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doctrine of the final judgment which teaches that the righteous shall be raised to endless blessedness and glory in heaven and the wicked consigned to endless torment and shame in hell, is founded on the principles of eternal and immutable righteousness, goodness and truth.

6. It should be the constant object of Christian teachers to show the difference between the righteous and the wicked, with its everlasting connections and consequen

Other differences and distinctions are not worthy of a moment's thought, when compared with the difference between the righteous and the wicked. to the righteous, that it shall be well with him, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him."

7. Let every person apply this subject to himself. Each one belongs to the righteous, or to the wicked. There is no third class, nor can there ever be, among the millions and the millions of the human family. According to our present character, we are the objects of divine approbation or condemnation.

With every moment our term of trial hastens to a close. Our characters will soon be formed for the “ judgment of the great day;" and we shall receive from the Lord Jesus Christ a sentence, which will place us in heaven, or in hell for eternity,



And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes.


WHEN Abraham spake these words he had lately been honored by an appearance of the Lord with angels from heaven. And the Lord had declared that Abraham should surely become a great and mighty nation; and that the nations of the earth should be blessed in him. He had also given the highest commendation of Abraham's character and conduct. As an evidence of the friendship which existed between God and Abraham, God revealed to him his purpose to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The knowledge of this purpose induced Abraham to plead with God to spare Sodom for the righteous that might be found in that city. In proportion to the piety of Abraham and the honors and blessings which he received from God, were his confidence and his humility in his prayers for Sodom. The words of the text express his humble opinion respecting himself; and they place before us the following sentiment, They who are pious have a humble opinion of themselves.

To illustrate this sentiment it is proposed, I. To show that pious persons have a humble opinion of themselves. This may be evident,

1. From the character of pious persons as it is given in the Scriptures. Abraham is among the most eminent and favored servants of God. He is called the friend of God and the father of the faithful. Yet he calls himself “but dust and ashes.” Job says, “ Behold, I am vile. I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." Isaiah says, “We are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." The apostle calls himself the chief



of sinners and less than the least of all saints; and he says, “ I am nothing.” Besides the general character of pious persons, according to the Scriptures, implies the spirit of humility, self-abhorrence and self-abasement.

2. It is evident from what is required of all persons, that they may become pious. They are required to turn from themselves, to repent and abase themselves before God and to confess and forsake their sins. They are required to renounce their selfishness, to come unto the Lord Jesus Christ and learn of him and to believe on his name, that they may be saved. Such duties will never be done by any person with a proud and selfish spirit.

3. It is evident from the native character of mankind, that none will ever be pious without a humble spirit respecting themselves. All mankind are by nature entirely depraved and sinful. They are guilty, hateful, wretched and ruined creatures. They are opposed to God and his holy law and filled with unrighteousness, wickedness and madness. Will such creatures ever believe and love the truth respecting themselves, while they think highly of their own character and conduct ?

4. All mankind are justly condemned by the law of God and deserve everlasting punishment and misery. It is written, “ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law : that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God." No one has any right views and feelings respecting himself, until he approves of the law in its precepts and penalty ; and submits himself into the hands of divine justice. But who, with a proud spirit, will condemn himself and justify God and his law in the condemnation and punishment of sinners?

5. The foundation of salvation according to the gospel shows, that they who become pious have a humble opinion of themselves. The only foundation on which any human being can be saved from the curse of the law, is the atonement which has been made on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ. He was born in a stable. He had no home on earth. He was a man of sorrows. He was an object of hatred and contempt, while he lived in this world. And he died the most painful and shameful death. Will

any one turn to God through him and

ask and receive for his sake and through his blood the pardon of his sins and salvation from endless punishment, without a broken heart and a contrite spirit ?

6. They who truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are caused to come to him by the almighty power and sovereign grace of the Holy Spirit. When he was on earth, he said to his hearers “ Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” His confidence and assurance, that any persons would ever come to him and be saved, were founded on the purpose and grace of God. He said, “ All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Who, then, can think highly of himself and yet believe, obey and love the gospel of the grace of God ? Surely they who are pious must know themselves to be most sinful and foolish, most guilty and hateful creatures. And they must be sensible that they ought always to maintain the spirit of humility and self-abasement.

II. It is proposed to show why they, who are pious, have a humble opinion of themselves. It is not because they are not favored with peculiar privileges and enjoyments even in this life. Nor is it because they are not entitled to the highest glory and happiness in heaven. Nor is it because they have no real goodness, nor any degree of confidence and comfort respecting their piety. Nor is it because piety produces a gloomy effect upon their minds. Nor are they humble because they are blinded and ignorant respecting themselves. Humility is not the effect of ignorance and wickedness, but of knowledge and goodness.

1. Pious persons are humble because they have some true knowledge of God. If “ all nations before him are as nothing ; and are counted to him less than nothing and vanity," it may well be said, “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity." If « the heavens are not clean in his sight, how much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity like water ?" It was in view of God that Job abhorred himself; that Isaiah cried, “ Woe is me; for I am undone ;” and that Daniel said, “ All my comeliness was turned in me into corruption.” It is by their increasing knowledge of God, that they who are pious, learn to abase themselves and to exalt him.

2. They, who are pious, have an increasing knowledge of themselves. It is by the light of truth, through the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, they first turn from themselves unto God. But they know little of their sinfulness and dependence when they first turn from darkness to light. They are in a state of constant trial ; and they will be shown more and more of themselves, as long as they live. And the effect of their knowledge will be increasing humility.

3. They have some proper affections under the trying scenes of this life. They are disposed to review and remember the way they have been led, that they might be humbled and proved and know what was in their heart. To his people God says, “ I will establish my covenant with thee and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; that thou mayest remember and be confounded and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done." They who have any proper affections under the various trials of this life, will be more and more grieved and humbled before God.

4. Pious persons are, in some degree, sensible of what they must experience. They renounce every prospect and hope of a paradise on earth. They expect to pass from wilderness to wilderness as long as they live. Cares and labors, temptations and afflictions, imperfections and necessities are their constant companions. The scenes of sickness, death and the grave are before their eyes and on their hearts. Their appearance at the final judgment and the retributions of eternity are objects of increasing attention and afford reason for continued humiliation to the faithful children of God. With such objects before their minds, how can they appear unto themselves but as dust and ashes ?

With such an opinion of themselves they will,

1. Be very desirous to obtain divine instruction. They will be sensible that God is the only being who can know and teach what they need to learn. They will not trust in themselves for knowledge, nor will they rely upon the opinions and notions of their fellow-creatures. But they will turn to God and trust in him and cry to be taught by his word and Spirit and Providence.

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