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thou gavest me to do. Scarcely bave I employed an instant of my time in meditating on eternity.” Wo be to the man who shall then have cause to say: and ah ! how many such are there, under the name of Christians! “I have employed part of iny life in cultivating my estate, in swelling my revenue, in pulling down my barns and building greater, Luke xii. 18. I have devoted another to the delights of a present life, to refinement in pleasure. A third has been employed in gratifying the most criminal appetites, in vomiting out blasphemy against my benefactor, in waging war with religion, morals and common decency, in scandalizing the church of God by my impurities and excess."
Let us not be ingenious in practising illusion upon ourselves. Let us not amuse ourselves with unprofitable speculations respecting the meaning of these words, I pray not for the world. What bold and rash researches have the schools pursued on the subject of this saying of Christ ? What chimerical consequences have not been deduced from it? But from these I must still revert to this grand principle : Are you of the world, or are you not of the world ! Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven ? or, Who shall descend into the deep ? thc word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, Rom. x. 6,
-8. The friendship of the world is enmity with God. James iv. 4. If you are of the world, you are not of the number of those for whom Jesus Christ pleads.
you are not of the world, you are within the decree of his election : he has interceded for you, and
you are warranted to expect all the fruits of his intercession.
These reflections will probably excite, in some, many a painful apprehension, amounting to a conviction that you are in the dreadful class of those for whom Christ intercedes not. But if it be high time to renounce this world, by acts of penitence, of mortification, of a sinsere return unto God, let us proportion these acts to the degree of criminality which renders them necessary. The love of the world has inspired a taste for voluptuousness : let us deny ourselves by a course of abstinence, during the passion weeks, even from what is necessary to nature.* The love of the world has transported us into excesses of worldly joy : let us clothe ourselves in sackcloth and ashes, during the passion weeks, or rather let us present unto God the sacrifice of a braken and contrite heart, Ps. li. 19. Let us make extraordinary efforts to disarm his wrath, ever enkindled against the abominations of the Christian world. Let us say to him a thousand and a thousand times, as we turn our eyes toward the cross of Jesus Christ : O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, bul unto us confusion of faces: Dan. ix. 7. Let us intreat him by those bowels of love which prompted him to restore a fallen world, that he would disunite us from the creature, and unite us to himself.
If we act in this manner, we have every thing to expect from a God whose great leading character is love. He will take pity on this wretched people,
* Does not this passage savour somewhat too strongly of Popery?
He will have compassion on these miserable provinces, in which it seems as if every individual bad undertaken the task of shutting his own eyes, in order to precipitate himself, with the greater indifference, into the abyss which is gaping to swallow us up: he will repress those sea-piracies which have reduced so many families, and impaired the general commerce : he will remove those dreadful plagues which have ruined so many respectable communities as well as individuals : he will stop those fearful inundations which have already committed such devastation in the midst of us, and which still occasion so many well-grounded alarms: he will reconcile the hearts of the potentates of Europe, and engage them to use their united efforts to promote the happiness and the glory of the Christian world.
Much more, if we are not of the world, we shall partake of delights which the world knows not of, and which it cannot take from us, as it cannot bestow. If we are not of the world, we shall have cause of self-gratulation, with our divine Master, that we are not like those desperate madmen who seem resolutely bent on mutualand self destruction; and in these sentiments shall thus address ourselves to God; O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee : but I have known thee, ver: 25. If we are not of the world, we shall be animated with a holy intrepidity, when death takes us out of the world, nay when the world and its foundations crumble into dust beneath our feet.
We shall be filled with joy unspeakble when we reflect, that we are leaving a world of which we were
not, to go to that of which we are citizens. We shall say,
amidst the tears and lamentations of a last adieu : “ It is true, my dear children, it is true, my dear friends, I leave you upon the earth : but my Jesus is in heaven, and I go to be where he is : having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better : Phil. i. 23. It is true I tear myself from you, and it is like tearing me from myself ; but this mournful, is not an everlasting separation, Jesus Christ has prayed equally for you and for me. He has asked for me and for you, that we should all be where he is, that we may all be one in him and with the Father : and I only go before you a few instants into this state of blessedness."
Ah! God grant, that after having preached the gospel to you, we may be enabled to say, with Jesus Christ, at our dying hour: Father, those that thou gavest me I have kept and none of them is lost! ver. 12. God grant that there inay be no son of perdition in this assembly! May God vouchsafe to hearken to the prayer which we present in your behalf, in this place, and which we shall present to him on a dying bed : or rather may God vouchsafe to hear the prayer which Jesus Christ presents for us: Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory! Amen. To the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit he honour and glory forever. Amen.
MATTH. xxvii. 45-53.
Non, from the sixth hour there was darkness over all
the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in train from the top to the bottom: and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened ; and many bodies of saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
WE are going to set before you this dày, my Christian friends, the concluding scene of the most dreadful spectacle that ever the sun beheld. On beholding the order, the preparations, and the ap