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skies. The wicked are driven away in their wickedness; the righteous hath hope in his death.


DIE? This is not the least among the considerations serving to reconcile us to our being numbered with the dead. Many who have long slighted the voice of wisdom and affection have been constrained to listen to it when proceeding from a dying pillow. Nothing new, perhaps, has been said; but it has been said with a tenderness, with so manifest a sincerity, and in connexion with so many touching circumstances, that the heart, which seemed as though it never would relent, has begun to melt; and the tear, and the prayer, and the new life, and heaven itself,-all have followed! Thus the death of the faithful has been often made the life of the impenitent; much as the blood of the martyrs has proved the seed of the church. So plain is it, that the All-wise can render the worst evils that may befall us conducive to the greatest good!

But whatever be the manner in which Christians sometimes die, in the experience of all such it will soon be realized, THAT BLESSED are the DEAD WHO DIE IN THE LORD. Should darkness encircle them, and should it continue to the end, even yet it must be well. In such a case, the transition to the regions of light may be more sudden, but cannot be less certain. Such darkness may occur as the chastisement of former iniquity; or, in the mysteries

of the divine sovereignty, it may be connected with some constitutional infirmity. But in heaven chastisements must be for ever unknown; and the only exercise of sovereignty there is to bestow its fulness of blessing on a perfected people. And as to this earthly house, the body, we know that it is taken down that it may be rebuilt after a nobler model. It is that, when raised again, it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body before whom the hosts of heaven worship. Who would not die, willingly die, while his faith can look onwards to a change so marvellous-this corruption putting on incorruption, this mortal putting on immortality, and death swallowed up of life!

Nor can the believer forget, that while the brief night of the tomb shall last, it is not the soul, not the seat of consciousness, that is there. It is the mere vestment of man's superior nature that is thus for a season disposed of; the garment of mortality being thrown off, that it may be re-produced, in a state more suited to the rank of spiritual natures raised to officiate as kings and priests before God for ever. Thus the grave shall be to the body, what the world has been to the soulthe place of its regeneration; and when both shall have performed their part, and God shall have accomplished the number of his elect, then cometh the end-death shall be trodden under foot of victory, and the world shall be no more.




Ask him, indeed, what trophies he has raised,

Or what achievements of immortal fame

He purposes, and he will answer-None;
His warfare is within.-


IT has appeared in a preceding chapter, that the works of God have all their respective offices assigned them, and that in proportion to their endowments is the law of activity under which they are placed. Those natures by which most may be done, are the natures from which most is exacted. With the holy, throughout the universe, duty is a habit, and its name is only another word for happiness. And even in the case of the unholy, the quarrel with their Maker is not so much as to the quantity of what is demanded, as about its quality. That they should be employed, results, of necessity, from the constitution of their being: but they would have their employments to be a matter determined by their own inclinations, not by the divine will; and directed to ends of their own

choosing, not to the divine glory. In one of these two paths the good or evil are every where progressing; and if they meet with impediments, war is inevitable, they must strive to overcome them. This must be the effect even with the most holy, if obstructed in their course of obedience by the intervention of influences opposed to it. Hence we read of war in heaven, between Michael and his angels, and the Dragon and his angels. Thus sin imposes the necessity of resistance even on the sinless; and places every nature possessed by it in a state of contention with itself, and with surrounding natures.

Sin must ever be opposed to created happiness as much as to the divine honour. It must exist, therefore, in the case of every sinner, as the effect of a triumph obtained over the reason, and the proper dispositions, of the soul. Were this triumph so complete as to put an end to the moral discernment, and the better affections, the reign,—or rather the anarchy, of the evil passions would be undisturbed. But there is no nature so fallen as to have reached such a state. Even where the feelings which relate to things as good or evil have been most impaired or perverted, the sense of right and wrong in the understanding has retained something of its consciousness; and the effect of this portion of light, as opposed to the depraved propensities, has been a state of conflict. Selfreproach, to whatever partial oblivion it may seem for a while to be subject, is a worm that can

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only die when sin shall die. And wherever the properties of an individual nature are in this state of encroachment and contention among themselves, there is the state of things which must lead to encroachment and contention in regard to other natures. Milton, indeed, speaks of the fallen angels as living in a state of concord on the ground of their common enmity against God and goodness. But from the working of such enmities, as observed among ourselves, we may be permitted to doubt whether there be not more of poetical fiction than of sober truth in this description. It is certain, that, among us, the effects of our common apostasy have not been of this character. All the manifestations of selfishness on the part of men toward each other, are so many indications of that war between man and man which the sin common to men has called into existence. And when we pass from the little occasions of private feud, to see the same passions developed in civil convulsions, and national contests, we have to look on thrones demolished, empires dissolved, and whole continents stained with blood! So little do creatures gain when they affect to be a law unto themselves, instead of bowing to the laws of the Creator. Whence spring wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even from your lusts?

From all these considerations, it must cease to be a matter of surprise that the language of scripture should be strongly imbued with a martial

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