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those, who once thought as we are accustomed to think, and are now cold, and still, and silent, as we shall be. O death, when art thou destined to strike the blow upon others, which shall at the same time strike out all deadness and insensibility from the region of our hearts. Thy sithe is yet wet with the blood of the slain. Thou hast been mowing in a field, where the fairest and the tallest plants have been cropped by the vigour of thine arm, and the inveteracy of thy hate: The young and the beautiful, rich in virtue, glowing with all the ardour of conjugal affection, and exulting in a mother's feelings, and a mother's fondest hopes: The artist, skilled in the noble science of wresting the features of friends and relatives from thy withering touch, and yet more skilled in the happy talent of inspiring love for his benevolence, and esteem for his integrity: The scholar, in the pride of his genius, and the strength and vivacity of his mind; while he was yet sunning himself in the walks of literature; while he was yet gathering every flower, that could impart splendour to his diction; and availing himself of every resource, that could ensure a loftier stretch, and communicate a more ethereal air to the towering flight of his eloquence.

Yes, all these have recently fallen before thee, as grass doth fall before the mower, to be dried up and withered by the summer's heat. And still we take no warning. The world smiles as fair and inviting as before. It opens the brightest prospects to our eager gaze, and we cannot, we will not, bring ourselves to believe, that they are continually liable to be dashed out forever. Else I demand; what is there in its boasted fruitions, that is worthy to be enjoyed at the expense of pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father? Nothing, absolutely nothing. It is a word of all others best adapted to convey a graphick delineation of the poverty of all things here below, compared with the fulness, the richness, the magnificence, and the glory of those, which bloom and ripen fast by the river of God, and are immortal as the tree of life. Oye votaries of a scene so brief and so precarious; how much better would it be for you, to use this world as not abusing it, to receive the good it yields with thankful hearts, and suffer it to prove instrumental to your more intimate acquaintance with its benignant Author. So long as your affections are groveling as the dust ye walk upon, Christianity can have no form, nor comeliness, no beau ty in your eyes, that ye should desire it. It loudly calls upon you

to repent; and instead of repenting, ye plunge yourselves yet deeper in the mire of pollution. It imperatively requires you to obey, and instead of obeying, ye do the things which ye ought not, ye leave undone the things which ye ought to do. A moral infatuation involves you, an infatuation brought about by the great deceiver, and whose spell must be broken, ere ye can possibly exist alive to the nobler purposes of existence.

These combine to assure you, that the friendship of the world, as well as the carnal mind, is enmity against God. Ye must therefore give it up. Ye must think, speak, and act, conscious that ye are everlastingly responsible for every thought, and word, and deed. Religion will then begin to display its unrivalled charms, and salute you with the choicest of its blessings. Ye will not be satisfied with being ALMOST; ye will determine to be altogether Christians. On most of the now dearly prized attractions and pursuits of this life, ye will write, "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." On whatever tends to help you forward towards your heavenly home, ye will inscribe, "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof, there is no death."

Another cause of our disinclination to close with the overtures of the gospel is to be ascribed to our want of faith. Let no man tell me that he believes, whose life is in the wrong. Belief is a plant of more auspicious growth, and shoots out branches loaded with fruit of a brighter colour, and a richer taste. Can you believe that fire is consuming, and yet thrust your hand into the flame; that poison is deadly, and yet imbibe the corrosive liquid? How then can you in your consciences believe, that Christ is the Saviour of the world, the only Redeemer of your souls from the pains of death and hell, and yet boldly reject his counsels, and utterly refuse to be warned by his terrifick denunciations against the . wicked. Does this indicate as if ye gave undoubted credence to his mission; as if ye thought upon his gospel as the great power of God unto salvation; as if ye were willing to stake your life upon its truth; as if ye fully comprehended, that while there is a reward to the righteous, "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" will surely overtake every soul of man that doth evil? To me it speaks another language, and is attributable to a far different state of the mind. There are men, who will not believe until they are made to tremble; who disdain to give in their ad

hesion to a "faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Place them upon the verge, and they will recoil from a leap into eternity. Convince them, by ocular demonstration, that there is a place of perdition, where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched," and then, and not till then, will they deign to "give diligence to make their calling and election sure." I am not so skilled in these matters, as to be able to point them out, with an unerring finger. But that they do exist, is known to themselves; their works do testify of it to their consciences, with all the weight of irreligion, and all the precision of numbers.

And this I term the want of faith, the want of a true, lively, and realizing faith. Oh I beseech you renounce it, renounce all unbelief, as ye would the most bitter potion presented by your bitterest foe; or the soul, it will droop and languish; it is already diseased, and it will otherwise die. I love inquiry. I love to have the heart stormed through avenues leading from the head. And every head may be informed, it must be informed, before ye can "taste the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come." Under other circumstances, ye may have momentary convictions of sin; ye may be struck down by some sudden blow inflicted by the ministers of Christ, and incited by this word in season, ye may exclaim, "Almost thou pursuadest me to be a Christian." But there will be nothing durable, nothing that shall not pass away like a meteor in the air, until by much reading, by serious meditation and profound research, your minds shall become enlightened, and your faith in Jesus strongly and deeply rooted in the soil of the understanding. It is faith alone, that through Christ can put to flight the corruptions of the heart, that can overcome the world, and give you a right to aspire to the enviable distinction of being called the sons of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.

The almost Christian must inevitably fail to attain these blessed results. He will fail upon the same principle, that King Agrippa failed. Having heard his case, you can find no encouragement afforded him, by St. Paul, to rest in a partial conviction, in a sudden impulse in favour of the doctrines of the cross. A more legitimate feeling prevailed. The benevolent wish escaped his lips, "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds."

Paul therefore had not so learned Christ, as to place any confidence in the courtly smile of royal approbation. He prayed, that a half-way persuasion might be followed by an entire and a living faith. And Paul was right. He knew, that whatever compromise there might be on meaner things, there could be none in the article of religion. He knew, that our Saviour Christ had said, “He that. is not with me is against me." He knew, that to be almost persuaded of the truth of Christianity was no better than after death to be almost admitted to the presence of God and the Lamb; to be tantalized with the view, and still debarred the privilege of actually chanting the song of triumph and deliverance, in the chorus of believers. Ah no! This last will stifle no sigh of anguish nor assuage one throbbing pulse of pain. It will render the bottomless pit even more dismal to behold, and the vengeance of eternal fire more intolerable to bear. Exactly as in this life, no greater disappointment can be endured, than that which ensues, when the hand is extended, and the prize is unexpectedly wrested from its grasp. Oh then, that I could persuade you, Brethren, you who now occupy the accepted time, the day of grace and salvation, that I could persuade you to be altogether on the side of Christ, altogether such as was Paul, when he stood before a crowned head, and felt that the gold and the jewelry, which glittered there, were poor and paltry bawbles compared with the splendour and glory of the crown of life. To be thus, ye must not take pattern by the faint exclamation of the text. It comes in too questionable a shape. It is a sound signifying nothing, and pregnant with no issues, that are likely to be brought to a good account, beyond the grave.

ALMOST indeed! I have neither sympathy for the word, nor any the slightest confidence, in the thought, it was designed to convey. Under the covert of its shade, a sickly species of morality may seem to flourish; but like an exotick planted in an uncongenial soil, it will eventually fade and decay; it will not be watered by the dew of a heavenly grace. Its possessor may even go forth with such as keep holy time; he may range himself in the sanctuary of the Lord of Hosts; and like Agrippa listen with courtesy to the delivery of truths well calculated to set the soul on fire; but as our Saviour said to the young man in the gospel, it may be said of him, "one thing thou lackest," and that one is worth the world beside; it is the one thing needful, He has not an eye of faith to turn on Jesus,

when from the throne of his exaltation, he holds out the prize of our high calling, and with unutterable love exclaims, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." No, he can do no such thing, and sooner than partake of his disability, I would rather be a bondman enduring the lash of a savage, in the person of a master; 1 would rather be a slave unjustly condemned to the gallies, and fated to tug at the oar for life, oppressed by the fervour of a mid-day sun. Whereas he, that has been persuaded to be altogether a Christian, altogether "such a one as Paul the aged:" Oh how serenely flow the years of his mortal pilgrimage: How sweetly shines the Sun of Righteousness .upon the habitation of his soul: How exclusively does he love to have his conversation in heaven, and in this fountain of all felicity anticipate the reception of joys unspeakable and full of glory.

Would you ask, Brethren, for a more minute description? 1 will appeal then to the testimony of Christ, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." The altogether Christian has duties to perform, and in the sincerity of his heart, he evades none, in which he is clearly instructed by the Spirit of truth, the Spirit which presides over God's most holy word and work. He is known to mortify his members, which are upon the earth; to curb the headstrong passions of his nature; to be animated with the disposition to live peaceably with all men; to be mild though firm, gentle though courageous, benevolent though discriminating in his charities, a lover of all mankind though a lover of himself. He is known to be a good citizen, and placed at the head of a family, he is tender as a husband, affectionate as a parent, kind as a master, friendly and obliging as a neighbour. He is known, or rather, he knows himself to be a man of prayer, of secret, retired, and holy prayer, where no human eye can see, and no human ear attend; where, in the spirit of self-abasement, he humbles himself before his Father in heaven, confessing his numberless sins, and imploring forgiveness in the name, and for the worthy sake and merits of Christ Jesus, his Lord. He is known to remember the sabbath day and to keep it holy; to be at his post in Zion, when glad tidings of good are proclaimed in the ears of sinful and dying men; and if the sacrifice of the death of Christ is commemorated, he is known to cling fast to the horns of the altar, and to rejoice in every opportunity to glorify him in the presence of his saints. In a word, he is known to lead a life of faith in the Son

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