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“ Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. i. 14.) " And the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom” (Luke xvi. 22); and, above all, “ I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Heb. xiii. 5) This gives new spirits to the almost fainting believer, and he goes on singing, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. I have been distressed about my poor soul, what will become of it when it goes out into a new world; but now I am perfectly easy; ' I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed unto him against that day. Thou, gracious Saviour, wilt show me the path of life. Though it be new to me, it is not so to thee. Though an host should encamp against me, in this will I be confident; for “ I am persuaded that neither death, por life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'»
Improvement. 1. How thankful should we be for the Gospel revelation !
One great end of the holy Scriptures is, to put it past all doubt that there is such a blessed life to be expected in another world, and to show us the
“ These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye might know that ye have eternal life.” (1 John
Way to it.
v. 13.) Reason may argue plausibly in favour of the immortality of the soul, and a future state of rewards and punishments ; but that such guilty and depraved creatures should be admitted into the presence of God, and made partakers of such fulness of joy, and everlasting pleasures, is more than reason could demonstrate or discover. “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared for them that love him.” It was a voice from heaven that said, “ Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” (Rev. xi. 13.) We should be thankful that a voice from heaven did say this; and we should be thankful that it was written too, for it is in those sacred writings that life and immortality are most clearly brought to light. In the Gospel there are such distinct and animating descriptions of heaven, that it is no wonder Christians are so impatient to be gone, where they may have light' without darkness, fulness without want, joy without grief, health without sickness, day without night, and life without death.--I say, what a mercy is it to be assured of all this by the written word of God; that it is not a matter of mere conjecture or report, but that we have it under God's own hand, confirmed by “ signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost !”that this precious record should be preserved entire, amidst all the enmity and opposition of the powers of darkness; and that it should be conveyed to us, who were among "the multitude of the isles” afar off upon the sea !--and that it should be continued among us so many ages, when those nations which live on, or near, the very spot where Christ and his
apostles first published the glad tidings, are long ago degenerated into the most deplorable ignorance !--that the Gospel should yet be preseryed among us; that we have such a rule to live by, and such a hope to die by!-Oh, if you have ever been called to attend a dying Christian, and seen with what composure and complacency he looks upon his wasting body ;-what satisfaction he takes in every new symptom of his approach. ing dissolution ;-how he comforts himself under present pains, by anticipating the joyful hour when he shall put off this vile body, and get among the spirits of just 'men made perfect;-what a cordial it is to him to talk about heaven how he relishes the description, and longs to realize it; with what calmness he feels the bands of life loosening, and asks, “ Is this dying ? I hope it is. Do not you think it will soon be over? Tell me: it will not hurry me: I am not afraid to die. Conie, Lord Jesus; come quickly;"—with what pleasure be repeats, or hears others repeat, such texts as these : “In my Father's house are many mansions ;" "I go to prepare a place for you :” “ There remaineth a rest for the people of God:” “ I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing”-I say, you
have ever been witnesses to such a scene as this, you must have seen the worth of a written Gospel ; when one text of Scripture hath elevated the soul into a perfect transport of joy, at the very time that the richest cordials of
I said you,
human preparation have been scarcely able to keep nature from fainting.
2. How sharply to be reproved, and greatly to be pitied, are they who will not walk in the path of life, though God hath so plainly showed it to them !
And I may add, What a melancholy consideration is it, that these should make up the greatest part of almost every numerous assembly!—for “ wide is the gate, and broad is the road, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."
I was thinking of reasoning with you. because I am afraid there are some, perhaps many, of this unhappy character before me.
I say therefore again, I was thinking of reasoning with you, in the words of Jehovah; “ Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel ?”—Why, indeed, will ye die, when ye are so freely offered, and earnestly entreated, to live? “ The spirit, and the Bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst, Come; and who. soever will, let him take the water of life freely.”I thought to have told you, that the King of Glory himself condescends to stand at your door and knock, saying, “If any man hear my voice, and open to me, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me;" “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you; and Jearn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.” And his commandments are not grievous. He requires, indeed, that you cast away your transgressions wherewith you have transgressed;" that you abstain from “fleshly lusts,
which war against the soul;” and that you "set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.” And where is the
And where is the hardship of all this ? Doth not every one know that “ the pleasures of sin are but for a season,” and that they leave a dreadful sting behind ? Doth not every one know that “ the fashion of this world passeth away;" and that while it continues, it is no better than one great scene of “ vanity and vexation of spirit ?” And will not “fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore," in the presence of God, hereafter, richly compensate any little pains we may be at, in denying and subduing a' carnal and corrupt affection here? Doth not your own judgment and conscience tell you, that an interest in this pure, perfect, never-ending felicity, is preferable to any thing, every thing, that can be set in competition with it?-I thought to have told you whither the road you are now in was leading you, and what “ the end of these things” would be; and, if
you would not hearken to me, that I would take my leave of you, in the words of that celebrated Preacher; “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment !" (Eccl. xi. 9.) - An address something like this I had intended; but thought I, to what purpose all this waste of argument? Have not all these things been urged already, and urged in vain?- Well, but there is one consideration which hath not yet been touched upon, who can tell but it may be effec. tual! I beseech you, then, to turn into “ the path