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could see my children walking in the truth.” Now, I apprehend such an example leaves you without a cloak for your wickedness, and if you commit iniquity after that, how fearful must be the weight of your woe.

But others of you can say that you had no such mother; your first school was the street, and the first example you ever had was that of a swearing father. Recollect, my friend, there is one perfect example-Christ; and that you have read of, though you have not seen him. Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, was å perfect man; in him was there no sin, neither was there guile in his mouth. And if you have never seen anything like Christian worth any where else, yet you can see it in Christ; and in venturing such an excuse as this, remember you have ventured upon a lie, for the example of Christ, the works of Christ, as well as the words of Christ, leave you without excuse for your sin.

Ah, and I think I hear one more excuse offered, and that is this : “Well, I certainly had many advantages, but they were never sent home to my conscience so that I felt them." . Now, there are very few of you here who can say that. Some of you will say, “ Yes, I heard the minister, but he never made an impression upon me.” Ah, young men and young women, and all of you this morning, I must be a witness against you in the day of judgment that this is untrue. For, but now, your consciences were touched; did I not see some soft tears of repentance-I trust they were such—flowing but just now. No, you have not always been unmoved by the gospel; you have grown old now, and it takes a deal to stir you, but it was not always 80. There was a time in your youth, when you were very susceptible of impression. Remember, the sins of your youth will cause your bones to rot, if you have still persevered in rejecting the gospel. Your old heart has grown hard, still you are without excuse; you did feel once, ay, and even now you cannot help feeling. I know there are some of you that can scarcely keep your seats at the thought of your iniquities; and you have almost vowed, some of you, that this day you will seek God, and the first thing you will do, will be to climb to your chamber, and shut the door, and seek the Lord. Ah, but I remember a story of one, who remarked to a minister, what a wonderful thing it was to see so many people weeping. “Nay,” said he, “I will tell you something more wonderful still, that so many will forget all they wept about when they get outside the door.” And you will do this. Still, #hen you have done it, you will recollect that you have not been without the strivings of God's Spirit. You will remember that God has, this morning, as it were, put a hurdle across your road, digged a ditch in your way, and put up a hand-post, and said, “ Take warning! beware, beware, beware! you are rushing madly into the ways of iniquity!" And I have come before you this morning, and in God's name I have said, “ Stop, stop, stop, thus saith the Lord.consider your ways, why will ye aie? Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die O house of Israel?” And, now, if ye will put this from you, it must be even so; if you will put out these sparks, if ye will quench this first burning torch, it must be so! On your own head be your blood; at your own door lay your iniquities.

IV. But now I have one thing more to do. And it is awful work; for I have as it were to PUT ON THE BLACK CAP AND PRONOUNCE THE SENTENCE OF CONDEMNATION. For those who live and die rejecting Christ there is a most fearful doom. They shall perish with an utter destruction. There are degrees of punishment; but the highest degree is given to the man who rejects Christ. You have noticed that passage, I dare say, that the liar and the whoremonger, and drunkards shall have their portion-who do you suppose with 2-with unbelievers ; as if hell was made first of all for unbelievers—as if the pit was digged not for whorem ingers, and swearers, and drunkards, but for men who despise Christ, because that is the A 1 sin, the cardinal vice, and men are condemned for that. Other iniquities come following after them, but this one goes before them to judgment. Imagine for a moment that time has passed, and that the day of judgment is come. We are all gathered together, both quick and dead. The trumpet-blast waxes exceeding loud and long. We are all attentive, expecting something marvellous. The exchange stands still in its business; the shop is deserted by the tradesman; the crowded streets are filled. All men stand still; they feel that the last great business-day is come, and that now they must settle their accounts for ever. A solemn stillness fills the air: no sound is heard. All, all is noiseless. Presently a great white cloud with solemn state sails through the sky, and then-hark! the twofold clamour of the startled earth. On that cloud there sits one like unto the Son of Man. Every eye looks, and at last there is heard a unanimous shout

" It is he! It is he!” and after that you hear on the one hand, shouts of " Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Son of God." But mixed with that there is a deep bass, composed of the weeping and the wailing of the men who have persecuted him, and who have rejected him. Listen! I think I can dissect the sonnet; I think I can hear the words as they come separately, each one of them, tolling like a death knell. What say they? They say, “Rocks hide us, mountains fall upon us, hide us from the face of Him that sits upon the throne.” And shall you be among the number of those who say to the rocks “Hide us?"

My impeniterit hearer, I suppose for a moment that you have gone out of this world, and that you have died impenitent, and that you are among those who are weeping, and wailing, and gnashing their teeth. Oh! what will then be your terror! Blanched cheeks, and knocking knees are nothing, compared to thy horror of heart, when thou shalt be drunken, but not with wine, and when thou shalt reel to and fro, with the intoxication of amazement, and shall fall down, and roll in the dust for horror and dismay. For there he comes, and there he is, with fierce, fire-darting eye; and now the time is come for the great division. The voice is heard,“ Gather my people from the four winds of heaven, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth.” They are gathered at the right hand, and there they are. And now saith he, "Gather up the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn." And you are gathered, and on the left hand there you are, gathered into the bundle. All that is wanted is the lighting of the pile. Where shall be the torch that shall kindle them? The tares are to be burned: where is the flame? The flame comes out of his mouth, and it is composed of words like these—“ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, in hell, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Do you linger? Depart!" Do you seek a blessing? “ Ye are cursed.I curse you with a curse. Do ye seek to escape? It is everlasting fire. Do ye stop and plead? No, * I called, and ye refused; I stretched out my hands, and ye regardeil me not; therefore I will mock at your calamity, I will laugh when your fear cometh.Depart, again, I say; depart for ever!” And you are gone. And what is your reflection? Why, it is this: " Oh! would to God that I never had been born! Oh! that I had never heard the gospel preached, that I might never have had the sin of rejecting it!" This will be the gnawing of the worm in your conscience--"I knew better, but I did not do better."-As I sowed the wind, it is right I should reap the whirlwind; I was checked, but I would not be stopped; I was woed, but I would not be invited. Now I see that I have murdered myself. Oh! thought above all thoughts most deadly. I am lost, lost, lost! And this is the horror of horrors: I have caused myself to be lost; I have put from me the gospel of Christ; I have destroyed myself.

Shall this be so with thee, my hearer? Shall this be so with thee? I pray it may not! O may the Holy Spirit now constrain thee to come to Jesus, for I know that thou art too vile to yield, unless he compels thee. But I hope for thee. Methinks I hear thee say, "What must I do to be saved ?” Let me tell you the way of salvation, and then farewell. If thou wouldest be saved, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ;” for the Scripture says, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned." There he hangs, dying on his cross ! look to him and live.

“ Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude ;

None but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good.” Be you wicked, filthy, depraved, degraded, you are still invited to Christ. The devil's castaways Christ takes in--the offscouring, the dross, the scum, the draff, the sewerage of this world, is now invited to Christ. Come to him now, and obtain mercy. But if ye harden your hearts,

“ The Lord in anger dressid,

Shall lift his hand and swear,
• You that despis'd my promis'd rest,
Shall have no portion there.""

A SERMON

PREACHED

ON SUNDAY EVENING, the 25th of APRIL, 1858,

BY THE

REV. JAMES HUGHES,

Wesleyan Minister.

IN

THE WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL,

TROWBRIDGE, WILTS.

OCCASIONED by the DEATH of the LATE Mr. W. H. EDMONDS.

LONDON :

JAMES PAUL, I, CHAPTER HOUSE COURT,

NORTH SIDE ST. PAUL'S, AND PATERNOSTER ROW.

THE FADED FLOWER.

Sermon

PREACHED ON SUNDAY EVENING, APRIL 25, 1858,

BY THE REV, JAMES HUGHES,

(Wesleyan Minister,)

IN THE WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL, TROWBRIDGE, WILTS.

Occasioned by the Death of the late Mr. W. H. Edmonds.

"The flower fadeth ; because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.”--- Isaiah x1, 7.

THERE is something very affecting in the death of young people. To see a young man like our beloved friend, Mr. Edmonds, in the morning of life, sicken, droop, and die, is a scene which, regarded in itself, apart from the hopes of the gospel is very, saddening. But there is nothing new in this. The language of the Book of Job is, “ They die in youth.” Yea, before that early age of the world, as well as oft since, this assertion has met with its frequent and mournful fulfilment. If this were indeed the first death of a young man, it would affect us most deeply. It would be like seeing the sun about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, sinking down and burying itself beneath the horizon, instead of running his usual course from east to west. Or to keep to the figure of the text, as if the flower when bursting forth, gradually unfolding its hidden beauties, and ere as yet it had reached its full proportions, checked in its expansion, were suddenly to droop and perish. But, alas ! the premature fading of the flower is so often seen in the gardens of mortals, and men, "in fulfilling their course," are so frequently ar. rested by the hand of death, and plunged into the darkness of the grave before the noon of life, that we fail to feel the deep and sad impression which such events are fitted to produce. It is once more brought home to us in the removal of one whom many of us knew, and whom to know, was also to respect and love. The word of God has made everything around us vocal with instruction; stamped its lessons of inspired wisdom on the page of nature, and rendered the whole world around and above us auxiliary to its purpose of sacred instruction. The flower of the field is oft the subject of beautiful and affecting allusion in the word of God, as well as an example of God's care, as also a type of frail and perishable humanity. The passages in which man is compared to a flower are many and striking—“He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down.” “ As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” The same interesting figure is involved in the passage out of the midst of which we have selected our text, as well as in its parallel in 1 Peter i. 24, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." These are a sample of those affecting passages in which the Spirit of God has rendered the perishing grass and the frail flower the emblems of our perishable and mortal nature. How strongly must we be reminded of such desoriptions of humanity when called to mourn the loss of a young man in the prime of life. To see the frame, when it is usual for it to acquire additional strength and hardihood, shrinking away under the touch of disease, until the declining process results in death. At once the thought of the fading flower presents itself to our minds, and we seem to hear a voice which says to us, Cry—“ The flower fadeth ; because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.”

The Lord sanctify this solemn service to us, that henceforth we may live as “strangers and pilgrims upon earth who desire a better country, that is, an heavenly.”

In dealing more directly with the words of the text, we notice

I. That the flower is beautiful. Flowers are made as if to ornament the world. There is no man however blunt his senses, who does not at once perceive the beauty of a flower. Some flowers are much more beautiful than others. But every kind, especially of cultivated flowers is beautiful. And is there not in man, regarded as the creature of God, something that is beautiful? “ The human face Divine.” Yes, there is something in the bodily formation of man that renders him more attractive than any other creature in the world. His superiority among all other creatures of God below the skies, entitles him to be called “the flower” of this lower creation. Nor can we wonder at this, when we remember that man was made to be “the temple of the Holy Ghost." How great must have been the beauty of “ primeval” when God had just made him. His soul and body pure and spotless. His external form corresponding to the inward excellence. The earthen vessel as yet unmarred, fit casket of a pure and holy spirit. “ The earthly house of this tabernale,” stamped with such external beauty as befitted the spiritual opulence of its immortal resident. His face radiant with the image of God; the God of light and love, in whose likeness he was made. Truly, he could have been only "a little lower than the angels” when God set him over the works of his hands. What majesty and grace there must have been in the whole bearing and movements of the new creature. The last and best made of the whole of this lower creation, God's chief wormanship, the perfection of his creatures here below. Surely the human flower beamed with beauty when its Great Creator had newly formed and planted it in Eden. But, alas, the blight of sin has brought a dimness over the splendour, and much of the original beauty is lost. Nevertheless, there is something still in man to remind us of the primeval dignity and loveliness. It is possible that some great physical transformation has taken place in the serpent more subtle that any beast of the field by which man's ruin was instrumentally accomplished. But we have no reason to suppose that any such change was produced in the human form by the fall of man from God. For this reason, that that body was yet designed to be in its “redeemed state the temple of the Holy Ghost.” And it is evident that man alone of all other creatures in the

man

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