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see so much about in the world, as real and substantial, when they are in fact of very little importance: and in short, to judge of persons and of circumstances, very differently to what God and his good angels do. The consequence of all this is, that we get excited and taken up, from to time, by some passing concerns which occupy our thoughts with cares respecting the morrow, and so are in danger of forgetting our substantial and eternal interests.

The other instrument which the great enemy has to effect this purpose is, the tendency of our own heart, which we cannot doubt is, as the Scripture expresses it, “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." We have, indeed, a better nature implanted within us who are baptized, as it is said, “the word of God abiding in us”-that is, by our obediently walking accordingly in faith and repentance, and cherishing this divine life and light by prayer and the sacraments: but yet, whenever we fall back, or become remiss and lukewarm in these means of grace—there will be springing up in our hearts desires which will afford the evil one means and opportunities against us. As long as our time of trial lasts, these dangers will continue.

Such being our condition, thus encompassed with manifold temptations, the Almighty has of great mercy supplied us with everything that can work upon our love and our fears, as assistances and support to our weakness. And among these, the uncertainty of our own death, and the suddenness of those around us, is


But now this, and indeed all temporal calamities and sorrows, although they may be considered as awful warnings to work on our fears, but yet are they all mixed with mercy, and are no less than his blessings and encouragements, the sign of God's fatherly anxiety and tenderness for us.

For this uncertainty of our lives may be made a great plessing to us, if we would consider it as we ought in all reason to do. The power of things seen and present is very great, and when we fancy that we may live thirty

we may

or forty years, this power is greatly increased; it seems to put the great and unseen eternity with all its awful realities at a distance. But when we are brought to reflect that in a few days or hours it may be all over with us as far as this world is concerned ; that the objects which we now think so important will then appear quite as trifling as the circumstances of a dream when we awake. That by this time next week, or tomorrow,

be in the actual presence of God and of Jesus Christ, in a way beyond all conception at present; this is a very moving thought. It is enough to still and set at rest every feeling of unkindness to others, of discontent in ourselves; it is enough to bring us to our heavenly Father with all that awe and dependance with which we ought to think of him at all times, and to make us very zealous in doing his work.

I do not know any consideration which, if duly cherished, would have such an impression upon our hearts, and tend more to make us what we should be. We ought to rise with this thought every morning, and retire to rest with this thought every night—that in twelve hours we may be in the presence of our judge, and the door closed.

This is not a mere fancy or imagination to excite the mind, but a real substantial truth; that a day will come which will be our last on earth, and the first beyond the grave: and that we never know whether this may not be

Many things in nature are awful from their suddenness; a flash of lightning-a loud clap of thunder close to us is apt to startle and amaze the stoutest heart. What is this to sudden death? it is nothing at all : for the very next death that occurs, may be one which will take ourselves off where no eye shall see us more.

Now I know full well, as I said before, that no one will believe this, that he shall be thus taken off; merely because we are alive, and it has not happened to us ; but of this I am sure, that the more any person is in earnest--the more he really takes God at his word, and

that day.

thinks of what eternity must be, the more short and uncertain will he feel this life to be.

And the moment we are on the other side of the grave, we will be beyond all conception astonished how we ever could have thought it to be so long. Until then it will be with respect to us as a thrice-told tale-flat and unprofitable, and our Savior's words will be to us, as when he said to the Jews, “If I tell you ye will not believe.

But then we shall see in some very wonderful and mysterious manner the full sense of such words as these :

“Seek not ye what ye shall eat nor what ye shall drink.”

“Sell that ye have and give alms-provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not." burning.'ur loins be girded about, and your lights

“And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.”

“And this know, that if the good man of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched.” “ Be ye

therefore ready also : for the Son of man cometh at an hour when


think not.”
“And what I say unto you, I say unto all, watch !"





“ I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the

earth and the heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. And I saw the dead, sh.all and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

Holy Scripture does not teach us to think so much of death, as of our Lord's coming, and the day of judgment; and this it seems to press upon us in every kind of way, and to be constantly reminding us of it; inasmuch as there is nothing which we are so unwilling to think of, and which is so difficult for us to realize. Indeed, when our attention is once turned to it, it is quite remarkable how many things God has made to remind and warn us of it.

Thus our blessed Lord has told us, that the judgments of God which came upon the old world, were to us as signs and emblems of that great Judgment. He says that it shall be as it was in the days of Noah; when men were, up to the very last, engaged in their worldly business as usual, when the flood came upon them suddenly, and those only who were in the ark with Noah were saved. In like manner, our Lord says that the destruction which came upon guilty Sodom was a sign of the same thing, when they were eating and drinking and warned in vain ; and the angel did as it were with much difficulty get Lot and his family to escape out of the burning city; seizing them by the hands, and earnestly pressing them to flee in time. And as if it were to show us that these signs of our Lord's coming were not confined to the times before the gospel; when our Lord has given us at length a description of the day of judgment in the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of St. Matthew, he so closely connected all the cir. cumstances of it with the destruction of Jerusalem, which was to happen about forty years afterward, that we hardly know which of the two his words most ap. ply to, the destruction of that city, or that of the world. Teaching all people thereby, when they witnessed or heard of the destruction of Jerusalem to think of the end of the world.

And these threc instances which our Lord has re. corded, would teach us to look upon other events of the same kind, as intended to be to us gracious warnings of that one great event to which all things are hastening. Thus when the destroying angel passes through the land of Egypt, and suddenly at midnight there was a great cry, and God brought out his own people in great haste, we cannot but see that this also may have been intended to remind us of the day of judgment. In like manner, in after times, when we read of the wicked city of Babylon being taken at midnight, when men thought not of it, God would surely admonish us of that great day which will come suddenly “as a thief in the night;" and

In that great city they were feasting at night, when Cyrus, whom God “had called by name, and held by his right hand," came suddenly upon them, and took them all; at a time when at the feast of Belshazzar, they saw a handwriting on the wall, which Daniel was interpreting, “ Thou art weighed' in the balance, and found wanting."

There is another instance which may be mentioned, in the book of the prophet Joel : God brought on the land of Israel a heavy judgment by a vast cloud of locusts, which eat up everything in the land ; but God's inspired prophet has so described it, as if great day of judgment he was speaking of at the same time, and in the same words. He says, The earth shall quake before them, the heavens shall tremble, the sun

as a snare.

were the

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