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them than a fearful looking for of judgement to come, and the gleams of that unquenchable fire to which they, every day, were drawing nearer!

My brethren, there are those even now, and God grant that their number may not be greater than many of us imagine; there are those even now whom preaching cannot move, whom friendly counsel cannot amend, whom example and experience have no power to alter, who are beyond the reach of other men's prayers, and whose hearts refuse, even in their hours of greatest terrour, to utter a prayer for themselves. Some of these have outlived the pleasures of life, yet perish in its sins simply because they cannot forsake them ; they are not altogether insensible to their danger, but they cannot stop, though hell gapes wide before them; like an ox to the slaughter they pass on, or a beast to the snare, the heartless, hopeless, joyless slaves of sin, and the heirs of torment unspeakable! And these men had once, like those Jews, their day of visitation; these men had once the power given them, if they had seized on and improved it to the best advantage, of becoming through Christ the children of God, and with Him the heirs of everlasting glory! What might they then have been ? What are they now? What must they soon become?

Oh ye who yet feel the comfortable whispers of God's Spirit in your souls, whose consciences yet warn you when you fall into sin, and to whom the power is yet allowed, when you have the inclination,

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to apply your souls to prayer and the study of the Scriptures, deal not, I beseech you, with the Holy Ghost as Felix dealt with Paul, saying, ways now, when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee 1." The Spirit of God will not always strive with men; He will not come exactly when we call Him, when we have often already sent Him away; and if ye neglect the opportunities of effectual salvation which are now presented, the time may soon come in which “ye shall desire to see one of these days of the Son of Man, and shall not see it.” Improve, then, to the utmost of your ability, the grace already vouchsafed to you; it is not your own ; it may be withdrawn at any time; and it will be taken away from that unprofitable servant who hides in a napkin the bounty of his Heavenly Master.

Nor, if an additional motive could be required to - the timely availing ourselves of God's spiritual aid, can a stronger be conceived than that which is the last conclusion which follows from the words of my text, namely, that the deadness and blindness to all spiritual impressions of which I am speaking, is generally the forerunner of some signal vengeance of God, and almost always great in proportion to the degree of spiritual advantages which the sufferer has formerly enjoyed and neglected. The blindness which happened to Israel, the grossness of their hearts, and the dullness of their ears were

1 Acts xxiv. 25.

2 St. Luke xvii. 22.

such as to us appear almost beyond belief. And were not their spiritual advantages, the works which were done among them, the warnings given them, the revelations communicated to them, at one time altogether as remarkable ? And what nation hath the earth ever seen whose destruction was so signal and attended with so much misery as theirs ?

Oh may we so shun their obstinacy as that we may not be given over to their blindness, but that we may know, in this our day, the things which belong unto our peace before they are hid from our eyes, before the evil days come and the years in which we shall say we have no pleasure in them', and before that dreadful day in which we may cry to the God of mercy in vain for pardon and succour, when the sleep of death and the senseless doze of unbelief and licentiousness shall be rent in pieces, once for all, by the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God's judgement !

i Eccles. xii, 1.

SERMON IX.

THE EXTENSION OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM. [For the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Preached

at Shrewsbury, 1821.)

DANIEL xij. 3.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firma

ment, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

THESE words are found in one of the most striking prophecies on record of the time and manner of the Messiah's coming ; and they should seem to point out to us very clearly the two-fold duty which that advent laid on mankind, namely, that of profiting in their own persons by the religious knowledge thus laid within their reach, and that of communicating to others, less favourably circumstanced, the light in which all are equally interested. “They,” said the angel to the prophet, “ that be wise,” that is, who are in their own persons wise unto salvation, “ shall shine” in the last day “ as the brightness of the firmament," and they who make others wise in the same manner, who “turn many to righteousness,” and to a saving and purifying knowledge of the Most High, shall shine forth as “the stars for ever and ever.”

The first of these duties, that of labouring in our own persons to acquire the true wisdom of which the prophet is speaking, is a duty of such obvious necessity in itself, and so strongly enforced in many passages of Scripture, that, with a Christian audience, few arguments are required to demonstrate its absolute necessity. We cannot come to Christ without believing in His name.

We cannot believe on Him without knowing Him. We cannot know Him as He is, and as He should be known, without appreciating highly the dignity of His nature, the wisdom of His laws, and all which He has done and suffered for us. And, though an outward confession of these illustrious truths is by no means inconsistent with much general inattention to the doctrines and duties of religion, yet they are greatly mistaken who expect to be able either to know God satisfactorily, or to believe in Him sincerely, or, truly and heartily and practically, to love Him with that degree of affection which He demands from us, without a diligent and frequent study of His works and His attributes as described in the sacred volume ; without a frequent approach to Him and converse with Him through the channels of prayer and meditation; and without a diligent use of those appointed means of grace

which chiefly have power to kindle in the heart those affections to which, and to which only, the God of love and wisdom is accustomed to reveal Himself as a Creator, a Redeemer, and a Sanctifier. that hath my commandments and keepeth them,

66 He

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