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good conscience? or, if they pretend to despise that pleasure, can they hold out to you any temptation that will recompense you for the horrors of that state, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched?" And will you not be afraid to continue in wilful sin, and with a determined resolution of braving the torments that may come hereafter, dare to disobey the Almighty, and provoke his vengeance? "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." If you neglect your duty at present, there will hereafter remain no other hope, nothing "but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and that hery indignation which shall devour the adversary" of God.
When you are invited to the belief of the gospel, and the practice of its moral obligations, it is not a light thing, which you may reject or accept at pleasure. The question does not depend on the entertainments or pains of a few passing years, but on the supreme fe'icity or unutterable woe of eternal ages. When you stand on the verge of death, and no strength or power, no youth or pre-eminence, can avert the
stroke, you will derive little comfort from your companions in pleasure. You will feel no consolation in their ludicrous mirth, or in the weak objections they can urge against religion and truth. Their specious argu. ments will no longer support the soul, when it is ready to make trial of the reality of those punishments God has threatened to the ungodly.
Whereas, should the worst happen which infidelity can oppose to the faith of a good die with calmness and comman, he may posure. If "God is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him," as he has promised to be, then he will depart in joy to partake of the recompence of his obedience; and should it be otherwise, still he will leave this world under the delightful expectation of it, and will sleep in the grave in peace, if he should never be awakened to immortal life. Whereas, if, as we trust, there is a future state of retribution, where every one shall receive according to the works done in the body, what horror and despondence must seize the guilty, when they are roused to judgment by the trump of God, and awake
to feel that condemnation they were accustomed to disbelieve?
This, my young friend, is a serious and awful consideration; may it have a proper effect on your mind. I refer you to the perusal of the Scriptures for the full confir mation of this doctrine, and for the information it contains relative to our future existence. As a truth derived only from revelation, it is there only to be sought. We can have no certain knowledge of it but from God; and he has thought it of such importance, as to provide for its reception by a series of prophecies, and by a continued and particular providence, from the first creation of the world. To convince the mind beyond any cause of doubt, he at length sent his Son from heaven, in order to inform us the way by which we may escape the second death, and be restored to that immortality we had forfeited by our sins.
We may conclude, therefore, in the figu. rative language of the prophet, and say, What can have been done more for the vineyard of the Lord, which he has not
done in it? Wherefore, now that you are expected to bring forth the fruits of piety, see that you disappoint not the Holy One, by producing the wild grapes of vice and impenitence, lest you should be trodden down, and cast into that dismal abode of the wicked where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
ON THE JOYS OF HEAVEN,
WITH what subject, my dear young friends, can we more suitably close these addresses, than with an endeavour to set before you the glorious rewards of those labours, to which it has been their design to excite your attention ? You have been exhorted to follow all that is amiable in conduct, and pleasing in behaviour; and this is the best means to secure your present success and comfort, while its chief and highest end has been recommended as engaging for you the favour of God, and the prospect of endless and unspeakable felicity,
The hope of future glory is the great anchor of the Christian faith. It is no doubtful expectation of an uncertain good, but a sure and permanent blessing to which the pious. and worthy may look forward with an humble but assured confidence.
Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all who believe in and obey his gospel. He is "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." On his promises we may rely, and his resurrection and glorious ascension into heaven is an earnest to his followers, that God will raise them up also by him. "To this end was I born," says he, "and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth of the Divine promises," and to the truth of that glorious scheme of redemption which was completed by his death. To procure pardon to the penitent, the gift of eternal life to all who will receive him, and to save a sinful world; this was the important design of his mission, and was worthy the Son of God to accomplish.
If the duties you are called to fulfil be arduous in the execution, if the impulse of the passions be powerful, and the seductions