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not. As

you

did not come into being by your own consent, so neither can you lay down your being when you please. And will you not labour to make your immortality a blessing? Is there any thing in this world that can be a temptation to you to forfeit such an immense blessing? Oh that you were wise! that you would consider this !

I shall now accommodate my subject to the present melancholy occasion, and endeavour to make a particular improvement of it.

Do you expect a character of our deceased friend? This is not my usual practice; and I omit it, not because I can see nothing amiable in mankind, nor because I would enviously deny them their just praises, but because I have things of much greater importance to engage your attention. The dead have received their just and unchangeable doom at a superior tribunal; and our panegyrics or censures may be often misapplied. My business is with the living; not to flatter their vanity with compliments, but to awaken them to a sense of their own mortality, and to a preparation for it. However, if you must have a character, I will draw it to you in the most important and interesting light. Here was a youth in the bloom of life, in the prime of his strength, with a lively flow of spirits, who seemed as secure from the stroke of death as any of us; a youth that had escaped many dangers by sea and land; a youth launched into the world with, no doubt, the usual projects and expectations of that sanguine age. But where is he now? In yonder grave, alas ! lies the blooming, promising flower withered in the morning of life. There lies the mortal body, mouldering into dust, and feeding the worms. Come to his grave, ye young and gay, ye lively and strong, ye men of business and hurry, come and learn what now may, and shortly must, be your

- Well,

doom. Thus shall your limbs stiffen, your blood stagnate, your faces wear the pale and ghastly aspect of death, and your

whole frame dissolve into dust and ashes. Thus shall your purposes be broken off, your schemes vanish like smoke, and all your hopes from this world perish. Death perpetually lurks in ambush for you, ready every moment to spring upon his prey. “Oh that death !” (said a gentleman of large estate, strong constitution, and cheerful temper,) “I do not love to think of that death; he comes in and spoils all.” So he does indeed; he spoils all your thoughtless mirth, your idle amusements, and your great schemes. Methinks it becomes you to prepare for what you cannot avoid. Methinks, among your many schemes and projects, you should form one to be religious. You may make a poor shift to live without religion, but you can make none to die without it. You may ridicule the saint, but he really has the advantage of you. after all,” said a celebrated unbeliever, “ these Christians are the happiest people upon earth.” Indeed they are; and if you are wise, you will labour to be of their number.

But was our departed friend nothing but an animal, a mere machine of flesh? Is the whole of him putrefying in yonder grave ? No; I must draw his character farther. He was an immortal; and no sooner did he resign his breath, than his soul took wing, and made its flight into the regions of spirits. There it now dwells. And what amazing scenes now present themselves to his view! what strange, unknown beings does he now converse with! There also, my brethren, you and I must ere long be. We too must be initiated into those grand mysteries of the invisible world, and mingle in this assembly of strangers.

We must share with angels in their bliss and glory, or with devils in their agonies and terrors. eternal doom shall be according to our present character,

And our

and the improvement we make of our opportunities for preparation.

And do you, sirs, make it your main concern to secure a happy immortality? Do you live as expectants of eternity? or do you live as though this world were to be your eternal residence, and as if your bodies, not your souls, were immortal? Does your conscience approve of such conduct ? Do you really think it is better for you, upon the whole, to commence fashionably wicked, or perhaps ringleaders in debauchery and infidelity, in a country overrun with all manner of vice? Is this better than to retain the good impressions you might perhaps receive in youth, and to act upon the model built for you in a religious education? Which do

you
think

approve of in the hour of death, that honest hour, when things begin to appear in a true light? And of which, think ye, will you be able to give the most comfortable account at the supreme tribunal ? Brethren, form an impartial judg

this comparison, and let it guide your conduct. Behave as “strangers and pilgrims on earth, that have here no continuing city;" behave as expectants of eternity, as candidates for immortality; as “ beholding him that is invisible, and looking for a city which has foundations, eternal in the heavens." In that celestial city may we all meet at last, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

you will

ment upon

VOL. II.-7

SERMON XXVIII.

JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY FOUNDATION.

Isaiah xxviii. 16, 17.Behold, I lay in Zion, for a foun

dation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation : he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet : and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hidingplace."

The context, like many other passages of the prophetical scriptures, seems to have a double sense.

The primary sense may be thus represented. The judgments of God were ready to break in upon and overwhelm the impenitent nation of the Jews, like “a tempest of hail, and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing," and bearing all before it. (ver 2.) The prophet had repeatedly given them timely warning of these approaching judgments; but they still continued secure and impenitent, and unapprehensive of danger. They flattered themselves they had artifice enough to keep themselves safe. They thought themselves impregnably intrenched and fortified in their riches, their strongholds, and the sanctity of their temple and nation. They might also think their arts of negotiation would secure them from the invasion of the neighbouring powers, particularly the Assyrians, to whom they were not exposed. These were the lies which they made their refuge, and the falsehood under which they hid

* This :ermon is dated Hanover, February 13, 1757.

themselves. These, they imagined, like moles or ditches, would keep off the deluge of wrath, so that it should not come to them, much less overwhelm them; and they were as secure as if they had made “a covenant with death, and entered into an agreement with hell, or the grave,” not to hurt them. Therefore the prophet represents them as saying, “We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to us; for we have made lies (that is what the prophet calls lies,) our refuge;" and under what he calls falsehoods have we hid ourselves. (ver. 15.) It is in this connection my text is introduced; and it points out a solid ground of hope, in opposition to the refuge of lies in which these sinners trusted; as if he had said, since the refuge to which you flee is not safe, and since my people need another, Therefore, thus saith the Lord, behold, I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation;" that is, “ My promises, my providential care, the supporting influences of my grace, and the various means I shall take for the comfort and safety of my people in this national distress, shall as effectually bear them up, as a firm foundation of stone does a building erected upon it. They that build their hopes upon this foundation shall stand unshaken amidst all the storms and tempests of the national calamity, that may beat upon our guilty land.” He that believeth shall not make haste ; that is, “he that trusts in this refuge shall not be struck into a distracted hurry and consternation upon the sudden appearance of these calamities. He shall not, like persons surprised with unexpected danger, fly in a wild haste to improper means for his safety, and thus throw himself into destruction by his ill-advised, precipitate attempts to keep out of it; but he shall be calm and serene, and have presence of mind to

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