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hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness ? (Acts xvii. 31)--that we should stand ready to meet that day, because it cometh when least expected (Matt. xxiv. 44)and that it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gommorah in that day, than for those who have lived under greater advantages, and neglected them? Mark vi. 11.

He, who is as a man taking a far journey, and hath committed to every one his work (Mark xiii. 34), speaks of a servant who should say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and accordingly pursues his evil course, equally regardless of God or man. But what is the consequence? The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers : Luke xii. 45, 46.

He further assures us, That it is not enough that we have not been riotous or injurious, like the servant above. He informs us, That we have

· each a talent to improve: which you will find

a described at large in Matt. xxv. You will there see another servant (which means every careless sinner) coming and declaring, that, after entertaining hard thoughts of his master's requirements, he had gone, in a sort of despair, and hid his Lord's talent in the earth. Lo, there, says he, thou hast

. that is thine! What followed this wretched


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excuse, and what became of him whom our Lord calls a wicked and slothful servant, I (who would

I fain secure you from this end) intreat you to read; and, with it, that very awful, but instructive account of the great day which immediately follows it.

To listen, then, as this servant did, to our own vain thoughts, or to those of our unbelieving companions, instead of attending to these gracious warnings of our Lord, is certainly one of the most desperate delusions that ever entered the human heart. “ I shall do as well as others," says a thoughtless creature : but should he not first learn, from the Judge of the whole earth, what others are doing ? Should he embark soul and body on the ocean of Eternity upon such a presumption as this ? (a sort of presumption, upon which he would scarcely risk a shilling of his property) and, especially, after being expressly charged, not by his minister only, but by his Saviour, to strive to enter in at the strait gate (Luke xiii. 24); and assured, that broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat ; but that narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it? Matt. vi. 13, 14.

To rescue you, therefore, from a world which lieth in wickedness (1 John v. 19)—to prevent your committing a mistake for which no remedy is provided in eternity,—and to awaken you to the

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pursuit of eternal life before the night cometh, when no man can work (John ix. 4). I have brought forward these scriptures; and add my fervent prayers, that they may be accompanied with a divine blessing to your heart !



A Pious writer of the last century has some remarks, so applicable to what has just been said, that I shall select and abridge a passage or two for your

use:“ Some,” says he,“ are so carried away by the stream of evil company, that, when one and ano. ther is cut off, it does not daunt them ; because they see not whither their companions are gone. Little do they think how such are now lamenting the madness of a careless state. In Luke xvi. the rich man in hell would fain have had one sent to warn his five brethren, lest they should come to that place of torment. Probably he knew their minds and lives; and knew that they were hasting thither, little supposing that he was there.

“ I remember being told of a man who was driving a flock of lambs upon a bridge over the

а. Severn ; and, something bindering their passage, one of the lambs leaped upon the wall of the bridge, and fell into the stream : the rest, seeing VOL. II.


him, one after another leaped also over, and were drowned : those, that were behind, little sus. pected what became of them which were gone before; but thought they might venture to follow their companions. Even so it is with unconverted men: one dieth by them, and falls into destruction, and another follows; and yet they pursue the same course, not considering whither their companions are gone; but when death hath once opened their eyes, and they see what is on the other side of the wall, what would they give to return!”

“ Moreover," continues he, “ they have a crafty and malicious enemy, whose principal business is to prevent their conversion, and to keep them quiet and secure (Luke xi. 21): and this he at: tempts,' by persuading them to disbelieve the Scriptures, or not to trouble their minds with such matters; or by persuading them to think ill of a godly life, and that they may be saved without conversion, and that there is no need of all this stir and anxiety about it. . He will tell them that God is so merciful, that there is no danger; at least, that they may stay a little longer, and take their pleasure and follow the world at present, and repent hereafter. By such delusions as these, Satan keeps them captives, and leads them to ruin!

But consider, I pray you, what means this repentance hereafter, with which so many are thus

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deluded? Can they repent at any time without the grace of God? Are they likely to obtain that grace, who continue to neglect and despise it? My concern for your safety obliges me to add, that nothing can be more express than the decla, ration of our Judge, That there is a time approaching in which those who have set at nought his counsel, shall indeed call, but receive no answer: Prov. i 28. Oh, how many of them that are lost, once vainly resolved to repent hereafter ! : If, therefore, fools make a mock at sin (Proví xiv. 8), and if, more foolish still, they despise their only remedy, turn from these to the voice of Wisdom and of God, in Proverbs, chap. i.; for there you will see expressly described, both the character and the end of such men.

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A MINISTER'S AIM. Such Scriptures as have been mentioned, it is confessed, have a tendency to disturb and wound those who live in a careless and unconverted state : they were, indeed, written with this very design. Let such, however, recollect, that faithful are the wounds of a friend: Prov. xxvii. 16.

When your body is disordered, you send for a physician or surgeon, and willingly submit to whatever he prescribes : you depend upon his skill and integrity through, perhaps, a tedious and

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