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I was per
Finally. Let us now turn the medal. We have been speaking of the death of the Christian-but mark the wicked man, and behold the ungodlyWhat is his end? The answer would seem too awful for declamation; and we should not even present the scene, but to heighten the subject by contrast ; and to prevent, if possible, your realizing it in your own experience. We therefore endeavour to save with fear; and knowing the terror of the Lord, would persuade men.
And in this work of apparent severity, but real compassion, the sacred writers go before us.
“ What,” says Peter, “ shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God ?” “ The Lord,” says David, “ shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming. For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be ; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. plexed and pained at the sight of their prosperity, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image."
Does the dying sinner look back upon the past? “ Vanity of vanities," says the reviewer, “ vanity of vanities, all is vanity." His life appears a succession of fancies, dreams and impositions. Nothing seems real, but his sins. These—his neglect of prayer, his forgetfulness of God, the profanation of his Sabbaths, the contempt of his word and commandments—these, in their number and aggravations, re
vive and approach-and conscience keeps them in * view.
-What satisfaction or relief can the present afford him ? Every thing in his outward condition may be agreeable; but what is this to a wounded spirit ? Righteousness delivers from death, but riches profit not in the day of wrath. What is honour to one who knows he is ready for the worms?
Can flattery sooth the dull, cold ear of death ? What is the consolation of being praised where we are not, while we are miserable where we are !
What does the future promise ? He is separating from every thing he loves, to enter a state in which he has no hope, after which he has no desire, and from which he has no escapema state of thought without the possibility of diversion ; of passion without the means of gratification ; of society without friendship; of enmity without restraint; of accountableness without excuse; of retribution without mercy; of loss without recovery; and of misery without end? Who knoweth the power of thine anger ? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. In many cases fear magnifies; and when the evil comes, the reality falls far short of the apprehension. But here the event infinitely exceeds the foreboding. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. No wonder therefore the death of the sinner is represented in the Scripture as the effect of compulsion66 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness." " He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of this world.” Some of these scenes are kept secret-perhaps they are misunderstood. They are ascribed to a distempered imagination. The ters: rified victim is supposed to be in the phrensy of delirium. Some, by the composing draught are stupified, who would otherwise drive and keep every attendant from the room. Yet the reluctance, and anguish, and horror, are sometimes known ; and make an awful impression for the time. But suppose there is nothing of this; and the sinner dies, as it is often expressed, like a lamb; the delusion is but for a moment. He instantly sees his mistake. But the immutability of his state renders the knowledge as dreadful as it is unavoidable. His disappointment is an unspeakable aggravation of his misery; and the consequences are remediless.
O! that you were wise, that you understood this, that you would consider your latter end! Then surely you would not give sleep to your eyes, or slumber to your eyelids, till you had a good hope through grace, that you were delivered from such a doom.
- But you think the end is not near; and distant things do not impress. You put far away the evil day. But can you put it entirely away? Yea, can you really put it far away? How long do you
think of living? Fix the period. Place it at three score years and ten, place it at four score years, it is soon cut off, and you flee away-whither? What will become of
then? But how uncertain is your reaching this period ! At what age, in what place, in what condition, in what employment, have not men died? On what are you relying to escape a death which has unexpectedly and prematurely carried so many of your connexions and neighbours down to the dust ? On youth ? On strength ? What is your life?
« It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then van
isheth away.” “Every man at his best state is altogether vanity." 0! thou, in whose hands our breath is, and whose are all our ways, so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our heart unto wisdom.
And, my Brethren, what is this wisdom? What is the one proper and rational part which creatures, circumstanced as we are, have to act? Is it not to prefer the soul to the body, and eternity to time? Is it not to agree with our adversary while we are in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver us to the judge, and the judgę deliver us to the officer, and we be cast into prison ? Is it not to flee for refuge to the hope set before us? Is it not to make the concern of Paul supremely and immediately our own? “That I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable unto his death."
"If I wait the grave is mine house.”—JOB xvii. 13.
THIS was in answer to the opinion and advice of his friends. They had repeatedly intimated, that if he repented, and reformed, and prayed to God, he might surely reckon upon a speedy restoration to health, and a peaceful abode, and a prosperous condition. “ If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplications to the Almighty ; if thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase." "If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him ; if iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear; because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: and thine age shall be clearer than the noon-day; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope : yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid ; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.”