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strongly upon the imagination, as to have its due effect in regulating conduct. They are not tainted with the scepticism of philosophic pride; they are decently orthodox in theory, but shamefully heretical in practice :—the Gospel has the stagnant consent of their judgment, but the world impels the vital current of their affections. In their mind the law of God has a nominal sway, but the law of sin actually reigns in their members :-honour courts - profit tempts-pleasure allures—and
they reel to and fro,” like the drunkard returning from his midnight revel, stupified by those poisonous opiates, which drug to death the slaves of wealth and power, and the dupes of dissipation. Thus they stagger on, divided, and wavering between the future and the present; between Christ and Balial; between God and Mammon; till disease or accident sweeps them from the earth. They die,-believing, indeed, that “all that are in the graves shall come forth,” but hardly venturing to ask their own consciences, whether they themselves shall come forth “ to the resurrection of life, or the resurrection of damnation.” Is this an alternative to be hazarded ? Is this an uncertainty to be endured? But, alas, there is little room for uncertainty. Can the
double-minded and “unprofitable servant” ever hope to “enter into the joy of his lord ?” Men and brethren! I stand not before
in this house of prayer, as did the holy seer of old, at the mount of Carmel, before the sacrilegious prince and erring congregation of Israel; I have no voice like his, to call down fire from heaven on the hallowed altar,—consuming the kindling wood and solid stone, and drying up the watery trench; I cannot thus enforce conviction by the immediate display of supernatural power, and compel you, subdued by the testimony of your senses, to fall with your faces to the earth and cry, “the Lord He is the God, the Lord He is the God.” I am no anointed prophet; I have no pre-eminence above my fellows; distinguished by no spiritual gifts and graces ; uninspired, unenlightened, and frail and feeble as yourselves ; pretending to no commission from above, and claiming no delegated and sacred authority : I can only address you in the common language of man to man, and make my weak appeal, not to the irresistible evidence of sight, but to the still, small voice of conscience,-thé quiet, unaided operation of reason. My province is merely to exhort and persuade,-to “speak as unto wise men;" leaving it with you to “judge what I say;" but, where your everlasting interests are at stake, “let me,” at least,“ speak freely.”
If there be here one disciple of vanity, one votary of pleasure, still lingering in this state of dangerous indecision,—hesitating between light and darkness,-between good and evil; if there be here one“ babe in Christ,” who as yet does not know his Saviour and his GOD,-one unstable soul, yet unresolved “whom he shall serve;" let him postpone his inquiry, let him delay his choice, let him defer his amendment, not a day! -no, not an hour! Can he control the morrow ? Can he say to time, keep back; and to the hours, go not forth? Can he quench the fiery darts of pestilence, and arrest the outstretched arm of death? Can he be sure that hereafter, -on the bed of pain,-in the decay of age,-at the near approach of the last enemy, closing all his prospects, shutting him in on every side, excluding all succour from without, and enervating all his powers within,-can he be sure, that then, at the last hour, he shall have the means of reformation, the grace to seek, the wish to “be reconciled to God ?” There is a season, when He, who hath repeatedly called, by His Son, by His Holy Spirit, by His apostles, by His ministers, and, as repeatedly, called in vain, will permit the haters of truth “ to believe a lie," and abandon the sons of licentiousness and the daughters of pleasure “to their own devices.”
Nay, the fearful decree hath already gone forth, “ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Then halt no longer between two opinions. If sin be your master, expect his wages -death: if the Lord be your God, anticipate His gift,--His glorious gift--eternal life. If this world be your place of rest, then “ be conformed to this world;" “ live after the flesh, and die:" if heaven be your “ hope and crown of rejoicing," -“mortify the deeds of the body, and ye
“CHRIST—THE WISDOM OF GOD, AND THE
POWER OF GOD.”
MARK, CHAP. VI. VER. 2.
“ From whence hath this man these things ?”
We have here, as in many other parts of the sacred history, an instance, and, what appears at first view, a very extraordinary instance, of the incredulity and obstinacy of the human mind, when strongly fortified against truth by preconceived opinions, long indulged and fondly cherished.
Our Lord, having restored to life the daughter of Jairus, and wrought many miracles in Capernaum, returned to his own country, accompanied by his disciples, and on the sabbath publicly exercised his ministry in the synagogue. His manner of addressing his hearers, so superior to