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mercies, or whether the most exalted dignity of the world could be any compensation for the loss of his favour?. Suppose one of those unhappy wretches who are now mourning, amid endless torments, 'their past folly, for a moment to burst the barriers of the grave, and to stand in awful form before us; what answer would he return to this question, or in what language would he address himself to those, who, like himself, abuse the clemency and forbearance of God? May we not justly suppose, that he would speak to the deluded sinner in some such words as these:
"From the regions of eternal darkness, where " the worm never dieth and the fire is not “ quenched, I come, misguided mortal, to warn " thee of thy danger, lest thou also fall into " this place of torment. Like thee, I once " abused the mercy and forbearance of the Al56 mighty; like thee, I'trod the paths of life, “ regardless of the God who gave me life; like “ thee, I toiled to add field to field, to fill my " barns, to extend my power; like thee, I “ defrauded the unwary, and oppressed the in" nocent; I murdered the widow and stranger, " and put the fatherless to death. And now, “ behold the sad reward of all my labours; be“ hold in me a voful example, in what thy own
“ labours will certainly end. Condemned as “ I am to eternal torments, it were now better " for me that I had crawled a loathsome insect “ on the earth, 'or howled a savage monster “ in the desert, rather than to have been born
a man, than to have inherited the powers of “ reason and the hopes' of immortality. And 66 yet, wretched as I am, amidst all the mi" series which surround me, I feel none só “ heavy as the cruel remembrance of my past “ folly in despising the divine mercy, which “ so long waited for my repentance, which số " tenderly and often invited me to return and “ be saved, My other tortures do indeed ex- : “ cruciare this wretched body; but this wounds “ and pierces my soul: the flames of hell do “ indeed drink up my blood; but it is this " which kindles and increases the destructive “ fire. Could I consider God as having been " mine enemy; could I charge him with any 66 severity or injustice; could I forget that 'I
might have been happy, if I had not by my
obstinate refusals of his mercy solicited mi“ sery; could I forget, that I should never have " trodden these paths of darkness, if I had “ not first wilfully trodden the steps of sin ; I " might then have some excuse for my folly, I “ might then have some comfort, even in these “ regions of unutterable distress. But ah! the
“ veil of error is too late removed from my “ eyes! Too late the tears of contrition now " witness the sincerity of my repentance! Too “ late I fall a prostrate suppliant at the unre“ lenting throne of divine justice! There was “ a time when the gate of mercy was open to “ me; when I had a merciful Redeemer in "' heaven to intercede for me, and a Holy Spi
rit on earth to guide and protect me; when " God himself condescended to invite me to " accept of the terms of salvation: but now " those happy moments are irrecoverably gone, " and the Almighty no longer appears to me as "an indulgent father, but as an inaccessible " God, and an inexorable judge. , ,
“ These advantages, however, unthinking " mortal, are still thine, are still in thy power, “if thou wilt embrace them. Immersed as
thou art in sin, God still waits for thy re" pentance, and affords thee the means of salu vation ; Christ still intreats thee by his mi“ nisters, by his word, by his sacraments, by “ the all-powerful eloquence of his blood; the “ Holy Spirit still remains with thee to inspire " thee with holy thoughts and pious resolutions, “ to confirm thy faith, and guide thy wan“ dering steps into the way of peace. Let “ therefore my voice warn thee not tą reject
“ them, lest thou also come into this place of " torment."
Such, my brethren, is the voice of truth, such' is the language of reason! And happy were it for us, could each of us be persuaded to attend to their sober dictates! But, alas ! such is the infidelity of the present age, that truth and reason weigh little with some men; and such is the unhappy perversion of others, that they would not be persuaded, even though one actually rose from the dead.
All therefore that can be done is to take up the pathetic lamentation of the Psalmist, “ Mine eyes gush out with water, because men
keep not thy law;" still, however, fully determined, under every discouragement, to discharge our duty as faithful shepherds over the flock committed to our charge, that is, frequently and earnestly to remind them of the danger of their situation, and to declare to them the certainty of those heavy judgments, which God Almighty has pronounced against those who abuse his mercy and forbearance: to tell them, that however they may seem at present to prosper in wickedness, yet that no shades can hide their crimes from his all-seeing eye,