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day from our sins, as he was at that time to cleanse the leper, if we believe in him who is able to save to the uttermost all those that come to God through him, Hebrews vii. 25.; nay, if we may use the expression, it is in a manner contrary to his will that any should perish; for, eternally blessed be his name! he willeth not the death of a sinner :
Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord “ God, I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live : turn ye,
your “ evil ways; for why will ye die, O house ~ of Israel !" Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
In my wanderings through this pleasant wood, I find through different windings I am got back again to that place where I beheld the spreading bay ; but where is it now? not a trace of it is to be seen : it was but a little
ago when its spreading verdure seemed to promise lasting prosperity ; but the woodman has been here, and for some cause or other has not only blasted its beauty, but removed it root and branch, so that I can scarcely tell where it grew. Just so the wicked are removed according to that striking description of the Psalmist, which I no
ticed a little before, when I saw this tree growing in full verdure in this place; “I “ have seen the wicked in great power, and
spreading himself like a green bay tree; yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found,” Psal. xxxvii. 35, 36.
O that the wicked in a day of prosperity would thus consider their latter end! that if they go on in their evil course, notwithstanding of all their worldly prosperity and grandeur, their end at last will not only fill their friends and acquaintances with awful reflections; but prove beyond description dreadful to themselves; whereas the latter end of the righteous affordeth, not only pleasant contemplations to their surviving friends and neighbours; but satisfaction, eternal satisfaction to themselves, agreeably to the following passage in that beautiful psalm of contrast of the righteous and the wicked ; “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the up
right; for the end of that man is peace," Psalm xxxvii. 37.
Again we are told, thie memory of the wicked shall rot, Prov. x. 7. that is, prove unsavoury to their friends and former ac. quaintances, be as disgustful to their reflections as rotten stinking things are to our nostrils, be quite disregarded, and striven to be forgot; but the memory of the just is blessed. “ The righteous shall be in everlasting
remembrance," Prov. X. 7. Psalm cxii. O. Their memory, like “ a good name, is better -“ than precious ointment," Eccl. vii. 1. ; it spreadeth a fragrance around where they live, yieldeth a delightful savour after they are dead, and the grateful odours of it invite men into the same pleasant paths of righteousness in which they walked. Their memory may be said, in some respect, to be like the name of the Lord, even as ointment poured fortlv, Cant. i. 3.
There are two trees, to which the righteous are compared, that are not inhabitants of our British woods ; but seeing my contemplations are on such delightful subjects, they deserve my serious consideration; those are, that of the palm and the cedar : “ The
righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree, “ he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon, saith the Psalmist, Psalm xcii. 12.
The first of these trees is said to be beautiful, round, and straight. So the lives of the righteous, in so far as they are conformed to the dictates of inspiration, are beautiful, orderly, and straight,
This tree also maintains its verdure through all seasons of the year, and on its top wears a tuft of spiring leaves some feet in length, which never fall off. At the bottom of the leaves grows
its fruit, called dates, in clus-, ters.
In like manner, the righteous maintain their yerdure of holiness through divine grace in all seasons, whether prosperous or adverse ; they still continue in their profession of religion and attachment to Chrișt ; having on
It is observed of this tree, that it will grow though much oppressed and borne down. Thus did the church in Egypt; the more they afflicted her, the more she multiplied and grew, Exodus i. 12., and so will every true believer ; no oppression from their enemies shall prevent their growth in grace; and like the cedar, which spreads wide, and grows very high and strong, yields a delightful savour, is very durable, and in some sort incorruptible; so the righteous spread wide, not only in their holy profession, but also in charity, and in all manner of good works, and grow high, even to perfection, till they all arrive unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Eph. iv. 13. ; and, like Abraham, are strong in faith, giving glory to God, Rom. iv. 20.,