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us not sleep as do others, who are the sons and daughters of night and darkness; 1 Thess. v. 4, 5.
II. “ Almost every thing around us in this world of sense and sin, tends to lull us asleep again as soon as we begin to be awake.” The busy or the pleasant scenes of this temporal life, are ever calling away our thoughts from eternal things, they conceal from us the spiritual world, and close our eyes to God, and things divine and heavenly. If the eye of the soul were but open to invisible things, what lively christians would we be? But either the wiods of worldly cares rock us to sleep, or the charın of worldly pleasures sooths us into deceitful slumbers. We are too ready to ivdulge earthly delights, and while we dream of pleasure in the creatures, we lose, or at least, abate our delights in God. Even the lawful 'satisfactious of flesh and sense, and the enticing objects round about us, may attach our hearts so fast to them, as to draw us down into a bed of carnal ease, till we fall asleep in spiritual security, and forget that we are made for heaven, and that our hope and our home is on high.
JII.“ Many thousands have been found sleeping at the call of Christ :” 'Some perhaps in a profound and deadly sleep, and others in a hour of dangerous slumber : Many an acquaintance of ours has gone down to the grave, when neither they nor we thought of their dying at such a season. But as thoughtless as they were, they were never the further from the point of death; and we shudder with horror when we thiok what is become of their souls. While we are young, we are ready to please ourselves with the enjoyments of life, and flatter our hopes with a long succession of them. We suppose death to be at the distance of fifty or threescore miles ; threescore years and ten is the appointed period : But, alas ! how few are there, whose hopes are fulfilled, or whose life is extended to those dimensions ? Perhaps the messenger of death is within a furlong of our dwelling; a few more steps onward, and he smites us down to the dust. There are some beautiful verses, which I have read perhaps thirty years ago, wherein the ingenious author describes the different stages of human life, under the image of a fair prospect, or landscape, and death is placed, by mistaken mortals, afar off beyond them all
. Since the lines return now upon my remembrance, I will repeat them here with some alterations. 'They are as follow :
“ Life, and the scenes that round it rise,
Share in the same uncertainties.
Of future days, serene and long,
Of pleasures fresh, and ever strong,
“ Like a fair prospect still we make Things future pleasing forms to take: First, verdant meads arise and flow'ry fields;
Cool groves and shady copses here,
There brooks and winding streams appear,
" Farther fine castles court the eye,
Till the remoter distance shrouds
“ When death, alas! perhaps too nigh,
In the next hedge doth skulking lie,
Whicb, while we ramble without fear,
Will stop us in our full career,
How fond and vain are our imaginations, when we have seen others called away on a sudden, from the early scenes of life to promise ourselves a long continuance here! We have the same feeble bodies, the same tabernacles of clay that others bave, and we are liable to many of the same accidents or casualties : The same killing diseases are at work in our natures, and why should weimagine or presume, that others should go so much before us?
And if we enquire of ourselves as to character or merit, or moral circumstances of any kind, and compare ourselves with those that are gone before, what foundation have we to promise ourselves a longer continuance here? Have we not the same sids or greater, to provoke God? Are we more useful in the world than they, and do more service for his name? May not God summon us off the stage of life on a sudden, as well as others ? What are we better than they? Are we not as much under the sovereign disposal of the great God as any of our acquaintance, who have been seized in the flower and prime of life, and called away in an unexpected hour? And what power have we to resist the seizure, or what promise to hope that God will delay longer ? Let us then no more deceive ourselves with vain imaginations, but each of us awake, and bestir ourselves, as though we were the next persons to be called away from this assembly, and to appear next before the Lord.
IV. When we are awake, we are not only fitter for the coming of our Lord, to call us away by death, and fitter for bis appearance to the great judgment, but we are better prepared also to attend him in every call to present duty, and more ready to meet his appearance in every providence." It is the chiristian soldier who is ever awake and on his guard, that is only fit for every sudden appointment to new stations and services;
he is more prepared for any post of danger and hazardous enterprize, and better furnished to sustain the roughest assaults. We shall be less shocked at sudden afflictions here on earth, if our souls keep heaven in view, and are ready winged for immortality. When we are fit to die, we are fit to live also, and to do better service for God, in which-soever of his worlds he shall please to appoint our station. “My business, O Father, and my joy is to do thy will among the sous of mortality, or among the spirits of the blessed on high.”.
V. “ Let us remember we have slept too long already in days past, and it is but a little while that we are called to watch." We have worn away too much of our life in sloth and drowsiness. The night is far spent with many of us, the day is at hand; it is now high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed ; Rom. xiii. 11, 12. Another hour or two, and the night will be at an end with us; Jesus the morning-star is just appearing; What! can we not watch one hour ? Mat. xxvi. 40. O bappy souls that keep themselves awake to God in the midst of this dreaming world! Happy indeed, when our Lord shall call us out of these dusky regions, and we shall answer his call with holy joy, and spring upward to the inheritance of the saints in light! Then all the seasons of darkness and slumbering will be finished for ever; there is no need of laborious watchfulness in that world, where there is no flesh and blood to hang heavy upon the spirit; but the sanctified powers of the soul are all life and immortal vigour. There is no want of the sup-beains to make their day. light, or to irradiate that city; the glory of God enlightens it with divine splendors, and the Lamb is the light thereof; Rev. xxi. 23. No inbabitant can sleep uoder such an united blaze of grace and glory: No faintings of nature,' no languors or weariness are found in all that vital climate; every citizen is for ever awake, and busy under the beams of that glorious day; 'zeal and love, and joy, are the springs of their eternal activity, and there is no night there ; Rev. xxii. 5.
DISCOURSE IV. Christ admired and glorified in his Saints. 2 Thess. i. 10.-When he shall come to be glorified in his saints,
and to be admired in all them that believe. HOW mean and contemptible soever our Lord Jesus Christ might appear heretofore on earth, yet there is a day coming, when he shall make a glorious figure in the sight of men and engels. How little soever the saints may be esteemed in our day, and look poor and despicable in an ungodly world, yet there is aa hour approaching, when they shall be glorious beyond all ima, gination, and Christ himself shall be glorified in them. In that day shall the Lord our Saviour be the object of adoration and wonder, not only among those of the sons of men, that have believed on bim, but before all the intellectual creation, and that upon the account of his grace, manifested in believers. The patural enquiry that arises 'here is this, " What particular instances of the grace of Christ in his saints, shall be the matter of our admiration and his glory in that day?" To this I shall propose an answer under the following particulars.
First, It is a matter of pleasing wonder, “ that persons of all characters should have been united in one faith, and persuaded to trust in the same Saviour, and embrace the same salvation;" for some of all sorts shall stand in that blessed assembly. Then it shall be a fruitful spring of wonder and glory, that men of various nations and ages, of different tempers, capacities, and interests, of contrary educations and contrary prejudices, should believe one gospel, and trust in one deliverer from hell and death : That the sprightly, the studious and the stupid, the wise and the foolish, should relish and rejoice in the same sublime truths, not only concerning the true God, but also concerning Jesus the Redeemer; that the barbarian and the Roman, the Greek and the Jew should approve and receive the same doctrines of salvation), that they should come into the same sentiinents in the matters of religion, and live upon them as their only hope.
Astonishing spectacle! when the dark and savage inhabi. tants of Africa and our forefathers, the rugged and warlike Britons, from the ends of the earth, shall appear in that assembly with some of the polite nations of Greece and Rome, and each of thein shall glory in having been taught to renounce the gods of their ancestors, and the demons which they once worslupped, and shall rejoice in Jesus the King of Israel, and in Jehovah the everlasting God. The conversion of the Gentile
world to christianity is a matter of glorious wonder, and shall
It shall raise our holy wonder too, when we shall behold
Come all ye saints of these latter ages, upon whom the end of the world is coine, raise your heads with me, and look far backwards, even to the beginping of time, and the days of