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call to them from bis throne, and say, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And is there not reason to fear there will be some, too, whose negligence and unfaithfulness have been so flagrant and notorious, as that even they themselves would wish to avoid the shame of a public examination ; and who (shall I say?) would be glad to be immediately dismissed, though with “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ?” While there are others of a more mixed character; who, though they have been accused of wasting their Lord's goods, yet may be supposed to have something to plead in excuse, at least in alleviation of their guilt; whom the Judge will therefore arraign with, “ How is it that I hear this of you ? give an account of your stewardship."
I do not ask, under which of these denominations you would wish to appear; but, which of these characters does Conscience say belongs to you? If we were this moment to be summoned from our present seats to the bar of God, it would very probably strike confusion into our faces, if not terror into our hearts. We should be for calling together our Lord's debtors, or more properly, our own creditors; and bid them - take their bills and write fifty;” and be ready to fall on our knees to those whose souls we had neglected, misled, and ruined, that they would not charge us with their eternal undoing.Suffer, then, my Reverend Fathers and Brethren, the word of exhortation. “I am young, and ye are very old ; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you my opinion. I said, Days should speak,
and multitude of years should teach wisdom." But the necessities of mankind were urgent, and called loudly for immediate assistance.
We have not a day to lose in compliments and disputes. The world lie in wickedness fast asleep, insensible of their misery and danger ; and shall we sleep, even as do others ? Or if we ourselves are awake, is it not still more surprising that we are not all lifting up our voices, to save them from perishing? Can we see them walking in their sleep; dancing, in all the exultation of imaginary felicity, upon the brink of a precipice? Can we see the bottomless pit gaping wide to receive the thoughtless multitude, and not pity them, and not watch with them and for them, till they are out of danger? Are our hearts so entirely steeled against all the impressions of benevolence and compassion to our fellowcreatures, or of gratitude and duty to God? Are immortal souls so low in our esteem, as not to be worth the little pains we have it in our power to bestow upon them ?-Had they been rated at no higher price in heaven, God had never parted with his Son, nor Christ with his blood, to redeem and save them. Is it the “ Father's good pleasure to give them a kingdom,” and shall we think it much to teach them the language, and form them into the manners, of the heavenly country; or even to point out to them the way to it? Hath he “ counted us faithful, putting us into the ministry," and shall we, by betraying our cause, and selling our Master, give unbelievers room to say he was mistaken in his men? Hath he appointed us on purpose to watch over his flock, and shall we sink into supineness and sloth ; or, hireling like, desert our
post on the appearance of danger, and leave our helpless charge an easy prey to devouring wolves; or suffer them to sicken and die for want of a timely application of the Balm of Gilead ?-I therefore, as your fellow-labourer in the Lord, beseech you, by the love of God, by the blood of Christ, by the worth of immortal souls, by the solemnity of a future judgment, by all the joys and pleasures and happiness of heaven, by every possible consideration that can have
influence on generous minds—I call upon you to “ take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Had I time, or were this a proper place, or were it not in itself highly disagreeable to find fault, methinks there is some room for censure, that our people will take no more care of their own souls.- To what purpose is all our watching, if you will invite danger and court destruction? Must it not grieve the heart of a faithful minister, who watches over you with a godly jealousy, to see you going on merrily in the broad road, and not be able to tell you so, without being called, or thought rude or unmannerly; or, at best, to be civilly dismissed with, “Go thy way for this time, and when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee, and hear thee concerning this matter :" And is this your kindness to your friend? Is this a suitable, a generous return, for all our pains and prayers, for all our works of faith and labours of love? Is this 66
Is this “ obeying them that have the rule over you, and submitting yourselves ?" Whataccount,
do you think, shall we give of your souls to God? To be obliged to say, “Lord, we offered them salvation, but they would not accept of it ;—we published the proclamation,“ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,” but no man came ;-we often called to them, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?" but they stopped their ears, like the deaf adder ;and (for we could do no more) we assured them that Thou wouldst render “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, to every soul of them that did evil;” but they said, “We will not have this man to reign over us;" we have loved idols, and after them will we go.'-To be obliged to say this, would be grievous to us, and it would be indeed unprofitable
Now, I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with us in your prayers, and in the most sincere and vigorous endeavours, that our labour may not be in vain in the Lord. Let us all, in our several stations, manifest such a zealous concern for our own and one another's souls, as that, when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, we may each of us receive a crown of glory; and we who sow, and you who reap, may rejoice together.
OCCASIONED BY THE DECEASE OF MRS. HALLS,
WHO DIED SUDDENLY, FEBRUARY, 1756.
HEBREWS xi. 4.
At the very mention of these words you will immediately recollect the awful providence that occasioned them ;-a providence which very nearly affects some of us, and has a very important and alarming aspect upon all; and, as it whirls by us, thunders in our ears, Prepare to follow.
To be hurried into eternity without the ceremony of taking leave; to be summoned to the bar of God at a moment's warning (happy for her that her accounts were ready!) to be snatched out of life just as we were beginning to live to any purpose; to have our hopes smothered, and our rising prospects dashed in
an instant-lo, these things worketh God oftentimes with man; and by these acts of sovereignty asserts his claim to the possessions and lives of his creatures; and at the same time severely rebukes the folly and impiety of those who “ say in their hearts, their Lord delayeth his coming."
By the late melancholy stroke, the world has been deprived of one that promised fair for usefulness ;-a circumstance which, though it be a pecu