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wear his image. Grace tends as much to mortify a proud, morose, self-willed, bitter, revengeful spirit, as it does to mortify intemperance or lewdness. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, renewed in the spirit of his mind, after the image of him that created him. No notions, 110 impressions, no high affections, or discoveries, can stand in the place of this real conformity to his image. And whoever is conformed to him really, will long to be conformed to him partially. The nearer we are to the mark, the more we shall be attracted by it.
What an example did Christ give, of compassion to the souls of men ! He came into the world on purpose to seek and save the lost. He was ever going about doing good. When he might have been expected to be weary with travelling and hunger, and rested at the well at Sychar, while his disciples were gone into the city to buy meat, he entered into conversation with a poor, schismatical, heretical woman, of infamous character; and forgot his bodily fatigue and hunger, in his zeal to convert and save her soul. He laid down his life for souls; and are there any who call themselves by his name, who would not give sixpence for accomplishing that for which he shed his heart's blood ? I trust it would be a hard thing to find a professor of this sort here. I am sure it would be
of a better sort. You know the grace of our Lord Jesus, and his love constrains you.
THE END OF ALL THINGS.
1 Pet. iv. 7. But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
God has wisely and mercifully granted us an opportunity to measure time by the revolutions of the globe we inhabit, and other planetary bodies, marking out its lapse by the succession of day and night, and by changing seasons, that we might thus be assisted so to number our days as to apply our
hearts to wisdom. While fact assures us of the shortness and uncertainty of this life, revelation confirms the guess of reason and conscience concerning a future state : and reminds us, that when time is ended, we must give an account to one who is ready to judge the quick and the dead, which to the ungodly will be an awful account indeed. Whereas true believers of the gospel, though liable, not only, like others, to natural death, but to persecution, reproach, and violent death, and are often censured as fools, and perhaps judged and condemned as criminals, yet are entitled and admitted to eternal life. Hence, it scarcely seems probable, that the Apostle, in our text, alludes chiefly to the end or abolition of the Jewish church, city, or temple ; especially as the epistle was primarily addressed to such as lived remote from Jerusalem. Thu's our Lord, in some of his last discourses with his disciples, seemed to treat that as a sort of type of the end of the world : and Paul appears to include it, in 1 Cor. x. 11. where he speaks of “the ends of the world;" where he expresses himself as if the world had several ends, one after another. 1. The end of the carnal ordinances of the Jewish economy, and the outward temple. 2. The end of the heathen kingdom of satan, in the Roman empire. 3. The end of the reign of Antichrist. 4. The end of the frame of the world itself, and the present mutable state of things. I think the last is chiefly intended here. NOtice,
FIRST, The important fact which is here solemnly ascertained. The end of all things is at hand.
This expression certainly requires some limitations. For example, it does not include God's existence and government. From everlasting to everlasting he is God. He reigns for ever and ever. Of the increase of Messiah's kingdom there shall be no end. Nor does it include the sinner's existence, and the mischievous consequences of sin, so far as relates to himself. These will never end. Their worm dieth not; and their fire is not quenched. The smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever. Nor will the believer's happiness ever come to an end : nor his obligations to the God of all grace. Neither of these will end.
But we must explain this passage by other scriptures; especially Heb. xii. 27. The word end should be taken in a twofold sense: as the conclusion of things that shall be abolished; or as the consummation of things that shall endure.
First : Let us consider what things will soon come to their conclusion. There will soon be an end of all those things which the worldly-minded idolize. Earthly enjoyments and employments will soon come to an end : the present pursuits of men, and their earthly possessions; all for which monarchs contend, and merchants encompass the globe; for which tradesmen rise early, and sit up late; and for which the poor laborer toils ; I might say, for which warriors murder thousands, and for which too many grind the faces of the poor. . Whether pursued fairly or unfairly, it will soon end. All the pleasures of sin will very soon come to an end.
The end of God's patience and forbearance is at hand. His use of means to reclaim sinners; and the warnings, exhortations, and invitations which his ministers deliver in his name, will be soon ended as to you.
I must soon end my ministry, and give an account of it, to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls. The end of all things which distress the believer is at hand; troubles and trials, persecutions, temptations, sorrows, and sins. This is good news to him. The end of the exercise of the militant graces, and of the believer's attendance on outward ordinances. You will have no more occasion for faith, hope, repentance, self-denial, bearing the cross; nor for hearing the word, attending the Lord's supper, or watching over one another. The period is at hand which will put an end to all present relations and connexions, except union of spirit with Christ, and what necessarily results from that.
Secondly: Notice some other things whose end is at hand, as they will be brought to their consummation.
This will assuredly be the case as to all the believer's best desires, prayers, conflicts, use of the means of grace, &c. He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. In due season we shall reap, not fainting. Our Lord and Master
also, will reap shortly, and have a full recompence for all his sufferings. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; having completed the number of his chosen, perfected his work in every individual, and brought all their trials to an happy issue. The end of all God's designs, promises, providences, is at hand; respecting the church and the world at large. His complete triumph over satan and his adherents: and the glorious display of all his perfections.
Objection. How could this be said at least eighteen hundred years ago ? Answer. Compare the shortness of time with eternity. Consider the nature of faith, as diminishing the former, but magnifying our view of the latter, and bringing eternal realities near to the mind. Consider the impossibility of a change of state between death and judgment. Nor will a sinner, after he leaves this world, be able to hope for it, nor a believer to fear it. Surely then it may justly be said, the end of all things is at hand.
Consider, SECONDLY, The Apostle's own improvement of this interesting fact.
First : Be ye sober. Phil. iv. 5. Let your moderation be known to all men. Sobriety here includes, not only, temperance as to meats and drinks; but also moderating all inordinate affections as to temporal enjoyments; unruly desires after any earthly objects; and bitter passions, so often excited by the want or loss of them; or any disappointment respecting them; or by the pressure of temporary evils.
Beware lest the mind be intoxicated with vanity, pride, passion, ambition, or sensual pleasure ; or drowned in worldly sorrows. Weep as though you wept not; and rejoice as though you rejoiced not.
Secondly; And watch unto prayer; i. e. for seasons of prayer, subjects in prayer, motives to prayer, blessings in answer to prayer.
We ought to watch universally, but especially unto prayer. No duty is more important; none more opposed. Neglect is a sad sign of declension, if not of total hypocrisy. Job xxvii. 10. Your watchfulness will be of little avail without divine keeping.
Watch then, and pray,
carnal mindedness, spiritual mindedness,
tenderness of conscience, an evil heart of un active, operative, vital belief,
· faith, pride and self-con
deep humility and selffidence,
holy resolution, earthly mindedness, heavenly mindedness, backsliding
perseverance. To the unconverted. Hitherto I have chiefly addressed believers, or at least professors. But does not this subject greatly concern those who never thought closely of it before ? If Christians need to watch, surely you, who have no vital religion, need to be alarmed. If it is high time for them to awake out of sleep, whose salvation is nearer than when they first believed, surely it is time for you to awake, whose damnation slumbereth not. Oh,flee for refuge, before wrath cometh upon you to the uttermost. Enter your chambers, as soon as you retire from this assembly; and cry for mercy, as though the last trumpet were beginning to sound, and you expected the next moment to see the descending Judge. It is not likely, though it is possible, that this year (so nearly closed) will be your dying year; but the next will be the last to several.
1 PET. v. 5.
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder : yea, all of you be subject one to another; and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
The practical nature of true Christianity abundantly appears, from the apostolical Epistles. Paul, like a wise master builder, after laying the foundation of evangelical truth,