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- And need I say, “ Whatsoever your hand find. eth to do, do it with your might;" do it immediately. While you delay, they may be gone, and their condition determined for ever. While you linger, you may be gone, and every possibility of usefulness be shut out. “ For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Yet all your opportunities of doing good are limited to this short and equally uncertain duration. In consequence of this, what an inestimable value attaches to the present hour. Awake, my fellow-Christians, and redeem the time. Remember, earth has one privilege above heaven. It is the privilege of BeneFiCENCE. The privilege of passing by a transgression, of relieving the distressed, of spreading the Scriptures, of evangelizing the heathens, of instructing the ignorant, of reclaiming the vicious, of seeking and saving them that are lost. They who are now in joy and felicity, would be ready, were it the will of God, to descend from their glory, and re-enter the body, and traverse the vale of tears again, to be able to do, for a number of years, what at present lies within the reach of every one of you.- Is this incredible? Why they are now perfect in knowledge ; and see that “it is not the will of our Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." Why their benevolence is now perfect; they dwell in love, and God dwelleth in them. They are filled with the Spirit of Him who though he was rich, yet for your sakes became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
Christians! we have thus spoken of your being in the world. Let me now speak of your leaving it.
After David had served his generation by the will of God, he fell on sleep, and was gathered to his fathers. Jesus went about doing good; but at last he said, “I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” “ And now I am no more in the world. Holy Father, I come to thee.” Such is the removal that awaits you all. You will soon be no more in this world—how soon, it is impossible to determine. But as to some of you, from the infirmities of nature and the course of years, the event cannot be very remote, and you need notyou do not deplore it. " Your salvation is now nearer than when you believed." " The night is far spent. The day is at hand.”
You are not required to be indifferent to what is passing around you, or insensible to the events that befall yourselves; but you are to feel as Christians, and you are to declare plainly you seek a country. You are not to undervalue a state in which you enjoy many comforts, and are favoured with the means of grace, and are blessed and dignified with opportunities of usefulness; but considered as your portion, and your dwelling-place, the voice cries, and you ought to hear it, “ Arise, and depart hence, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted.” You are not to be in haste to leave it, while God has any thing for you to do, or to suffer: but while bearing the burden and heat of the day, you may resemble the man in harvest : he does not throw down his implements and run out of the field before the time; but he occasionally erects himself and looks westward, to see when the descending sun will furnish him with an honourable discharge.
“ Jesus," the Evangelist tells us, “ knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father.” There was something peculiar here. He knew the time of his departure, and had his eye upon it, and regulated his measures by it from the beginning—But you must say with Isaac, “ I know not the day of my death." Yet you also have your hour appointed for this purpose; and appointed by Infinite Wisdom and Goodness. And till it arrives, you are immortal; and friends cannot retard, and enemies cannot accelerate its approach.
- And what will it then be but a departure out of this world? This vain world—this vexing worldthis defiling world—this tempting world—this world which crucified the Lord of Glory—this world in which you walk by faith, and not by sight; and in which you so often exclaim, “Wo is me, that I dwell in Mesech, and make my tents in Kedar.”
– What will it be but a departure out of this world, to the Father 2-to his world ? To his abode ?—and to yours also ? For since you are the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, your going to the Father, is going home. The poet represents the traveller returning at eve, buried in the drifted snow, as "stung with the thoughts of home;" a home he was not permitted to see. But, Christian, no disaster shall hinder your arriving at your Father's house in peace. And as your home is sure, so it is replenished with every attraction that can draw you forward. When the venerable Mede, whose grey hairs were a crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness, was asked how he was? resting upon his staff, he cheerfully answered, “Why, going home as fast as I can; as every honest man 168
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE WORLD.
ought to do when his day's work is done: and I bless God, I have a good home to go to.” God forbid, Christians, that you should be all your lifetime subject to bondage through fear of an event that has so much to render it not only harmless, but desirable. Does the Lord Jesus stand in no relation to you? Is not he your ransom and your advocate? Is not he your righteousness and strength ? Has not he abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel? Has not he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers ? Has not he said, “ If a man keep my sayings, he shall never see death?” What is dying now, but your hour to depart out of this world unto the Father?
“ There is my house and portion fair ;
“And my abiding home :
“And Jesus bids me come.”
THE CHRISTIAN, IN PROSPERITY.
“ I spake unto thee in thy Prosperity; but thou saidst, I will
not hear."--Jer. xxii. 21.
THE providence of God was presented in vision to Ezekiel, under the image of a vast wheel. The design was to show, that its dispensations were constantly changing. For as in the motion of a wheel, one spoke is always ascending, and another is descending; and one part of the ring is grating on the ground, and another is aloft in the air; so it is with the affairs of empires, families, and individuals—they never continue in one stay. And not only is there a diversity in human conditions, so that while some are rich, others are poor; and while some are in honour, others are in obscurity and disgrace; but frequently the same person is destined successively to exemplify, in his own experience, the opposite estates of prosperity and adversity. Such characters strike us in the Scripture; they abound in history; they are to be met with in our daily walk; they are to be addressed in every congregation. . But these vicissitudes are great trials of religious principle; and happy is he who can press forward undismayed by the rough, and unseduced by the pleasant he meets with, in his course ; who can pre