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work. No, it must exist eternally with all its vast capacities and powers in exercise, and if an object of the Divine displeasure, this will not be experienced in a consignment to corruption, but in the awful perpetuities of the Divine abhorrence, and a lying down for ever in the blackness of darkness, and being left to itself in misery for ever and ever.
But here what cause have we not, to thank God that he has not done to the soul, as he has done to the body.
to the body. The body is given over to the full operation of the consequence of sin—to be corrupted and destroyed;—but so he has not done to the soul-he has had mercy on it—he has provided for it a ransom. What expressions of thankfulness now become us, that in such a wonderful manner, even at the expense of giving up his only begotten Son to shame, to misery, to suffering, to death, to pains which we cannot conceive, and which, therefore, no word can express—that thus the soul can be delivered completely from sin, while the body is wholly given up as incurable.
Another thought connected with this presents itself-that is the blessedness of the religion of Jesus Christ, and the consolation it offers. It would be gloomy to dwell only on the circumstances connected with the death of the body, but even the dark chamber of death is illuminated by the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Even into it light breaks, and the Bible shews us how each may learn to adopt the Apostle's language, and say in triumph, “O death, where is thy sting? () grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”_ 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57. We come
now to the important counsel founded on the text of the mortality of man, “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might ;-for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave--whither thou goest,” for thou must die, thou must go to the grave-whatsoever therefore devolves on you to do, do it with all thy might.
This is a maxim which mankind have almost universally adopted—some rightly, some wrongly. The man of pleasure professedly goes on this principle
Live while you live, the Epicure will say,
And seize the pleasures of the passing day. Give every moment you can seize to enjoyment, for you shall lie long in the
where you can have none. Would to God, that its importance were in every respect felt as strongly as it is in this. Would to God, that
we knew our real pleasures and our real interests. In its application to the business of the world, it is no less strongly felt.
Labour while you can, says the man of the world, for your family-struggle for
while strength remains—work while you yet have time-be industrious while you can, for you will not be long here.
But surely it is for much nobler purposes than these, that this injunction was given us in Holy Writ-even to shew to sinful man what he has to do, even that if he neglects he is criminal and worthless.
Permit me then to call your attention to some few of these things, which our hands should find to do, and which we should do with all our might.
There are two views of ourselves and of our relation to God, with which we should all be acquainted, even from our earliest childhood, and even from our catechisms. That we are born in sin, and that we are the children of wrath. Every man descended of fallen Adam, comes into the world a child of wrath. Children of wrath were we, even as others saith St. Paul; he is polluted and death proves it-he is sinful and he shews it, both as to the right in which he fails, and the wrong in which he indulges. Do we see men as they grow up following purity? Do we find them seeking their supreme happiness in the sense of God's favour? Alas! we see the very reverse of all this. Man in one shape or another of transgression, goes astray from the womb, as the Scripture has testified.
Man, in short, in every stage of his existence gives evidence, that he is not right, or even like the other creatures of God in this world. They follow their instincts from the earliest periods ; they never controvene them; they obey implicitly the impression made on them originally by their Creator for their own happiness, for all their happiness lies alone in the line of the development of their instincts— but man is the contrary.
Man is obviously made for God; he is formed by the very nature and constitution of his mind to be a moral agent, and to be a religious creature, which none of the inferior animals can be. Though explicitly formed for these ends, you see him going wrong instead of right; and acting diametrically opposite to his constitution as a creature of God. Though he has reason, religion and the interests of his soul are the last things to which he will attend. He feels accountable, and yet he turns this into affliction, and misery, going on perversely in a way which he himself suspects is not right; this feeling was intended by God for his guardian, but he himself makes it his own tormentor even before the time.
What else means what we so often hear of? an evil conscience-nothing but this feeling of accountability acting on the sinful character, and telling him that he has accumulated evil on himself, and that in the sight of the eternal God, whom he has offended, and who is to be his judge. Indeed, had we time we could follow this up, and shew that man is as remarkable for acting contrary to his nature and to his true interests, as the inferior creatures are for acting in coincidence with the instincts which God gave them.
What then is the inference? That one is right still as first enacted, and that the other is wrong and perverted from his original. Perverted and marred by their parents' sin. Thus we are born in sin, and by consequence the children of wrath ; and as true as it is that God hates sin, he abhors it, he denounces his vengeance against it, and sooner than pardon it, he will give up to death his own, his only Son, to testify to men that while he forgives their sin, it is not because they deserve it, but because he is merciful, and in his rich mercy found an expedient whereby “he might be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly who believe in Jesus."