Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S ,DYING THOUGHTS. 23 THE SOULS OF BELIEVERS, WHEN. DEPARTED HENCE, SHALL BE WITH CHRIST. Concerning the FIRST, my thoughts shall keep this order. I. I shall consider the necessity of believing it. H. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of the proofs or difficul- ties. HI. The certainty of it manifested for the exercise of faith. I. Whether the words'signify that we shall be in the same place with Christ, (which Grotius groundlessly denieth,) or only in his hand, and care, and love, I will not stay to dispute. Many other texts, concurring, do assure us that "we shall be with him where he is ;" John xü. 26, and xvii. 24, &c. At least, "with him," can mean no less than a state of communion, and a participation of felicity. And to believe .such a state of happiness for departed souls, is ofmanifold necessity or use. , I. If this be not soundly believed, a man must live besides, or below, the end of life. He must have a false end, or be uncertain what should be his end. I know it may be objected, that if I make it my end to please God, by obeying him, and doing all the good I can, and trust him with my soul, and future estate, as one that is utterly uncertain what he will do with nte, I have an end intended, whichwill make me godly, charitable, and just, and happy, so far as I am made for happiness ; for the pleasing of God is the right end of all. But, 1. Must I desire to please him no better than I do in this imperfect state, in which I have and do so much which is displeas- ing to him ? He that must desire to please him, must desire to please him perfectly ; andour desire of ourultimate end must have no bounds, or check. Am I capable of pleasing God no better . than by suoh a sinful life as this ? 2. God hath made the desire ofour own felicity sonecessary to the soul of man, that it cannot be expected that our desire to please him should be separated from this. 3. Therefore, both in respect of God, as the end, and of our feli- city, as our second end, we must believe that he is the beatifying rewarder ofthem that diligently seek him. For, 1. Ifwe make such an ill description of God, as that he will turn our pleasing him to our loss, or will not turn it to our gain and welfare, or that we know not whether he will do so or not, it .will hinder our love, and trust, and joy, in him, by which we must please him, and, consequently, hinder the alacrity, and soundness, and constancy, of our obedience. 2. And it will much dismiss that self-love, which must excite us ; and it will take off part of our necessary end. And I think the objectors would confess, that if they have no certainty what God