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so to do; yet does that which brought them into existence which endowed them with motion and with life—which nicely balances them in the positions or orbits respectively allotted to them—which prevents them from tumbling into the gulfs of eternal space—and which even preserves them from decay until the term of their existence shall be completed; this mental energy, this Divine Spirit, inasmuch as it differs from all these, differs from them in respect of its eternity and its immortality. And if the Divine Spirit, the great creative and preserving principle, be eternal and immortal, is it by any means likely, is it even analogous to that experience with which we are furnished, that inferior spirits should be less susceptible of immortality ? Do we perceive this difference in the world of bodies? Is the huge bulk of the elephant, or of any other of the most powerful or ferocious of animals, less subject to mortality and decay than the most diminutive insect which lives but for a summer, or even for a day? Between them, brethren, as we have already seen, there is no difference, because they equally belong to that class of beings whose distinguishing feature is a liability to destruction. In the same manner are all spiritual beings distinguished by an attribute which marks the class to which they belong, and which equally pervades them all. This attribute is immortality. Not only, therefore, is the all-powerful and all-creative Spirit of God, the Father, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, most certain of an infinite and eternal existence, but of this all other spirits are equally certain, inasmuch as they are more nearly, or more distantly, allied to this wonderful and immortal Being. This I

say, brethren: immortality is the characteristic mark of invisible spirits, just as visible bodies are distinguished from them by that mortality, that liability to decay which is alike predicable of all. Undoubtedly the Supreme Spirit of the Eternal may annihilate these spirits just as easily as He, in the first place, created them, if he thought proper so to do: but to suppose that He would do this, would be to suppose Him to be at variance with Himself; it would be to entertain an idea quite as unreasonable and inconsistent as to suppose that any body whatever might be exempted from that destruction which is common to all. We cannot, therefore, for an instant doubt that the world of spirits, of inferior spirits, are destined to immortality, and that we ourselves, who undoubtedly belong to this class of created beings, are at least capable of immortality, and shall most assuredly succeed to it, unless, at least, we provoke the Almighty to withdraw from us that great and inestimable privilege by an ungrateful and an unspiritual course of life.

The possibility, however, or perhaps the probability of such an occurrence, brings us to the consideration of the concluding proposition in our text: “My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” Hitherto, brethren, we have been grounding the mortality of the body, and the immortality of the soul, that is to say, the

susceptibility of the soul to immortality, upon the evidence of our own natural reason. Because, however, our reason, no less than the word of God, declares the immortal nature of our souls, let us not think more than we have any reason to think ; let us not think that this attribute of immortality implies eternal and uninterrupted happiness. The folly of such a supposition is sufficiently refuted by the very general feelings of sorrow and pain to which the mental and spiritual part of our human nature is every day subject. I do not mean that pain which the body frequently suffers from accident or disease. I mean, on the other hand, that mental anguish which men so continually suffer, even when their bodies are in the bloom of vigour and of health. The extreme acuteness of this must be admitted, when we consider that a healthy and vigorous body is sometimes bowed down even unto death by the effects of a troubled and disordered mind. On the other hand, the mind frequently feels itself tranquil and undisturbed, and in the enjoyment of decided happiness, when the body is afflicted by pain and disease. The mind, therefore, brethren, that is, the soul, though decidedly immortal, may be either happy or miserable. She is at present in a state of uncertainty and danger. This danger and uncertainty, and occasional misery, however, could never have been the original state of the soul, because these feelings, as it has been before hinted throughout a considerable portion of this discourse, are applicable to mortal and material beings only. The soul, therefore, may be considered as evidently lost to the happy and secure state in which she was originally created. And if lost, she can only be restored to her primitive state of bliss by being saved; by being saved by the supreme Spirit of God, whose salvation must therefore be for ever; for salvation, to be complete, must be infinite and perpetual. And as we cannot for a moment suppose that a being, who was created happy, would have been deprived of this happiness even for a time, unless an act of injustice and wrong had been committed by him; so can this iniquity be alone cleansed and blotted out by one of superior power and perfection. No created being whatever, whe. ther animate or inanimate, whether bodily or spiritual, can possess any power whatever over itself, so as in any way to ameliorate or improve its own state. The restoration, therefore, and the regeneration, whatever and whenever it be, must be the work of God. And this, moreover, must be perpetual. His righteousness shall not be abolished, because the salvation which He bestows upon His creatures is clearly dependent upon this righteousness. Were God to pardon a sinner without, first of all, in some powerful though perhaps mysterious and incomprehensible manner, blotting out and cancelling his offences, He could not possibly be what we know He is-God, in the fullest and most complete sense of the word, that is, perfect, just, and good. In the same manner, therefore, and to the same extent, likewise, as salvation is perpetual and

infinite, so righteousness is equally so. And thus in the same way as reason assures us of the truth of the former proposition of our text, so does it equally assert and confirm the truth of the latter : « My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

I am quite aware, brethren, that the train of reasoning, which, for variety's sake, I have thought proper to introduce into this discourse, would not in a general way be suited to a country congregation. By some it may be objected to as erroneous, by others as unintelligible. If, however, it should appear to some that the words of our text are in any degree confirmed and explained by it, it may

be the means of inducing them to receive with confidence every portion of God's word, without, as many nominal Christians do, rejecting certain portions of this Divine Word, because they may seem contrary to the suggestions of that very imperfect reason with which alone human nature is endowed. For the sake of those, however, who may entertain any of the objections above alluded to, I have to observe, that the sum total of what I have been endeavouring to advance is, that though the body may die, yet can the soul never die; although the body, which has been lost to the soul by the momentary intervention of death, may hereafter be restored to it perfect and incorrupt, by the effective righteousness of Christ :

My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” But, brethren, I have further to urge that the subject before us, whether

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