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such momentous truths? If you do, there is no possibility of your being religious; for death and religion (as I have said) are subjects so combined as to be inseparable;- if you do not, (that is, if you accustom yourselves to the thought that you are dying men), you will necessarily have that lively impression of the importance of religion, which I know from personal observation of numberless instances, the dying always have. You will then have a just perception of the character, and use, and value of this life; you will see the folly of regarding the world as a settled home; you will be aware of the emptiness and frivolity of earthly enjoyments, as things in themselves unworthy of much anxiety, since they are so very soon to pass away; you will be sensible of the extreme absurdity and inconsistency of valuing life for its own sake alone, when it is in danger of being brought to a close at any moment, and is granted only as a brief period of preparation for a state of existence that shall never end.
I wish I could express to you what I feel concerning the folly, at once wretched and pitiable, of those who profess to believe that there will be a future life, and yet bestow all their care and study upon the present. So utterly irrational and ridiculous is their conduct, that I cannot persuade myself to think that they actually
entertain any such belief. It must be mere profession ; the subject can never have been seriously considered by them.
If these observations justly apply to any among you, I earnestly beseech you, for your own sakes, to consider them most seriously; and not to act so mad a part, as to prefer the few, the very few years allotted to mortality, to ages which infinitely out-number the grains of sand upon the sea-shore.
Do not turn away your eyes from the contemplation of the manifest truth that you must soon die ; do not banish from
your minds the belief of a doctrine, in which almost all mankind have ever agreed, and which is plainly revealed in the gospel, that there will be a perpetuity of existence in another world. Do not say that it is melancholy to be constantly dwelling on the thoughts of death ; it is an irreligious, anti-christian sentiment; it is melancholy to none but to those who disbelieve the resurrection, or believing it, are living without religion.
To the Christian it is the most interesting, the most cheering, the most delightful subject; the persuasion of that truth is the very thing that reconciles him to life, that alleviates his afflic. tions, that heightens his enjoyments; it is for the revelation of eternal life, and for the power of attaining it, that he loves his Saviour, who discovered and secured to him so unspeakable a blessing, and with whom he is almost impatient to be united in his glorious kingdom. Thither he directs the eye of faith, trusting that, after this transitory world shall have passed away, he shall succeed, through that Saviour's love and intercession, to "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them who are kept by the God, through faith, unto salvation.”
DEATH AND JUDGMENT.
HEBREWS ix. 27.
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
It is very well known that the erroneous opinion has been sometimes entertained, that men are immediately at their death, received into the place of final reward or punishment. I have, in the course of my ministry among you, explained to you all that the scriptures declare concerning that intermediate state in which the soul exists, between the moment of its departure from the body, and that of its re-union to it, at the great day of resurrection. It shall now be my object to show, that the most important consideration arising out of this interesting subject, is the unalterable condition in which death leaves us, in regard to our eternal destiny. Little does it matter whether the interval be long or short, and whether it be passed in a state of absolute insensibility and unconsciousness, or in expectation of the happiness or misery to come. Heaven or hell will, in any case, seem to follow close upon
the last event of life; the only circumstance of real moment to us is, that follow they inevitably will, in God's appointed time, and that, as the certain and immutable consequence of the religious or irreligious condition in which our souls shall have been, when first they were summoned into the world of disembodied spirits.
Suffer me then to remind you of this solemn and awakening thought, that the everlasting doom of the righteous and the wicked is irrevocably fixed and determined at the hour of death; that no change can take place subsequently to that most important, most critical hour of man's existence, but such as we may then appear to be in the sight of a holy God, such shall we be in the day of resurrection and hour of final judgment, when we shall receive a corresponding doom of joy or woe eternal.
How easily is this stupendous truth delivered, and with what composure it is received !