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God and enmity to him will reign as they reign in Satan now. Think of the wicked, when displaying in malice, revenge, hatred, and cruelty, most of Satan's infernal image. How dreadful would it be to spend an hour in such society ! but what will it be to abide in it to all eternity, ever suffering, yet never hoping for an end to misery? A speedy end comes to all the pleasures of impenitent sinners in this world, –a last delight, a last laugh; but in eternity no end to their sorrows; no last pang, no last sigh, no last wail of woe, no last shriek of despair.
But the subject furnishes a very opposite view. What is eternity to the righteous ; to those who are justified and accepted through the blood and righteousness of Christ? One long and ceaseless day of brightness without a cloud, of joy without a pain, of triumph without a fear, of holiness without a blemish. Jesus said, In
Father's house are many mansions.— I go to prepare a place for you.-I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also," John xiv. 2, 3. “ The righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” Matt. xii. 43. “God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain,” Rev. xxi. 3, 4. Joy will flow from a thousand springs; joy from boundless good possessed. Joy will flow from the character borne of perfect holiness and loveliness—and all for ever! Joy from the happy company with which they mingle, Rev. vii. 9-12; Heb. xii. 22; and all will be perfected by the presence of their God and Saviour: “In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore,” Psa. xvi. 11. For evermore! Delightful thought !-all for ever! Time brought an end to their sorrows; eternity brings none to their joys. There was a last sigh, a last groan, a last pang, a last tear; but there will be no last rapture, no last song of praise.
There is but one way to secure this eternal salvation. Acceptance in Christ, and pardon through his blood, secures safety to the soul; and none are safe but those who listen to his invitation, Matt. xi. 27-29, and whose all is committed to his
Flee to him, believe in him, trust and love him, and be blessed to eternity.
A FOREIGN nobleman lay on his deathbed. He had lived in luxury and affluence. All that this world could give had been lavishly enjoyed. He had built mansions and laid out gardens. All about him was on a scale of the most costly magnificence; and he was very loth to die. His priest reminded him of the good deeds he had done, consisting mainly of bequests and gifts to such a church, and such a convent; he had given of his abundance; and the priest concluded by saying, "But you will soon be in a much happier and inore splendid place.” The dying man replied, looking round his beautiful chamber, “ I could be happy enough here-I do not want to go to a better, a more beautiful place than this."
A poor man was about to die. He had known want and poverty in their most afflicting forms. He was told that all his troubles would soon be over. The wretched sufferer replied, " But I do not want to die. Please God I might have my health, I should like to begin the world again, and see if I could not do better."
Thus among both high and low, rich and poor, many are loth to go; and when death stares them in the face, they cry out, rr We do not want to die."
There is nothing strange in this. Men naturally shrink back from the tomb, whether surrounded by affluence or by poverty. And what is the cause? They are unprepared to die.
How often do we hear persons say, "I hope I shall get to heaven." Hope to get to heaven? Alas! they find when called to die, they are not fit for such company as they would meet there. Hope to get to heaven? when one half hour, nay, perhaps a few minutes of religious worship here is not only weariness, but trouble; when anything rather than the society of religious persons is preferred; when one word about God and Christ jars on the ear, and stirs up all the animosity of the unrenewed mind. How could such persons take pleasure in the eternal worship and employment of the blessed in heaven?
Reader, have you considered this question? for, in truth, your everlasting destiny hangs upon it. Whatever your condition, you cannot face death save with reluctance, unless fitted here for the company and employment of heaven. A few words will make this clear.
To enjoy anything we must take pleasure in it. To be happy in the company of others we must delight in the same pursuits, desire the same objects. Now ask yourself this question, and let conscience answer: “ What is my chief source of pleasure, and what company, what pursuits do I most delight in?” For depend upon it, as the tree falls, so it must lie. As you are, when dying, so will be your everlasting state, whether it be “ death unto death," or
or “life unto life.” If you take pleasure only in what this world affords, if its company is your solace and delight; it is clear beyond a doubt that in such company you must continue. No very great punishment this, many would be ready to say. But consider-where? not in the theatre or ball-room; not on the racecourse or in the cockpit; not in the tavern or place of public resort, where mirth and revelry are,-where man tries to consume the present, and banish every thought of the futurebut in that place of everlasting woe, where his companions will be his tormentors, and all the faculties for enjoyment he was endowed with become so many sources of anguish. He must go to the place "prepared for the devil and his angels.” It is not said, prepared for man; but if he be not fitted for the kingdom of Christ, there is no other place for him to go to, and no other company will he be fit to associate with. Reader, if not made meet for heaven, were it possible for you to get there, to witness the worship and love rendered to that God whom every moment you neglect and despise, would be torment to you.
Did you but fully know the evil of your own heart; could you really feel the exceeding sinfulness of sin, you would in some measure realize in your own bosom the worm that dieth
ARE YOU FIT TO DIE?
not bear such a discovery; it is reserved for the spirits of the wicked alone to know, and endure the full extent of this disclosure in the lake of “unquenchable fire." It is related that an aged minister, fearing that he did not feel sufficiently the evil of sin, prayed for a clearer discovery of its heinous nature. His prayer was granted; but said he, “ I prayed much more fervently that the veil might be again let down: for had that horrid sight continued long, I think it would have crushed me.”
And yet “ fools make a mock at sin.” A mock at that which made Him who bore its weight, and who alone knew its awful malignity, "sweat as it were great drops of blood ;" which made the sun withdraw its light, the earth to quake, and the rocks to rend; which made the Son of God himself cry out in the very extremity of anguish, such as no mere created being could have endured, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" And the weight and burden of sin, reader, is what you must endure to all eternity, unless you believe and rely on that Saviour who bore it in the stead of every repentant sinner bore their “sins in his own body on the tree.” This stupendous fact—a fact which not all the united wisdom of men and angels could have imagined-a plan of mercy that had never entered into the heart of man to conceive, can alone enable you to meet death without alarm-nay with triumph, if you repent and believe in the Saviour.
But nothing short of this will do, because God's justice must have satisfaction for every sinful thought, word, and deed since the day of your birth. What can be the result? You owe all, and yet have nothing to pay. You only "add sin to sin.” “Consider
that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
He has sent unto us a Saviour and a great one; one fully equal to all our wants, and who is engaged to save all who come unto him ; for it is written, “ Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” Neglect this great salvation and you are lost to all eternity; for “there is salvation in none other.” Neither the good deeds, the gifts and bequests of the rich, nor the wants and afflictions of the poor, can make them willing to die, and fit their souls for heaven.
Reader ! are you not ready to say—is it not the language of your heart-" I could be happy enough here; and, if I might have my desires, I should not want to go to a better place ?”
This, whatever men pretend, is the feeling of every one whose heart has not been renewed, who has not repented of sin; who has not " fled for refuge to the hope set before him in the gospel," and has not been pardoned and accepted through the righteousness and merits of Christ Jesus, imputed to him through faith," without money and without price." Remember, “ If
if not Christ's, whose is he?- This is an awful question, and if seriously, properly considered, might strike the stoutest heart with terror.
A young man had been warned in his youth by one who said to him, “ You are not too young to die; seek, ere it be too late, to find shelter from that eternal wrath which must overtake every one who is not sheltered in Christ. But he became dig solute and wicked, and was reduced at length to poverty and degradation. His early impressions however were not wholly forgotten, and would sometimes revive ; and in moments of thought he wished he were “ fit to die.” At length, under peculiar circumstances which recalled his early warning, the words came to his mind with great force; “ Seek, ere it be too late, to find shelter from that eternal wrath which must overtake every one who is not sheltered in Christ.” Conscience was awakened and spoke loud within. He felt as though already exposed to that unmitigated wrath he had so long deserved, and defied ; that his day of grace was past, and that a terrible fate awaited him. He was not fit to live, and still less fit to die. He could not flee from his tormentors. The secret, and hitherto unfelt sins of the heart rose before him. The more he strove to repress the view of them, the more hideous they became, until life was indeed a burden, and he was often tempted to end it.
One night he had wandered out alone. It was bright, calm, and starlight. Nature looked all loveliness and repose, but brought no peace to his soul. so 'The law worketh wrath !" He sat down by a little stream, on which the beautiful face of heaven was reflected. He thought of the might, majesty, omnipotence of the Creator of all; and felt as a sinner in the grasp of, and under sentence of condemnation from, his offended Judge. The very calm and serenity about him only added to his terror. In the extremity of his anguish he lay with his face on the grass, and, with Job, was ready to curse the day of his birth. Suddenly a thought crossed him. He started up, “ If I perish, I perish," said he aloud,“ but it shall be crying for mercy!” and, as one just ready to sink, and almost without hope of deliverance, he cried out, " Lord, save; or I perish!” The cry was heard. In a while he felt light, life, and deliverance in his soul, and that Christ Jesus was the only way of access—the only shelter. He soon sang the songs of Zion; and in the spirit of the words which had been made instrumental to his conversion, could now say, “ I am not afraid to die, for I have sought, indd found shelter.