought; he will use past impatience to make the soul impatient under its present sickness, or at least betray it into momentary acts of impatience, or to solace itself in pain with some memory of past pleasure of sense. "I know," said a statesman of our own, when tempted to one single sin, "I know that Satan is very busy at deathbeds; I would not have this deed upon my conscience at mine." "Blessed soul," says a holy man, "which shall then through the shield of truth so turn back the darts of temptations, that, allowing nothing envenomed to fasten into it, it shall not be ashamed, when it shall speak with its enemies in the gate. In me, deadly one, thou shalt find nothing. Blessed, whom the shield of truth so encompasseth, as to guard his going out and entering in; his going out, namely, from this life, and his entering in into that to come, so that the enemy should neither from behind nor before make any assault upon him."
Were there not very special danger at death-beds, the Church would not so pray, "in the hour of death and in the day of Judgment, Good Lord, deliver us." We have probably been even startled, at some time, by the intense and almost agonized earnestness of that prayer in our Burial-Service, "Spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O Holy and most Merciful Saviour, Thou most Worthy Judge Eternal, suffer us not at our last hour for any pains of death to fall from Thee." We had hoped that there was so little danger that if we had not fallen from God entirely before, we could then! The piercing cry of that deep prayer amazed us. And well it might! But it should teach us that there is a deeper peril in every hour of our mysterious being, than we can think of. How should there not be, in that intense mystery of the soul being formed for God, and capable of hating Him?
But if the whole Church have need of this prayer,--and it is a prayer which the whole Church offers, which we have all, one by one, offered when the awefulness of death, and what follows upon death, was most penetratingly impressed upon our souls by the very Hand of God Himself, when He wounded our souls most deeply through the loss of those who were nearest to us or were as our own souls, and He opened our hearts through the very sorrow which pierced them,--how much more they, in whom sin is or has been strong, and grace weak. It is in all cases, the memory or dread of past sin, which wrings forth this prayer; "Thou knowest, Lord," it begins, "the secrets of our hearts." It is the bitter consciousness of lurking sin, which makes the soul so dread its power. Yet in that the prayer is that we fall not from God, it belongs still more to those who have not deeply fallen, or who have by God's grace arisen, rather than to those who, having fallen, still lie prostrate. It speaks of the peril in any death, apart from all the thickening perils of a sinner's death. But if there be peril then, lest even the righteous fall from God, what must be the state of those who having fallen, have not yet with true and hearty repentance returned! Who can tell the miserable dangers of an unexamined, un-cleansed, conscience then? It is difficult (as they who have tried, have known) to disentangle it, after long neglect, even in life. Sin gathers upon sin, until penitents often scarce know what to repent of, which to bring before God; they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, as they are faced on every side by some fresh sin, seeking rest and finding none, driven backwards and forwards by frightful sights of past shocking sin, and seeing in each the blackness of the wrath of God. They despair at beginning, because they hope not to see the end. This, again, is Satan's wile; for if they would begin, counting them all, one by one, before their Saviour's Feet, He would enable to discharge them all before Him; He who carried our sorrows, would willing let us, nay, invites to cast our loathsome burthen before His Feet; His mild Eye looks pityingly on that from which we ourselves turn with loathing; even as some kind Physician turns not away from the loathsome corruption from which his piercing wound has discharged the body. Our sins defile not His Holy Presence, which unholiness cannot reach.
But if there be this difficulty in life, what in death? How will not Satan justly say, "I redeemed thee not; I never became Man for thee; I shed not My Blood for thee; I hung not for love of thee in agony upon the Cross; I bore not for thee the wrath of God; I gave thee not Sacraments, promised thee not my love nor everlasting bliss; yet me thou hast chosen in life, mine shalt thou be in death."
Brethren, if we would not have the misery of a sinner's death, one only remedy there is, to meditate on death, prepare for death now, do what you do, or, at least, pray so to do, as you would at the hour of death. Imagine thyself stretched on the bed of death, its sweats bursting from thee, its faintness encompassing thee, its terrors appalling thee, and thy Lord alone to comfort thee, all the world vanished from thee, and no thought now before thee, except thyself and Him before Whom thou art in a few moments to appear; set this before thee, gaze at it, master it, if thou canst, and act now, as thou wouldest then. If thou wouldest then choose hurtful lust or excess, misuse any beauty God gives thee, profane thyself, God's holy temple, seek men's applause, use careless speech, detract from a neighbour, lie, covet, defraud, gather up riches neglecting Christ's poor, spend what might be placed in God's treasury on vanities, then do it now: if thou wouldest then flee from these as thou wouldest from Hell itself, flee no\v while thou hast strength to flee. "That act," it has been said, "is well done, which is done as though it were the last in life." "That is a fervent prayer, which is made as though it were the last cry for mercy thou couldest utter; that is a holy action, which is done as if it were forthwith to be judged; that is a devout Communion, which is received, as though it were to sustain thee in the valley of the shadow of death; those are good alms which are given, as though into His Hands Who shall at the great Day own them." Accustom thyself through life to act as in the sight of death, as having to die; learn to do thy actions, as a dying man; be this thy rule, to do them now as thou wouldest thou hadst done them then, and He with Whom thou hast sought to be through life, shall be thy Shepherd then; with each peril He shall be with thee; "I," He saith, "will be with thee in trouble;" the deeper the peril, the nearer His Presence; if He allow thee to enter with fear into the valley of the shadow of death, yet shall His Blessed Presence temper thy fears; He snail make thy very fears a blessing to thee, in that, as a child, thou shall press closer to His wounded Side. What thou hast ever healthfully feared, thou shalt not fear to thy hurt then; Whom thou hast ever sought to love, yea to Whom thou hast sorrowfully owned, "Lord, too late have I loved Thee," thou shalt love eternally, where with the Father and the Holy Ghost He liveth.
O merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Resurrection and the Life; in Whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die: and whosoever liveth, and believeth in Him, shall not die eternally; we meekly beseech Thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in Him; and that, at the general resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in Thy sight; and receive that blessing, which Thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear Thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world: Grant this, we beseech Thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.