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those general prophecies of a speedy return to judgement, to which the scoffers in St. Peter's time objected. Now, to this St. Peter himself affords a sufficient answer : namely, that the Eternal God and we short-lived creatures have far different notions of time, and quickness, and delay. A thousand years and a single day are equally a speck and a mere moment, in comparison of that age which never has an end, and of that eternal now of happiness or of misery, which heaven or hell will offer. The end of the world, and Christ's return to judgement, will come quite soon enough for those who are then to begin an eternity of happiness; and far too soon for the miserable criminals whose never-dying flame must then be kindled.

The day of Christ's return to judgement continues, then, a secret; but, happen when it will, the time must be short indeed in comparison of the everlasting ages which are to follow. But to us frail and miserable creatures, tottering even now on the brink of the grave, little, very little, does it signify, so far as we ourselves are concerned, how much sooner or later the end of the world may come.

We must ourselves be called away from earth; our happiness or misery must be fixed ere many years, or days, or moments pass over our heads; and if God this night requires our souls, it signifies little to us how long the generations of the world may afterwards continue. To all of us the Lord, indeed, is at hand, To all of us judgement is coming quickly. Nor, since the hour of that tremendous second coming of our Lord is wrapt in darkness, and is to be looked for “as a thief in the night,” can we, if we have any care for our own safety, or for the earnest caution of our Saviour, desist for a single moment to watch for its coming. Even now, the sign of the Son of Man may be about to appear in heaven; even now, we may be suddenly alarmed by the sight of that mighty Angel, who shall “set his right foot upon the sea, and his left on the earth,” and swear by Him that liveth for ever and ever that there should be time no longer. Even while I speak (it is a thought which cannot but fill us all with terror) we may hear the last trumpet sound;—and be called from this assembly to the vast congregation of men and angels, and the Glorious and Almighty Judge. And when we compare, for a moment, the signs, which that Judge has given us of His second coming, with those marvels and sorrows and visitations which are now passing in the world, could we have a right to be astonished, if the world were now, indeed, approaching to its end? When God has so long knocked at the door of His creation, can that creation find any excuse for not being prepared to receive Him! Oh, may our loins be girt about, and may our lights be burning; and let us not be found in sluggishness or sin, when our Lord shall return to shake terribly the earth!

1 Rev. x. 246.

In conclusion, my friends, since all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of men ought we not to be in holiness and pureness of living ? How careless of this world, which may not, perhaps, last out a single evening longer ; how anxious to redeem every moment of time, when the moments may be, perhaps, so few; how constantly should we meditate on Christ, when He is, perhaps, even now at hand; and how earnest should we be in prayer to Him for His almighty help, to keep us in the hour of death, and in the Day of Judgement! Above all, we should ask ourselves in every action of our lives, whether this, which we are then going to do, is such an act as we should desire to remember at that time when the dead, small and great, shall stand before the presence of God! Is it an action which we shall call on the rocks and the mountains to hide from the sight of the Lamb? or is it such an one as will not misbecome those servants who shall rejoice, and lift up their heads when their redemption draweth nigh?

Come when it will, we must all stand before the judgement-seat of Christ; and for His glorious return all created things are in earnest expectation of travail : for this the souls of the righteous pray from their dwelling beneath the altar'; for this the angels hope, and the Spirit and the Universal Church say, Comel Behold, He cometh quickly, and His reward is with Him. The Lord is at hand!

To Him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour, praise, and glory!

1 Rev, vi. 9, 10.



ISAIAH, xxxviii. l.

Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

THESE words were a message sent from God to king Hezekiah in his sickness; and they contain a warning, which, whether in sickness or in health, is, in a certain sense, applicable to us all. It becomes us all to bear in mind the common sentence of mortality, which, for Adam's sin, the Almighty has passed on His creatures; and to maintain, at all times, such order in our spiritual and worldly affairs, as that death, whenever he knocks at our door, may find us not unprepared to obey his summons.

But if it be the universal interest and duty of men, even the youngest and most strong, to prepare their minds for death, and to set all things in order lest that day should take them unawares; yet are they, more especially and more perceptibly, called to turn their thoughts to the subject, who are visited, even now, by the forerunners and harbingers of death; whose strength is brought low, and their beauty


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