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the conceited wisdom of this world, which stamps it with the character of inconsistency and little
To be elaborate about trifles, and absolutely neglectful of the highest possible concern, what is this but contempt of reason, and criminal self-destruction!
But if we intend to acquaint ourselves with God, it is wise to do so now, in preference to all other things. Seek, first, the kingdom of heaven, is the dictate of interest and prudence, as it is the command of Scripture. The goodness of God deserves the devotion of our whole lives, and therefore we should not delay to acknowledge him. Since our Saviour Christ died for us, are we not under the strongest obligation to live to him; especially when, by thus living, we enjoy what alone is worthy of the name of life? But if no other motive will avail, let a knowledge of the terrors of the Lord induce us to acquaint ourselves with him without delay. Neglecting so great salvation, how shall we escape ? Once offered, and once despised, or put away from us, though it be only for this time, what reason can we have to complain, or whom can we charge, if we die in our sins! And who of those here
present, being now invited, being now admonished and warned, their own consciences also bearing witness of their ability to know more perfectly what God requires, and assenting to the necessity and expediency of fulfilling his will; who, I say,
will venture to justify himself at the great day of account, if now, disregarding this high and bounden duty, he turns away in indifference, refusing to acquaint himself with God, and ensure his peace?
Let none of us then, my brethren, any longer postpone the beginning of a religious life, in hope of a more favourable disposition, or of a more convenient season. How often does delay harden the heart! How often does it accumulate obstacles to penitence and faith! How often does God in righteous judgment withdraw his insulted and long resisted Spirit, as he did from Pharaoh when he rejected its influence! And how often does death come unexpectedly and suddenly, hurrying in a moment, and without warning, the unprepared spirit to its eternal, unchangeable, and final destiny !
Let these reasons move us, in humble prayer, and in all the appointed means of grace, to seek now to acquaint ourselves with God, and be at peace. Which may he grant us all, who died for us all, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Change in the risen Bodies of the Righteous.
1 CORINTHIANS xv. 49, 53.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear
the image of the heavenly. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
To form a proper estimate of the nature and end of our being, is the first step to a right performance of all our duties, and to a correct disposition of all our occupations and pursuits. Selfish plans, trifling objects, narrow ends, and vicious purposes, are all the result of limited perception, and of short-sighted views. To think correctly is to act nobly; and virtue itself is but another name for a clear and enlarged discovery of what belongs to our relative character, and to our permanent interest.
That conduct may be wise in a being whose existence is bounded by to-day, which would be the extreme of folly in one who is to live tomorrow, to endure the consequences of his ac
tions. And if the existence which we now possess were confined to the boundary of this transient life, it would require and justify different maxims, and a very different course of behaviour, from those which are binding upon probationers for eternity, and candidates for immortality,
The interests of a mortal, and those of an immortal being, are totally distinct. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die, is the maxim of the first. Deny thyself and live to God, is that of the last. With the former, solfishness may be virtue, and fraud and dishonesty parts of duty; and if there be no life to come, self-denial, and obedience to the strict requirements of virtue, may be faults, and martyred for truth, the very consummation of folly. My brethren, we do not sufficiently keep in view what sort of beings we are, and what we are soon to be. We do not sufficiently extend our thoughts to that permanent state of existence to which we are shortly to attain ; nor do we sufficiently form our conduct, or regulate our lives, in reference to that higher and incomparably more glorious destiny to which it is our privilege to aspire, and which it should pow be our business to secure.
Alas! that it should be so! We live as if this were the whole of our life. We devote ourselves to a world which is passing away. We include all our interests between the cradle and the grave. What is beyond we seldom regard, or regard
with doubtfulness or dread. And yet if this earthly existence comprised the whole course of our being, we might well question the advantage of the gift, and the goodness of the Giver. Take away the expectation of a future life, and you make the present not only inexplicable but worthless. We find ourselves in a world whose promises are deceitful, and whose best realities are vain. The most highly favoured on earth have as great reasons for anxiety as for joy; and are as often the victims of sorrow and disquietude as the cheerful participants of pleasure and hope. And if such be the situation of the most happy, what shall we say of the rest who cannot be ranked even with them? Limit all their expectations to this temporal life, and then weigh fairly their hopes and fears, their enjoyments and cares; and of those who constitute by far the larger proportion of our race, it would at once be decided that their life deserves any other name than that of a blessing.
I need not be told that sorrow, trials, and cares, are the discipline by which God prepares the earthly wanderer for a heavenly rest, for that is a view of life which can only be taken as it is connected with a future state. And it is in reference to the present merely, as standing by itself, that I now speak of its value. In this view of life, considered as an end, and not as a means, it must be granted that an existence which is