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have not the least spark of that heavenly fire in their breasts, for their carnal mind is enmity against God. And are these likely to be saved ? likely to be admitted into the region of love, where there is not one cold or disloyal heart ? likely to be happy in the presence and service of that God to whom they are disaffected ? Alas ! no. Where then shall they appear ? O! in what forlorn, remote region of eternal exile from the blessed God!
I shall now conclude with a few reflections. 1. You may hence see the work of salvation is not that easy trifling thing which many take it to be. They seem mighty cautious of laying out too much pains upon it; and they cannot bear that people should make so much ado, and keep such a stir and noise about it.* For their part, they hope to go to heaven as well as the best of them, without all this preciseness : and upon these principles they act. They think they can never be too much in earnest, or too laborious in the pursuit of earthly things; but religion is a matter by the by with them; only the business of an hour once a week. But have these learned their religion from Christ the founder of it, or from his apostles whom he appointed teachers of it? No, they have formed some easy system from their own imaginations suited to their depraved taste, indulgent to their sloth and carnality, and favorable to their lusts, and this they call Christianity. But you have seen this is not the religion of the Bible; this is not the way to life laid out by God, but it is the smooth downward road to destruction. Therefore,
2. Examine yourselves to which class you belong, whether to that of the righteous, who shall be saved, though with difficulty, or to that of the ungodly and the sinner, who must appear in a very different situation. To determine this important inquiry, recollect the sundry parts of the righteous man's character which I have briefly described, and see whether they belong to you. Do you carefully abstain from vice and immorality? Do you make conscience of every duty of religion? Have you ever been born again of God, and made more than externally religious ? Are you sensible of the dif
• I here affect this low style on purpose, to represent more exactly the sentiments of such careless sinners in their own usual language.
ficulties in your way from Satan, the world, and the flesh? And do you exert yourselves as in a field of battle or in a race? Do you work out your salvation with fear and trembling, and press into the kingdom of God? Are you true believers, penitents, and lovers of God? Are these or the contrary the constituents of your habitual character? I pray you make an impartial trial, for much depends upon it.
3. If this be your habitual character, be of good cheer, for you shall be saved, though with difficulty. Be not discouraged when you fall into fiery trials, for they are no strange things in the present state. All that have walked in the same narrow road before you have met with them, but now they are safe arrived in their eternal home. Let your dependence be upon the aids of divine grace to bear you through, and you will overcome at last. But,
4. If your character be that of the ungodly and the sinner, pause and think, where shall you appear at last ? When, like our deceased friend, you leave this mortal state, and launch into regions unknown, where will you then appear? Must it not be in the region of sin, which is your element now? in the society of the devils, whom you resemble in temper, and imitate in conduct ? among the trembling criminals at the left hand of the Judge, where the ungodly and sinners shall all be crowded ? If you continue such as you now are, have you any reason at all to hope for a more favorable doom?
I shall conclude with a reflection to exemplify the context in another view, and that is, “ If Judgment begin at the house of God, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel? If the righteous, the favorites of Heaven, suffer so much in this world, what shall sinners, with whom God is angry every day, and who are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, what shall they suffer in the eternal world, the proper place for rewards and punishments, and where an equitable Providence deals with every man according to his works? If the children are chastised with various calamities, and even die in common with the rest of mankind, what shall be the doom of enemies and rebels? If those meet with so many difficulties in the pursuit of salvation, what shall these suffer in enduring damnation? If the infernal powers are permitted to worry Christ's sheep, how will they rend and tear the wicked as their proper prey? O that you may in “this your day know the things that belong to your peace, before they are for ever hic your eyes.” Luke xix. 42.
INDIFFERENCE TO LIFE URGED FROM ITS SHORTNESS AND
1 Cor. vi. 29, 30, 31.—But this I say, brethren, that the
time is short : it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none ; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing it : for the fashion of this world passeth away.
A Creature treading every moment upon the slippery brink of the grave, and ready every moment to shoot the gulf of eternity, and launch away to some unknown coast, ought to stand always in the posture of serious expectation ; ought every day to be in his own mind taking leave of this world, breaking off the connections of his heart from it, and preparing for his last remove into that world in which he must reside, not for a few months or years as in this, but through a boundless everlasting duration. Such a situation requires habitual, constant thoughtfulness, abstraction from the world, and serious preparation for death and eternity. But when we are called, as we frequently are, to perform the last sad offices to our friends and neighbors who have taken their flight a little before us; when the solemn pomp and horrors of death strike our senses, then certainly it becomes us to be unusually thoughtful and serious. • This sermon is dated, at Mr. Thompson's funeral, February 16, 1759.
Dying beds, the last struggles and groans of dissolving nature, pale, cold, ghastly corpses,
"The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave :
The deep damp vault, the darkness and the worm;" these are very alarming monitors of our own mortality: these out-preach the loudest preacher; and they must be deep and senseless rocks, and not men, who do not hear and feel their voice. Among the numberless instances of the divine skill in bringing good out of evil, this is one, that past generations have sickened and died to warn their successors. One here and there also is singled out of our neighborhood or families, and made an example, a memento mori, to us that survive, to rouse us out of our stupid sleep, to give us the signal of the approach of the last enemy, death, to constrain us to let go our eager grasp of this vain world, and set us upon looking out and preparing for another. And may I hope my hearers are come here to-day determined to make this improvement of this melancholy occasion, and to gain this great advantage from our loss? To this I call you as with a voice from the grave; and therefore he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
One great reason of men's excessive attachment to the present state, and their stupid neglect to the concerns of eternity, is their forming too high an estimate of the affairs of time in comparison with those of eternity. While the important realities of the eternal world are out of view, unthought of, and disregarded, as, alas! they generally are by the most of mankind, what mighty things in their esteem are the relations, the joys and sorrows, the possessions and be. reavements, the acquisitions and pursuits of this life? What airs of importance do they put on in their view ? How do they engross their anxious thoughts and cares, and exhaust their strength and spirits! To be happy, to be rich, to be great and honorable, to enjoy your fill of pleasure in this world, is not this a great matter, the main interest with many of you ? is not this the object of your ambition, your eager desire and laborious pursuit ? But to consume away your life in sickness and pain, in poverty and disgrace, in abortive schemes and disappointed pursuits, what a serious calamity, what a huge affliction
is this in your esteem ?
What is there in the compass of the universe that you are so much afraid of, and so cautiously shunning? Whether large profits or losses in trade be not a mighty matter, ask the busy anxious merchant. Whether poverty be not a most miserable state, ask the poor that feel it, and the rich that fear it. Whether riches be not a very important happiness, ask the possessors; or rather ask the restless pursuers of them, who expect still greater happiness from them than those that are taught by experience can flatter themselves with. Whether the pleasures of the conjugal state are not great and delicate, consult the few happy pairs here and there who enjoy them. Whether the loss of an affectionate husband and a tender father be not a most afflictive bereavement, a torturing separation of heart from heart, or rather a tearing of one's heart in pieces, ask the mourning, weeping widow, and fatherless children, when hovering round his
dying-bed, or conducting his dear remains to the cold grave. In short, it is evident from a thousand instances, that the enjoyments, pursuits, and sorrows of this life are mighty matters ! nay, are all in all in the esteem of the generality of mankind. These are the things they most deeply feel, the
. things about which they are chiefly concerned, and which are the objects of their strongest passions.
But is this a just estimate of things ? Are the affairs of this world then indeed so interesting and all impor tant? Yes, if eternity be a dream, and heaven and hell but majestic chimeras, or fairy lands; if we were always to live in this world, and had no concern with any thing beyond it ; if the joys of earth were the highest we could hope for, or its miseries the most terrible we could fear, then indeed we might take this world for our all, and regard its affairs as the most important that our nature is capable of. But this I say, brethren, (and I pronounce it as the echo of an inspired apostle's voice) this I say, the time is short; the time of life in which we have any thing to do with these affairs is a short contracted span. Therefore it remaineth, that is, this is the inference we should draw from the shortness of time, they that have wives, be as though they had none ; and they that weep, as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they possessed