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he does not realise the things or the interests which belong to heaven. Verily he hath his reward : he may have gotten what he sought after, and he has no right to complain if he hath not gotten what he never did seek after. He attains the appropriate termination of his path. Time and eternity were both set before him ; he made choice of time instead of courting eternity. To him, time was the prize, and his eternity is now a blank ; and it were a violation of all the analogies of human experience if it were otherwise. It is thus, if we had time to illustrate the theme a little further, that a flood of light might be thrown upon the position that not because a man's actions are criminal
-we are not charging him with that—but simply because his affections are earthly'; not because in the deeds of his hands there has been aught of the vile, but simply because in the desires of his heart there has been nought of the spiritual; not because he has done that which should disgrace him in this world of sinners, which is soon to pass away, but simply because he has neither sought after a place in, nor laboured in the work of preparation for, that world of saints which is to remain in brightness for ever and ever. On these grounds alone, and without the imputation of any notorious delinquency of character at all, there is many a respectable citizen who, viewed in reference to his occupations in life and to his capacities as an immortal creature, has lived all his days in a state of utter negation and nakedness; and who, when overtaken by death, will find himself on the margin of an unprepared for eternity, which will open upon him with nought in its mighty and unexplored vastness but the dark imagery of utter desolation, and ruin, and despair.
I should be exceeding the text were I not only to attempt to point out, as a third lesson, that sowing to the flesh is corrupt in the sense that it is transitory, and leaves you completely unprovided with the higher objects and interests of another world, but were I to attempt furthermore to prove that to sow unto the flesh were also criminal. You observe, then, were it only corrupt in the sense of what is being transitory, then the appropriate upshot of such a life of folly and indulgence would be evanescence ; but instead of that, we are taught in Scripture that it is a life of everlasting woe. There seems to be nothing in labouring for that which is perishable to bring down such a doom; but then if it involve criminality, if it incur the taste for all moral delinquency, then you see it would seem to be a more appropriate termination of such a life that you should be landed in unutterable anguish and intense woe, which is never to be at an end. It is, however, impossible that I can enter upon that. If I were to do so, it would not only be to exceed the lesson presented by the text, but it would be to exceed that limit which could be given to any address; it is, however, a correct doctrine, and could be most triumphantly proved in vindicating the jurisprudence of God. I am sure that you are perfectly aware of the criminality of sowing unto the flesh in reference to a fellow mortal. If any friend were to give you an independent fortune, all you desired, and you rebelled against him and returned evil for good, you would know very well how to appreciate the moral turpitude of such indifference and ingratitude. Well, then, I say that the moral turpitude of your habitual indifference and ingratitude to that God who gives you every comfort you enjoy will be one of the highest crimes of man, when the actions of all come to be reckoned over, and which will mark God to be justified when he speaketh, and clear when he judgeth, and show that we have been the authors of own undoing and condemnation; and that by living thus lightly we have been incurring the charge of the highest possible delinquency of which we can be guilty, and those who are guilty will be sent to their own place, when they are sent down to the abodes of everlasting hopelessness.
As we are not, however, expostulating on that, I shall conclude with as short a practical improvement on the subject as I can. This is of mighty importance to be understood. There are two classes of persons pointed out here whom I should like to address. There is one class that is alienated from the whole subject; they do not profess Christianity, are strangers to the peculiarities of it altogether. They do not belong to what is called the “professing Church," but they devote themselves to a life of strife and of care for the things of this world, and have
no wish to be religious. Why, then, I would say that it is of mighty importance to lay bare to these people the turpitude of their moral and spiritual condition, and of the habits in which they spend their time, because, unless we can convince them of this, they may continue unrepenting and unrepented. They conceive it to be a very slight thing that their life should be thus spent in ungodliness, and conceiving it to be a slight thing, they think that a very slight and superficial remedy will be quite sufficient for them. The connection there is between the imagination of a slight disease and the application of a slight remedy is quite obvious. That man will not submit his sore to amputation or to the caustic which he will not permit to be probed to the bottom. But if he is determined to consider that the injury is only superficial, which is the case of every worldly man, he will be content that the application of the cure should be superficial also. And it is with the hurt of the soul as it is with the hurt of the body ;-the malady under which it labours may be fatal; yet if the patient do not think so he will be glad to put off the application of a severe remedy, and be content with the mildest sanative. That
may be but gently ruffled, may only need a very gentle soothing to restore it to composure. The alarm which comes in the shape of a rare and transient zephyr may be easily hushed, and the vessel, which in a tempest would be driven from her moorings, may retain her place in a calm with very slender anchorage. Thus it is, in fact, that men underrate the virulence of the disease under which they labour, and, therefore, they feel but slightly the hurt of their souls, and they will not go to that Physician, who is himself the Larnb of God, and who tells them to wash out their sins in his own blood, and points out to them, nay, beckons them to approach to that fountain of purification which has been opened up to the House of David. They are not disposed to apply to that satisfying and substantial atonement—they care not for the virtue of that remedy by which alone the virulence even of their foulest guilt can be done away with. And still less have they the desire, or do they ever make a demand for, the operation of that regenerating power which might, entering the heart and reaching the depth of the native
ungodliness which is seated there, turn all their affections from the world to God. They have no desire to be translated and brought into that habit of virtue in which they would be of sowing unto the Spirit, that they might reap of the Spirit a life everlasting. A reformation far more superficial than this will satisfy them. They will have nothing to do with the mystery of the new birth, They will look another
for a safe eternity, than what they deem the dark and dreary passage of spiritual distress; and then the conversion of the soul through the influence of the Holy Ghost, and then a translation from darkness into the marvellous light of the Gospel, and then a general revolution of their whole hearts and habits so as to have themselves formed into a peculiar people, who sow unto the Spirit, whose conversation is in heaven, and whose great business on earth is to be perfect in their holiness and to prepare for heaven-all this they nauseate and refuse, even though it should bear a semblance to the doctrine of Scripture, and be couched in what they call a confused and cabalistic phraseology. They therefore defer the whole question of eternity, or take their own way of resolving it, and so with all their portion and all their treasure upon earth as heretofore, and a still untouched and unsubdued earthly spirit within them, they would lean on the strength of a few forms and decencies, and of some slender reformations, to get to heaven as comfortably as they can. This is the foundation on which they rest. Such is their meagre and superficial notions of what the real business and drift of Christianity is--to make men new creatures in Christ Jesus, that henceforth you may cease from sowing to the flesh, and that you may sow to the Spirit. But it is not in this meagre and superficial way the breach between God and the guilty is to be healed. God is the party sinned against, and it is for him and not for us to dictate the terms of the treaty of reconciliation. Slightly as we look upon our defection from God and on the diseases of our fallen nature they are not so lightly looked upon in heaven. That mystery of redemption, which prophets scanned, which angels desire to look into, which the Son of God himself completed, and none but he could undertake, and which
cost him a humbling incarnation, and the deep endurance of a guilty world's punishment, when the vials of God's wrathful justice were poured out, which, amid the manifestation by miracles of its divinity, was preached by the Holy Apostles to the nations of the earth, and which is nowhere trusted in by man without a surrender of his heart to the will of God, and so a complete moral renovation of his habits and his character: this is the only way in which the acceptance of the sinner has been made to harmonize with the honours of offended justice, or in which the Law Giver can, without compromise of that dignity and high imperial power which belongs to him, as the Lord of the creation, and which it were the anarchy of the universe to violate, the only way in which he can pass over our transgressions against the law. But, now that the way has been opened, the ungodliest and most worldly of you all, although he may have grown grey in iniquity, whatever may be the guilt and crimson die of your
manifold transgressions, I say, now that the way is opened, you are all freely invited to draw near, and we are charged with offers of peace, and pardon, from the mercy-seat, to the guiltiest of you all
. A full amnesty is prepared, even for the deadliest of your transgressions, by him who took upon himself the retribution of your sins, and now makes the offer of a title to the inheritance of his righteousness. By his sacrifice he has made you meet in condition for pardon, and by his Spirit he can make you meet in person and character for the presence of God. If you are conformed to the new economy of the Gospel, and trusting in the love of God as your reconciled Father, you are constrained by the moral force of a contemplation so delightful, to cease from sowing to the flesh, and to love him again, and by the ascendant power of this new affection in your heart to sow every day unto the Spirit, you will run with the alacrity of a heaven-born influence in the way of God's commandments.
I have just one word to say to those who think favoura bly of the truth, and that they are in the faith : You are fond of the phraseology,-you like exceedingly to talk of being justified by faith or sound in the orthodoxy of your creed, but perhaps you are not aware how high a standard