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And yet the cases are precisely similar. There is danger near,—the soul is diseased already, and if we make no efforts now, it will and must everlastingly perish. The “deep waters are gone over our soul ;" the assassin,-“the murderer"* who was such “ from the beginning,” is ready to strike the blow; the danger is close at hand, and we must exert ourselves now, or that precious life will be lost for ever. Nay, even the fearful doom of eternal death, as if to scare us more effectually from the ways of sin, begins to work its terrible devastations already in the souls of those who have too perseveringly abandoned the only restorative and source of life. We see the curse that is pronounced against unrepented sin, branded even now, and burning, with more than anticipated torment, on the conscience of guilt. We see its withering and desolating power in all the symptoms of that moral disease which has disordered the understanding and paralyzed the will of vicious and ungodly men.--And, in the remorse, and misery, and despair, which are the sure accompaniments of a “reprobate mind," we may recognize already a dreadful and significant earnest of the future agonies that await the spirits of the eternally condemned. - And yet, even with such warnings and evidences as these before us,
* John viii. 44.
we are strangely reckless of the danger that we ourselves incur. We are not sufficiently careful to ward off every appearance of sin. To guard our souls aright, we ought to guard them from the first approach of evil. Like those who contract severe sickness from what was at first some very trifling complaint, the smallest plague-spot of sin may lead to entire destruction. We must not be deceived with the sparkling cup of pleasure which is deeply embued with poison. We must not be deceived with those flowery paths wherein the deadly serpent is lurking secretly. We must not sanction by our presence the evil habits of ungodly men. We must not, by any offence, or even negligence on our own parts, give occasion for sin to those about us; for enough already is the burden of our own transgressions, without another's blood being laid at our door. “If we will really love life and see good days, we must eschew evil and do good, we must seek peace and ensue it."*
We must cherish it by every exertion. We must watch over it with all vigilence and earnestness. We must make all sacrifices to maintain it. We must call in the aid of that only physician of our souls who can cure and cleanse and restore it.
And, lastly, consider that this life of which I speak (though I have spoken of it partly with
* 1 Peter iii. 11.
regard to the present world) is one which lasts to eternity. I have observed above with what eagerness we cling to the life of the body, what efforts we make to secure it. Oh! shall we be less careful about life eternal ? Shall we be less cautious to ward off that death which shall be infinitely worse than any death which we can.yet have witnessed, the everlasting miseries of the fire that is never quenched, of the worm that never dieth. Oh! “ why will ye die,” my brethren, “why will ye die ?” I ask you in the words of the prophet, “ for the Lord God hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, wherefore turn yourselves and live.”* None but your enemies wish for your eternal misery; God does not desire it ; you cannot desire it for yourselves ; therefore, “why will ye die ?” Oh! “turn yourselves and live." Turn yourselves while yet it is day, and ere the night arrives, turn unto God and live. Come away from the company of the ungodly. Come away from the pleasures of sin. Come unto God with prayer, and humility, and penitence, and faith. Come unto Christ who hath quickened, and will quicken those who are dead in trespasses and sins. And “awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give thee light.”+
* Ezekiel xviii. 31.. + Ephesians v. 14.
CHRISTIAN FIRMNESS AND RESOLUTION.
1 Corinthians xvi. 13.
stand fast in the faith, quit you like men,
ye, be strong.
The law of human opinion--that most formidable opponent to the progress of true religion-varies considerably in its form with the varying circumstances of society. The prince of this world, indeed, has ever been the great originator of that code, and the author of that sufficiency of reason, and independence of will, which lead mankind to set up a standard of their own in opposition to the standard appointed by God; but he changes very materially with changing events the mode and character of his attacks. Christianity has