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allowed us to gather manna enough to subsist upon for eternity- Yes; . eternity depends on our pre. sent diligence or sloth. - What are all the petty enjoyments of time, about which a mistaken world affects such an air of hurry and concern! How impertinent and trifling the inquiries, “What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed ?" which yet are made with the most anxious solicitude, and engross the attention of the generality of mankind !--I say, how mean and unworthy is it, to employ all our concern upon the cares or pleasures of this life, and never to in quire, " what we shall do to be saved,” “ what good thing we shall do that we may inherit eternal life !"-Surely, if we did but seriously consider the nature and worth of the future blessedness; and were thoroughly acquainted with our own hearts, and their absolute unpreparedness for entering apon it; we should need nothing more to convince us how necessary it is, that what we do, we should do quickly. The happiness of heaven is too important to be hazarded on the dreadful peradventure of human life: and to prepare for it, is a work of too much difficulty to be delayed to the hurry and distraction of a dying hour. . Alas! Death may
be in such haste when he comes, as not to allow you time even for a hasty Lord have mercy: and it will be sad indeed, if there should be any allowed defect, any essential omission then. To say, I intended to repent after I had finished such an engagement that lay upon my hands; I had resolved to reform if I had lived a little longer; I was thinking about joining myself to the Lord in a perpetual covenant never to be forgotten: I was
just beginning to think on my ways, and to turn my feet to God's testimonies.--- Ah, Sirs! it will be sad indeed, to be but beginning your work when the shadows of the evening are stretching out over you, and the night draws on apace, wherein no man can work. All the little time you have, will be spent in the most bitter reflections, and self-upbraidings; your spirits will not be composed enough to attempt, or so much as to think of, repentance ; death, and its dreadful consequences, will be als ways uppermost; and you must die either stupid or distracted.-.-Prevent all this now, while it is in your power to prevent it. Live much in a little time; and let this year, if it should be the last, be the busiest and best year of your life. God Almighty grant that this day (if it cannot boast an earlier date) -- may this day be the æra of your happi, ness---the day when you first began to live--- your spiritual birth-day---the day when the Lord poured out upon you the spirit of prayer, which is the breath of the soul; and when, by entreating his favour with your whole heart, you gave the first proof of your being born again!
3. Let us rejoice in the prospect of a world where we shall never die,
If this were the final state of existence, and earthly enjoyments were all we had to expect, we might well inquire, Wherefore hast thou made all inen in vain ? But "life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel: and we have discoveries, and promises, and foretastes, of a happiness infinitely superior to all which the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them, can bestow. Even in this world, full as it is of briars and thorns, there are some ele vated spots; which when we accidentally light upon nature cries out eagerly; Lord, it is good to be here : here let me pitch my tabernacle;----but, perhaps, before the words are well out of our mouth a cloud overshadows'us; and our distress is greater now than our joy was before. Sometimes, perhaps after a variety of changes, and scenes of trying disappointment, we find ourselves agreeably situated in life---in the midst of friends sincere and affectionate; harmony and love uniting the happy circle;' cheerfulness in every countenance, and joy in every heart ;---when the hand-writing upon the wall interrupts us with, “ This year thou shalt die:" . At another time, perhaps, with indefatigable, and it may be criminal, industry, we had laid up goods for many years: we had risen early, sat up late, 'and eaten the bread of carefulness ; we had neglected God and our souls, and eternity; so busy were we in our worldly callings, so eager to buy and sell, and get gain; and at last, just at the very time when we had said to our souls, " Soul, take thine ease,” Death came to us with, “ Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required at thy hands !".--But there is a world where death shall be swallowed up of victory, and mortality shall be swallowed up of life: where we shall dwell in houses not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens: we shall possess a kingdom that cannot be moved, and wear a crown of glory that fadeth not away: and shall be enriched with treasures which moth and rust cannot corrupt; and which neither fraud, nor violence, nor accident, nor death, nor time, can deprive us of. There we shall never feel the heart-rending agonies of weepa
ing over a dead friend; nor shall we ever give our living friends the pain to mourn over us :
we and they shall be immortal, like the Father of our spirits, like the eternal and self-existent God; to whom, by a condescension the most surprising, we shall then be nearly related.
Let them tremble to be told, “ This year thou shalt die,” who have a second death to fear: but let those who have passed from death to life, rejoice in their long expected release from all the sins and sorrows of mortality, and enter with pleasure into the dark valley of the shadow of death, under the conduct of their ever-faithful Guide and Guardian; since they know it is only the passage to a world of everlasting light, life, and joy: where " the inhabitants shall no more say, I am sick ;" where they shall have free access to the tree of life; and temptation, sin, and death, shall have nothing more to do.
To conclude.-Seeing we look for such things as these, “ what manner of persons ought we to be?" Holiness becomes those who are looking for heaven; and diligence becomes those who are looking for death. If you should die this year, and death should find you unprepared, you will then recollect, that you were this evening warned of it, and earnestly exhorted to get oil in your vessels with your lamps.--"Go to now, ye that say, To-day or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain; whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”—Let this thought accompany us wherever
we go: and let us engage in all the duties of life and religion, as if we heard a voice from heaven sounding in our ears, “ This year thou shalt die." Let us make sure of an interest in Him who hath “conquered death, and him that had the
of death, that is, the devil :” let us “ lay up a good foundation against the time to come:" and then, the thoughts of dying this year, or this night, will not make us melancholy. All the days of our appointed time we shall wait, till our change come: and when “ He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly;" our souls, quite tired with vanity and sin, will cry out with eager exultation, “ Amen: even so: come, Lord Jesus.”