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ting fin under the Old Testament, by offering facri. fices, and sprinkling the blood of the victim upon the altar. But as this was in itself only typical of Christ, How welcome to the soul is the glad tidings of the Messiah, who did, what these facrifices could not do,-actually save his people from their fins ! By the atonement and blood of Christ, the sins of men have been completely expiated. It is the voice of the Gospel of Peace, " Take, eat, and live forever.” What relief will it give to the wounded mind, to hear of the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel! The Gospel being published to the world, and the offers of mercy through a Redeemer being made to all men, the sincere penitent accepts these offers, and flies for ref. uge to the hope set before him. Then Jesus saves his people from their fins, he heals the mind which was wounded by remorse, and bestows that peace which the world cannot give, and cannot take away. There is joy in heaven, we are told, over a finner that repenteth, and the joy of the heavens is commu. nicated to the returning penitent. When he be. holds God reconciled to him in the face of his Son ;
when he hears, in secret, the blessed Jesus whispering ( in sweet strains to his heart, “ Son, be of good cheer,
“ thy fins are forgiven thee,” he is filled with peace and with joy; with peace which passeth all understanding ; with joy which is unspeakable and glori. ous. His sins being forgiven, he is accepted in the Beloved. He is an heir of immortality, and his name is written in heaven; to him is opened the fountain of life. He has a title to all the pleasures which are at God's right hand ; to the treasures of heaven; and
to the joys of eternity. He looks forward with a well-grounded hope, to that happy day, when he shall take possession of the inheritance on high; he anticipates the delights of the world to come; and breaks forth into strains of exultation, similar to those transports of assurance uttered by the Apostle, “ Who “ shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? " It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemncs eth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is rif66 en again, and who now sitteth and intercedeth for to us at God's right hand.”
Mark viii. 36.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul?
THERE is not a person in this assembly, but who assents immediately to the truth of the maxim implied in the text. You all agree, that religion is the one thing needful, and that above all things you ought to seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof. But there is a wide difference between the assent of the mind to the truth of this principle, and that deep conviction of its importance, which, in Scripture, obtains the name of faith; fufficient to influence the heart, and to determine the life. A great part of mankind seem to have no steady belief that they are endowed with souls which are immortal ; an eternity to come is with them mere. ly a matter of fpeculation, and their faith in a future world has little more influence upon their lives, than their idea of a distant country, which they are never to see. Hence spiritual and eternal things are heard with little emotion or concern, while they are delivered in the house of God. Some can give themselves up to listlesness; and others soon lose all remembrance of what they have heard, in the next amusement, or in the news of the day. Even he who spoke as never man spake, and while he discoursed
on points of such importance as the loss of the soul, had occasion often to take up the complaint, that in vain he stretched out his hands all day long to a difobedient people.
To call your contemplation, then, to these subjects, for they need no more but to be considered aright, in order to be felt, I shall endeavour to show you the value of the soul, from its native dignity, from its capacity of improvement, from its immortality, and from its unalterable state at death.
Let us consider then, in the first place : The native importance and dignity of the human soul. It is the mind chiefly that is the man. Our souls properly are ourselves. The bodily organs are the ministers of the mind; by these it fees and hears, and holds a correspondence with external things. It is by our souls that we hold our station in the scale of being; that we rank above the animal world, and claiın alliance with superior and immortal natures. As the foul is superior to the body, so intellectual pleasures exceed the sensual; as heaven is higher than the earth, so the joys of a heavenly origin are superior to earthly enjoyments. I mean not in the common way, to depreciate temporal poísessions, as being insignificant in themselves, and unworthy the cares or labours of a wise man. Such discourse is mere decla. mation; it is against nature, contrary to truth, and makes no impression at all. Let all the value be fut upon wealth and temporal pofleflions which they deserve, as affording a defence from many evils to which poverty is liable; as ministering to the conve. nience, the consolation, and the enjoyment of life; as supporting a station with decency and dignity in
the world, and as accompanied with an importance, by which a good man may find much pleasure arising to himself, and have the power of doing much good to his fellow-creatures; let all the value which rea. son allows, be set upon temporal acquisitions and enjoyments, still they are inferior to those of an intellectual and moral kind; still the maxim remains true, That he would be an infinite loser who should gain the whole world and lose his own soul. “ Thou hast put more gladness into my heart,” saith the Psalmist, “ than “ worldly men know, when their corn, and their wine, " and their oil abound.” And do not your own feel. ing and experience bear witness to this truth? Who will not acknowledge that there is more excellence in wisdom, than in mere animal strength ? Who will not own that there is more happiness in the improving conversation of the wise, than in the tumultuous uproar of the debauched and licentious ? Are the rays of light as pleasant to the eye as the radiations of truth to the mind ? Have sensual gratifications a charm for the soul, equal to intellectual and moral joys? While the former foon pall upon the appetite, are not the latter a perpetual feast? While the remembrance of the one is attended with no pleasure, is not the remembrance of the other a repetition of the enjoyment ?
But great as the dignity of the human soul is, it may be still greater ; for, in the second place, It pora sesses a capacity of improvement. This constitutes one essential difference between the intellectual and the material world. All material things foon reach the end of their progress, and arrive at a point beyond which they cannot go. Instinct grows apace,