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who has never yet cast off the faithful penitent; and is at this moment perhaps, secretly knocking at your hearts, for the admission of his gracious message of love and mercy.
O resist him not, my brethren, constrain him by fervent prayer, by frequent meditation on his Holy Word, to abide with you. Let not this sun go down on any evil purpose, or uncharitable thought, seek your God where he may be found, and you will surely find him— whether in the public service of the Church, or in the retirement of your homes; in the employments of industry, or in your journeys by the way, think on his law, his love, his promise, and you will find him the companion of your path, your guide in difficulties, your protector in danger, your sovereign comfort in the hour of death-and when you receive the symbols of his body and blood, you will feel that your Saviour is present, and has given you the fruit of that tree of life, which he alone can restore to the fallen and disinherited sons of Adam.
Ecclesiastes ix. 10.
WHATSOEVER THY HAND FINDETH TO DO, DO IT WITH ALL THY MIGHT;— FOR THERE IS NO WORK, NOR DEVICE, NOR KNOWLEDGE, NOR WISDOM, IN THE GRAVE-WHITHER THOU GOEST."
If these words require any recommendation to our attention, the character of the person who wrote them, will afford sufficient :-He had tried every department of life; he had been placed in every circumstance of society ; he had exhausted every pursuit of man; and had entered into every research, which could furnish experience of what the present world could present or promise. He was as preeminent in wisdom, and in knowledge, as in station and in opportunity; and at this time also, he was under the inspiration of God, which giveth wisdom and understanding even unto the simple.
But to advert to these recommendations
to our attention is unnecessary. The words themselves speak with a voice of power
which we cannot resist, and in a language which we cannot misunderstand ; and we feel that, if we overlook their warning, we overlook them at our soul's peril.
They present a very melancholy view of the future destination of man. They depict his last abode as a place, where there is neither device, nor knowledge, nor work : and on this they ground a most important injunction. Let us together, humbly beseech God of his infinite mercy in Christ Jesus, to make it come home to the heart of each of us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might;--for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave-whither thou goest.”
We have here brought before us a very melancholy period of our existence; " the bier, and the shroud, and the mattock, and the spade, the lowly grave, and cold dark damp vault."
No one here present is exempted from this prospect, however variously classed in rank or different in age, whatever may be their variety in usefulness or piety: earth's highest glory ends here : here it concludes its noblest work.
Let us glance for a moment at the ideas con
tained in the latter part of the verse. “There is neither work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave,” whither we are all going. When we reach that every thing is dead alike. The body lies there in insensibility--no feeling can be excited there—the mind, the most exquisitely sensitive is there in inactivity-the soul the most acutely alive to the happiness or sorrows of its friends, has there no sympathy with their joys or miseries ; afflictions
like a flood invade its dearest connexions, peace may pour forth like an overflowing well-but to both alike it is unconscious and unfeeling. There is no knowledge there.
There is there too no wisdom-what distinguishes man from the brute ceases ;--manproud man-has there no talent, nor genius, nor conception, any more than the beasts that perish.
There is there no exertion :-nothing can be planned for the grave, or done in the tomb. There is no wish can be executed in the vault. The most excellent of the earth the most eminent in holiness—the most useful in the Church of God, are then all for ever laid aside. How pre-eminently active was Paul -how industrious-how energetic-how he traversed sea and land-city and country