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hand of Death, the roses fade from her checks, the splendour vanish from her eyes, and all her clegance of form be dissolucci in dust; must she not be compelled to believe, ihat her vanity was misplaced, and worthless; that she squandered life upon oli its, equally undeserving, and mischievous; and that to acquire l wuty of mind, to become lovely in the sight of God, and io meri the esteem of angels throughout eternity, were pursuits, infiniichy wore worthy of rational ambition?
The manner, in which God has exhibited his views concerning our bodies, is in no measure calculated to raise them in our istimation. He formed them out of Earth. He made them so trail, as to be subjected to accident, pain, and disease, in ten thousand fornis. Al death he returns them to Earıh again. This is their final end. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God. How can pride, vanity, or ambition, dwell so fondly on a suject, so full of frailty, and humiliation ?
2. By the same considerations, zve are laught the folly and indecency of pride.
l'ride is a passion, cherished, and fordled, in every human bosom. Still it is one of the most dangerous enemies to our uue interests. I have formerly exhibited it as the commencing sin of man; the real beginning of human apostacy. From that ine 10 the present, it has been a prime part of our rolellion aguina: God. It is, also, a principal source of our injurious treatment of cach other; mingles with all our love of the World, even with cur de. votion to pleasure ; is unkind; unjusi; insincere; impatient of the prosperity of others; jealous; hard-hearted; cruel as the grave; arrogating to itself the blessings of mankind, and the prerogitives of God; unbelieving; and obdurate. With these things in view, we shall not wonder to find ii, in every degrec, peruicious to ourselves. Pride, says Solomon, goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fill.
Buih ive word, and works, of God, furnish innumerable à cuasives from the indulgence of pride; all of them, however, insuficient to overcome this obstinate evil. Among them, few are more happily adapted to this end, than the truths, which have been mentioned on the present occasion. When we look around with exultation on the advantages, which we fancy ourselves to possess over our fellowmen, and let loose the pride of wealth, the pride of oflice, the pride of influence, the pride of taste, and the pride of reputation; when we turn our eyes upon ourselves, with all the dotage, exercised by a fond and foolish parent towards a favourite child, and become inflaied with the pride of beauty, the pride of talents, or that most odious of all pride, which is customarily styled self-righteousness; we can hardly fail of being humbled, and crest-raller, if we call to mind the end of all our loftiness; exhibited in this discourse. Go to the burying-ground, and walk over its dark, and sul min, rocesses. On whom do you tread? On the mighty man, and the
man of ur, the judgi, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captusin of lifly, and the honourable mun, and the counsellor, ürid lle cumning ürtificer, and the eloquent orilor. What are they now! A mass of dusi. What have ihey been? The food of worn.se Is it possible, that beings, destined to this end, should be proudt? It is possible. You and I are proud, as were once these wretched tenants of the grave; and are destined to the same buinble, deplorable end. When, therefore, you contemplate, with bigha seli-complacency, the advantages of person, which you possess, or the endowments of the mind; when you look down from superiority of birth, riches, character, or influence, on those below you, and your bosoms swell with the consciousness of distinction; remember your end, and be proud no more. Remember, that your gayest attire will soon be exchanged for a winding-sheet, and your most splendid habitation for the grave.
Remember, also, that the pride, which you now indulge, will in the future world become to you a source of the deepest humiliation. In the grave, the beggar and the slave will lie on the same level with you. But in the future world, every humble child of Adam will become your superior. Unless you renounce your pride, and assume the humility of the Gospel; the beggar, and the slave, in many instances, will rise to a superiority above you, higher than your minds can conceive; and look down upon you with a contempt, and abhorrence, which, although you may deserve, you have never been able to feel. You, in the mean time, will sink to a depth of degradation, which your present powers cannot measure; and will feel yourselves lowered to a double depth by seeing those, whom hitherto you have only despised, clevated to endless dignity and glory. When the day shall arrive, which shall burn like an oven, all the proul shall be stubble ; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Ilosis, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
3. These considerations ought to remind us how near the solemn events, mentioned in this discourse, are to ourselves.
It is a propensity of human nature to believe, that the day of Death must be distant, because we wish it to be distant. This propensity is continually strengthened, like others, by indulgence; as is also the wish for its tardy arrival. In this respect we exactly resemble those Israelilish sensualists, whose character the Prophet Amos describes in this remarkable address: Yi that put far away the evil day; and like those, who said concerning the prophecies of Ezekiel, The vision, that he secth, is for many days to come; and he prophesieth of the times, that are fur off. As this propensity is indulged daily, and is checked only by a few peculiarly solemn Events; such as our own sicknesses, and the deaths of those, who are near to us; as all around us exercise ile sane disposition ; and as the subject is so gieomy, as never to be contemplated without pain, nor disinissed without pleasure: most persons rarely
think of death at all; and, whenever this unwelcome subject intrudes into their minds, either force it out with violence, or forget it as speedily as they can. Hence so many of mankind, hence so many of us, make apparently liitle or no preparation for this solemi event.
What palpable folly is manifested in this conduct! Death is not the less near to us, because we choose to think it distant; nor the less interesting, because we disregard it; nor the less awful, because we lull our fears of it to sleep. We know that we must die: we know that death will terminate our probation : and are assured, that it will introduce us to the Judgment. Wisdom therefore demanis, common sense demands, that we should make effcctual preparation for death, by preparing ourselves for the Judgment. Among the means of accomplishing this work, few are so efficacious, as the solemn, habitual, realizing contemplation of these subjects. Ple, who daily revolves in his mind, and laboriously bria, s home to his heart, Death and the Judgment, will scarcely fail of very serious exertions to become ready for these affecting scencs.
Probably not a person, who is liere present, will survive seventy years from this day. A greal proportion will be in the grave, ascend to the Julyment, anid enter upon the recompense of reward, within dy years: not a small number within twenty: some, in all probability, God only knows how many, within ten, five, two, or even one. Where then will be our schemes of pleasure, pride, avarice, and ambition? Where shall we ourselves be? When we open our cves on the eternal world, and mark the incomprehensible vast, which is before us; how strong will the reasons appear, which urged us to prepare ourselves for this amazing existence! How immensely desirable will it seem 10 enter upon boundless being with a complete provision for our comfort throughout its interminable ages: a provision, which will fill up every passing year with enjoyment, and leave an ample supply for the countless multitule which are to come!
Think, I bescech you to think, how soon the little time of life will be gone to you ; with what a rapid flight, hours, and days, and years, hasten over your heads. What is the amount of your past life? A moment. What will be the amount of your life, which is yet to come? Another moment. And then you will be summoned to the Judgment.
4. How awful must be the final interview !
How awful is the character of Him, to whose presence our souls will be summoned! From Ilim we derived our being. By Him, we are continued in being. On him, we are dependent, for every blessing, and every hope. To Him, we are accountable for all our conduct. Or thai conduct, He has been an eye-witness from the beginning. He is the God, against whom we have sinned; who intinitely hates sin ; and who has recorded all our transgressions in
his book. He is our Judge: He is our Rewarder: His frown is hell: His smile is Heaven.
How amazing is ihe End, for which we shall appear at:his interview! It is no other than to settle for ever the concerns of the soul. It is to fis our condition throughout the ages of immortality. It is 10 render an account of all that we have done in the present life, that we may be rewarded according to our works. On this account, are suspended endless happiness, and endless miscry.
How affecting must be the situation of the soul at this interview! It stands in the presence of God, the Judge of all, alone; without a friend to belp; without an advocate to plead its cause ; ils all depending; itself to be disposed of for ever.
Let me solemnly ask this assembly, Are you prepared for this awful event? Is your account ready? Is it such an account, as you are willing to give ? Is it such an one, as you believe your Judge will accept? Would you be willing to render it this day? Are you willing to hazard your souls upon it; your acceptance; your Immortality ? Or is it an account, which will cover you with shame, agony, and despair? Have you lived hitherto, only to do evil, lo treasure up wrath, and to enhance your ruin? Is the great work of your life yet to be begun? Will it he still to be begun 10-morrow; the next year; in old age; on a dying-bed ? llas your whole course, hitherto, been directed, sball it through life be directed, towards perdicion; and not a single step taken towards lleaven?
TRE REMOTER CONSEQUENCES OF DEATH.-THE RESURRECTION,
.. 1 Corinthians xv. 16.—For if the dead rise not, then is nol Christ raised.
In the preceding discourse, I considered the immediate Consequences of Death; in this, I shall begin an inquiry concerning its remoter Consequences. The first of ihese is the Resurrection of the Body. .
The subject of this chapter, is the Avarsadis, or fulure Existence of man. This word is commonly, but often erroneously, rendered Resurrection. So far as I have observed, it usually denotes our existence beyond the grave. Its original and literal meaning is to : stand up, or lo stand ugain. As standing is the appropriate posture of life, consciousness, and activity; and lying down the appropriate posture of the dead, the unconscious, and the inactive; this word is not unnaturally employed to denote the fulure state of spirits, who are living, conscious, active beings. Many passages of Scripture would have been rendered more intelligible, and the thoughis contained in them more just, and impressive, had this word been translated agreeably to its real meaning. This observation will be sufficiently illustrated by a recurrence to that remarkable passage, which contains the dispute between our Saviour and the Sadducees. Matt. xxii. 23, Then came to him, says the Evangelist, the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection : M.n. Eivai avaoTaoiv, that there is no future stale, or no future existence of mankind. The objection which they bring to Christ against the doctrine of a future slate, is foundeå upon the Jewish law of marriage, which required, that a surviving brother should marry the widow of a brother de. ceased: In conformity to this law, they declare seven brothers to have married, successively, one wife'; who survived them all. They then ask, Whose wife shall she be in the resurrection ? Evan avaotaget; in the future stale? They could not suppose, that she would be any man's wife in the resurrection: a momentary event; and of such a nature as to forbid even the supposition, that the relations of the present life could be of the least possible importance, or be regarded with the least possible attention, during its transitory'existence. Our Saviour answers them, In the Resurrection, or as it should be rendered, In the future state, they neither mar. ry nor are given in marriage ; but are as the Angels of God in Hearen. But as louching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that, which was spoken unto you by God; or, as it ought to be rendered,