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sed, they are as a vision of the night, or as a tale which has been told. Let us look behind
Is the world the same that we have seen it in former days ? No : every thing is altered ; those who once occupied the principal stations in society, are gone to another land, and have left their places to successours : men formerly unknown are exalted into view, and now attract the attention of the world. Even within our own narrow sphere, everything wears an aspect different from what it once did. The friends of our youth are passed into the region of forgetfulness, or are for ever separated from us by their connections in life. The tender buds of hope, which we reared with so fond an hand, are nipped by the killing frost of disappointment. Those projects and schemes, which we formerly pursued with pleasure, are now laid aside. New ideas
prevail ; new occupations engage our attention ; new passions rouse us to action. world is gradually springing up, and the old is gradually sinking into ruins. Year follows year with unceasing change. The fashion of all things passeth away.
One generation goeth, and another cometh. Our fathers left the stage to-day, and we shall leave it to-mor
row. Nothing is at rest. Every thing changes, decays, and perishes. God, alone, remains the same.
This fleeting scene passes before his eyes, and he beholds, with pity and indignation, the infatuated children of men neglecting and insulting his present goodness and forbearance, and, at length, falling into the hands of his wrath and vengeance.
I shall now conclude with stating that inference, the truth of which it has been the great object of this discourse to establish ; namely, that, since the hour of death is uncertain, we ought to put no value on the things of this life, but prefer religion to every other concern, and set our affections on things above. By these means, alone, can we be in a state of constant preparation.
What folly must it be, my friends, to attach yourselves to what may not last for a single day, and to lose for it that good which never perisheth ! You should consider all the pains which
upon the pursuits of this life as lost, because you are never sure that you will
reap the fruit of your labour. But the rewards of religion admit of no uncertainty, and, in themselves, ought not once to be put in the balance with the greatest temporal en
joyment. All the kingdoms of this world, and the glories of mighty conquerors, are trifles light as air, when compared with the smallest possible happiness, the duration of which is eternal. Your eager pursuit of worldly objects cannot secure to you a long life ; but it will aggravate your sorrow and regret, when between
you and them an impassable gulf is fixed. Let the great business of your lives, therefore, be to lay up treasure in heaven.Religion alone is worthy of your care. Nothing else deserves one anxious thought or desire. “ Secure this, and you have secured every " thing ; lose this, and all is lost."
On the atonement : its nature and the purposes
which are effected by it, in eralting the glory of God, and securing the happiness of man.
I COR. CHAP. 1, Ver. 18.
6 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.”
The doctrine of the cross was to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to you, my friends, I hope it is the wisdom and the power of God. The Jews had read the prophecies, which their own writings contained, concerning that great personage who was to come into the world ; they had studied the descriptions of the glory of the latter days; and, in their minds high expectations were raised concerning the Redeemer of Israel. But they mistook the true nature and
interpretation of these predictions ; and feeling as they did the severity of Roman oppression, they wished and hoped and believed that the Messiah,who was foretold to their fathers, would appear in all the splendour of majesty
go forth conquering and to conquer, would subdue all the nations of the earth to himself, and would drag the subjugated nations captive at the wheels of his chariot. How much, then, must they have been disappointed in Jesus, who, instead of being born of a great and powerful family, appeared in the humble character of a carpenter's son, and who, instead of laying claim to the throne of his fathers, plainly declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The proud, fastidious, and self-conceited Jews, hid their faces from one who pretended to be their deliverer, but whom they saw to be without form or comeliness, and whom they beheld in poverty and distress, wandering about from place to place, without habitation, or having where to lay his head. But what still more
. offended their foolish vain-glory, was the last scene of his life ; when he was dragged as a malefactor before the tribunal of a foreign governor, and at length put to death on the igno