Imagens da página

are not to be drawn into precedents. We are not to take the exception for the rule; nor are we to expect that the usual order of things will be violated in favour of an unworthy individual.

The vicious man who begins to reflect, and to become seriously desirous of participating in the rewards of virtue, must learn, that to this end he must himself become a truly virtuous character. He must begin by learning his duty; he must without delay break asunder the strong chains of vicious habits; he must flee fom temptation; he must practişe duty, however difficult, however distasteful; he must in earnest set about acquiring habits of virtue. And let me assure him he will find this no easy task. The dislocated limb is not to be restored but with extreme pain; and the bandage necessary to keep it in its place must be tight and long continued, till the muscle recovers its proper tone and strength. Then, and not before, will the fractured member remain in its proper position, and perform its functions with ease and pleasure.. Much more tedious is

powers, if

the process,

and far more intense the pain, of restoring the dislocated affections to their proper position, and their natural tone. But by firm resolution, together with the divine blessing, which is never wanting to earnest exertions, every thing may be effected; and the result will be soundness, health, vigour, and felicity unspeakable and everlasting.

10. Lastly. Natural diseases, if not healed, will terminate in death.

And the maladies of the moral not checked and restrained by proper remedies, will inevitably terminate in that state which is figuratively styled the second death; by which is to be understood not a state of total insensibility, but a state of exquisite suffering; which is also represented under the figure of a worm which never dies, and a fire that will never be quenched. We are taught by divine revelation, that the wicked will be raised to suffering, which must inevitably happen, if they be raised at all. For being raised with the same moral qualities which they

possessed when they descended to the tomb, which indeed is essential to the identity of their persons, they must rise to those sufferings which are inseparable from vicious habits and affections. These will in many cases be extreme and, insupportable.

And as death is regarded as the greatest evil incident to human nature, so this penal suffering is called the second death ; and where it takes place, the misery will no doubt be greater than tongue can tell or heart conceive.

But as there will be a resurrection from the first, there will assuredly be also a resurrection from the second death, in that day, when all the enemies of Christ shall be put under his feet, and death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed. In other words, as all suffering under the divine government, as far as we can judge, is remedial, it may justly be concluded that the sufferings of the future life, however intense, or however permanent, will be effectual to purify the sinner from his moral stain, and to qualify him for ultimate hap

piness by a powerful and severe discipline. In the midst of judgment God will remember mercy. But in the mean time let it never be forgotten, that wisdom and benevolence both require that the intermediate state of suffering should be insupportably grievous, and that it will be found a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.




1 JOHN, 11. 17. And the world passeth away, and the desires thereof.

ANCIENT mythology represented unlawful pleasures under the emblem of three beautiful virgins, who by their enchanting melody allured the unwary passenger to their coasts, and after having lulled him to sleep, threw him into the sea. The moral of the allegory is easily understood, and many have experienced the truth of it to their cost. The world is so fair, the gratifications of sense are so attractive, and their harmonious melody is so insinuating to the thoughtless and unpractised heart, that multitudes are daily listening to it, to their unspeakable injury, nor are the wisest and best of mankind always proof against the

« AnteriorContinuar »