If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and if in the land of peace…
I. CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAKE DEATH MORE APPALLING THAN ANY OTHER CALAMITY.
1. Death must be met alone.
2. Not only the solace of thine accustomed society, but every other temporal result will then fail thee.
3. Death ushers us into a new and strange world. Well may flesh and blood shrink from the prospect of being effectually unhinged from all that is usual and accustomed — effectually divested of every material and earthly association, and of dipping its foot in the brink of that cold river, whose flood is appointed to roll over the head of all flesh.
4. Our great Enemy, as in all our trials so in this especially, will be at hand to improve it to our ruin.
II. TO EVERY SINCERE BELIEVER IN CHRIST THE HORROR WITH WHICH THE ABOVE CIRCUMSTANCES INVEST DEATH IS ENTIRELY DISPELLED.
1. Although the Christian, in the trying hour of dissolution, cannot, any more than others, fall back upon the sympathy and support of his fellow men, still he is not left in the pitiful plight of the worldling and sinner to encounter death alone (Psalm 23:4).
2. What is it to him, if all earthly stays and confidences be broken up? He has not built his hopes of eternity on refuges of lies. He has "an anchor of the soul sure and stedfast." He has first the sure word of promise, assuring him that his Lord will be with him when he passes through the rivers (Isaiah 43:2). And then he has the gracious and glorious work of atonement and mediation, upon which is based the everlasting covenant which God has made with him in Christ, and from the consideration of which he may draw up endless supplies of peace and satisfaction, even in those dark hours of disquietude.
3. It follows next to speak of the acquaintance which the Christian's soul has during life contracted with the new sphere into which the swelling of Jordan bears him away. Some regards and respects to things terrestrial he must have entertained as dwelling on the earth — but this home, the home of his affections, has never, since he became a sincere Christian, been situated here below. This is only the house of his pilgrimage, and he accounts it so to be. While walking on the earth he has his "conversation in heaven." Accordingly death ushers him into no strange scene, and introduces him to no strange company. No. he is already "come to Mount Sion," etc. (Hebrews 12:22, 23, 24).
4. The "Lion of the tribe of Judah" is at hand to wrestle with the lion who "walketh about seeking whom he may devour," and to bear away triumphantly from the conflict his own redeemed servant without the loss of a hair of his head, thus asserting his claim to "divide a portion with the great, and to divide the spoil with the strong."
Parallel VersesKJV: If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?