« PreviousContinue »
that were dead in trespasses and sins, with hearts overflowing with gratitude and praise, we should surely love him who first loved us.
Not to love Christ, is the cause of many other sins. It is a most complicated and comprehensive iniquity; and is, in reality, the ground or root of all disobedience,
To conclude ; if you did but know yourselves, what you were originally, and to what you have since reduced yourselves by your pride and your folly; if you were acquainted with the law in its extent and severity, and with God in his holiness and justice; if you knew the Lord Jesus Christ in his grandeur and grace, what he was originally, and to what he submitted for your sakes; if you were sensible of his suitableness and sufficiency, and considered that he came to procure your love, as well as to testify his own; if you believed and felt all this, you would need no persuasion to open your hearts to the merciful Saviour. You would admire and adore him, as the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. You would receive him, and rely upon him, as the only name under heaven given among men, by which you could be saved. You would desire and rejoice in him, as the Lord your righteousness and strength ; renouncing all expectations from the world, all confidence in yourselves, and all agreement with sin and with sin
You would determine to know and love nothing, in comparison with Jesus Christ, and him crucified. But let ine ask you one question. You are conscious that you do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, and is it sincerely your grief, and do you
earnestly wish that it were otherwise ? Instead then of wasting our time in fruitless arguments and exhortations, let us all join in humble and earnest supplications to the God of all grace, that he, who only can do it, would direct your hearts into the love of Christ; and that though you have been so many years lovers of the world, of pleasure, of your ownselves, and of sin, he would now transform you into the affectionate and devoted disciples of Jesus.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us; unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.'
0! that they were wise, that they understood this, that
they would consider their latter end.
IF when mankind quitted this world, they were never to appear in another, we should feel no alarm, or anxiety, on account of the careless conduct of sinners. · We should let them eat, drink, and be merry; and not disturb them with gloomy and groundless apprehensions of futurity. But we know, that it is appointed to all men once to die, and that after death, there is a judgment; and we are assured, that all who are in the grave shall come forth; "they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. If, therefore, we were not connected, by blood or friendship, with those dying immortals, as I may call them, surely, common humanity would engage us to warn all within our reach, of the impenda ing destruction ; and where we could do no more, we should sigh and say,
“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end." These words express the tender and anxious concern of Moses for the welfare of the children of Israel. But, not willing to detain your,
attention, I shall now inquire, in what manner we should consider our latter end, and then show the wisdom and advantage of considering it aright,
First, in what manner should we consider our latter end?
A transient thought now and then about death is not sufficient; it should be considered thoroughly; I mean with judgment and understanding, so as to form just and regular apprehensions concerning its causes and consequences. You may contemplate a death, bed scene circumstantially. You may, in your ima. gination, attend a sick person through all the gloomy stages of the disorder, till you see the eyes glassy and fixed, the countenance sharpened, the head convulsed, the pulse, after many hesitations, stop, and the panting breast heave no more; and a total stiffness, or, I may say, a dead calm, succeed a scene of frightful tumult and distress. You may mingle in the fune. ral procession, and attend the mortal remains of your friend to the house appointed for all living. You may join in the solemn and very pertinent reflections, “ Man that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble ; he cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down ; he fleeth also like a shadow, and continueth not. In the midst of life we are in death." You may then go home, and think no more of it, till another funeral revive the same solemn reflections. If this be considering our latter end, it is in a way very short of what is our duty. Those formalities of death are the least part of what is recommended to your consideration. If you would consider your latter end in a profitable manner, you must go back to the beginning, and inquire into the first cause of this
unhappy catastrophe: and of this we can get no satisfaction, till we consult the oracles of truth, where we meet with this plain and affecting solution ; “ Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men ; for that all have sinned." We must consider, too, the nature and consequences of death. We are not to regard it as a total extinction of our being; but only à temporary separation of soul and body; both of which are preserved and disposed of, in a manner suitable to their different natures. The body, being originally formed out of the dust of the ground, is committed to the ground again; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The spirit, being a vital spark from heaven, returns to God, who gave it; and is then fixed in a state of happiness or misery. Many consider death, as only a dismission from this world, and all its affairs. There they stop; as if à release from bodily pains, were all that was worth our thought or concern. This is only to look at the things which are seen ; but we are bidden to look most at those which are not seen : and for this obvious reason; because the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We must not only consider that death is the lot of all without distinction, but we should reflect upon the manner of this important event. We should think how the wicked is driven away in his wickedness, and the righteous has hope in his death; how one sweetly sleeps in Jesus, and another dies in anguish and horror: We should reflect, too, upon the cause of this difference ; and what by divine grace we must be, in order to secure a safe and comfortable death.