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last day, many good men who on earth have loved their wicked relations or friends, and have prayed for them, and striven to do them good, will at the last day look upon them without


remains of affection or regard, and will see in them nothing but the enemies of God. Many, therefore, very many indeed, of our worldly attachments will be buried in the grave for ever. But instead of deceiving ourselves with fond hopes that we shall meet our friends in the kingdom of Heaven, when we have not been fellow-workers here in the vineyard of God, nor have accepted together the promises of justification; let us now think of the many everlasting partings between dear friends which are happening every day, that we may labour for ourselves and our friends, to ensure an everlasting union. Let us try to bring one another to Christ betimes, to cherish in one another every seed of God's grace, to lessen as best we can one another's temptations, and enkindle each the other to be earnest in well-doing without weariness. To encourage false hopes of salvation, whether for ourselves or for others, is the surest way to destroy the true ones. We cannot deliver our brother, nor make agreement unto God for him; and if he has died in sin, or to speak more plainly, if he

has not lived the life of the Son of God through faith, he is not gone to Heaven, but we shall see him no more for ever. But he may safely talk of his friend's eternal happiness after his death, who could and did look forward to it with habitual and reasonable joy, when he was in his full health and vigour. There are some persons, it is to be feared, with whom their relations never connect the notion of Heaven, till the day is past in which they might have been fitted for it: who were never in life considered as the heirs of that kingdom into which they are after death fondly hoped to have entered. But there are others, and happy are they who have many such among their friends and relations, in whom the heavenward bent of their minds, and the heavenly character of their actions, has long been visible; whom we have seen in youth and health firmly and steadily treading that path, which, we may surely say at their departure, has now brought them into their rest. For such, when they are gone, there can be no uneasiness; nor can the boldest hope half come up to those unutterable joys with which indeed their Lord has blessed them. Only for ourselves can we then feel anxiety, lest while they have safely passed over the raging waters, as members of the true Israel of God, we, while vainly hoping to follow them, should be overthrown in the midst of the sea; for the way which 'was opened to the faithful by Him who first trod it himself, so that they go through on dry ground, will be closed up and impassable to those who have not been guided by the pillar of fire, the light of God's holy word, nor have followed the steps of their leader, their Saviour, and Redeemer.


St. Mark vi. 5, 6.

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid

his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled, because of their unbelief.

This text contains two remarkable instances in a short space, of the manner in which the feelings and circumstances of men are ascribed to God in the Scriptures. It is said of him who is Almighty, that he could there do no mighty work: it is said of him to whom all things were known, that he marvelled because of their unbelief. It is very easy to see, that these expressions are mere figures of speech; that Christ did not want the power to do miracles at Nazareth; but that there were some such strong reasons for his not doing them, that it was therefore impossible for him to work any; that he did not really marvel at their unbelief, but that it was so strange and so unreasonable, that

any one except him to whom all hearts are open, might fairly have wondered at it.

But it is not on this account that I have chosen for my text this passage of the Scripture; it contains another and much more important lesson. When it says, that Christ could do no mighty work in Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people, it shows us how our sins defeat the gracious purposes of God towards us, how we hinder him, in a manner, from doing what he wishes to do for our good; how we make it impossible for him to avoid punishing us, although he has no pleasure at all in the death of the wicked, but rather that he should turn from his ways and live.

I know nothing that can express more strongly, how certain it is that evil will be punished; nothing which more completely overthrows all those fond hopes which some people pretend to build upon the mercy of God, as if he would not utterly destroy the wicked, but would make good prevail over evil at the last. On the contrary, God represents his own merciful designs as being rendered of no effect by man's wickedness. He sent his Son into the world to die for us; but there are some of us who make him to have died for them in vain. He sent him to do miracles, in order to convince the people that he was truly sent from God; but there were some so hard in unbe

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