The first post on this sermon can be found here:
That a believer’s last day is his best day; his dying-day is better than his birthday.This will be a very sweet and useful point to all believers. I shall first demonstrate the truth that it is so, and then make some use of this point to ourselves.
1. That death is a change of place. A believer when he dieth, he doth but change his place; he changeth earth for heaven, a wilderness for a Canaan, an Egypt for a land of Goshen, a dunghill for a palace. 2 Cor. 5:2-6; Phil. 1:21-23.. We be not in our place, and therefore we groan to be at home—that is, to be in heaven, to be in the bosom of Christ, which is our proper place, our most desirable home.
2. That death is a change of company. The best that breatheth in this world must live with the wicked, and converse with the wicked, &c.; and this is a part of their misery; it is their hell on this side heaven. Ps.12:1; Jer. 9:2; 2 Pet.2:7-8; Heb. 12-22-23….Oh, but death is a change of company. A man doth change the company of profane persons, of vile persons, &c, for the company of angels, and the company of weak Christians for the company of just men made perfect.
3. Death is a change of employment. …The work of a believer in this world lies in praying, groaning, sighing, mourning, wrestling, and fighting, &c. And we see throughout the Scripture that the choicest saints, that have had the highest visions of God, have driven this trade; they have spent their time in praying, groaning, mourning, wrestling, and fighting: Eph. 6:12, … The truth is, the very life of a believer is a continual warfare, and his business is to be in the field always. They have to deal with subtle enemies, malicious enemies, wakeful enemies, and watchful enemies; with such enemies that threw down Adam in paradise, the most innocent man in the world, and that threw down Moses, the meekest man in the world, and Job, the patientest man in the world, and Joshua, the most courageous man in the world, and Paul, the best apostle in the world, &c. A Christian’s life is a warfare. …Job 14:14; 2 Tim. 4:8 ….Death is a change of employment. It changeth this hard service, this work that lies in mourning, wrestling, and fighting, for joying and singing hallelujahs to the Almighty. Now no prayers, but praises; no fighting and wrestling, but dancing and triumphing. Can a believing soul look upon this glorious change, and not say, Surely ‘better is the day of a believer’s death than the day of his birth’? Death is the winding-sheet that wipes away all tears from the believer’s eyes, Rev. 7:9.
4. Death is a change of enjoyments,
(4A) It is a change of our more dark and obscure enjoyment of God, for a more clear and sweet enjoyment of God. I say, the best believer that breathes in this world, that doth see and enjoy most of God, and the visions of his glory, yet he enjoys not God so clearly, but that he is much in the dark. … The truth is, we are able to bear but little of the discoveries of God, there being such a mighty majesty and glory in all the spiritual discoveries of God. We are weak, and able to take in little of God. Job 23:8-9
… This is our greatest burden, that our apprehensions of God are no more clear, that we cannot that our apprehensions of God are no more clear, that we cannot see him face to face whom our souls do dearly love. Oh, but now in heaven saints shall have a clear vision of God: there be no clouds nor mists in heaven.
(4B.) It is a change of our imperfect and incomplete enjoyments of God, for a more complete and perfect enjoyment of him. Job 26:14; 1 Cor.13:12 … There is no complaints in heaven, because there is no wants. Oh, when death shall give the fatal stroke, there shall be an exchange of earth for heaven, of imperfect enjoyments for perfect enjoyments of God; then the soul shall be swallowed up with a full enjoyment of God; no corner of the soul shall be left empty, but all shall be filled up with the fulness of God. … The best Christian is able to take in but little of God; their hearts are like the widow’s vessel, that could receive but a little oil. Sin, the world, and creatures do take up so much room in the best hearts, that God is put upon giving out himself by a little and little, as parents do to their children; but in heaven God will communicate himself fully at once to the soul; grace shall then be swallowed up of glory.
(4C) It is a change of a more inconstant and transient enjoyment of God, for a more constant and permanent enjoyment of God. Here the saints’ enjoyment of God is inconstant. One day they enjoy God, and another day the soul sits and complains in anguish of spirit. Psalm 61:3, 42:5, 30:6-7; 1 Thess. 4:17-18 ….. It is heaven and happiness enough to see Christ, and to be for ever with Christ. Now, oh what a glorious change is this! Methinks these things should make us long for our dying-day, and account this life but a lingering death.
5. Death is a change that puts an end to all external and internal changes. What is the whole life of a man, but a life of changes? Death is a change that puts an end to all external changes. ….All temporals are as transitory as a hasty, headlong torrent, a ship, a bird, an arrow, a post, that passeth by. Man himself—the king of these outward comforts—what is he, but a mere nothing?—the dream of a dream, a shadow, a bubble, a flash, a blast. …And then it puts an end to all internal changes. Now the Lord smiles upon the soul, and anon he frowns upon the soul. Now God gives assistance to conquer sin, anon the man is carried captive by his sin; now he is strengthened against the temptation, anon he falls before the temptation,
Death is another Moses: it delivers believers out of bondage, and from making brick in Egypt. …
6. Death is a change that brings the soul to an unchangeable rest. It is the bringing of the soul to bed—to a state of eternal rest. That is the last demonstration of the point, that a believer’s dying-day is his best day. Now while we are here the soul is in a-toss. The best his best day. Now while we are here the soul is in a-toss. The best man in the world—that is highest and clearest in his enjoyments of God—is too often like to Noah’s dove that found no rest: Rev. 14:13; Isaiah 57:1-2
…Death is a believer’s coronation-day, it is his marriage-day. ….It is a rest from sin, a rest from sorrow, a rest from afflictions and temptations, &c. Death to a believer is an entrance into Abraham’s bosom, into paradise, into the ‘New Jerusalem,’ into the joy of his Lord.