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will be out of our power; we cannot help the dearest friend when once the span ended. We may now do good; and this we are called to do every moment. I can now help the sick, or weak in body or mind, more or less; but when my breath is gone all is over. I may feed the hungry, or cloth the naked, or help the prisoner; but after death my power ceases; I am stripped of all my ability ; naked I came into the world, and as such I must go out of it again. I may now give the word of advice, or loving reproof, or comfort; but from the grave my voice cannot be heard; it is the region of silence, the land of forgetfulness, where all is dark and solitary. My influence cannot follow me; let my office or power be what it will, the rod, or sceptre of authority, is for ever broken; so that, as Solomon says, a living dog is better than a dead lion. Let the day of judgment be at ever so great a distance, my eternity is at hand; the judge is at the door, and with me time will be no longer.
5. From what has been already advanced, we see the necessity of being made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Like the stones which composed the building of Solomon's temple, which were to be fitted to their place previous to their being brought thither; so all the lively stones which compose Christ's spiritual building must have their polish here, that no noise of axes or hammers, no jars or tumults, no trials or temptations may be heard or felt in that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. God often fits, squares and polishes his stones, his children here, by needful crosses, trials and temptations; so that their graces may be made perfect, and their souls fit to enter among the spirits of just men made perfect.
How sweet must that rest be! But remember, as we cannot tell what an hour may bring forth; let us lose no time, let us up and be doing: let us give all diligence to make our calling and election sure.
ON NEW YEAR'S DAY.
Jer. xxviii. 16.
BEHOLD, I WILL CAST THEE OFF THE
FACE OF THE EARTH: THIS YEAR THOU SHALT DIE!
ITAVING considered the certainty and uncertainty of our death, I come now to enquire what is necessary to die comfortably.
AND herein, good Lord, direct me! direct how to speak, and direct the word to your hearts.
1. I HOPE many of you, my dear hearers, are sensible that you are sinners, that you have brought into the world a carnal, sinful polluted soul.
“ Sprung from the man whose guilty fall,
THIS self-abasing truth you cannot be too sensible of. Here is the beginning of
true wisdom. We are indeed shapen in iniquity, and in sin conceived and born; and are, by nature, children of wrath even as others. This corrupt fountain has sent forth corrupt streams; this bad tree has brought forth bad fruit. From the heart of man proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness : All these evil things come from within and defile the man. (a) This is a rueful description, a sórry compliment to human nature! The stile is vastly different from that of our modern divinity; but the worst is, it is true; yoa, it is the very case with the audience which I am now addressing, unless the grace of God has made the change; which I hope is the case with many. Of course repentance from dead works must have taken place. God has commanded all men to repent, because all have sinned. Now repentance is a change of mind, in which sorrow takes place, for the offence committed against the divine majesty; and this will be manifested by confessing and forsaking sin.
For certain it is, his servants we are unto whom we obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. He that committeth sin is of the devil, but
(a) Mark vii. 21, 22, 23.
the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil. And what are the works of satan ? those which have just been described. But before they are destroyed they are manifested, mourned under; and an eager desire to be released from them. This we see was the case with Mary Magdalen, Zacheus, the three thousand on the day of Pentecost; the jailor, or any penitent which we read of. To every penitent soul who comes to the Redeemer, he says, I do not condemn thee ; go, and sin no more. This heart-felt work must take place, or we die in our sins; and if we die in our sins, where Christ is we cannot come.
2. BUT without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that believeth not makes God a liar; a horrid condition indeed: and a state that ought to make the stoutest heart tremble. But he that believeth hath set to his seal that God is true. He that believeth is passed from death unto life, but he that believeth not, shall not see life; for the wrath of God abideth on him. The faith of an heathen is to believe that the Almighty is, that he exists, and that he is the rewarder of all them that diligently seek him. He fears God, and works righteousness, and is accepted of him. As he has not heard of Christ, he cannot believe in him; for how should he believe in him of whom he has not heard ? Yet even his