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too, every where represent the life of the Christian as a toilsome pilgrimage; a race of doubt and difficulty; a war of danger and unceasing vigilance. Assuredly to the worldly minded, the Gospel of Jesus presents but few attractions. It condemns their pursuits as sinful; it denounces the idol of their worship as an agent of the archspirit of evil; a deadly foe, which must be withstood and conquered. By them, therefore, so long as they cling to follies and pleasures, thus at variance with the precepts of the gospel, we can never hope to see those precepts obeyed. It is when men forsake the world; when they begin to see the vanity and vexation of mortal cares and anxieties; when they become sensible of their own wants and imperfections; that they take up their cross and follow their Saviour's steps. »
But though the true believer must expect to undergo many dangers, to be exposed to many trials, yet we shall err greatly, if we imagine that there are no comforts promised, no joys held out; to reward his faith and obedience. True it is, that the gospel does not say to the sick, ye shall be restored to health; it does not say to the poor, ye shall be made rich; it speaks not to any of perfect rest, or peace, or happiness, in this world. Its comforts, its promises, its rewards, are to be enjoyed in fulness in another state alone; and though they do, even amid all the changes and vicissitudes of life, shed a calm upon the spirit, which no other power can give, yet they will not bestow their most perfect serenity and bliss, until our tabernacle of mortality has been dissolved. And this indeed, my brethren, is the period when the soul stands most in need of consolation. Great and many as the sorrows of life may be; heavily as the afflictions which beset us here may press upon us ; get what are they, compared to that fearful state of woe and misery, which must be the portion of the departed spirit, that stands before its Maker's bar of judgment, with no friend to cheer, no arm to succour it. But to this fearful ordeal, few of us, unhappily, often direct our thoughts. Whilst the blessings of health are shed upon our heads ; whilst the blandishments of life pour their palsying influence upon our senses; we seem to act as though we expected our days to be without number, our pleasures without end or change. The thoughts of death and judgment, are thoughts which either seldom recur, or if they do intrude themselves upon our hours of mirth and merriment, are rarely or never permitted to dwell upon our minds, and temper the unholy excitement, which the vanities of the world never fail to kindle. Yet though we strive to banish these unwelcome visitors from our remembrance; though we drown in excess and frivolity, the solemn voice of conscience which tells us we are mortal; though, like Felix, we defer the consideration of our eternal destiny to some future opportunity, which we may never chance to find; yet in spite of all our procrastination and wilful forgetfulness, the steps of the destroyer, will one day, we know not how soon, be found within our dwellings; and however unprepared we may be for his coming, no entreaties, no supplications, will induce him to delay his visit even for a moment.
But this is not all. Death is not annihilation. If it were, the worldling might perhaps console himself in this time of fear, with the miserable solace of an eternal sleep. But the portals of
lead not, God be praised, into the land of nothingness. They are, on the contrary, but the entrance into a state of being, which will be without end or change. Yet is there one fearful trial, which every departed soul must undergo, procures
admission into those mansions of endless existence, which are to be its portion for
After death, comes the judgment. This solemn truth, is impressed upon us in every page of God's revelations; to it, as to a beacon light, are we directed to shape our course.
Much more is unfolded respecting its nature and design, than is revealed concerning any other event or circumstance which belongs to the world of spirits. The judge of that resplendent yet terrible tribu
nal is declared; the solemn splendours which will surround his throne of glory are displayed to our view, as far, at least, as heaven's magnificence can be depicted in mortal language. It is not hidden from us, that the earth shall open, and the mouldering tenants of her countless tombs, rise from the bed of corruption in which they have lain so long. We know too, that the ocean, that fathomless grave, whose mighty surface bears not a mound, to tell of the myriads of uncoffined dead who sleep beneath its waters, shall restore the victims, who found their last earthly resting-place in the dens of that Leviathan, which thou, O God, hast inade to riot in its boundless wastes. These unnumbered multitudes will be ranged before that awful judgment seat, to hear the sentence pronounced, which will doom them to everlasting woe or everlasting joy. Amid these anxious and trembling hosts, must every one of us be found. We are all to: day, my brethren, living and breathing mortals; all probably forming our plans of future profit or future pleasure; all, I fear, too occupied in devising schemes, which have a reference only to earth and earthly considerations. Yet there shall we also stand. When that day shall come, no artifice can hide, no arm can shield us, from the glance of the eternal and omnipotent. We may call upon the rocks to overwhelm, and the
mountains to cover us, but we shall call in vain.
And where will be the fruits of those gratifications and engagements, which now employ so large a portion of our time; which draw our minds away from God; and tend so powerfully to banish from our thoughts, the remembrance of this day of his final reckoning with his creatures? Look at the man of pleasure or of ambition
Where are the luxuries which have pampered, or the high flown hopes which have lured him on? In this hour of dread and dismay, spread the choicest dainties on the board of festivity; fill the wine cup with the most luscious liquors; gather the sensualist and the voluptuary from the assembled throng, and place them before the banquet. Say, will they taste it? Not one morsel, my brethren, not one drop of that intoxicating goblet, which on earth they were wont to drain so deeply. And if the aspirant after fame or buman dignity, be called to pluck even a crown from the heaps of empty diadems,
, which the monarchs of the world have sought and worn, will he now seize the prize, so long and so ardently desired? It would be vain and useless here. It would be worse than madness, to the
pageantry of earth, before the King of kings and Lord of lords. Look at the miser too; the man who has toiled and con.