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of human mortality to vain pleasure, saying, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. Be not thus deceived. Death may be changed from a curse to a blessing. You may, on Christian principles, find death lose all its sting, and be the very gate to life and glory. Fly to Jesus Christ, believe in him, hear his saying, and you shall not taste of death. (John viii. 51, 52.)

May our God raise you all to the high hopes and the full joy of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!

SERMON IV.

ON DEATH.

ECCLESIASTES XII. 7.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

WE proposed to consider from these words, 1. The event referred to; 2. The consequences of that event; and, 3. Its practical use. We have already considered, The event referred to, Death, under five views:-its certainty to all, its uncertainty as to the time, its nearness, its just demand on man, and its subjugation by the Christian. We have also entered on the consideration of the consequences of that event as two-fold; the return of the body to the dust, (which was explained in the last sermon) and the return of the soul to God. We proceed to consider,

2. THE RETURN OF THE SOUL TO GOD.

The spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

You observe here a marked distinction in the account of the body and the soul; the body is dissolved and mingled with the earth from which lives and returns to the

it was taken; the spirit

There is no sleep of the

living God who gave it. soul. The moment it is unclothed by the putting off the body, that moment it appears before the God of the spirits of all flesh. (2 Cor. v. 4—6.) The apostle's statement is decisive; he speaks of his desire to depart and be with Christ, which, he says, is far better; far better than living on earth, even though he could say, To me to live is Christ, and amidst all the scenes of usefulness and the spiritual joys which he had here below.

When God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, he received a living soul, an immaterial and immortal spirit, which shall never cease to exist. Here is the true grandeur of man. It is not the king's palace or the king's throne; it is not earthly wisdom, or talents, or riches, that constitute man's nobility and glory. Every babe in its mother's arms, every peasant in his cottage of clay, every poor heathen idolater, every savage roaming through the woods, has, lodged in his bosom, that which is of more value than worlds upon worlds-even an immortal soul. He has that within which is indestructible and imperish

able. You cannot put a period to its existence : men may kill the body, but after that they have no more that they can do; they cannot destroy the soul. Your soul lives, and shall live for ever.

Mark then the course of the soul after death. Immediately on the death of the body the soul appears before God-solitary, unaccompanied by any earthly attendants; the master without his servants, and the servant without his master; the husband without his wife, and the wife without the husband; the parent without the child, and the child without the parent. Alone, and at the gate of death, stripped of all earthly titles and distinctions, and bared of all riches, tenements, and possessions, just as we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out: (1 Tim. vi. 7.) so, by itself, the spirit enters the eternal world, and sees God face to face.

God, that has been so little in man's thoughts, now appears to the soul in all his unutterable purity, and majesty, and glory.-God is now every thing to the soul: all other beings are lost in the brightness of his presence; and now first man beholds him as he is-so holy that he charges the angels with folly, so pure that the heavens are not clean in his sight, so lovely and resplendent that the eye of the believer gazes with unceasing delight on his beauty. (Psalm xxvii. 4. Isaiah xxxiii. 7.)

When the spirit thus returns to God, an immediate sentence goes forth, deciding its condition for ever. There are two, and but two distinct abodes for the spirit, in the regions of the departed, abodes in which each must dwell till the general resurrection of all flesh at the last day.

There is THE ABODE OF THE LOST; there are the spirits in prison, (1 Peter iii. 19,) along with the angels that sinned, cast down into hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment, (2 Peter ii. 4.) When the soul of the wicked leaves its body, and has received sentence from God, it is immediately consigned to the regions of woe. When the rich man was buried, his soul was directly in the place of misery, and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, longing for Lazarus even to dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool his tongue, for he was tormented in that flame. O tremendous abode-all hope for ever gone; the blackness of darkness surrounding them on every side; the face of him that sitteth on the throne frowning upon them, and the wrath of the Lamb over them through eternity! O flee from this wrath to come; and may God, in tender mercy, give you to know the things which belong to your everlasting peace!

There is, however, blessed for ever be our God, another abode, THE ABODE OF THE RIGHTEOUS, in which their spirits dwell till their bodies shall

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