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hand of Death, the roses fade from her cheeks, the splendour vanish from her eyes, and all her elegance of form be disschrei in dust; must she not be ccmpelled io believe, that her vann was misplaced, and worthless; that she squandered life upon oliikts, equally undeserving, and mischievous; and that to acquire ility of mind, to become lovely in the sight of God, and io meri the cstcem of angels throughout eternity, were pursuits, insiniicly zore 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 stje mation. He formed them out of Earth. He made them so irail, as to be subjected to accident, pain, and disease, in ten thousand fornis. At death he returns them to Earth again. This is their final end. Flesh and blood will nol inherit the Kingdom of God. How can pride, vanity, or ambition, dwell so fondly on a su: ject, so full of frailty, and humiliation ?
2. By the same considerations, we are laughi the folly and indecency of pride. Pride is a passion, cherished, and fordled, in every humar: bo
Still it is one of the most dangerous enemies to our u ue interests. I have formerly exhibited it as the commencing sin of man; the real beginning of human apostacy. From that line 10 the present, it has been a prime part of our rebellion 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 10 pleasure ; is unkind; unjusi ; insincere; impatient of the prosperity of others; jealous; hard-hearted; cruch as the grave; arrogating to itself the blessings of mankind, and the prerogatives of God; unbelieving; and obdurate. With these things in view, we shall not wonder to find ii, in every degree, peruicious to ourselves. Prode, says Solomon, goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fiill.
Buth the word, and works, of God, furnish innumerable i 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 lincy ourselves to possess over our followmen, and let loose the pride of wealth, the pride of oflice, the pride of intluence, the pride of tusic, and the pride of reputation; when we turn our eyes upon ourselves, with all the dotage, cxercised by a fond and foolish parent towards a favourite child, and become inflated 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 ail of being humbled, and crest-fallen, if we call to mind the end of all our lostiness, exhibited in this discourse. Go to the burying-ground, and walk over its dark, and soli mn, recesses. Oli who do you tread? On the mighty man, and the
man of wzr, the judg., and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, te cuplisin of /74, and the honourable mun, and the counsellor, it'iit le cuningo urtijicer, and the eloquent oralor. they now! A mans of dust. What have they been? The food of worini.. Is it possible, that beings, destined to this end, should be proud? It is possible. You and I are proud, as were once these Tetched tenants of the grave; and are destined to the same buinble, deplorable end. When, therefore, you contemplate, with high 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
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-shoci, and your most splendid habitation for the grave.
Reinember, 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; ihe 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. iVhen the day sh:ll arrive, which shall burn like an oven, all the prouil 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. Trese 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 Israelitish 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 seeth, 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 excrcise ihe same disposition; and is the subject is so gieony, 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 little or no preparation for this solemi eveni.
What palpable folly is manifested in this conduct! Death is not the less near lo 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 mustdie: we know that death will terininate our probation : andare 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. lle, who daily revolves in his mind, and laboriously brings home to his heart, Death and the Judgment, will scarcely fail of very serious exertions to become ready for these affecting
Probably not a person, who is here present, will survive seventy years from this day: A great proportion will be in the grave, ascend to the Julyment, and enter upon the recompense of reward, withia tiliy years: not a small number within twenty: some, in all probability, God only knows how many, within ten, five, two, or
Where then will be our schemes of pleasure, pride, avarice, and ambition? Where shall we ourselves be? When we open our eyes 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 to 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 besecch 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 ihe 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 conduci. Of that conduct, He has been an eye-witness from the beginning. He is the Go:l, against whom we have sinned; who intimicly 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 ama: ing 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 lo 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 misery.
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 help; 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? Ilave you lived hitherto, only to do evil, to treasure up wrath, and to enhance your ruin? Is the great work of your life yet to be begun? Will it be still to be begun 10-morrow; the next year; in old age; on a dying-bed? llas your whole course, hitherto, been directed, shall it through life be directed, towards perdition; and not a single step taken towards leaven?
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 these is the Resurrection of the Body.
The subject of this chapter, is the Avaosadis, or future 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 to stand again. As standing is the appropriate posture of life, consciousness, and activity; and lying down the appropriate posture of the dead, the unconscious, and the inaclire; 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 thoughts 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 Saddu
Matt. xxi. 23, Then came to him, says the Evangelist, the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection : un. Eivai avarrativ, that there is no future state, or no future existence of mankind. The objection which they bring to Christ against the doctrine of a future state, is founded upon the Jewish law of marriage, which required, that a surviving brother should marry ihe 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? svom · avastatel ; in the future state? 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 Resurrec- . tion, or as it should be rendered, In the future state, they neither marry nor are given in marriage ; but are as the Angels of God in Hearen. Bul 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 renderedo