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and preparatory; unless you love God and love your neighbour in the strictest and most comprehensive sense; unless you repent you of those sins which the best of us too frequently commit; unless you thank God for his unbounded goodness towards you ; unless, I mean, you thank him with the heart as well as with the head ; not with your lips only, but likewise with your lives; unless you feel within

you

that you are, and at the best ever will be unworthy and unprofitable servants; and that though saved and made happy hereafter, as we all of us hope to be, yet this can only be effected by the perfect righteousness of Christ Jesus, by whose precious blood-shedding a sinful world have been reconciled unto an offended God.

And if those who perform the outward ordinances of religion ; who attend the ordinary services of the church; who partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; who read their Bibles and offer their private supplications to God, will not be admitted within the gates of heaven : if the knowledge of these will be positively disowned by Christ, unless they do such other things as we have seen to be equally indispensable; what chance do you suppose will those unfortunate and ill-fated beings have, who sin not with the heart only, but with the head also ; whose lives and actions are decidedly immoral and sinful, at the same time that they neglect and despise, and even ridicule, the sacred ordinances of our most holy religion ? And many—there name is, indeed, legion-many are there of these who, in all proba

bility, I fear, never offer even a prayer unto God in private ; who never enter the sacred sanctuary of God's house ; who absent themselves from the holy communion for one reason, among many others, that they are ignorant, though, for the most part, wilfully so, that so sacred a rite has ever been instituted by the Saviour of the world. Let me exhort you, brethren, while I likewise entreat you to pray in my behalf, that we may all of us think and meditate upon these things now in the day-time, and not wait till the night season, even the moment of the marriage of Christ with his church, the moment when the light of life shall have been succeeded by the darkness and the dimness of the valley of death. Let us now meditate upon these things, and then, peradventure, by God's help, the gate of heaven may open to us as fit and worthy guests.

And, as a further inducement to meditation upon these important points, and likewise to repentance, in respect of those who without repentance will be hereafter unknown and unrecognised by Christ the Lord and Master of us all, I would recall your attention to the two last verses of our text. In these verses it is the affectionate regard of this kind Lord and Master in our behalf which cautions us against the dreadful result of present disobedience, against the fearful alternative of exclusion from the chamber of the great marriage feast which shall be celebrated in heaven. “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.”

Here, brethren, is an alternative which it is scarcely possible to contemplate without horror and dismay. Instead of being admitted into the splendour of God's kingdom in heaven; to be cast into “outer darkness, in the midst of wailing and lamentation and woe,” and to behold the glorious expanse within filled and tenanted by those, many of whom, while on earth, will have been despised and rejected of men! In one sense, this prophecy has been already fulfilled. It was addressed to the Jews, who have since become outcasts from the church of God, and who may now, and who even do now behold this church, or this kingdom of God on earth occupied by those who, in respect of the Holy Land, have come from the east, west, north, and south. And such fulfilment we may look upon as an earnest of that other fulfilment which was equally intended by our Lord, the rejection of the disobedient, and the admission of the faithful into the interior of God's kingdom in heaven.

As the following words from the Revelation of St. John, addressed to the Apostle by a supernatural voice, are much to our present purpose, I proceed to recite them, by way of conclusion to this dis

“ The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto mé, These are the true sayings of God.”

course :

• Revelation, xix. 6, 7. 9.

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SERMON XXIV.

CHURCH BUILDING SOCIETY.

LUKE, vii. 4, 5.

.“ And when they came to Jesus, they besought him

instantly, saying, that he was worthy for whom he should do this : for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

The person of whom such honourable mention is made in the text, was none other than a Roman centurion, a foreigner to the Jewish nation, and the commander of a hundred soldiers stationed in Capernaum for the purpose of suppressing any commotion, or any act of rebellion which might arise prejudicial to the authority of his government. Before we proceed further, it may be as well to recite the whole of St. Luke's narrative which relates to the character and conduct of this truly liberal and noble-minded individual.

The passage in question runs thus: “Now when he,” that is, Jesus, “ had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And à certain centurion's servant, who was dear

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