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that this is a just description of the great and aggravated guilt they have contracted. It is impossible for those who sit in heathen darkness and ignorance to sin so fast and to rise so high in guilt, as those who sin against the gospel, which has brought life and immortality to light, unfolded the character of God and man, and the glorious and awful realities of the invisible and eternal world. This is the dictate of reason, and is confirmed by the declarations of Christ, concerning Jews and Gentiles. He represented the sins of Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, as far less criminal than those of the sinners in Zion who had heard and rejected the glorious gospel of divine grace. It will be much more tolerable in the day of judgment for Belshazzar and the impenitent sinners in Asia and Africa, than for the disbelievers and rejecters of the gospel in Britain and America; and hence,

5. The patience of God towards this atheistical, guilty, and ungrateful world, is astonishingly great. He is constantly displaying before their eyes his power, his wisdom, and his goodness, in preserving their lives, and loading them with the rich blessings of his providence and grace; and yet they overlook the hand and the heart of him, in whose hand is their breath, and whose are all their ways. Though he sees all their stupidity, infidelity, ingratitude, and disobedience, and carries their lives and all their interests in his hand, and could destroy them at any moment, yet he spares the lives of such sinful creatures from day to day, and from year to year. Is this the manner of men? No; far from it. Will one nation exercise patience towards another nation of their enemies, whom they are able to chastise or destroy? Are personal enemies disposed to exercise patience, when they imagine they have power to retaliate? God's patience is infinitely great towards his weak, guilty, dependent, incorrigible enemies. He preserves the lives of millions every year, who deserve every moment to be cut down as cumberers of the ground. His patience is equal to his power and goodness, which infinitely surpass the power and goodness of man; and he claims the honor of it. He by his prophet Hosea, “ How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah ? how shall I set thee as Zeboim ? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man.” To such divine patience do millions of the human race owe the preservation of their lives from day to day, and year to year. From this we must conclude, 6. That all impenitent sinners are constantly and imminently

53

He says

VOL. III.

Four very

exposed to temporal and eternal ruin. It is of the Lord's mercies that they have not before now been consumed. His patience is not boundless, but limited. It will in a few days or few years come to an end. It does come to an end every day in respect to many, and every year in respect to millions. The year which closes to-day has closed the eyes of millions. The living in every part of the world are monuments of sparing mercy. Though there has been no epidemical or very mortal disease prevailing in this place the current year, yet this year has put an end to twenty-six lives among us. aged persons, five a little past the meridian of life, five young persons, eight children, and four infants. All these instances of mortality call upon us to realize that God is the preserver of our lives, and holds in his hand our breath, and directs all our ways. They call upon

the

young to remember their creator and preserver in the days of their youth. They call upon the strong and healthy to realize that health and strength cannot save them from death, whenever God sees fit to send it. And they more loudly call upon the aged to set their souls and houses in order, for another year or month may not be added to their lives. Serious questions now occur, Who among the young and the middle-aged are prepared to live and glorify him, in whose hand their breath is, and whose are all their ways?

And who in particular are prepared to follow the next year their relatives and friends, that have gone into eternity this year? It would be strange, if some of such mourners should not be called away before the ensuing year closes. But if none of them should be called away so soon, numbers of others most certainly will. Who they are, we know not, and they know not. What then I say unto one, I say unto all : Watch and pray, that ye may be also ready.

SERMON X X XIII.

GOOD MEN WAIT FOR THE DAY OF THEIR DEATH.

JANUARY 23, 1820.

Ir a man die, shall he live again ? All the days of my appointed time will I wait,

till my change come. -- JOB, xiv. 14.

MUTABILITY cleaves to all mankind from the cradle to the grave. They change from childhood to youth, from youth to manhood, and from manhood to old age. They change from health to sickness, and from prosperity to adversity. Most of these changes Job had already experienced, and some of them in a very sudden and singular manner. But all these changes he viewed as nothing, in comparison with another great and important change which he continually anticipated. He calls it emphatically "my change;" as though he never did and never should experience any other. “If a man die, shall he live again ? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job was a perfect and upright man. He had served God from pure and disinterested motives. He had committed his body as well as his soul into the hands of his Redeemer, whom he expected to see in the morning of the resurrection. He habitually realized the grave as his house, and eternity as his home, and death as the means of bringing about the great and desirable change which he was patiently waiting for. All good men have similar views and feelings respecting their appointed change. They not only realize the certainty and importance of it, but anticipate it with holy hope and confidence, as one of the blessings contained in the covenant of grace. They would not live alway, but would have this earthly tabernacle taken down, that they may be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. This allows us to say with truth and propriety,

race,

That the godly have good reasons to wait for their appointed change of death. I shall show,

I. That death is an appointed change.

II. What is implied in the godly's waiting for their appointed change. And,

III. That they have good reasons to wait for it.

I. I am to show that death is an appointed change. We have no reason to think that such a change as death would have ever happened, if it had not been for the first sin of our first parents. It was in consequence of that first offence that a sentence of mortality was passed upon the whole human

It was then appointed to all men once to die. This general appointment of death is universally believed by all who believe the gospel. But Job speaks of a more particular appointment. “ All the days of my appointed time will I wait.” This implies what he had just before said in this chapter of every man's appointed time. His days are determined, the number of his months, and the bounds are fixed over which he cannot pass. There is a difference, some suppose, between such a particular and a general appointment of death. Accordingly we find many who allow that God has appointed death to all men; but deny that he has appointed the time, or place, or means of any particular person's death. This then is the point now to be considered.

Since it is asserted in scripture, and universally allowed, that God has appointed death to all men, we may justly conclude that he has appointed, how many years, how many months, how many days, and even how many moments, every individual of the human race shall live. Job believed that God had determined not only how many years, but how many months, and days he should continue this side of the grave. He says, “ all the days of my appointed time will I wait.” He viewed the day of death as a very important day to himself. And the day of death is indeed a very important day to every one of our dying race, whether he does, or does not, realize its vast importance. It is certain, however, that God knew from eternity how important death would be to every one of mankind, and can we suppose that he would leave such a serious and interesting event to mere chance or accident? Besides, it seems difficult to conceive how it was possible for God to appoint death to every individual, without appointing the time, the place, and the means of his death. If

any one of these circumstances was left unappointed, the death of

any

individual might never take place. Supposing the time, and place, and means of Christ's death had not been appointed, could God, or Christ, or any being in the universe, have known beforehand that he would have died on the cross? This holds true of every living man. If the days of his life, and the time and circumstances of his death, were not appointed, it could not be known beforehand that he would ever die. But we find that God has been able to foretel the death of individuals. He foretold the time, the circumstances, and the instruments of Christ's death. He foretold the death of the king of Assyria, by the hands of Hazael. He foretold the death of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead. He foretold the death of Hananiah the prophet, who had taught rebellion in Israel. And there is no doubt but that he could foretel the death of every person in the world. He perfectly knows when, and where, and by what means, every person will come to his last end. And he knows this, because he has appointed every death, and every circumstance attending it. It is as plain from scripture that the time and means of every death is appointed, as that the great change itself is appointed. Every person will live all the days of his appointed time, and no longer. God has appointed the bounds which he cannot pass. And he has revealed this appointment for the instruction and admonition of the living, while he has concealed the time and circumstances of their dying hour. They know, therefore, that they ought to stand in the posture of servants watching and waiting for the coming of their Lord.

I proceed to show,

II. What is implied in the godly's waiting for their appointed change. None but those who love and serve God sincerely, like Job, do properly wait for the day of their decease. The wicked, instead of desiring and waiting for death, dread its approach. It is one of the rare and distinguishing traits in the character of the godly that they wait for their appointed change; which implies,

1. The habitual expectation of their dying hour. We never wait for a person whom we do not expect will come, nor for an event that we do not expect will exist

. Waiting always carries the idea of expectation. And when the godly properly wait for death, they really expect it will come at the appointed time. It is likely Job in his afflictions and bereavements had a lively sense of his own mortality, and really expected the time of his living was short, and the day of his death was very near. Nor had he only such an occasional and transient sense of his dying condition; but he habitually maintained a lively apprehension of the certainty and growing nearness of death. David as well as Joshua said, “ I am this day going the way of all the earth.” And the eminent saints before them confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth, and ardently desired a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker

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