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cumstances rest with the Deity; and we can no more resist the grim tyrant of the grave, when it pleases the Almighty to send him, than we can hold the winds in our fists, or still the raging of the tempestuous billows, when they press forward to the shore.
The time of our departure must come; and, like a thief in the night, it may come without warning and without notice. But, at all events, should we be permitted to drag on our days to three-score years and ten, the time even then is but short, when we look upon the work, which we have to accomplish.
Up, then, my brethren, and be stirring! the time is short; a few more years, and the grass shall have grown over our graves, and we shall be forgotten by the sons and daughters of men,-our place in this world shall know us no more. Yet, shall we not then sink into annihilation; nor shall the remembrance of us pass away before God, like a vapour, which now is, and then is not. Although at death-time there is the crumbling of the body, the soul never dies;
and at the last trump of the great archangel, the body shall be raised, incorruptible, and shall be brought to the judgment to give an account of the works done therein.Those that have done good, will go into everlasting rest, and those that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
But although the time be short, and although the portion for the wicked be eternally severe, yet there is no cause for us to despair. The sun may be darkened by the gathered clouds; but we still feel his influence, though it may be a little diminished. But a short time, and he shall again shine in all his glory and in all his power; so though we may be covered with sin and corruption, still, upon our prayers and amendment, the influence of the Holy Spirit will rest upon us, to enable us to make our calling and election sure. No outward difficulty should ever make the Christian despair; it is for the next life he should be laying up treasures, not for this. Let the heavens frown, let the clouds gather, let the tempest beat, the earth will still display the beautiful works of
creation. So should the Christian, when distress and perplexity come upon him, give visible demonstrations of his faith, and love to God, by letting his light so shine before men, that they may see his good works, and glorify his Father who is in heaven. The distress of the world, or the perilous times, in which he may live, should never beat him off from his holy purpose; he has but a faint heart and a sorry spirit, who will let either the one or the other endanger his entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Christ has promised to be with him even unto the end of the world, and to assist him by the sending down of his Holy Spirit; and, however short his time may be, there is sufficient in the talent committed to his spiritual keeping to enable him to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. These are plain truths, which cannot be mistaken. Sabbath after sabbath are they delivered to you in all their fulness and in all their force; and you have several days between each sabbath to mark, learn, and inwardly digest them. We repeatedly have told you, that
man, of his own strength, is nothing,—that he is a poor weak creature; but, with the strength of Christ, that he is every thing. In his name, then, not in your own, go forth, and set about the spiritual work before you; if it be great, you have a great power to assist you; and if your time be short, more care and diligence does it require to effect it. Lose not one opportunity; trust in God; believe in the Saviour; pray for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and do your duty in that state of life, to which it has pleased God to call
you. "For this, I say, brethren, the time is short."
LUKE XV. 18-20.
"I will arise, and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.
"And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
"And he arose and came to his father. But when he
was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him. "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."
AMONGST the many of our Lord's parables the one which we have taken as the subject for our present discourse, is the most affecting, and consequently contains the strongest appeal to the passions and the hearts of men. It contains sufficient of interest to rivet the mind to the subject,