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now all

all ear,

open, see how inexpressibly different are all the things that are now round about you! What a difference do you perceive in yourself? Where is your body? Your house of clay? Where are your limbs? Your hands, your feet, your head ? There they lie, cold, insensible!

“ No anger hereafter, or shame

Shall redden the innocent clay;
Extinct is the animal flame,

And passion is vanish'd away !” What a change is in the immortal spirit! You see every thing around you: but how? Not with eyes of flesh and blood! You hear : but not by a stream of undulating air, striking on an extended membrane. You feel : but in how wonderful a manner! You have no nerves to convey the ethereal fire to the common sensory: rather are you not

eye, all feeling, all perception? How different, now you are thoroughly awake, are all the objects round about you? Where are the houses, and gardens, and fields, and cities, which you lately saw ? Where are the rivers and seas, and everlasting hills? Was it then only in a dream that our poet discovered

“ Earth hath this variety from heaven

Of pleasure situate in hill and dale?" Nay, I doubt all these vanished away like smoke, the moment you awoke out of the body.

8. How strange must not only the manner of existence appear, and the place wherein you are, if it may be called place, though who can define or describe the place of spirits, but the inhabitants of that unknown region? Whether they are of the number of those unhappy spirits, that kept not their first estate, or of those holy ones, that still minister to the heirs of salvation? How strange are the employments of those spirits, with which you are now surrounded? How bitter are they to the taste of those that are still dreaming upon earth ? “ I have no relish, said one of these, (a much applauded Wit, who has lately left the body,) for sitting upon a cloud all day long, and singing praise to God.” We may easily believe him; and there is no danger of his being put to that trouble. Nevertheless this is no trouble to them who cease not day and night, but continually sing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth !"

9. Suppose this to be the case with any of you, that are now present before God. It may be so to-morrow : perhaps to night; perhaps this night your soul may be required of you.” The dream of life may end, and you may wake into broad eternity. See, there lies the poor inanimate carcase, shortly to be sown in corruption and dishonour. But, where is the immortal, incorruptible spirit? There it stands naked before the eyes of God! Mean time, what is become of all the affairs which

you

have been eagerly engaged in, under the sun! What profit have you reaped of all your labour, and care? Does your money follow you? No, you have left it behind you; the same thing to you, as if it had vanished into air. Does your gay or rich apparel follow you? Your body is clothed with dust and rottenness. Your soul indeed is clothed with immortality. Bat, O! What immortality? Is it an immortality of happiness and glory? Or of shame and everlasting contempt? Where is the honour, the pomp of the rich and the great ? The applause that surrounded you ? All

a departeth.” “ The play is over,” said Monsieur Moultray,

lawan when he saw the ball pierce the temples of his dying master *. And what cared the courtier for this ? No more than if it had been the conclusion of a farce or dance. But while the buffoon slept on and took his rest, it was not so with the monarch. Though he was not terrified with any thing on earth; he would be at the very gates of hell. Vain valour! In the very article of death, he grasped the hilt of his sword! But where was he the next moment, when the sword dropped out of his hand, and, the soul out of his body? Then ended the splendid dream of royalty, of destroying cities, and of conquering kingdoms !

* Charles XII. King of Sweden, at the siege of Frederickshall.

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10. “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” What are the weapons that are so terrible among us, to the inhabitants of eternity ? How are the wise, the learned, the poet, the critic fallen, and their glory vanished away! How is the beauty fallen, the late idol of a gazing crowd? In how complete a sense are the daughters of music brought low;" and all the instruments thereof forgotten? Are you not now convinced, that (according to the Hebrew proverb,) “ a living dog is better than a dead lion?" For, the living know, yea must know, unless they obstinately refuse, “ that they shall die. But the dead know not any thing,” that will avail, for the ease of their pain, or to lessen their misery. Also “ their hope and fear, and their desire," all are perished, all of them are fled : “ they have not any portion in the things that are done under the sun!”

11. Where indeed is the hope of those who were lately laying deep schemes, and saying, “ To-day, or to-morrow we will go to such a city, and continue there a year, and traffic, and get gain ?" How totally had they forgotten that wise admonition, “ Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For, what is

your

life? It is a vapour that appeareth. awhile and then yanisheth away!" Where is all your business? Where your worldly cares? Your troubles or engagements? All these things are fled away like smoke: and only your soul is left. And how is it qualified for the enjoyment of this new world? Has it a relish for the objects and enjoyments of the invisible world! Are your affections loosened from things below, and fixed on things above? Fixed on that place, where Jesus sitteth at the right hand of God? Then happy are ye: and when he whom ye love shall appear, "ye shall also appear with him in glory."

12. But how do you relish the company that surrounds you? Your old companions are gone: a great part of them probably separated from you never to return. Are your present companions angels of light? Ministering spirits, that but now whispered, “Sister spirit, come

away!”

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“ We are sent to conduct thee over that gulf into Abraham's bosom.”. And what are those ? Some of the souls of the righteous, whom thou didst formerly relieve with “ the mammon of unrighteousness ?”. And who are now commissioned by your common Lord, to receive, to welcome

you into the everlasting habitations ?” Then the angels of darkness will quickly discern they have no part in you. So they must either hover at a distance, or flee away in despair. Are some of these happy spirits that take acquaintance with you, the same that travelled with you below, and bore a part in your temptations ? That together with you fought the good fight of faith, and laid hold on eternal life ? As you then wept together, you may rejoice together, you and your guardian angels perhaps, in order to increase your thankfulness, for being - delivered from so great a death.” They may give you a view of the realms below : those “Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can never dwell." See on the other hand, the mansions, which were “ prepared for you, from the foundation of the world!” O what a difference between the dream that is past, and the real scene that is now present with thee !' Look up! See

“ No need of the sun in that day,

Which never is follow'd by night!
Where Jesus's beauties display

A pure and a permanent light.” Look down! What a prison is there! “ 'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fire !" And what inhabitants ! ; What horrid fearful shapes, emblems of their rage against God and man; the envy, fury, despair fixed within, causing them to gnash their teeth at Him they so long despised! Mean while does it comfort them to see, across the great gulf, the righteous in Abraham's Bosom? What a place is that! What a house of God, eternal in the heavens !" Earth is only his footstool : yea,

“ The spacious firmament on high,
And all the blue ethereal sky.”

Well then may we say to its inhabitants,
“ Proclaim the glories of your Lord,

Dispers'd through all the heavenly street;
Whose boundless treasures can afford

So rich a pavement for his feet.” And yet how inconsiderable is the glory of that house, compared to that of its great inhabitant! In view of whom all the first born sons of light, angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven, full of light as they are full of love,

“ Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.

13. How wonderful then, now the dream of life is over, now you are quite awake, do all these scenes appear! Even such a sight as never entered or could enter into your hearts to conceive! How are all those that “awake up after his likeness, now satisfied with it?". They have now a portion, real, solid, incorruptible, “ that fadeth not away.” Mean time, how exquisitely wretched are they, who (to wave all other considerations) have chosen for their portion those transitory shadows, which now are vanished, and have left them in an abyss of real misery, which must remain to all eternity!

14. Now, considering that every child of man, who is yet upon earth, must sooner or later wake out of this dream, and enter real life; how infinitely does it concern every one of us, to attend to this, before our great change comes ! Of what importance is it to be continually sensible of the condition, wherein we stand! How advisable by every possible means to connect the ideas of time and eternity ! So to associate them together, that the thought of one may never recur to your mind, without the thought of the other ! It is our highest wisdom, to associate the ideas of the visible and invisible world, to connect temporal and spiritual, mortal and immortal Being. Indeed in our common dreams we do not usually know we are asleep, whilst we are in the midst of our dream. As neither do we know it, while we are in the midst of the dream, which we call life. But you may be conscious of it now! God grant you may! before you awake in a winding sheet of fire !

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