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your loins girded about, and your lamps trimmed and burning, and in the attitude of mind which becomes those, who are waiting for their Lord's coming ? Are you weaned from a world which is so rapidly passing away from under you, and aspiring after glory, honor and immortality ? and loathing all these earthly vanities which are served up for you, do your souls pant after God and thirst for God, even the living God? Your treasure, you suppose is in heaven; are your affections there? Is your conversation there? The time is short and the fashion of the world passeth away, for the day of the Lord to you is at hand. “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ?" There is that in this meditation which should break you away from the world and bind you close to your Saviour ; which should moderate the joy of prosperity and sooth the sorrows of adversity, which should repress your anxieties, and check your anticipations.
And have you no work to do for others ? Jesus Christ had no work to do for himself, yet he worked while it was to-day, the work which his Father had given him to do for others, knowing that the night drew near, in which no man could work. Care you nothing for the souls that he cared for and that are falling around you ; for them whom nature has made near to you, or friendship has endeared to you? Care you nothing for the name of God, and for the kingdom of Christ ? Resolve ; for this is the day for resolutions.
III. There is a third part to this subject, but I shall not detain you long upon it. You observe that the
text bears the form of a prayer, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” But is there need of praying on such a subject and for such a purpose? Are not the facts and truths on which we built our computation, obvi. ous; and were not the inferences fair? Can any one doubt that lise is just what I have represented it to be? And being such, ought not man to be and to do as I have said ? Ah, brethren, the man of God recognizes a truth, almost as old as the creation, that man may hear the most alarming truths and be unalarmed; that he may be addressed by the most urgent motives and yet remain uninoved ; that facts the most appalling and considerations the most tremendous, he has the art of overlooking ; that religious truth, eternal truth has no efficacy with him. Who doubts it, doubts the experience of almost six thousand years; and rejects the clearest testimony of his own mind; for we know that we can stand upon the breaking brink of time and be unappalled; and can look over the perilous edge into eternity and turn away and smile and be all at ease within. We know that we can and do resist the most startling truths. And it is certain that you will go away to day, believing all I have said, and yet remain the thoughtless, inconsiderate, worldly creatures you have been heretofore, unless God go with you, unless God impress the lesson. Let us not forget this truth. We
who have an interest there; join me, ye whose voices are heard in heaven; let our hearts be united ; and we will this day fill many vials with our prayers, that God may teach us
so to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. There is a sleep on man, a deep sleep and it has all the common properties of death, its insensibility, its motionlessness, its deafness, and there is but one voice that can wake it. Great and good God, speak it; and thine shall be all the glory, while ours is the happy, happy eternity.
The sting of death is sin.—1 CORINTHIANS xv. 56.
THERE is something connected with death, yet distinct from it; belonging to it, yet capable of being detached from it, which is infinitely worse and more to be dreaded than death itself, so that when it is detached, that which remains is hardly deserving of the name of death. That to which I refer is called sometimes the bitterness of death. Here, it is called its sting. To die, and not taste that bitterness; to die, and not feel that sting, is not to die. “He that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." All things are his, who is Christ's. Death is his, equally as life. But it is not so where the bitterness and sting remain. It is his being armed with such a sting, that gives death his power to hurt, and renders him so formi. dable a foe'; and the disarming of him in this respect, is considered as victory over death, even though the conqueror in achieving the conquest dies. He is victorious in death over death, even as, in a higher sense, Christ was; and the language, in which he expresses his triumph, is not, “Oh! death, where art thou ?" for death remains, and he feels his cold hand on him perhaps even in the moment of his exulting exclamation; but, “Oh! death,
where is thy sting ?” Where that envenomed point, by which thou hast power to hurt and destroy ? It is gone; and that is victory. He who giveth his disciples this victory, could have superseded death altogether; but, in his wisdom, he prefers not to do it. He chooses, rather than to take it entirely out of their way, to put it in their power, and make it subservient to them. Death exists still ; but it exists as theirs.
The triumph which this language expresses, will not, in all its fullness, be realized till the general resurrection of the last day, when that which is sown in corruption, shall be raised in incorruption, and this mortal put on imniortality, these vile bodies being changed and made like to Christ's glorious body. Not until the ransomed of the Lord shall come forth from their graves, shall be fully brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Not until then will be sung in full chorus this song, “Oh ! death, where is thy sting? Oh! grave, where is thy victory?" Then, on that morning, the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of the redeemed, rising from their mortal beds, with souls all pure and bodies glorious, shall strike together these notes of exultation and triumph, “Oh! death, where is thy sting? Oh! grave, where is thy victory?” Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, unto him be glory and dominion forever. Will you be one of