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master; the house was munificently supplied, and the service required was honourable, just, and easy; goodness and liberality were conspicuous in this first arrangement. Still, however, there were rules to be observed in the family, and previous intimation was given, that a violation of these would be punished. These rules were, alas! violated, and punishment followed; by which it was manifested, that the Lord was true to his word. When he threatened, calmness and truth were essentially in what he said; and none could trifle or disobey with impunity. But again, the Lord admitted of a respite, and a mediatorial interference, by which his mercy is shewn. Power, goodness, justice, truth, and mercy, then, are manifestly characteristics of the great Lord. Alas! that the hearts of wicked servants should so often, it is to be feared, conceive of him as weak, unkind, unjust, untrue, and cruel.

The human family is but a small part of the great Lord's vast domain; but still he exercises constant regard to it, and superintendence over it. He has, in every age, manifested himself to chosen servants, and communicated messages of mercy, and of judgment, by patriarchs and by prophets; and in every land, has often rewarded the humble who sought to know and do his will; and has punished the wicked and rebellious, and those who maltreated their fellow servants. In the fulness of time, He himself appeared, and perfected the great mediatorial work. Since which time he is strikingly likened to "a man taking a far journey," who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye, therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, adds the Saviour himself, I say unto all-Watch," (St. Mark xiii. 34.) Observe, the command to watch is universal; whether rich or poor, or young or old, all are enjoined to watch; for although absent, his return is certain; but when, is uncertain; therefore watch. We have before proved, from

the records of the family, that all his words are spoken in truth and righteousness; faithful is he when he promises. It is possible, should he permit, that heaven and earth may pass away; but his word shall never fail. In Providence he comes to call nations and churches to an account for their privileges. He comes also to judge the rulers of the family, emperors, and kings, and great captains; and judges, and magistrates, and ecclesiastical dignitaries; bishops and priests, pastors and deacons, and parents and teachers; as well as the great multitude of human beings who belong to the household. But the time of his occasional coming, as well as of his final coming, is uncertain; therefore, it is the duty and interest of all to watch, This brings me to the

Second leading idea proposed, viz. man's obligation to watchfulness. The original word, employed by the Sacred Penman for watching, denotes keeping awake, in contradistinction from sleeping; to be awake to what is about one, or concerns one, like a person alive, in opposition to the inactive state of death; and it denotes a being vigilant, heedful, attentive not to omit any duty, or commit any error; and a being on the look out to prevent the approach of any evil or calamity. The Lord, who has gone on a long journey, has left to every man his work ; let every man, therefore, be careful and attentive to do it. The Lord hath forewarned the evil servant, who shall say in his heart, "My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken." That the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of; and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites, in a place where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, arising from the terrible agony and hopeless condition of a lost spirit.

We are not called to preach to the great ones of the earth, kings and conquerors, and statesmen and judges; not yet to popes and cardinals, and archimandrites or archbishops; otherwise we could read them a lecture on the awful responsibility which rests upon their souls; and



2 PET. III. 11.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ; looking for, and hasting unto (expecting and earnestly desiring) the coming of the day of God.

THE Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments differ from all other writings in this particular, as well as in other things; they give a credible history of creation, and of the successive ages of the world, to the end of time, onward to eternity; and many circumstances of these successive ages, now past, were given by anticipation, in prophecies, which have been long ago realized; from which facts we have substantial ground to believe the statements in Holy Writ concerning the future destinies of this world, and the final consummation of all things. And the things declared concerning the future are not put down as mere abstract facts, which are not to influence our hopes and fears, our tempers and conduct, in passing through life; but are declared to us, like the whole of divine revelation, for practical and useful purposes.

The earth, with all its animated beings, the sun, the moon, the distant starry worlds of light; the vast system of the universe, which we behold, presents to contemplative minds, a grand display of the infinite and incompre

hensible power, and wisdom, and goodness of God. Even the very small part of his ways, and of his doings that man can survey, fills the mind with admiration and astonishment; and these wonderful works of the Creator, which have existed from time immemorial, and which have observed such amazingly minute exactness in their manifold motions for thousands of years, seem destined to last for ever. The speculations also of philosophers on the progress of society and human improvement, and the perfectibility of man, and the hopes of the benevolent and pious, seem to lead to the same anticipation; or if not, to a settled belief that the world shall remain eternally as it is; at least these things lead to a forgetfulness that "all these worlds shall be dissolved, that the heavens and the earth, which now exist, are, by the word of God, kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men; when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up."

I take these expressions of Holy Writ, my brethren, in their literal acceptation, and do not think that they refer figuratively to the dissolution of the Jewish dispensation ; nor do the new heaven and new earth refer to the introduction of Christianity, nor to the millennial glory and happiness; but I believe the whole refers, as St. Peter expresses, to the antecedent and subsequent circumstances of the final judgment.

I do not know that the Mosaic records of creation teach that in the beginning of the world matter was then first of all called into existence, but only that the present system of the universe was then formed, and fashioned as we now behold it: so also St. Peter does not teach that the existing universe will, at the last day, be destroyed and annihilated; but only that it shall be melted down, and remoulded; it shall be burned, and from its ashes shall spring a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and where righteous persons shall be for ever happy.

On the one hand has arisen the selfish diabolical thought, that "man is not his brother's keeper," as wicked Cain so long ago asserted; and on the other, there may have existed such a degree of self-indulgence, as either unfitted for the Lord's work, or made you careless about executing it. According to the allegorical representation of our Lord, there was, in one case, a neglect of those talents committed to the care of the parties; and there was, in another case, a mal-treatment and tyrannical ill-usage of fellow servants; some considering the Lord as a hard master, and others imagining a long protracted absence would secure impunity; but in all the different cases, there was either disaffection, unfaithfulness, or unbelief. Hast thou but one talent, my brother, and does disaffection to the Lord, and a spirit of pride, prevent thy employing it? Hast thou authority or influence, arising either from station or circumstances, and dost thou abuse these gifts, and render them noxious instead of beneficial, to the church and the world? There is a striking resemblance between the facts of the great subject which we are now discussing, and the conmon-place case of a domestic servant. An affectionate, faithful, willing servant, will never want an opportunity of exercising his capabilities, whether great or small, in behalf of his Lord; whereas a disaffected, unfaithful, unwilling servant, finds perpetual excuses for being idle, and doing nothing.

These remarks, my brethren, are certainly applicable to all the members of the great household, but they are more especially pointed to those whose duty it is to feed the household; the stewards of the divine mysteries-the officebearers in the church-those who, instead of being instant in season, and out of season, to exhort and console, to teach, to instruct, and to preach the things concerning their Lord's kingdom, are either sleeping, or feasting, or tyrannising over their fellow servants. For such unfaithful stewards, such wicked servants, there is an especial woe prepared. The hypocrite's portion is theirs, weeping and gnashing of teeth, in the state of future and endless despair.

It appears to me, that the warning, and the command

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