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make excuses for our negligence, and sel. fishness, and want of pity for souls, but where are our strong reasons ? Alas, we have none! We could all do something if we would. We could all do much more than the most active of us do. If we admit this, and do not attempt more, is it not irrational ? Does not reason say we should ! Is it not inhuman ? Does not humanity dictate that we should ? Is it not diabolical ? Satan tries positively and actively to destroy souls, and we let them perish from neglect.
If we are exhorted to do what we can to save souls from perishing and will not, what then? Is our religion genuine ? Have we the Spirit of Christ? Do we imitate the apostles ? Can the love of God dwell in us ! What, be united to Christ, have the Spirit of Christ, be influenced by the love of God, and let souls perish all around us without an effort, at least a special effort, to prevent it? Is this possible ? Can this be? Are we not told to save some with fear, "plucking them out of the fire P" To encourage our efforts, is it not said, “Let him know, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins P" Oh, my friends, how shall we answer for it before God, if we go on sleeping as do others ? Will not the blood of souls be found on our skirts ? Can we say with Paul, “I am clear from the blood of all men " Rather must we not now pray
with David, “Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation P". But our prayer can scarcely be said to be sincere, if we still refuse to do what we can, all we can, to save souls from perishing.
If we have spent twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty years in the world, withont making it our aim to save souls from perishing, how is it to be now? Can we justify the past? Shall we pursue the same course in the future? Is it not time to begin in right earnest! Ought we not now to redeem the time, or buy up the opportunity ? Our sun will soon go down ; our working time will soon be ended; the Master will soon say, “Call the labourers ;" can we expect to be greeted with, “ Well done, good and faithful servant p" “ Well done,” for what? For the self-denial we have practised P For the sacrifices we have made in God's cause For the efforts we have put forth, in season and out of season, to save souls from death? “ Well done,” for what? For indulging the flesh, gratifying the natural appetites, consulting our own ease or respectability, and living as if self-gratification was the chief end of our existence P“ Good and faithful sera vant.” Good, for what? Good, to whom Good, when? Good, by what rule P Good; who calls me good ? “ Faithful,” to whom? Not to God." Faithful,” to whatNot my profession. “ Faithful," where ? Not in my family, not in the church, not in the world. No, no, Christ can never call me a "good and faithful servant.” Must not this be the language of many of us ? Must it not?
But to conclude. “Souls are perishing !" Perishing all around us. Perisħing at our very doors. Do we believe it ! Can we believe it? What, believe it, and feel so indifferent about it! Believe it, and never put forth an effort to prevent it! Believe it, what, and we who profess Christ, and profess to be like Christ, say by our conduct, let them perish! Did Jesus feel so ? Did he act so ? Read his discourses. Observe his conduct. Consult Gethsemane. Ask for an answer at Calvary. Souls are perishing, and can we do anything to prevent it? We can. We can. But shall we? Conscience, say ! When shall we? Shall we begin at once, or put it off until it is too late, and they sink into hell, crying, “No man cared for my soul.” How shall we With worldly pru dence? With fear of startling the prejudices of some, or disturbing the nerves of others P Or shall we set about it heartily, earnestly, prayerfully, and at once? Spirit of God, convince us of our sin, convert us from our criminal course, for we are verily guilty !
I HAVE A GOOD HOPE.
God's Word represents sinners as without hope,and this is their true state. They fancy, they wish, they try to deceive themselves, but hope they do not. Ask any sinner, whose mind is at all enlightensd,“ DO you expect to go to Heaven ?” and if he is at all given to serious thought, he will not dare to say, “I do.” Now hope is a lively expectation of heaven. A good hope is a well founded expectation of being happy for ever in the presence of God. Has any unconverted man this ! He has not. He cannot have it. These thoughts have been suggested by the remark of a man who said in my hearing the other day, “I bless God that I can say, I have a good hope, grounded on Jesus." I knew this man when he had no hope—when he could have no hope-for he was living in open sin, and treating serious things with contempt. Shall I tell you how the change was effected—how the hopeless sinner came to have a good hope grounded on Jesus.
On one occasion, as he was about his worldly business, he was attracted by a crowd, and thinking there was a fight, or something of the kind, he crossed the road
to ascertain what it was. It was a servant of Christ preaching the Gospel ; and just as he came within hearing, he quoted a passage of God's holy word. That passage, though often heard before, now sunk down into his heart. It being attended by the power of the Holy Spirit, was like a barbed arrow en. tering into his conscience. He could not extract it. It rankled there, and made him truly wretched. When he retired to bed at night-weary though he was—he could not sleep. His mind was filled with thoughts of judgment, hell, and eternity. And when he would have sunk into the arms of sleep, the thought aroused him, “ If you should awake in hell.” He tried to pray. He groaned in deep anguish of spirit. He cried out in the bitterness of his soul, “ God be merciful unto me, a sinner.” He arose unrefreshed from his bed, and felt more dejected and depressed in his mind than he did the day before. What to do he knew not. How to obtain peace he could not tell. He sunk lower and lower, as restless days and sleepless nights passed away. At length the band that wounded healed.
The Lord Jesus was revealed to his mind, as the able and willing Saviour. He gradually perceived that the Saviour was exactly suited to him-was, in a word, just what he wanted. He saw too, that nothing was "required of him to entitle him to an interest
in that Saviour ; but that he was welcome