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count of what has been committed to our trust. On that solemn day of the Lord—that day for which all other days were made -the chief Husbandman will come, “glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength, mighty to save.” Oh! what a scene of wonder and of awe will then present itself!“Who may abide the day of the coming of the Son of Man Who shall stand when he approacheth ?” On that day-hear it, ye truly penitent and ye returning prodigals ! hear it, too, ye disconsolate mourners in Zion !—“They that have sown in tears, shall reap in joy.” Be it our care, my friends, so to sow as that we may be permitted, all unworthy as we are, to join with the accepted children of God in reaping the great recompence of reward.
Let us no longer neglect the admonition which the sacred volume and the changing seasons unite to enforce upon our consciences, lest the hour should arrive when we shall be constrained to cry out in the agonies of remorse, “The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” The word of inspiration has informed us that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” May God, in his mercy, impress the conviction deeply and permanently on our hearts ! Of one thing we are certain, and it is this—that what we are each and all of us sowing every day of our lives, will produce its appropriate fruit; and the return of that fruit will determine our condition, either for happiness or for woe, beyond the grave. May we now sow to the spirit, that when the time of the final harvest shall arrive, we may reap life everlasting! Oh! that we may have the wisdom to improve the present season, while as yet it is ours, seeing that the world itself is rapidly passing away, and that even the youngest, the oldest, and the most excellent of the earth, shall soon have reached the boundary which divides time from eternity !
And if we are not destitute of all feeling, the present season, with its rich abundance, will induce the children of the dust to prostrate themselves at the mercy-seat, there to lift up
their hearts and their voices in anthems of grateful and adoring praise to Him who causeth “the grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the service of man.” “Truly God hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations. Trust in Him at all times, ye people; pour out your hearts before Him; for He is good, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” In His presence there is the fulness of eternal joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Through the undeserved mercy of our God, may we have a portion in that happy, glorious land, where all the air is love, and where there will be an everlasting spring and neverwithering flowers ! Amen.
IMMORTALITY CONSIDERED BY THE LIGHT OF
NATURE, AND THE FACT OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION
BY REV. M. GIBSON.
JOHN XX. 29 :
"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
The evidence of the senses is the strongest of all evidence. On that Thomas believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. He saw him before him alive after his crucifixion, death and burial ; he heard him talk; he examined the print of the nails, and put his hand into the wound in the side ; and he believed. Thomas saw, and heard, and touched : there was demonstration. And Jesus said unto him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed.” The greater weight of sensible evidence is here acknowledged. Yet there seems to be in these words a mild reproof for his incredulity about the resurrection, notwithstanding the testimony of his ten companions and the women who had seen their risen Lord; and he pronounced those blessed who had not seen, and yet believed,—who, not having or being able to have such demonstration of the senses, could believe on the evidence of others, such persons as Thomas and his brethren,—who could be satisfied with the testimony of sincere believers and upright men, and could arrive, through such evidence, at a firm and rational faith. Most persons would not have such means of conviction as Thomas; but by listening to the statement of the truth, and by an unprejudiced examination, they would be truly blessed by receiving a glorious fact.
But although sensible evidence is stronger than moral, the latter may be all that can be needed to produce complete conviction. It may be quite enough to satisfy the inquiring mind. We cannot now have the evidence presented to the primitive believers, but we have quite as much as is required for the satisfaction of those that will inquire and think and judge for themselves. Strong and varied is the testimony for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to some of which (that which is connected with the text) I shall direct our attention in the second principal division of this discourse. And how important are a knowledge of and a belief in that fact ! What would be our hopes of a life to come apart from Christ ?
Let us, in the first place, think of this, trying the soundness of the ground for belief in a future life without Christianity. Are the natural arguments for a hereafter calculated to satisfy the mind's cravings? The question of a future life is one of awful importance; and yet without Christ it is almost hopelessly dark in its uncertainty. There is light from nature and reason to show that there may be a life to come, but nothing to make it certain that there will be one. We know what the most enlightened sages of Greece and Rome have had to say in favour of immortality, and we cannot help feeling, after considering their arguments, the necessity of Christ to give us a firm faith. The philosophers of antiquity did not arrive at a perfectly satisfactory result after all their examination of the natural arguments for immortality. They hoped; there was a longing after immortality; and yet how many doubts mingled with their strongest hopes ! There was room for anxiety and distressing doubt to the wisest and best of those who thought they could discover characters of immortality written on the soul. This question of immortality, how momentous it is,—and how great the darkness without the light which shines from the gospel! There is no sign given from the grave; and were it not for the glorious rays from the resurrection of Christ beaming into it, how terrible the darkness!
What proof is there from nature that death is not the end of man? When the question is asked, “If a man die, shall he live again ?” does he go down into the blank of everlasting silence, or possess an indestructible existence ? is there a clear and positive answer to be gained from any of nature's sights and sounds ? There may be intimations, there may be suggestions, but there are no positive proofs.
Let us, then, think of the real position of this momentous question without the light which Christianity gives, of some of the probabilities of immortality ; for can we feel that there would be more than probabilities, that there would be any decided proofs
1. And taking first into consideration what the feeling of mankind has been on this subject as suggestive of what might be. There has been an almost universal feeling that there will be a future life, some happy land beyond the grave.
There has been an almost universal desire among mankind for life after death, a feeling that death was not the end of all being ; and it has been urged that this desire and feeling point to a future life as a reality, for the desire would not have so prevailed through all ages and countries, were it never to be gratified. Well, my brethren, it is not probable that the desire would have prevailed, if it were never to be gratified. Natural desires have their corresponding gratifications. We do not hunger and thirst without natural objects existing to satisfy us. We are not made susceptible of love without there being persons around whom the affections of the heart may twine themselves. And it is urged, we should not have the