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ed with me by a relation, highly endearing, which could not be predicated even of them. During an important period of you have been my pupils ; and, in no insignificant sense, my children. Your parents with a confidence, which I hope has not been misplaced, have resigned their own immediate care of you into my hands. Your prime interests have been under my direction; and have, I trust, been promoted with parental care. I know they have been regarded with parental tenderness.
Through the same period I have been your Minister. Christ, as well as your parents, has committed you to my direction. In this solemn office permit me to say, that I am unconscious of having taught you a single error, or of having willingly withheld from you a single truth. The knowledge, which may especially qualify you for useíulness and honour in the present life, I have endeavoured to communicate in the best manner,
in my power. I know not, that I have shunned to declare unto you any part of the whole counsel of God. I know not, that I have kept back thing which was profitable to you: but I have shewed you,
and taught you publicly and privately; testifying to you all, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. I have warned you, I have prayed for you, day and night with tears. If I have ever been sincere in my endeavours; if ever I have voluntarily laboured to do good; I have laboured in this manner for you.
Your own conduct, in the mean time, (and I feel myself bound to declare it on this solemn occasion,) has been highly honourable to your character. You came to my immediate superintendence with the most cordial good will, and the best recommendations of your former instructors. Throughout the year, which is now finished, you have proved that this good will, and these recommendations, were amply deserved. In your behaviour to me you have been respectful and amiable on every occasion; and have distinguished yourselves by diligence, good order, and universal propriety. It is not too much to say, that you have equalled in these respects, and in your literary attainments, any of those classes, which have gone before you.
Almost one-fourth of your number have made a public profession of the Religion of Christ; and have this day surrounded the Sacramental Table. Several others, for a considerable time,
have been the subjects of very solemn impressions concerning
To bring home to your hearts the subject, here referred to; to
It is first found in the present world; in the silence of devout meditation ; in the serene contemplations of the solitary walk; in the fervent aspirations of the closet, in the pure precepts, and rich promises, of the Sacred Volume; in the cheerful devotions of the Family; in the solemn services of the Sanctuary; and in the public communion of Christians at the Table of Christ. It is found, also, in no unhappy degree, in the delightful private intercourse of good men; and in that train of beneficent actions, by which they become immediate and rich blessings to the world.
In a more glorious manner will it revive, when we enter the world of spirits, and render to our Lord an account of the manner, in which we have employed the talents entrusted by him to our
If we shall then appear to have occupied them faithfully in his service; we shall be permitted immediately to enter into
But the time, mentioned in the text, is different from all these. It is that, which in the Scriptures is emphatically called the time of the end: when Christ will come to judge the world in righteousness; and all, that are in the graves, will hear his voice, and come forth : they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and
they, that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation. All earthly things will then have finished their course. Avarice will have ceased to dig for treasures in the secret chambers of the earth ; Ambition to climb the precipices, which in his eye seemed the ascent to Heaven; and Pleasure, to bathe and wanton in the stream of sensuality. Oppression will have ended the work of grinding the faces of the poor; and dropped from his withered hand the iron rod. Persecution will feast no more on the blood of Martyrs ; Conquest no longer sit and smile, over the tomb of departed nations ; nor Pride sigh over the expiring train of me nials, the vanishing tables of Luxury, the fading paradise, and the palace of Splendour, crumbled into dust.
The trumpet of civil discord will then have blown its last breath. The frenzy of faction will have terminated; and its final sound have died upon
Its scramble for power, and place, will then be over; together with all the follies and crimes, the base cabals, the foul slanders, the innumerable falsehoods, the black perjuries, and the sale of souls, with which it has been attended. Even liberty itself, that golden image, which the world has worshipped instead of Jehovah, will enrapture and engross, will inspire and terrify, will rouse to madness and plunge in mi. sery, no more.
Even the honest, commendable, and delightful, employments, of mankind will be finished. The cheerful sound of the axe, and the hammer, will be dumb. The industrious plough will stop in the unfinished furrow; and the adventurous sail be furled for the last time. The father will no more survey his children at the fire-side with hope and delight; the mother will cease to smile with inexpressible fondness over the cradled infant; and the husband and wife, to interchange the unequalled tenderness of conjugal love. To the earth it will be truly said, as, in the awful language of prophecy, to Mystical Babylon. “ The voice of harpers, and of musicians, and of pipers, and of trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee: and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee : and the voice of the bridegroom, and of the bride, shall be heard no more at all in thee."
Even the most venerable and sacred things will then find their earthly termination. The sabbath will dawn in peace and beau
ty on this polluted world no more : the Sanctuary will cease to be the house of God, and the gate of Heaven; and apostate sinners will no longer enter in, and be suvill. The voice of prayer will have pronounced its last Amen : the tongue of the preacher will be dumb: and the final song of praise will expire upon the ear.
Far other scenes will then eugross the thoughts, and awaken the amazement, of mankind. The funeral day of this great world will have come: and the host of Heaven, and the innumerable nations of men, will be summoned to its obsequies. Its knell the last trumpet will sound. Its end the voice of the Archangel will proclaim in the inexpressibly awful words, " It is done." Earth will tremble throughout all her regions : the graves will heave with one immense convulsion ; and teem with the awaking myriads of deceased men. The land, and the sea, will give up the dead, which are in them; and the whole globe will be covered with an universal resurrection of the great family of Adam.
Above, will be seen, surrounded by the glory of his Father, and by all his holy Angels, the Judge of the quick and the dead, coming in the clouds, with power and great glary. All nations at his awful summons will take their places on his right hand, and on his left. The books will be opened; and another book will be opened, which is the book of Life: and the dead will be julged out of those things, zohich are written in the books, according to the deeds, done in the body. To one division of this vast multit:ide he will say, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom, prepared for you from the foundation of the world :" and, to the other, “ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Then the final faines, kindled in innumerable places at once, will wander over the surface of this great globe; consume the piles of human grandeur, and the monuments of human ingenuity; waste the plains; dissolve the mountains; and blot out of remembrance this polluted region of error and iniquity. Then will the wicked go uway into everlasting punishment; and the righteous ascend to the Heaven of heavens, to enter upon the complete enjoyment of life stornal.
In this season of awful expectation and final decision, of universal convulsion and immense ruin, what emotions shall
and I, experience, if we may then behold every danger past, every
fear vanished, and every sorrow fled; if we may see, and feel, our hopes all ended in full fruition, our joy beginning its everlasting career, and a crown of glory holden out to us by our Judge, to reward our sincere, though frail, obedience. All these awful scenes we shall witness. Our eyes shall behold them, and not another. In them all we shall take our owa share: a share, glorious and delightful, if we have loved righteousness, and hated iniquty; but infinitely deplorable, if with a hard and impenitent heart we have treasured up wrath against the duy of wrath. How devoutly is it to be wished, that we may obtain the former happy lot, and escape the incomprehensible ruin of the latter.
With these amazing things in full view, can you fail to ask, 6 Where, when, and how, are these immeasurable blessings to be secured ?" Let me ask in return, “Where, when, and how, did Paul, and Silas, and Timothy, and their innumerable converts, secure them? The God of the spirits of all flesh has given to mankind but one law concerning this momentous subject Life is the time, and the present world, the place, in which this mighty work has been done by all, who have accomplished it; and in which, if ever done, it must be done by us. We, like them, must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; must repent of our sins with all the heart; and must exhibit a life of piety to God, and beneficence to mankind. We must deny ourselves ; take up the cross; and vanquish temptations, lusts, and enemies. In a word, a life of Evangelical virtue is the only basis, on which the joy of that solemn day can be founded. He, who with this spirit of the Gospel has seen Christ hungry, and thirsty, and naked, and a stranger, and sick, and in prison; and has relieved him even in the least of his brethren; will then be placed at his right band, arrayed in immortal glory ; and will find an open, and abundant, entrance ministered to him into the everlasting kingdom of his Lord and Saviour.
This spirit is the true, the only, excellence of the soul. It is the glory of angels: it is the image of God. To communicate it to man, Christ died, and rose again: and the Spirit of Grace descended from heaven. From its first appearance in the parents of mankind, after their apostasy, seraphs have watched its progress with earnest hope, and unmingled complacency. At the news of its commencement in a single, wandering prodigal, all