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THE IMMORTAL SOUL.
"The sun is but a spark of fire,
A transient meteor in the sky;
HOMER, the celebrated Grecian poet, is said to have declared, "Nothing is so valuable to me as my soul !" And a christian poet has reminded us, that
"The soul's the only thing we have,
Plato, and other philosophers, wrote much on the nature and immortality of the soul. But their knowledge upon these subjects was very limited, and we need not be guided by the dim twilight of human reason, when we have the superior light of Divine Revelation to direct us; for these things are made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Tim. i. 10.) Let us therefore listen with humble and serious attention to the declarations of eternal truth on this momentous subject.
ITS DIVINE ORIGIN.
'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen. ii. 7.) "For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” (Isaiah lvii. 16.) "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also, the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel xviii. 4.)
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. x. 28.) "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts vii. 59.)
"I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob: God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matt. xxii. 32.) "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward
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to the earth?" (Eccles. iii. 21.) "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Eccles. xii, 7.) “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matt. xxv. 46.)
ITS IMMENSE VALUE.
"For the redemption of the soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever." (Psalm xlix. 8.) "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark viii. 36, 37.) "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold-but with the precious blood of Christ." (1 Peter i. 18, 19.)
Many other passages from the holy scriptures might be selected, but the above will, it is hoped, incline the reader to indulge such thoughts as the following:
"Great and dreadful God, Creator of angels and of men, I am fearfully and wonderfully made; my body must soon die and decay, but my soul must live for ever-even as long as thy everlasting throne endures.
"I tremble at myself-and in myself am lost!"
And is it so that my soul is an immortal flame, kindled by the breath of God, never to be extinguished? Why then, 'nothing is so valuable to me as my soul.' The care of the soul must be the one thing needful. Alas! how little have I thought of my precious soul. O thou righteous Lord God, who for the salvation of souls didst send thine only Son to bleed and die upon the cross; pity my ignorance, and forgive my past inattention to this most important of all subjects; and help me, Oh help me, duly to estimate the value and seek the safety of the Immortal Spirit that dwells within me!"
If such thoughts as these are the thoughts of the reader, he will be willing to pursue his inquiries on this subject, and the following ideas may assist him :
From what we have been taught by holy scripture the soul of every man is
-An emanation of eternal light,
Ordain'd 'midst sinking worlds his dust to fire,
The pyramids of Egypt, which have withstood the tooth of time for ages, must perish in the universal wreck in "that day," when
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"The cloud capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
But then the soul, the.deathless soul, shall rise
"Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds!"
Impressed with the infinite value of the immortal soul, a serious poet wrote
"Know'st thou th' importance of a soul immortal?
Ten thousand add; then twice ten thousand more,
Another serious writer, of the present time, has said, “It is almost impossible to use words strong enough to express the worth of the soul. Such is its value, that a glorious end were answered, if the earth and skies were maintained in being for ten thousand ages, merely to ripen one soul for immortality and heaven; and the labour of myriads of men and angels, through ten thousand years, would be well employed, in directing one lost soul to the Redeemer."
But we shall best estimate the value of the soul, by the immense price which was paid for its ransom. He who was in the beginning with God, and whose names, and attributes, and glory, and honour, distinguish him as being one with the Father, and, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."-This glorious Saviour was rich, but for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich." "He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." The precious blood of Christ, shed for the remission of sins, stamps the soul of man with infinite dignity and importance. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Were all earth's sparkling gems, its diamonds, and pearls, and amethysts, and topazes, and sapphires, with a thousand other unknown
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costly brilliants, piled in one vast glittering mountain, they would be but as dross when compared
"With the rich blood which Jesus shed,
Even the malice of devils may teach us the worth of the soul. They, with their great leader satan, are incessantly active in their attempts to deceive and destroy the souls of men. On the other hand, the holy angels of God manifest the utmost interest in the welfare of immortal men, for "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
Let us follow the deathless soul into the eternal world. Go to the death-bed of the expiring infidel; see the man who, when in health, lived in sin and neglected the offers of mercy. Hear him lamenting wasted time and neglected opportunities, and calling for " an hour, a single hour, though an age were too little for the much he has to do;" but no, it is too late now; God taketh away his soul
"In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Oh! might she stay to wash away her stains,
But leaving the wretched sinner to his doom, let us visit
"The chamber where the good man meets his fate,
Of virtuous life; quite on the verge of heaven."
Behold that placid countenance beaming with peace, and joy, and hope. Like the ancient Patriarch, he gathers his family and friends around his dying bed, and gives them his parting blessing. Now he has done with the world-and he closes his eyes on its dark scenes for ever; but soon he beholds the wonders of the world of glory. Ministering angels stand ready to attend his saved spirit-and now they bear him upwards—they pass the pearly gates-they tread the golden streets, and at length they arrive before the throne-there the glorified spirit
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falls down and worships; lost in wonder, love and praise. Now he joins with patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, and martyrs -walks and talks with angels, and principalities, and powers, in heavenly places-unites with all the redeemed to celebrate the high praises of God and the Lamb for ever; and there he shall dwell, through eternal ages, with the unclouded prospect before him of joys unutterable, and pleasures for evermore!
And now, Reader, eternity is before you; these joys or horrors will soon, very soon, be yours. One hundred years ago you were not in existence; but, oh, solemn thought! before one hundred years more have passed, you will have received from your Maker and Judge, the stamp and impress of your eternal destiny. "One thing is needful," and that one thing is the care of your soul
"Nothing is worth a thought beneath,
You must be serious, my reader; such subjects as these are not to be treated with levity. And however you or others may affect to despise them, the word of God is unalterable. Hell must be the everlasting dwelling-place of sinners. A sinner cannot enter heaven. "If ye die in your sins, where I am ye cannot come," said the holy Saviour. Look into your own heart then, my friend, and by the light of God's holy word, examine it. Are you living in sin? "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "He that sinneth against me," saith God, "wrongeth his own soul." "Unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Let these awful declarations of your Creator, properly affect you. You are in his hands. In' a moment he could call your soul into his presence, and punish you for your sins. But hear his gracious words, persuading and entreating you to save your soul alive."- "The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him." your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God." "Incline your ear and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live." These are the words of your gracious God, who thus exercises forbearance and long-suffering towards you. Oh listen to his voice! Obey his call! "Abstain from fleshly lusts which war