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were brought to believe. To them the word of salvation preached by the Apostles had been before un. known; but it had come to them, not in word only, but in the Holy Ghost, and in power and in much assurance. Formerly they had gloried in the days sacred to superstition or to the triumphs of Rome; now they rejoiced in the season of grace, the years of the right hand of the Most High. Happy they who, by the remarkable circumstances of their conversion, can ascertain the period when they were born again, and who are conscious in the change which has been effected in them, that they have felt the power of reno. vating grace!
It would be foolish to suppose, that, in countries such as ours, conversions will all be thus striking ; for those who knew the Gospel from their childhood, and those who, under the sweet nurture of holy parents, and the benignant influence of domestic religion, were gently drawn to wisdom and piety, may not be able to specify the time when the saving change was actually wrought, yet their conduct proves that they have experienced it. The purity which shrinks from the least stain of sin, a habitual delight in the worship of God, and the uniform kindness of a generous and tender heart, as fully evince the influence of the Spirit of God as the most remarkable reformation.
2. Let saints be exhorted to use every means of exeitement to this holy activity. Pray without ceasing that God may quicken you according to his word. Often meditate on the injunctions to activity in the Bible, « Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment
• Isaiah lvi. 1.
and do justice : for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.” Reflect on the various examples of increasing activity which are set before you. Consider him especially who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. Think how he spent the three years which preceded his crucifixion; how his time was filled up with sermons, miracles, labours, sufferings, prayers, and kindnesses ! and how he employed the forty days which intervened betwixt his resurrection and his ascension; on the visits of love, the counsels of wisdom, and the incitements to diligence with which they were occupied! Remember the diligence of Paul, and how, in the most difficult circumstances, he was active to the last. The tree on which the Saviour found nought but leaves, and which his curse dried
from the roots, is an emblem of too many in the visible church; but there are others to whom we can point who are flourishing in the courts of our God, and who are still bearing fruit in old age, to show that the Lord is upright.
The remembrance of the time you have already spent in indolence will stimulate you. Think of the years of the basest sloth you spent in a state of nature, and on the hours and days you have slumbered since you first turned to righteousness, and you will say." Has folly had our years, and shall we deny to wisdom our moments ?” Has the world had the best of our time, and shall we deny to Heaven and eternity the decline of our days ? God of our life and salva tion, sacred to thee shall be our future time. It is infinite condescension in thee to accept of it; and it is
our reasonable service to yield it though its moments were ages.” The more deeply we are affected with our past sloth the less likely are we to fall into it again; and while many in their penitential lamentations notice only the evils they have done, it is one of the characters of the good that they bewail their sins of omission,--the services they ought to have performed, but did not.
Let Christians, too, labour to maintain the vigilance and activity of each other. If persons are travelling together in the snow, and one of them becomes feeble and languid, and insists on lying down to sleep, his companions, aware how fatal this may be, try to keep him awake and moving by every possible method. They will promise to do every thing that they can to assist him; they will describe to him the welcome and the rest of home, and if these softer methods will not do, they must shake and drag him along. These rough methods must be used or their companion will perish. And let Christians strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Let them exhort one another daily while it is called to-day, lest their hearts be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin: “ Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.”*
3. Let the consideration of the nearness of salvation reconcile you to affliction and to death. You are in a little to inherit the kingdom, and shall you complain of present wants and losses? The spirits of the just are waiting to receive you to their happy society, and
• Psalm cxli, 5.
can you complain of the solitude which death hath brought into your dwelling? Fret not that there is so little in this world to gratify you, when on you the Spirit of glory rests so abundantly; and though the voice of sorrow is sometimes heard in the house of your pilgrimage, the mansion of rest is opening its gates for you, and calling you to the melodies of
At every sigh and tear you may say, I have another tear less to shed, another sigh less to heave; and your light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for you a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory. But
you have reason not only to be reconciled to death, but to long for it. Whatever view you take of death, you may connect salvation with it. Its agonies prepare you for the joys of salvation, and its separations are followed by intercourse with the Saviour. That cold hand brings with it the call to heaven, and that vile body shall be fashioned like to Christ's glorious body. “I looked, and behold a pale horse ; and his name that sat on him was Death, and hell fol. lowed with him.' Such is death to the wicked ; but it comes to the good in a mode very different ; and though to the eye of sense it is followed by the coffin and the grave, and corruption and dust, yet: faith beholds it followed by the possession of heaven, by the reign of life, by the service of the celestial temple, and by the enjoyments of the paradise of God. Death is gain to the pious; and the more of Christ that there is in the life, the more of advantage will there be in dissolution.
* Rev. vi. 8.
4. Let the young be exhorted to activity in goodness and piety. Let not the glow of youth be chilled by sluggishness, and let not vigour, which might do so much for the best of masters, be wasted in folly. Labour much in the Lord, for even your time may be short. It is not the withering flower only that is swept away by the blast, but the leaves of many a plant are strewed on the ground in its gayest beauty and in its sweetest fragrance. How happy is he whose days have been few, but whose labours have been more abundant, and who, without a season of infirmity and languor, goes from active service to God on earth to unceasing worship in heaven! Let no man have reason to despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, charity, spirit, faith, and purity.
The following are the urgent admonitions addressed to Timothy in youth, by one who loved him as a father doth a son, and I trust you will regard them as addressed to you, and comply with them as he did :
.“ Stir up the gift of God that is in thee, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ; watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Finally, how solemn are the lessons suggested by this subject to unconverted men ! Salvation is far from the wicked ; and what is most horrible, ye put it from you, and judged everlasting life unworthy of your acceptance. No character suits your state and condition so well as this, “O daughter of Babylon, near to destruction;" as the Lord liveth, there is
• 2 Tim. iv. 5.