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mind upon the awful transition from this world to the next.

In the first place, Jesus Christ gives us victory over death, by delivering us from the doubts and fears which arose in the minds of those who knew not the gospel, from the uncertainty in which a future state was involved.

Without Divine Revelation, men wandered in the dark with respect to an after life. Unaslisted reason could give but imperfect information on this important article. Conjectures, in place of discoveries, pre. fumptions, in place of demonstrations, were all that it could offer to the inquiring mind. The unenlightened eye could not clearly pierce the cloud which veiled futurity from mortal view. The light of nature reached little farther than the limits of this globe, and shed but a feeble ray upon the region beyond the grave. Hence, those heathen nations, of whom the Apostle speaks, are described as forrowing and having no hope. And whence could reason derive complete information, that there was a state of immortality beyond the grave ? Consult with appearances in nature, and you find but few intimations of a future life. Destruction seems to be one of the great laws of the system. The various forms of life are indeed preserved; but while the species remains, the individual perishes. Every thing that you behold around you, bears the marks of mortality, and the symptoms of decay. He only who is, and was, and is to come, is without any variableness or fhadow of turning. Every thing passes away. A great and mighty river, for ages and centuries, has been roll. ing on, and sweeping away all that ever lived, to the vast abyss of eternity. On that darkness light does not rise. From that unknown country none return. On that devouring deep, which has swallowed up every thing, no vestige appears of the things that were.

There are particular appearances also which might naturally excite an alarm for the future. The human machine is so constituted, that soul and body feem often to decay together. To the eye

of sense, as the beast dies, so dies the man. Death seems to close the scene, and the grave to put a final period to the prospects of man. The words of Job beautifully express the anxiety of the mind on this subject. “ If "a man die, shall he live again ? There is hope of a “ tree if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, « and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. “ Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and " the stock thereof die in the ground ; yet, through " the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth

boughs like a plant : but man dieth, and is cut « off ; man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? " As the waters fail from the sea; as the flood de

cayeth and drieth up : so man lieth down, and ri“ seth not ; till the heavens be no more, they shall “ not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” But what a dreadful prospect does annihilation present to the mind! To be an outcast from existence; to be blotted out from the book of life; to mingle with the dust, and be scattered over the earth, as if the breath of life had never animated our frame ! Man cannot support the thought. Is the light which shone brighter than all the stars of heaven set in darkness, to rise no more? Are all the hopes of man come to

this, to be taken into the councils of the Almighty; to be admitted to behold part of that plan of Providence which governs the world, and when his eyes are just opened, to read the book, to be shut for ever? If such were to be our state, we would be of all creatures the most miserable. The world appears a chaos without form, and void of order. From the throne of nature, God departs, and there appears a cruel and capricious being, who delights in death, and makes sport of human misery.

From this state of doubts and fears, we are deliv. ered by the Gospel of Jesus. The message which he brought, was life and immortality. From the Star of Jacob, light shone even upon the shades of death. As a proof of immortality, he called back the departed spirit from the world unknown ; as an earnest of the resurrection to a future life, he himself arose from the dead. When we contemplate the tomb of nature, we cry out, “Can these dry bones “ live ?” When we contemplate the tomb of Jesus, we say, “ Yes, they can live !" As he arose, we shall in like manner arise. In the tomb of nature, you see man return to the dust from whence he was taken. In the tomb of Jesus, you see man restored to life again. In the tomb of nature, you see the shades of death fall on the weary traveller, and the darkness of the long night close over his head. In the tomb of Jesus, you see light arise upon the shades of death, and the morning dawn upon the long night of the grave.

On the tomb of nature, it is written, “ Be. “hold thy end, O man! Duit thou art, and unto dust " thou shalt return. Thou, who now callest thy“ self the son of heaven, fhalt become one of the

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“ clods of the valley.” On the tomb of Christ is written, “Thou diest, О man! but to live again. " When dust returns to dust, the spirit shall return " to God who gave it. I am the resurrection and the « life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet

shall he live.” From the tomb of nature, you hear a voice, “ For ever silent is the land of forgetfulness ? From the slumbers of the

grave,

shall we “ awake no more? Like the flowers of the field, shall " we be as though we had never been ?” From the tomb of Jesus, you hear, “ Blessed are the dead that “ die in the Lord, thus faith the Spirit, for they rest “ from their labours, and pass into glory :- In my • Father's house, there are many mansions ; if it were

not so, I would have told you : I go to prepare a

place for you, and if I go away, I will come again, “ and take you unto myself, that where I am, there

ye may be also.”

Will not this assurance of a happy immortality, and a blessed resurrection, in a great measure remove the terror and the sting of death ? May we not walk without dismay through the dark valley, when we are conducted by a beam from heaven ? May we not endure the tossings of one stormy night, when it carries us to the shore that we long for? What cause have we to dread the messenger who brings us to our Father's house ? Should not our fears about fu. turity abate, when we hear God addressing us with respect to death, as he did the Patriarch of old, upon going to Egypt, “ Fear not to go down to the grave; “ I will go down with thee, and will bring thee up " again.”

Secondly, Our victory over death consists in our

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being delivered from the apprehensions of wrath, and forebodings of punishment, which arise in the mind from the consciousness of fin.

That there is a God who governs the world, the patron of righteousness, and the avenger of sin, is so manifest from the light of nature, that the belief, of it has obtained among all nations. That it shall be well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked ; that God will reward those who diligently seek him, and punish those who transgress his laws, is the principle upon which all religion is founded. But whether mercy be an attribute in the Divine nature to such an extent that God may be rendered propitious to those who rebel against his authority, and disobey his commandments, is an inquiry to which no satisfactory answer can be made. Many of the Divine attributes are conspicuous from the works of creation ; the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of God, appear in creating the world ; in superintending that world which he has made ; in diffusing life wide over the system of things, and providing the means of happiness to all his creatures. But from no appearances in nature does it clearly follow, that the exercise of mercy to offenders is part of the plan by which the universe is governed. For any thing that we know from the light of nature, repentance. alone may not be sufficient to procure the remission of fins ; the tears of contrition may be unavailable to wash away the stains of a guilty life, and the Divine favour may be implored in vain by those who have become obnoxious to the Divine displeasure. If in the calm and serene hour of inquiry, nian could find no consolation in such thoughts, how would he

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