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of manners, we may readily conceive how much more deplorable and benighted was the state of all others.

Now, that they who were in this state were well characterized as having no hope, must appear from this, that beyond the limits of this their own foresight, sagacity, and power, they had no grounds of reliance, of confidence, or of safety, either for this life, or for that which is to come. The whole subject of the future life was indeed involved in uncertainty and doubt; and philosophy, though she endeavoured to penetrate its mysteries, and to enlighten its darkness, held only a feeble and a flickering torch, which did but horrify the gloom with shadowy distortions. And so far was reason from giving any assurance that a happy immortality would be the crown of a virtuous and pious course, the often cited declaration of Socrates and Cicero, the one the best, the other the most acute, of all the celebrated names of antiquity, and than whom none had more anxiously turned their thoughts and inquiries to the great realities of a future state, or were more competent to pursue the investigation to its utmost proofs, are full of evidence, that beyond mere doubt and probability, nothing was arrived at on a subject of all others most important.

If such was the absence of every thing that deserved the name of hope in respect of the happiness of a life to come, their situation in respect to the present was in nothing better.

That sense of a divine Providence which can result only from the knowledge of the one true God, that sense of a kind, powerful, and all-wise Providence, superintending and watching over the concerns of men, was entirely unknown. A Deity regardless of human affairs, possessing a divided and partial authority, or himself subject to the decision of an inexorable fate, presented to the minds no encouragement or inducement to prayer; under the pressure of evil, no hope of the Divine favour and interference lent its power to mitigate its fierceness and severity; and the presence and possession of good, enjoyed without security for its continuance, was not heightened by a grateful recognition of the hand from which it flowed. In the opinion of the multitude, chance originated, directed, and awaited all things; and if, sometimes, better views of man and God were entertained and cherished by speculative minds, there was no evidence to prove them to be true.

Such was the uncertainty which hung over the affairs of the present life; and when its short career was closed, when death sealed up the visible destiny, and gave over its victim to silence and corruption, they who survived sorrowed, not as Christians sorrow, merely for a temporary separation, and a transient loss, but with a grief which Christians are forbidden to indulge, and

with a bitterness of despair, which, in respect of departed Christians, they can never know. They sorrowed even as those who have no hope.

I have described the condition of those who lived in heathen lands, in order to show how true are the words of the text as applied to them, that they were “having no hope, and without God in “ the world." And if to us, my brethren, more abundant disclosures have been made, if before us the most glorious prospects have been opened, if to us life and immortality have been brought to light, most heartily should we rejoice in our advantages, and most highly should we prize that Gospel in which they are so fully revealed.

This is, indeed, the great distinction, and the just glory, of Christian countries, and of Christian times. In the knowledge of the one true God, we are nourished and brought up; and the belief of a life to come is a part of our birthright.

a In the words of the psalmist, may we not say, Happy are the people that are in such a case; yea, blessed are the people that have the Lord “ for their God;" and in the words of Christ himself, “ Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and

your ears, for they hear; for verily I say unto

you, that many prophets and righteous men “ have desired to see those things which ye see, " and have not seen them; and to hear those “ things which ye hear, and have not heard - them?"

But while, as a religious community, such are our grounds of gratitude to God for privileges and advantages which, if rightly improved, are rife with infinite and eternal results, who does not perceive that personally and individually we may

be no better than the inhabitants of heathen climes, that our characters may be as earthly and unrenewed, our state as gloomy and wretched, our prospects for that future life as dark, and more full of danger ? So certainly, so fatally, may this be the case, that it is not absurd to assert, that no where, so much as in Christian lands, are persons to be found, to whom the text will more literally apply, that they are “having no hope, " and without God in the world.”

In circumstances like these, what avails it to be born a Christian, or to be, by baptism, initiated into the Christian Church? What to know there is a God, and that he has given his Son to be the Saviour of the world! What to be assured that by his merits the gate of heaven is opened to all believers ? What, I ask, does all this avail, if, from without, the word of God, by its conditions, and from within, the voice of conscience and of his spirit, proclaims, “ Thou hast neither part nor “ lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in " the sight of God.”

My brethren, shall I put the question with plainness, and ask, Are there none now before me who are in this condition! Are there none to whom God is as though he did not exist ? Who neither reverence him nor love him, neither pray to him nor worship him? Are there none from whose heart never rises one aspiration to him as to a Father, never one acknowledgment as a Friend and Benefactor?

What, I again ask, is to you the knowledge that there is a God, if you be without his protection and care ? What to you the truth of his religion, if you possess not its consolations and its promises? In what worse sense can any individual of any country be said to be without God, than as being unconscious of any claim to his favour, or rather to meet the case I have supposed, as being conscious that he has no such claim? And how can any be more effectually without hope, did they but realize their state, than to be excluded from all title to the favour of him to whose providence they are indebted for the preservation of their lives, and the supply of their daily wants; and whose grace and mercy in Jesus Christ open the only prospect of happiness for an existence beyond the tomb ?

I address myself to all in whom the native aspirations of the soul after good are not extinguished, all in whom the love of God has not been so entirely overcome by the love of the world, that they care not to retain him in their . affections; all who are not so satisfied with this transitory scene, this fleeting life, that they would

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