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deemer, I would instantly say, Let me go through the grave. But O! I cannot meet the king of terrors unless Christ be with me to take away his sting! Through the grave I cannot go alone! O no! I must have the assurance that Christ will go with me.

In conclusion; I charge you, my hearers, not to neglect a preparation for death. "Thus saith the Lord, Set thy house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live." I do not know when you will die, and hence call upon you to prepare now. The uncertainty of death's approach is the strongest possible argument which I can urge to induce you to do so, and it is an argument which Christ has urged before me "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." O! you will have but a poor time, if any time at all, to prepare then. Nor will a constant readiness for death unfit you for the duties and enjoyments of life; it is your unfitness which makes you so often sad. Paul was happy when he could say, "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."

XXV.

O SPARE ME, THAT I MAY RECover strength, BEFORE I GO HENCE, AND BE NO MORE.-Psalm xxxix, 13.

It is natural to banish from our minds the thought of death. Rarely do we stop to reflect how soon our days will be finished-to measure the distance which intervenes between us and the grave. There is something repulsive to the unchanged heart in the thought of dying. Nor do I wonder, since death is penal. It tends to mar

man's joys; to retard his pursuit of pleasure, which is so soon to end-of honour, which is to lie unnoticed in the dust-of riches, of which he must soon be stripped. Men shun the paths which lead to the grave, and if Providence place their feet in them, how unhappy are they; how eagerly do they seek an escape! David, however, often dwelt on this subject with melancholy delight; for he was a saint, and viewed death differently from sinners. His meditations gave rise to the beautiful expression in the text. It implies the consciousness,

1. That he was fast travelling to the grave. That we must all die is an admitted fact. "We must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again." "There is no man that hath power over the spirit, to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war." “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?" None doubt that they shall make the grave their bed. Some, however, remove the time to a distance, and think not of the speed of their journey. But how fast are we travelling! "Swifter than a post" -"swifter than a weaver's shuttle." Are we not forcibly reminded of this by the now closing year? How long does it seem since it began? What is our life at the longest? "It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." How much of this vapour has been exhaled! How much of our time has gone! Must we not be conscious that we are hastening to the grave? Who can say he has completed but half of his journey? Before another year shall have rolled round, he may have reached its end!

2. That having come to the grave, he should return to earth no more.

That we shall return not again to earth is also admitted, now that the doctrine of transmigration is exploded. The

grave is the end of life's journey; death the stream over which we cannot repass. "As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away; so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more." "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return." These bodies are left here to return to dust, and to be the subjects of almighty power. At the resurrection, the soul is to be recalled to rejoin its companion, and ascend with it to the bar of God. This is an unpleasant thought to the sinner, for he has made this world his home. Upon it he has placed all his affections. He is unwilling, even in thought, to leave it, for he will not think of futurity; he will be much more unwilling to leave it in person. He prefers earth to heaven, and would live here for ever. Heaven has nothing to entice him, for he loves neither its inhabitants nor employments; and he can carry nothing of earth with him but its guilt. How painful to him to think he can return no more! But how pleasant to the saint! "The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him." His journey was rough and toilsome, and now he is at rest. Would he retrace his steps? In this world he was a stranger, in heaven he is at home. Would he return? Here he was despised and persecuted. "There the wicked cease from troubling." Here he was enticed to sin; there he is allured to virtue. Blessed be God, we leave this world for ever!

3. That he had much preparation to make before he would be ready to die.

Unless this were the fact, you may see from what has been said that he could not have had a strong desire to live. The fact will also appear from the consideration that he had correct and glowing views of heaven. We, as Christians, have much preparation to make before we

shall be ready. We must redeem time, correct errors, discharge social duties, and become holy. Who can say, "All these I have done?" Some of you, my hearers, are unconverted. How great your work! Great though it be, it may be done quickly. I know you feel unprepared; you dare not die! Were death to approach, how would you plead for life and beg for mercy!

4. The text implies a desire to live in order to prepare for

death.

To desire life is natural; few are willing to die. Many wish to live for themselves alone; not to prepare to die; not to please God. They are wedded to the world, and would stay with their bride. They would live even in misery, because they are afraid of death, and its afterstate. But all this is wrong. We should desire only to become holy, and to be useful to our friends and to the world. How few of us, in praying for life, are prompted by this motive! We ask, too, for many long years. But who will have them? It becomes us to remember that our prayer may not be granted. Death is all around us! How fearful his ravages the past year! Of some of us God may say, They have been spared long enough-cut them down. Who will fall? Others, for wise purposes, he may take home to himself. We are on death's roll; are we prepared to have our names checked? To the sinner death will be awful-to the saint, delightful.

XXVI.

NEITHER CAN THEY DIE ANY MORE.-Luke xx, 36. CHRIST is our greatest benefactor. He hath prepared heaven for us, opened to us the path which leads to it, and given us strength to walk therein. He hath done

every thing to allure us thither. He is its King, and hath shown us his perfections. Who ever saw such wisdom, justice, and love, embodied in one person? Who can doubt that his kingdom is governed well? Who, from the very character of the King, would not desire to dwell there? Besides all this, he has given us the most glowing descriptions of heaven. Rev. vii, 16, 17. If he had said no more of its inhabitants than this, "Neither can they die any more," it would be enough to render a residence there desirable. This will appear evident from the following considerations :

I. Death interrupts our pursuits.

In whatever employment we may engage, we are certain that we can continue it but for a little while. Hence we cannot look for that success which we might otherwise expect. We cannot lay very extensive plans, for we may not live to accomplish them. We engage in the business of life, but, when in successful operation, death overturns our tables-in study, but we can go only so far, and leave others to outstrip us. How sad this thought to the laborious student! Death is so uncertain that we cannot promise ourselves the next day. Where is encouragement then to effort? We are cut down in the midst of our plans on the threshold of business. We are arrested in the midst of our books-die on the eve of important discoveries. Death will not wait a moment for any man.

The pursuits of heaven cannot be thus interrupted. With what pleasure, then, may we engage in them! What extensive plans may we safely lay, for all eternity is before us! Let me engage in study there, where death is unknown! Let me lay my plans for seraphic wisdom there!

II. It deprives us of our possessions.

However great or valuable, we must leave them at the grave. The man of business amasses wealth, but how is

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