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hill without a summit, that sea without a shore, that river without an end, over which they are to sail for ever-they never think of that. Will you pause a moment and recollect that you have to sail for ever, and you must sail o'er the burning waves of hell, or else o'er sparkling streams of glory. Which shall it be with you? You will have to consider this soon. Before many days, and months, and years are gone, God will say to you, “ Prepare to meet thy God," and it may be that the summons shall come to you when you are in the death struggle, when the stream of Jordan is chilling your blood, and your heart is sunken within you by reason of fear. And what will you do thien? What wilt thou do in the swellings of sin in the day when thou art spoiled? What shalt thou do when God shall bring thce into judgment?
And I have now the pleasing task of closing by addressing men of another character. Ah! friend; you are not careless. You have many thoughts, and they pain you; but, although you would be glad to get rid of them, you would be afrail to do so. You can say, “ Oh! I do feel it were well for me if I could rejoice in Christ-I do feel I should be happy if I could be converted.” Friend, I am glad to hear thee say so. Where God has put the work of an impressed heart, I do not think he will leave it till he has finished. Now, I want to speak to you very seriously to-night, but for a minute. You do feel your need of a Saviour. Remember, Christ died for you. Believe that-will you? There he hangs upon his cross, dying; look into his face, it is full of love, it is melting with forgiveness; his lips are moving, and he says, “Father forgive them.” Will you look to him? Can you hear him say it, and yet turn away? All he asks you is simply to look, and that look will save you. You do feel your need of a Saviour; you know you are a sinner. Why tarry? Do not say you are unworthy. Remember, lie died for the unworthy. Do not say he will not save you. Remember, he died for the devil's castaways; the very draff and scum of ihe world Christ has redeemed. Look at him. Can you look at him and not believe him? Can you see the blood streaming from his shoulders, and trickling from his hands and side, and not beliere him? Oh! by him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, I entreat you to believe on the Lord Jesus; for thus is it written, “He that believeth on the Lord Jesus, and is baptized, shall be saved.”
Once when Rowland IIill was preaching, Lady Ann Erskine happened to be driving by : she was in the outer ring of the circle, and she asked the coachman, wh the people were there for. He replied, “ They are going to hear Rowland Hill." Well, she had heard a great deal about this strange man, accounted to be the very wildest of preachers, and so she drew near. No sooner did Rowland Hill see her, than he said, “ Come, I am going to have an auction, I am going to sell Lady Ann Erskine." (She of course stopped, and she wondered how she was going to be disposed of.) “Who will buy her?” Up comes the world. “What will you give for her?" " I will give her all the pomps and vanitics of this present life ; she shall be a happy woman here she shall be very rich, she shall have many admirers, she shall go through this world with many joys." You shall not have her ; her soul is an everlasting thing; it is a poor price you are offering ; you are only giving a little, and what shall it profit her if she gain the whole world and lose her own soul? Here comes another purchaser-here is the devil. " What will you give for her.” “Well." says he, “ I will let her enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; she shall indulge in everything her heart shall set itself unto ; she shall have everything to delight the eye and the ear; she shall indulge in every sin and vice that can possibly give a transcient pleasure.” Ah! Satan, what will you do for her for ever? You shall not have her, for I know what you are ; you would give a paltry price for her, and then destroy her soul to all eternity. But, here comes another-I know him-it is the Lord Jesus. “What will you give for her?” Says he, “ It is not what I will give, it is what I have given ; I have given my life, my blood for her ; I have bought her with a price, and I will give her heaven for ever and ever ; I will give her grace in her heart now and glory throughout eternity.”
“O Lord, Jesus Christ,” said Rowland Hill, “ thou shalt have her. Lady Ann Erskine, do you demur to the bargain ?" She was fairly caught; there was no answer that could be given. “It is done,” he said, “it is done ; you are the Saviour's; I have betrothed you unto him ; never break that contract." And she never did. From that time forth, from being a gay and volatile woman she became one of the most serious persons, one of the greatest supporters of the truth of the gospel in those times, and died in a glorious and certain hope of entering the kingdom of heaven. I would be well pleased if I might make a match of some of you this night; if you would now say, Lord, I will have thee,” Christ is ready. If he has made you ready he is never behind hand himself. Whosoever is willing to have Christ, Christ is willing to have him. What sayest thou ? wilt thou go with this man ? If thou sayest “Ay,” God bless thee! Christ saith “ Ay” too, and thou art saved, saved now, saved for ever !
THE WICKED MAN'S LIFE, FUNERAL, AND EPITAPH.
"And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they wero forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.”—Ecclesiastes viii. 10. It is quite certain that there are immense benefits attending our present mode of burial in extra mural cemeteries. It was high time that the dead should be removed from the midst of the living—that we should not worship in the midst of corpses, and sit in the Lord's house on the Sabbath, breathing the noxious effluvia of decaying bodies. But when we have said this, we must remember that there are some advantages which we have lost by the removal of the dead, and more especially by the wholesale mode of burial which now, seems very likely to become general. We are not so often met by the array of dead. In the midst of our crowded cities we sometimes see the sable hearse bearing the relics of men to their last homes, but the funeral ceremonies are now mostly confined to those sweet sleeping places beyond our walks, where rest the bodies of those who are very dear to us. Now, I believe the sight of a funeral is a very healthful thing for the soul. Whatever harm may come to the body by walking through the vault and the catacomb, the soul can there find much food for contemplation, and much excitement for thought, In the great villages, where some of us were wont to dwell, we remember how, when the funeral came now and then, the tolling of the bell preached to all the villagers a better sermon than they had beard in the church for many a day; and we recollect, how as children, we used to cluster around the grave, and look at that which was not so frequent an occurrence in the midst of a rare and spare population; and we remember the solemp thoughts which used to arise even in our young hearts when we heard the words uttered, “ Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The solemn falling of the few grains of ashes upon the coffin-lid was the sowing of good seed in our hearts. And afterwards, when we have in our childish play climbed over those nettle-bound graves, and seated ourselves upon those mossgrown tombstones, we have had many a lesson preached to us by the dull, cold tongue of death, more eloquent than aught we have heard from the lip of living man, and more likely to abide with us in after years; but now we see little of death. We have fulfilled Abraham's wish beyond what he desired—we“ bury the dead out of our sight;" it is rarely that we see them, and a stranger passing through our streets might say, “Do these live always? for I see no funerals amongst the millions of this city; I see no signs of death."
We shall this morning want you, first of all, to walk with a living man; it is said of him that he did “come and go from the place of the holy:" next, I shall want you to attend his funeral; and then, in conclusion, I shall ask you to assist in writing his epitaph—"and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this also is vanity.”
I. In the first place, HERE IS SOME GOOD COMPANY FOR YOU; some with whom you may walk to the house of God, for it is said of them, that they did come and go from the place of the holy. By this, I think we may un lerstand the place where the righteous meet to worship God. God's house may be called “the place of the holy." Still, if we confine ourselves strictly to the Hebrew, and to the conNo. 200.
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nection, it appears that by the “place of the holy” is intended the judgment-seat the place where the magistrate dispenses justice; and alas! there be some wicked who come and go even to the place of judgment, to judge their fellow sinners. And we may with equal propriety consider it in a third sense to represent the pulpit, which should be “the place of the holy; but we have seen the wicked come and go even from the pulpit, though God had never commanded them to declare his, statutes.
In the first place we will take this as representing the house of God. What a sight it is to see the great crowds coming up to the sanctuary of the Lord. I am sure, as we saw the multitudes coming up to the house of God, there must have been a peculiar thrill of joy pass through our hearts. It reminds us of the ancient gathering in Zion's temple when thither the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord, to worship at the sanctuary of God. Oh! it is a noble sight when with joy and gladness we see the young and the old, the grey-headed and the children, all of them pressing forward in one eager throng to worship the Lord of Hosts, and listen to the voice of his sacred oracle. But your pleasure must have a great deal of alloy if you stop for a moment and dissect the congregation. Pull the goodly mass in sunder : in a heap it sparkles like gold; pull aside the threads, and alas ! you will see that there are some not made of the precious metal, for "we have seen the wicked come and go from the place of the holy." Gathered in this throng this morning we have here men who almost profane the spot in which they are found. Last night's revel has left its impress upon their countenances. We have others who will, ere this day is closed, be cursing God in the house of Satan. There be many to be found here who have during this week been spending their time in lying, cheating, and swindling in the midst of their business. I doubt not there are some here who have taken every advantage that was possible of their fellow men, and if they have not come within the clutches of the law it certainly has not been their fault. We have too, I doubt not, in such a multitude-yea, I may speak with confidence-we have men here who have, during the past week, and at other times, defiled themselves with sins that we will not mention, for it were a shame for us to speak of the things which are done of them in secret. Little do we know when we look here from this pulpit—it looks like one great field of Powers, fair to look upon -how many a root of deadly henbane and noxious nightshade groweth here ; and though you all look fair and goodly, yet " I have seen the wicked come and go from the place of the holy.”
Shall we just take the wicked man's arm and walk with him to the house of God? When he begins to go, if he be one who has neglected going in his childhood, which perhaps is not extremely likely, when he begins to go even in his childhood, or whenever you choose to mention, you will notice that he is not often affected by the sound of the ministry. He goes up to the chapel with flippancy and mirth. He goeth to it as he would to a theatre or any other place of amusement, as a means of passing away his Sabbath and killing time. Merrily he trippeth in there; but I have seen the wicked man when he went away look far differently from what he did when he entered. His plumes had been trailed in the dust. As he walks home there is no more flippancy and lightness, for he says, “Surely the Lord God has been in that place and I have been compelled to tremble. I went to scoff, but I am obliged, in coming away, to confess that there is a power in religion, and the services of God's house are not all dulness after all.” Perhaps you have hoped good of this man. But, alas! he forgot it all, and cast away all his impressions. And he came again the next Sunday, and that time he felt again. Again the arrow of the Lord seemed to stick fast in his heart. But, alas! it was like the rushing of water. There was a mark for a moment, but his heart was soon healed, he felt not the blow; and as for persuading him to salvation, he was like the deaf adder, "charm we never so wisely," he would not regard us so as to turn fro n his ways. And I have seen him come and go till years have rolled over his head, and he has still filled his seat, and the minister is still preaching, but in his case preaching in vain. Still are the tears of mercy flowing for him; still are the thunders of justice launched against him; but be abideth just as he was. In him there is no change except this, that now he groweth hard and callous. You do not now hear him say that he trembles under the Word-not he. He is like a horse that hath been in the battle, he feareth not the noise of the drum nor the rolling of the smoke, and careth not for the din of the cannon. He cometh up, he heareth a faithful warning, and he saith, “What of it? this is for the wicked.” He heareth an affectionate invitation, and he saith, “Go thy way, when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee." And so he comes and goes up to the house of God and back again. Like the door upon its hinges he turns into the sanctuary to-day, and out of it to-morrow. “He comes and goes from the place of the holy.” It may be, however, he goes even further. Almost persuaded to be a Christian by some sermon from a Paul, he trembles at his feet. He thinks he really repents; he unites himself with the Christian church: he makes a profession of religion;. but, alas! his heart has never been changed. The sow is washed, but it is the sow still. The dog has been driven from its vomit, but its doggish nature is there the same. The Ethiopian is clothed in a white garment, but he hath not changed his skin. The leopard hath been covered all over, but he hath not washed his spots away. He is the same as ever he was. He goes to the baptismal pool a black sinner, and he comes out of it the same. He goes to the table of the Lord a deceiver; he eats the bread and drinks the wine, and he returns the same. Sacrament after Sacrament passes away. The Holy Eucharist is broken in his presence; he receives it, but he comes and he goes, for he receives it not in the love of it. He is a stranger to vital godliness, and as a wicked man "he comes and he goes from the place of the holy."
But is it not a marvellous thing that men should be able to do this? I have sometimes heard a preacher so earnestly put the matter of salvation before men, that I have said, “Surely they must see this.” I have heard him plead as though he pleaded for his own life, and I have said, “Surely they must feel this." And I have turned round, and I have seen the handkerchief used to brush away the tear, and I have said, “Good must follow this." You have brought your own friends under the sound of the Word, and you have prayed the whole sermon through that the arrow may reach the white and penetrate the centre of the mark, and you said to yourself, "What an appropriate discourse.” Still you kept on praying, and you were pleased to see that there was some emotion. You said, “Oh, it will touch his heart at last.” But is it not strange that, though wooed by love divine, man will not melt; though thundered at by Sinai's own terrific thunderbolts they will not tremble; yea, though Christ himself incarnate in the flesh should preach again, yet would they not regard him, and mayhap would treat him to-day as their parents did but yesterday, when they dragged him out of the city and would have cast him headlong froin the summit of the mount on which the city was builded. I have seen the wicked come and go from the place of the holy till his conscience was seared, as with a hot iron. I have seen him come and go from the place of the holy till he had become harder than the nether millstone, till he was past feeling, given up “to work all manner of uncleanness with greediness.”
But now we are going to change our journey. Instead of going to the house of God we will go another way. I have seen the wicked go to the place of the holy, that is to the judgment bench. We have had glaring instances even in the criminal calendar of men who have been seen sitting on a judgment bench one day, and in a short time they have been standing at the dock themselves. I have wondered what must be the peculiar feelings of a man who officiates as a judge, knowing that he who judges has been a law-breaker himself. A wicked man, a greedy, lustful, drunken man—you know such are to be discovered among petty magistrates. We have known these sit and condemn the drunkard, when, had the world known how they went to bed the night before, they would have said of them, “Thou tbat judgest another doest the same things thyself.” There have been instances known of men who have condemned a poor wretch for shooting a rabbit or stealing a few pheasants' eggs, or some enormous crime like that, and they themselves have been robbing the coffers of the bank, embezzling funds to an immense extent, and cheating everybody. How singular they must feel. One would think it must be a very strange emotion that passes over a man when he executes the law upon one which he knows ought to be executed upon himself. And yet, I have seen the wicked come and go from the holy place, until he came to think that his sins were no sins, that the poor must be severely upbraided for their iniquities, that what he called the lower classes must be kept in check, not thinking that there are none so low as those who condemn others whilst they do the same things themselves; speaking about checks and barriers, when neither check nor barrier were of any use to himself; talking of curbing others and of judging righteous judgment, when had righteous judgment been carried out to the letter, he would himself have been the prisoner, and not have been honoured with a commission from government. Ah!
is it not a sight that we may well look at, when we see justice perverted and the law turned upside down by men who “ come and go from the place of the holy."
But the third case is worse still. “I have seen the wicked come and go from the place of the holy”—that is, the pulpit. If there be a place under high heaven more holy than another, it is the pulpit whence the gospel is preached. This is the Thermophylæ of Christendom; here must the great battle be fought between Christ's church and the invading hosts of a wicked world. This is the last vestige of anything sacred that is left to us. We have no altars now; Christ is our altar: but we have a pulpit still left, a place which, when a man entereth, he might well put off his shoes from his feet, for the place whereon he standeth is holy. Consecrated by a Saviour's presence, established by the clearness and the force of an apostle's eloquence, maintained and upheld by the faithfulness and ferrour of a succession of Evangelists who, like stars, have marked the era in which they lived, and stamped it with their names, the pulpit is handed down to those of us who occupy it now with a prestige of everything that is great and holy. Yet I have seen the wicked come and go from it. Alas! if there be a sinner that is hardened, it is the man that sins and occupies his pulpit. We have heard of such a man living in the commission of the foulest sins, and at length has been discovered; and yet such is the filthiness of mankind, that when he began to preach to the people again, they clustered round the beast for the mere sake of hearing what he would say to them. We have known cases, too, where men, when convicted to their own forehead, have unblushingly persevered in proclaiming a gospel which their lives denied. And perhaps these are the hardest of all sinners to deal with. But if the garment be once defiled, away with all thoughts of the pulpit then! He must be clean who ministers at the altar. Every saint must be holy, but he, holiest of all, who seeks to serve his God. Yet, we must mourn to say it, the church of God every now and then has had a sun that was black instead of white, and a moon that was as a clot of blood, instead of being full of fairness and beauty. Happy the church when God gives her holy ministers; but unhappy the church where wicked men preside. , I know ministers to this day, however, who know more about fishing rods than they do about chapters in the Bible; more about fox-hounds than about hunting after men's souls, who understand a great deal more of the spring and the net than they do of the net for catching souls, or earnest exhortations for men to flee from the wrath to come. We know such even now: still uproarious at a farmer's dinner, still the very loudest to give the toast and clash the glass, still mightiest among the mighty, found, of the gay, the wild, and the dissolute. Pity on the church that still allows it! Happy the day when all such persons shall be purged from the pulpit; then shall it stand forth “clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners.” * I have seen the wicked come and go from the place of the holy."
II. And now we are GOING TO HIS FUNERAL. I shall want you to attend it. You need not be particular about having on a hat band, or being arrayed in garments of mourning. It does not signity for the wretch we are going to bury. There is no need for any very great outward signs of mourning, for he will be forgotten even in the city.where he hath done this: therefore we need not particularly mourn for him. Let us first go to the funeral and look at the outward ceremonial. We will suppose one or two cases.
There is a man who has come and gone from the place of the holy. He has made a very blazing profession. He has been a county magistrate. Now, do you see what a stir is made about his poor bones? There is the hearse covered with plumes, and there follows a long string of carriages. The country people stare to see such a long train of carriages coming to follow one poor worm to its resting-place. What pomp! what grandeur! See how the place of worship is hung with black. There seeins to be intense mourning made over this man. Will you just think of it for a minute, and who are they mourning for? A hypocrite! Whom is all this pomp for? For one who was a wicked man; a man who made a pretension of religion; a man who judged others, and who ought to have been condemned himself. All this pomp for putrid clay; and what is it more or better than that? When such a man dies, ought he not to be buried with the burial of an ass? Let him be drawn and dragged from the gates of the city. What has he to do with pomp? At the head of the mournful cavalcade is Beelzebub, leading the procession, and, looking back with twinkling eye, and leer of malicious joy, says, “ Here is fine pomp