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From the truths we have delivered, there necessarily arises an objection, by which you are struck, and many of you already discouraged. What! are we always to be thinking about religion, being in constant danger of losing it, should we suffer it to escape our minds ? What! must we always watch, always pray, always fight? Yes, my brethren, always, at all times. On seeing the temptations of youth, you should guard against those of riper age. On seeing the temptations of solitude, you should guard against those of company. On seeing the temptations of adversity, you should guard against those of prosperity. On seeing the temptations of health, you should guard against those of sickness. And on seeing the temptations of sickness, you should guard against those of death. Yes : always watching, always fighting, always praying.
I do not say, if you should happen to relax a moment from the work, I do not say, if you should happen to fall by some of the temptations to which
you are exposed from the world, that you are lost without resource, that you instantly go from sin to punishment, from the abuse of time to an unhappy eternity. Perhaps God will grant you a day, or a year for repentance; but perhaps he will not. Perhaps you may repent; but perhaps you may not. Perhaps you may be saved, but perhaps not. Perhaps hellperhaps heaven. What repose can you enjoy in so awful an alternative? What delight can you enjoy in certain vices, the perpetration of which requires time? What repose can you enjoy in a criminal intrigue, saying to yourself, perhaps God will pardon me after having brought this intrigue to an issue : but perhaps also during the course of the crime, he will pronounce the sentence it deserves. What repose can you enjoy in the night preceding a day destined to a complication of crimnes, saying to yourself, perhaps I shall see the day devoted to so dreadful a purpose : but perhaps this very night my soul shall be required. What delight can you take in a tour of pleasure, when it actually engrosses the tiine you
had devoted to search your conscience, to examine your state, to prepare for death, to make restitution for so many frauds, so many extortions, so many dissipations ? What satisfaction can you take, saying to yourself, perhaps I shall see the day devoted to so great a work, but perhaps it will never come?
Ah! my brethren, have you any idea of the shortness of life; have you any idea of the eternity which follows, when you start the objection, What! always pray, always fight, always watch? This life, the whole of which we exhort you to devote to your salvation; this life, of which you say, always-always; this is the life, on the shortness of which you make so many exaggerated declamations : I mistake, the shortness of which can scarcely be exaggerated. This life, of which you say, when we exhort you to devote it entirely to your salvation; this life of which you say, What! always—always; this life, which is but a vapour dissipated in the air: this life, which passes with the swiftness of a weaver's shuttle; this life, which like a flower blooms in the morning, and withers at night : this life, which like a dream amuses the fancy for a night, and of which not a vestige remains at the dawn of day :-this is the life which is but like a thought. And eternity, concerning which you regret to be always employed ; that abyss, that gulf, are those mountainous heaps of years, of ages, of millions and oceans of ages, of which language the most expressive, images the most sublime, geniuses the most acute, orators the most eloquent, I had almost said, the most audacious, can give you but imperfect notions.
Ah! life of fourscore years! A long duration in the estimation of the flesh, when employed in wrestling against the flesh; but a short period when compared with eternity. Ah! life of fourscore years, spent wholly in watchfulness, prayer, and warfare; but thou art well spent when we obtain the prize of a blissful immortality! My brethren, my dear brethren, who can live but fourscore years,— What do I say? Who among us can expect to see the age of fourscore years ? Christians, who are already arrived at thirty, others at forty, others at fifty, and another already at fourscore years. My dear brethren, some of you must die in thirty, some of you in twenty, some of you in ten years, and some in a single day. My dear brethren, let us consecrate to eternity the remnant of our days of vanity. Let us return to the testimonies of the Lord, if we have had the misfortune to deviate. Let us enter on the race of salvation, if we have had the presumption to defer our entrance into it to the present period. Let us run with patience the race, if we have already made a progress; and let the thought, the attracting, ravishing thought of the
prize, which terminates the race, dispel, from our mind, every idea of the difficulties which obstruct the way. Amen! May God give us grace so to do. To whom be honour and glory, dominion, and magnificence, now and for ever. Amen,
Saint Paul's Discourse before Felix and Drusilla.
ACTS xxiv. 24, 25.
And afler certain days, when Felix came with his
wife Drusilla, which was a Jeness, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered : Go thy way for this time ; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
My brethren, though the kingdom of the righteous be not of this world, they present however, amid their meanness, marks of dignity and power. They resemble Jesus Christ. He humbled himself so far as to take the form of a servant, but frequently exercised the rights of a sovereign. From the abyss of humiliation to which he condescended, emanations of the Godbead were seen to proceed. Lord of nature, he commanded the winds and seas. He bade the storms and tempests subside. He restored health to the sick, and life to the dead. He imposed silence on the Rabbins : he embarrassed Pilate on the throne ; and disposed of paradise, at the moment he himself was pierced with the nails, and fised on the cross. Behold the portrait of believers ! They are dead,