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though he were dead, yet liveth;

and, "while

Christ is in them, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness."† He hath come forth from the charnel house of corruption to the light of heaven, and the face of day. He is quickened with a new and animating principle of action and of life. He hath found that religion is "his reasonable service;" and while his affections are fixed on heaven, he has a peace passing understanding that makes existence even in this world full of joy, and a hope in the prospect of his immortality in the next which nothing can disappoint or take away.

III. In conclusion, then, it now only remains to make two or three practical applications of what has been stated above. 1. And first, (taking the word figuratively as in the text) observe how greatly we ought to cherish this life of the soul, how cautious we should be lest we lose it. See, I pray you, how careful we are of the life of the body. See with what untiring perseverance men put forth their whole energies and strength, to wrest a scanty and miserable subsistence from the bosom of the earth, rather than suffer the vital spark to be extinguished by the desolating breath of famine. How the drowning man, in his agony, clings convulsively to every object in his way, cherishing even Romans viii. 10.

*John xi. 23.

to the last some longing and lingering hope of life, though he knows it is only his body which may perish. With what almost superhuman exertions will the victim of the midnight assassin defend himself, ere he submits to part with that treasured existence which above all things else he prizes. Observe again how anxious we are, in our own case and in that of our friends, to guard against the death of the body when sickness and disease assail us.-With what eagerness do we call in the aid of the physician to prescribe the proper remedies!-With what care do we abstain from every indulgence, however agreeable it be, that is likely to increase the evil!-With what intense anxiety do we await the success of our applications! What sacrifices of present comfort and ease do we make in order to ensure a restoration! But why is it that we see no anxiety of this kind for averting the death of the soul? Why is it that in this important matter we call in no physician, we apply no remedies, we make no sacrifice or self denial? Why is it, that in that case of all absorbing interest and value, the life of the soul, we seldom take voluntary pains to preserve it, but, like some mad and miserable suicide, we throw it up, unbidden, into the hands of our maker, reckless of judgment and heedless of eternity?

And yet the cases are precisely similar. There is danger near,-the soul is diseased already, and if we make no efforts now, it will and must everlastingly perish. The "deep waters are gone over our soul;" the assassin,-"the murderer"* who was such "from the beginning," is ready to strike the blow; the danger is close at hand, and we must exert ourselves now, or that precious life will be lost for ever. Nay, even the fearful doom of eternal death, as if to scare us more effectually from the ways of sin, begins to work its terrible devastations already in the souls of those who have too perseveringly abandoned the only restorative and source of life. We see the curse that is pronounced against unrepented sin, branded even now, and burning, with more than anticipated torment, on the conscience of guilt. We see its withering and desolating power in all the symptoms of that moral disease which has disordered the understanding and paralyzed the will of vicious and ungodly men.-And, in the remorse, and misery, and despair, which are the sure accompaniments of a "reprobate mind," we may recognize already a dreadful and significant earnest of the future agonies that await the spirits of the eternally condemned. And yet, even with such warnings and evidences as these before us,


* John viii. 44.

we are strangely reckless of the danger that we ourselves incur. We are not sufficiently careful to ward off every appearance of sin. To guard our souls aright, we ought to guard them from the first approach of evil. Like those who contract severe sickness from what was at first some very trifling complaint, the smallest plague-spot of sin may lead to entire destruction. We must not be deceived with the sparkling cup of pleasure which is deeply embued with poison. We must not be deceived with those flowery paths wherein the deadly serpent is lurking secretly. We must not sanction by our presence the evil habits of ungodly men. We must not, by any offence, or even negligence on our own parts, give occasion for sin to those about us; for enough already is the burden of our own transgressions, without another's blood being laid at our door. "If we will really love life and see good days, we must eschew evil and do good, we must seek peace

and ensue it.

We must cherish it by every exertion. We must watch over it with all vigilence and earnestness. We must make all sacrifices to maintain it. We must call in the aid of that only physician of our souls who can cure and cleanse and restore it.

And, lastly, consider that this life of which I speak (though I have spoken of it partly with

* 1 Peter iii. 11.

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regard to the present world) is one which lasts to eternity. I have observed above with what eagerness we cling to the life of the body, what efforts we make to secure it. Oh! shall we be less careful about life eternal? Shall we be less cautious to ward off that death which shall be infinitely worse than any death which we can.yet have witnessed, the everlasting miseries of the fire that is never quenched, of the worm that never dieth. Oh ! why will ye die," my brethren, why will ye die?" I ask you in the words of the prophet, "for the Lord God hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, wherefore turn yourselves and live."* None but your enemies wish for your eternal misery; God does not desire it; you cannot desire it for yourselves; therefore, why will ye die?" Oh! "turn yourselves and live." Turn yourselves while yet it is day, and ere the night arrives, turn unto God and live. Come away from the company of the ungodly. Come away from the pleasures of sin. Come unto God with prayer, and humility, and penitence, and faith. Come unto Christ who hath quickened, and will quicken those who are dead in trespasses and sins. And "awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give thee light."

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* Ezekiel xviii. 31.

Ephesians v. 14.

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