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not seek beyond it for enduring satisfaction and perfect joy.

My brethren, can you remain indifferent and unsolicitous in a state in which you are unreconciled to God, and unassured of his favour? While for you no pleasurable prospect stretches beyond the grave, while no bright and joyous visions of felicity there meet your eye, while no just expectation of a happy immortality there fills up those anticipations which earth has disappointed, or which earth could never impart, are you content thus to live, “ having no hope, and without God “ in the world ?”

I speak not now of this short and fleeting life, for here you may be surrounded by the means of enjoyment; and secure of the present, may be cheerful and unconcerned. But the grave is before you; and though, to its very brink, yours may be a gentle, easy, and even a delightful path, yet what of that, if beyond the grave, (and how near it you may, at this very moment, be, you cannot tell,) you look forward upon a long, and broad, and desolate blank, a desert of all good, a shoreless waste, an eternal sleep, a dark and dreary night, unconscious of any awaking to cheerfulness and joy!

This, at best, is the prospect of a heathen, the expectation of one who never heard of heaven or of God. But this, though itself sufficiently degrading to a mind in which a love of existence is


innate, and whose high capabilities of enjoyment demand their fitting objects and appropriate exercise, is not the worst.

I might appeal to all who have ever brought themselves to believe that such is their final destiny, and carelessly to repose upon it, whether there are not sometimes fears which threaten to disturb that sleep; dreams to invade that night of darkness; apprehensions more gloomy than the oblivion of the grave, to make terrible its silence.

To all before me who have no hope, I do appeal, whether despair does not often fill up its place; and to all who are living without God in the world, whether, beyond its narrow boundary, he does not sometimes present himself to their imagination, armed with vengeance, and clad with terror.

Need I ask whether this is a state in which resonable persons can choose, at the last, to be found? And if any before me are conscious that it is theirs, why, let me ask, continue any longer in it? Why partake of the atheism, and hopelessness of heathen nations, without their ignorance to console, or their disadvantages to excuse; and when the knowledge of God, and the promises of the Gospel, shine brightly upon your path, be even more benighted, more pitiable, more unblessed, than they? VOL. II.


But I am not ignorant of the many delusions of the human mind, nor of the devices by which, though it has no just grounds of hope, it contrives to banish apprehension and elude despair. Unbelief is at the bottom of all-unbelief, which doubts of a future life, and much more of a future judgment; which in secret denies the existence of God, and in heart disregards his threatenings; and which assumes, in defiance of all his declarations, that sin shall go unpunished, and in oppo

, sition to his word, that it shall be well with those who forget God.

Under the influence of this principle, many are found who, though they choose not the guidance of God, recognize not his authority, are not governed by his laws, seek not his honour, love not his service, and so are in every sense without him in the world, are yet not without hope. Members of a community religious in its character, the promises of immortality with which they have been made acquainted, the offers of salvation to which they have listened, the assurances of pardon upon repentance which have been so often tendered, all float indistinctly through their minds, and keep them from despair. True, they have not embraced those promises, they have not closed in with those offers, they have not fulfilled one of the conditions of repentance, faith, and obedience, which would make them theirs, and yet, when the truth of their situation appears,

, and conscience shows them their danger, it is this vague knowledge, and the vague expectations which they found upon it, on which they venture to rely.

But what, I pray you, can be a greater delusion, than to look for advantage from the favour of a God whom we never sincerely worshipped; to confide in a Saviour whom we never acknowledged ; to trust in an atonement which we never embraced; to rely upon proffers of grace which we never improved? And though we may intend to repent of a course of neglect in which we intend to continue, and may at last be grieved for our folly, (as who would not when he saw distinctly its consequence ?) yet who does not perceive that the whole scheme is one of infatuation and delusion, unworthy of the dignity of reason, inconsistent with any just expectation of safety, frowned upon by Scripture as by good sense, opposed to the exhortations and entreaties of the Gospel, subversive of the rightful claims, and derogatory to the honour, of God? My brethren, if this be all your hope, it is one which, like the hope of the hypocrite, shall perish. Baseless as the fabrick of a vision, it will not sustain you even while life remains; and at death it will sink beneath your feet, and leave you overwhelmed in an abyss of despair. Most earnestly do I


beseech all who regard their salvation, not to confide in so vague and worthless an expectation. If you think there is nothing beyond this life, then pursue it, and seek nothing beyond. If you think there is no God, then fear not him whom you

do not love. But let me whisper to you the caution, be careful of the grounds on which you come to conclusions like these. See that you are safe in the foundation of a creed, the results of which may be so fearful.

be so fearful. Ascertain well its certainty. Examine well its proofs. Try them, not in the mad hour of dissipation and riot, not in the midst of the distractions of business, not when, full of excitement, you are pursuing some favourite worldly object, nor yet in the broad glare of day, when the cheerful sun is shining around you, and beneath the splendour of his beams, all creation smiles in gladness. Try them not even then, for this is a scene which, though it ought to convince of the being of a God, and should infuse hope and a love of life, too often inspires only a vain self-confidence, and drives away all serious reflection. But try them in the loneliness of midnight, when all the world is hushed in silence, when the busy race of men, their cares, their follies, their anxious schemes forgotten, are sunk in the quiet of a death-like sleep, and prefigure the image of their last repose. Then, when all is still as the recesses of

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