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We shall be swept off the stage of this visible state into an unseen and eternal world : Eternity comes upon us at once, and all that we enjoy, all that we do, and all that we suffer in “Time, shall be no longer.'
Let us stand still here, and consider in the first place what awful and important thoughts are contained in this sentence, what solemn ideas should arise to the view of mortal creatures when it shall be pronounced concerning each of them, that • Time shall be no more.'
1. “The Time of the recovery of our nature from its sinful and wretched state shall be no longer.' We come into this world fallen creatures, children of iniquity, and heirs of death; we have lost the image of God' who made us, and which our nature enjoyed in our first parents; and instead of it we are changed into the image of the devil' in the lusts of the mind, in pride and malice, in self-sufficiency and enmity to God; and we have put on also the image of the brute' in sinful appetites and sensualities, and in the lusts of the flesh; nor can we ever be made truly happy till the image of the blessed God be restored upon us, till we are made holy as he is holy, till we have a divine change past upon us, whereby we are created anew and reformed in heart and practice. And this life is the only time given us for this important change. If this life be finished before the image of God be restored to us, this image will never be restored; but we shall bear the likeness of devils for ever; and perhaps the image of the brute too at the resurrection of the body, and be further off from God
and all that is holy than ever we were here upon earth.
of what infinite importance is it then to be frequently awakening ourselves at special seasons and periods of life to inquire, whether this image of God is begun to be renewed, whether we have this glori. ous change wrought in us, whether our desires and delights are fixed upon holy and heavenly things, instead of those sensual and earthly objects which draw away all our souls from God and heaven. Let it appear to us as a matter of utmost moment to seek after this change; let us pursue it with unwearied labours and strivings with our own hearts, and perpetual importunities at the throne of grace, lest the voice of him who swears that, there shall be Time no longer,' should seize us in some unexpected moment, and least he swear in his wrath concerning us, “ let him that is unholy be unholy still, and let him that is filthy be filthy still.”
2. When this sentence is pronounced concerning us, 'the season and the means of restoring us to the favour and love of God shall be no longer.' We are born children of wrath' as well as the sons and daughters of iniquity, Ephes. ii. 2. We have lost the original favour of our Maker and are banished from his love, and the superior blessings of his good. ness; and yet, blessed be the Lord, that we are not at present for ever banished beyond all hope: This • Time of life’ is given us to seek the recovery of the love of God, by returning to him according to the gospel of his Son: Now is pardon and peace, now is grace
and salvation preached unto men, to sinful wretched men, who are at enmity with God and the objects of his high displeasure; now the voice of mercy calls to us, " This is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation," 2 Cor. vi. 2. “ To-day if ye will hear his voice let not your hearts be hardened to refuse it :" Now the fountain of the blood of Christ is set open to wash our souls from the guilt of sin; now all the springs of his mercy are broken up in the ministrations of the gospel: Now "God is in Christ reconciling sinners to himself,' and he has sent us,'his ministers, 'to intreat you in Christ's stead, be ye re. conciled to God;' and we beseech you in his name, continue not one day, or one hour, longer in your enmity and rebellion, but be ye reconciled to God your Creator, and accept of his offered forgiveness and
grace. 2 Cor. v. 20. The moment is hastening upon us when this mighty angel, who manages the affairs of the kingdom of Providence, shall swear concerning every unbelieving and impenitent sinner, that the Time of offered mercy shall be no longer, the Time of pardon and grace and reconciliation shall be no more :' The sound of this mercy reaches not to the regions of the dead; those who die before they are recon. ciled, they die under the load of all their sins, and must perish for ever, without the least hope or glimpse of reconciling or forgiving grace.
3. At the term of this mortal life, the Time of prayer and repentance and service for God or man in this world shall be no longer.' Eccl. ix. 10. “ There
is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest,” whither we are all hastening Let every sinful creature therefore ask himself, • Have I never yet began to pray? Never began to call upon the mercy of God that made me? Never began to repent of all my crimes and follies? Nor begun in good earnest to do service for God, or to honour him amongst men?' Dreadful thought indeed! When it may be the next hour we may be put out of all capacity and opportunity to do it for ever! As soon as ever an impenitent sinner has the vail of death drawn over him, all his opportunities of this kind are for ever cut off: He that has never repented, never prayed, never honoured his God, shall never be able to pray or repent or do any thing for God or his honour through all the ages of his future immortality: Nor is there any promise made to returning or repenting sinners in the other world, whither we are hastening. “ As the tree falls,” when it is cut down, “ so it lies,” and it must for ever lie, ‘pointing to the north or the south,' to hell or heaven, Eccles. xi. 3.
And indeed there is no true prayer, no sincere repentance can be exercised after this life ; for the soul that has wasted away all its time given for repentance and prayer, is, at the moment of death, left under everlasting hardness of heart; and whatsoever enmity against God and godliness was found in the heart in this world is increased in the world to come, when all manner of softening means and mercies are ever at an end. This leads me to the next thought.
4. ·How wretched soever our state is at death, the day of hope is ended, and it returns no more.' Be our circumstances never so bad, yet we are not completely wretched while the time of hope remains. We are all by nature miserable by reason of sin, but it is only despair can perfect our misery. Therefore fallen angels are sealed up under misery because there is no door of hope opened for them. But in this life there is hope for the worst of sinful men: There is the word of grace and hope calling them in the gospel; there is the voice of divine mercy sounding in the sanctuary, and blessed are they that hear the joyful sound:' But if we turn the deaf ear to the voice of God and his Son, and to all the tender and compassionate intreaties of a dying Saviour, hope is hastening to its period; for this very angel will shortly swear, that this joyful sound shall be heard no longer.
He comes now to the door of our hearts, he sues there for admittance, Open unto me and receive me as your Saviour and your Lord, give me and my gospel free admission, and I will come in and bestow upon you the riches of my grace and all my salva . tion: Open your hearts to me with the holy desires and humble submission of penitence, and receive the blessings of righteousness, and pardon, and eternal life.' He now invites you to return to God with an acknowledgment and renunciation of every sin, and he offers to take you by the hand and introduce
you into his Father's presence with comfort: This is a day of hope for the vilest and most hateful criminals; but if you continue to refuse, he will shortly swear