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dence, and comfort, and security of fortune and affluence, aiming all the time to make you forget or neglect the coming eternity. But, oh fools that we are, and slow of heart to believe the truth. We are but sojourners here, and have no right to stay, no real property in the goods we accumulate; we build houses for others to inhabit, we hoard riches for others to squander, we enlarge our barns and stock them with supplies for many years, (every one to the extent that he can,) and after wearisome days and nights of misplaced toil, ere we have sat down to enjoy, the rightful owner, having warned and exercised long patience with us, bids us at once remove. Preparation for eternity was, at the commencement of our course, enjoined upon us; we despised the commandment, and neglected the admonition, and now further respite is impossible. Thus are the men of ambition, of sensuality, and of avarice, driven away in their wickedness. Oh that every individual who now hears me, of every age and of every condition, children and servants, and young and aged, and poor and rich, would, as in the sight of God, look solemnly and distinctly at a coming eternity, so as to retain throughout this year, and the rest of life, vivid and uniformly abiding impressions of its infinitely important concernments;-then should we see a rational and devout preparation for it. I alarm you not with declamation about sudden and unexpected death, events, however, very common; but I would fix your attention on its shadow-like, slow and noiseless, and certain and inevitable approach.
"Every beating pulse you tell
What earthly power can arrest the sun in his course, or stay the dial gnomon's shadow, as it silently and impercetibly moves? None! and equally powerless are all human efforts to protract man's sojourn on earth, beyond the period of God's good pleasure.
Prepare then, oh sojourner! to quit at thy Lord's bidding! Prepare then, oh thou moral criminal, to meet thy Judge! Prepare, oh Christian, to meet thy Saviour!.
Finally, ye who have believed in Jesus, remember that he has gone to prepare mansions for you in his Father's house. Oh repine not at the afflictions which ye may be called to endure in this land, wherein ye are strangers and pilgrims. Be not impatient; be not like the Budhist of China, and the pleasure-sated, wearied, profligate of Europe, to call your existence a curse. Rather Rather up and be active to do all the good possible here. Opportunities to do and to suffer for Jesus, will soon be over. Work therefore while it is day, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, when ye shall attain to your eternal abode in heaven.
"O God of Bethel! by whose hand
Who through this weary pilgrimage
Our vows, our pray'rs we now present
Thro' each perplexing path of life
Our wand'ring footsteps guide;
O spread thy cov'ring wings around,
Such blessings from thy gracious hand
man shall his blood be shed." But beyond this we doubt the right of any earthly power to shorten man's sojourn on earth, or to remove a fellow creature into eternity before the Sovereign Lord himself shall be pleased to do it.
ing him." But it cannot be supposed, without apparent absurdity, that St. Paul would pray for the removal of bodily defects, which could not be brought about without a miraculous interposition of Almighty power. Beside, his bodily defects of low stature, and so forth, had been with him through life; they were not given or sent at any particular period, nor could they be removed.
The Apostle, by employing figurative language on the subject of the infirmity, which occasioned him so much uneasiness, has cast a veil over it, which no industry of commentators or others has ever been able to remove. Nor is it at all of consequence to the complete understanding of the Apostle's reasoning. The circumstances of the case are these: St. Paul had been highly favoured, and treated as a man greatly beloved in the heavenly world. Jesus had in a special and unexampled manner appeared to him in the glory of his exalted human nature, with an effulgence exceeding that of the sun shining in its strength; and he was, at a subsequent period, "caught up to the third heaven," to the paradise of God, where he was blessed with visions and revelations of the Lord; and "heard unspeakable words," which it is not possible for a man to utter, in the language of mortals..
But St. Paul had still to reside a little longer on earth. among his fellow-men, and was liable, as other men are, to be unduly elated by the privileges conferred upon him; to prevent which it pleased God his Saviour to permit him to be assaulted by the enemy of man, in the form of some temptation or infirmity, calculated to humble him in his own estimation, and perhaps also to lower him in the
esteem of others.
To have this "thorn," which galled and annoyed him, removed, he was very anxious, and besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from him. But his prayer was not granted: what he desired was not conceded. Instead of removing his infirmity, the Lord said unto him, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Paul was satisfied, and formed the resolution, contained in the words of our text-" Most
gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
You perceive St. Paul prayed to a person he styles the Lord; that same Lord replied to his prayer; and the Lord who was prayed to, and answered, was the Lord Christ. The Lord said, "My grace" shall be with thee, and "my strength" shall support thee; and these the Apostle calls the "Power of Christ." Christ Jesus is therefore the object of prayer, and consequently truly God. By this power resting upon him must be understood its being always present with him, to assist and sustain him in the time of need.
Having thus briefly traced the occasion and import of the words of our text, I shall deduce from them a few practical inferences. And,
First, Infirmities, temptations, and anxieties, have been the lot of the most eminent servants of God; of inspired Apostles, as well as of ordinary ministers and private Christians; for so general, in all places, and in every age, have been the pernicious effects of man's first apostacy; it has involved all mankind. Although the renewing influences of God's Holy Spirit produce an extensively beneficial change upon the human soul, sanctification has still to progress through the whole of life, and is, we believe, never perfected whilst man remains on earth. The idea of sinless perfection whilst here below, is not a doctrine, we apprehend, according to the Scriptures; and the idea of entire rest on the Christian's part, or a complete cessation of hostilities on the part of Satan, the world, and corrupt nature, derives no proof either from Scripture or experience.
But it would appear from the promise made to the Apostle Paul, that some conscious weakness or inability for the performance of his great and important duties, was that which depressed him, or caused him anxiety. If he surveyed the power of spiritual enemies, and the hostility of earthly authorities, with the inveterate prejudices and corrupt usages which prevailed among the mass of mankind, he might naturally desire to have arrayed on the side of the