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And in your hours of worship, and also at other times, what thoughts most readily come into your minds, those about your body, or your soul; those about God or those about the world? What thoughts do you most delight in? If the thoughts be earthly, so must be your mind, and “to be carnally minded is death.” And now, if these general views now given discover so many sins, what would be the amount, were we to reckon every vain and wicked act, and word, and thought, as will be done in the day of judgment? And if every sin deserves the wrath of God, what must be the desert of those who step into eternity laden with the guilt of innumerable transgressions ? Think, O think on these things before it be too late.
III. I have also a message to the aged. Your faces speak your age, and tell that there is but a step betwixt you and eternity. And are not these very faces proof of sin? Why are those once smooth, now covered with the wrinkles of age and the paleness of approaching death? Has not sin, or God on account of sin, done it all ? “ Thou hast filled me with wrinkles,” said Job, “ which is a witness against me, and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.” If you are not sinners, why that trembling of the hands, that dimness of the
that tottering step? And have you not the sins of a whole life to account for? Of the wicked it is said, “ His bones are full of the sins of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust." You have lived to old age, and therefore have had much time given you; but how has it been improved? What have you done for God? You were made to glorify him; but are there not many of you who never had one serious thought of advancing the glory of God? If so, then
your whole life has been one continued course of sin. As many as have been your thoughts, words, and actions, so many are
And what have you done for your souls during a long life? We have a work to perform in regard to our salvation ; God has given us a day for it, which is to be followed by a night wherein no man can work. Your day is almost spent. Is it not twilight with many of you already? Are not the shadows of evening falling upon you, and your work is not yet begun? Awful condition ! Your work not begun! A work sufficient for many years not yet begun, when your sun is setting to leave you in eternal night!
Have you been suitably affected with the sins of others when you have observed them ? Have you done your duty in bearing testimony
to the truth of God, when you have seen it despised and rejected ? Have you beheld the transgressors without grief? Have you prayed that the sins you have seen in others might be forgiven? “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” Has it been your endeavour, in all suitable ways and times, to reprove sin, and to prevent it in yourself and others ?
You have witnessed many providences, perhaps many judgments of God; and what effect have these had upon you ? Have they made you better, or have you become hardened under them? Have your experiences brought you nearer to God, or driven you farther from him? And how have his mercies affected you? Do you know the God of your mercies? Has the goodness of God led you to repentance? When food and raiment and every earthly good has been granted you, have you lifted up your heart and voice in thankfulness to the Giver of mercy? When delivered from sickness, pain, and peril, did you thank the Lord for deliverance? When he has thus dealt mercifully and bountifully with you, have you loved him more and more, or has it all served only to fix your
heart more firmly upon the world? Let conscience speak, and will it not tell you of unnumbered sins? The bloom of youth has withered on your brow; your silver locks bear witness that nature is hastening to decay. You know that the silver cord with you must soon be loosed, and the golden bowl be broken. Are you then prepared to lay your bodies down in the grave in the hope of the resurrection of the just ?
Finally. You have lived long, and death is at your door. Are you prepared and willing to die, when the time of your departure shall arrive? Some desire to die because they are disappointed and vexed with the world; but none are prepared to die but those who are prepared to “die in the Lord.” Have you provided your lodgings? When our houses are falling, it is time to look for new lodgings. This tabernacle is ready to be dissolved; have you secured a building of God, a house not made with hands? You have had good opportunity for doing all this, and great are your sins if the work is not yet begun. The warnings which you read in these pages, if you give no heed to them, will aggravate your guilt. Consider your case before it be too late. You
have waited till the eleventh hour and have done nothing, one hour more of delay will seal
Section IV. Satisfaction required of the sinner.-It is not consistent with the wisdom of our great Lawgiver, that sin should be unpunished. His providence and his word agree, that "though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” No power of men or angels can prevent it; and nothing can conceal us from the omniscient eye. 66 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, and whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there ; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me, yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” 6. There is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves," either from the knowledge or the justice of the Almighty.
First. There will be the forfeiture of your