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man's habitation and the desert--to bring his fellow-sinners unto . God ;- but from the moment of his entering into his resting place in the earth all his activity, industry, and energy ceased.
Think then, my beloved friends, if the soul be neglected now, nought can be done for its salvation even by God in the grave-if you leave the immortal spirits of those you love in ignorance until death, you can render them no service-if your own soul's immortal state be neglected now, no attention can be directed then to their best interests.
On this melancholy topic it is impossible not to stop and offer a few obvious reflections. Is the body to be committed to the groundearth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashesis it to become the loathsome mass where corruption may riot? Is it to be separated from all who loved it? Why should this noblest work of God be thus - marred? Why should what the wisest of the ancients in wonder ealled the little world be thus thrown aside in contempt ? Why should this: curious frame, which presents the creature--next to the great intelligence-the Creator of all things, be thus vilely cast away? Why should God's vicegerent upon earth be thus fixed on for such a melancholy display?
It shews us what the Bible plainly tells ;that man sinned, and that “sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and that thus death has passed upon all men, in that all have sinned.” Is it possible for the Almighty God by any objects around us in the present world, by any thing that he could do to give a more striking display of his displeasure against sin, than the death he inflicted on the body, or to exhibit more clearly the fatal and destructive influence of sin? When we see the body thus crumble into dust, we witness one of the most conspicuous displays of sin's fatal power. However dear man was to God, his chiefest, noblest, greatest, best work in a creation, that was all“ very good;" as soon as ever he became a transgressor he was obliged to declare, that as dust he was, so to dust should he return. Thus, man returns to the earth from whence he was taken—thus we have all become brothers of corruption and the worm.
From these effects on the body, let us estimate its effects on the soul. The body is destructible--death strikes it through, and there is an end of the matter-but the soul cannot be thus destroyed—the soul cannot thus die-the power of insensibility can never reach itit cannot, like the body, go to a place where there is neither knowledge, nor device, nor
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the tackra of darkness, and being left to Bei in risery for ever and erer.
But here what canse hare we not, to thank God that he has not done to the soul, as he has done to the body. The body is given over to the full operation of the consequence of sin—to be corrupted and destroyed;—but so he has not done to the soul—he has had mercy on it—he has provided for it a ransom. What expressions of thankfulness now become us, that in such a wonderful manner, even at the expense of giving up his only begotten Son to shame, to misery, to suffering, to death, to pains which we cannot conceive, and which, therefore, no word can express—that thus the soul can be delivered completely from sin, while the body is wholly given up as incurable.
Another thought connected with this presents itself-that is the blessedness of the religion of Jesus Christ, and the consolation it offers. It would be gloomy to dwell only on the circumstances connected with the death of the body, but even the dark chamber of death
is illuminated by the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Even into it light breaks, and the Bible shews us how each may learn to adopt the Apostle's language, and say in triumph, “O death, where is thy sting? () grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57.
We come now to the important counsel founded on the text of the mortality of man, “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might ;-for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave—whither thou goest,” for thou must die, thou must go to the grave-whatsoever therefore devolves on you to do, do it with all thy might.
This is a maxim which mankind have almost universally adopted--some rightly, some wrongly. The man of pleasure professedly goes on this principle
Live while you live, the Epicure will say,
And seize the pleasures of the passing day. Give every moment you can seize to enjoyment, for you shall lie long in the
where you can have none.
Would to God, that its importance were in every respect felt as strongly as it is in this. Would to God, that
we knew our real pleasures and our real interests. In its application to the business of the world, it is no less strongly felt. Labour while you can, says the man of the world, for your family—struggle for
while strength remains—work while you yet have time—be industrious while you can, for you will not be long here.
But surely it is for much nobler purposes than these, that this injunction was given us in Holy Writ-even to shew to sinful man what he has to do, even that if he neglects he is criminal and worthless.
Permit me then to call your attention to some few of these things, which our hands should find to do, and which we should do with all our might.
There are two views of ourselves and of our relation to God, with which we should all be acquainted, even from our earliest childhood, and even from our catechisms. That we are born in sin, and that we are the children of wrath. Every man descended of fallen Adam, comes into the world a child of wrath. Children of wrath were we, even as others saith St. Paul; he is polluted and death proves it-he is sinful and he shews it, both as to the right in which he fails, and the wrong in which he indulges. Do we see men as they grow. up