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God's justice ? Is it not lawful for him to do what he will with his own ? Is thine eye evil, because he is good ? Perhaps those who were called at the eleventh hour, were as willing to work as those who were called early; or perhaps they worked harder, in consequence of being called so late The will of God was first made known to the Jews. Early was God's will made known to them; also at the third, at the sixth, and ninth hours ;and at the eleventh the Gospel was made known to all the world. So shall it be in the different stages of man's life: God may call him in his youth, in his pride, or in his old age ;
but heaven shall be the reward, where the Gospel is received; yea, we believe the mercy of God to be so great, that even if man has sinned the greater part of his life-yes, almost to the close of it-although he has had every opportunity of holding the faith, and evidencing the fruit of that faith by his good works ; although he has had all these advantages and abused them, and resisted God's Holy Spirit, yet if he repent in his last hour, and
that repentance be sincere, we believe that that man will receive forgiveness, in consequence of the great mercy of the Lord, and be hereafter with the Son of God in the mansions of the Father. ble before us proves the truth of this doctrine. The repentance of the thief upon the cross ; of St. Peter after he had denied his Master : yea, the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ proves his unlimited and universal mercy. Thus, God's minister can enter the aged sick man's room, and though he has been among the greatest of sinners all his life, he can assure him that, upon his repentance, upon his faith and implicit trust in the Redeemer, who came into', the world to die for sinners, though his “sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be like crimson, they shall be as wool.” But if he refuse, and still continue to rebel, he “ shall be devoured with the sword : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” This, my brethren, is a wholesome doctrine; because it unfolds the great mercy of the Almighty, and the fulness of redemption by Jesus Christ. But there is a high and important caution necessary : if we assure the aged sinner that he
may obtain his salvation, through repentance and the mercy of God, we would forcibly impress upon you the danger of delaying that important duty, till your last days shall come upon you.
This may be the eleventh hour with some of us. Although many of us are young, still we may be in our last days; the eleventh hour may be past; the twelfth may be about to strike. Under this uncertainty how dangerous it is for any of us, who are so repeatedly called into the vineyard, to stand all the day idle! During this year many have been called suddenly, and in their strength, to their long homes. Many of the seats within this Church are occupied by others; the former possessors are now mouldering into dust. And who shall tell how many of us here shall be assembled at the close of the next year ? Chance or accident may cut us down; disease or calamity may weaken us; death may destroy us; the grave may be our resting-place. Many high and important events have happened during the last twelve months : friends have lost their friends; husbands, their wives; wives, their husbands; parents, their children; children, their parents : and what next shall eventfully transpire is confined to the knowledge of the great Jehovah. If, then, He be so merciful as to accept the repentance of the aged sinner, through the death of his Son Jesus Christ, let us not vainly rely upon this, since the hour of repentance may perhaps not be afforded to us; let us rather watch and pray, for we know not when the time of our departure cometh.
We cannot now, my brethren, do better than apply to ourselves this last construction that we have given to the parable. But we cannot, like the labourers who were called at the eleventh hour, plead the same excuse, viz. that no man hath hired us : for, from our infancy we have been called into the Lord's vineyard, hy his ministers or by other means of the Holy Spirit. In our younger days the Gospel was revealed to our enquiring minds; and it still remains
revealed to us. The blessed Word of God is handed down from generation to generation in all its purity, and in all its power. While nations have fallen before us, and empires have crumbled into insignificance, without leaving a wreck of their might and grandeur behind them; while cities have fallen into ruins, without a vestige of their by-gone power, or a trace of their former opulence and strength; while man after man hath mouldered into kindred earth; while year after
year, century after century have passed away for ever, and time has glided quickly by, the word of the Lord hath stood, and will stand fast for ever. Yes; the Scriptures have been given, as the rule and guide of your lives, and shall be so to your children's children, even for ever. We cannot make the excuse, that we are not. hired; the work is marked out for each of us; the goal is set,--the reward is offered. The Bible assures us of it: and the Church hath been opened to explain and unfold its holy mysteries; the ministers of God have called the whole world to come into the