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shall sound to judgment. This, my brethren, is the pure sense in which you should profess to believe this article.
HOLY AND MERCIFUL GOD, what thoughts doth such a faith excite in us! As I introduced the subject with a solemn preparation, it is impossible to conclude it with too serious an address. Since, then, it appears, my brethren, that we are all to rise again, and answer in these bodies for the deeds of the flesh, does it not deeply concern us to take care what manner of men we are, in all holy conversation and godliness? Can we possibly be too cautious of our thoughts, words, and actions? Should we not be thankful, that we have time yet allowed us to repent, and turn to God? Can we begin that necessary task too soon? Can we, for a moment, reflect on the dreadful circumstance of rendering an account before men and angels of all our misdeeds, without just fear for the vengeance we have deserved; and when we are promised by the word of God (the Judge himself), that all our transgressions shall be covered, i. e. forgiven, if we profit by the terms proposed, and the time of trial given? Is it possible we can be so blind, so mad, so unhappily obstinate, as to despise this day of grace-these tender offers of merciful salvation? If we did but duly weigh the holy nature of the SUPREME, who is of too pure eyes to behold iniquity—if we kept
in mind, that, unless Christ had satisfied for his faithful followers, the very best could never be admitted into God's rest, how would it rouse us from the lethargy of a false security, and help us to mortify every fleshly lust and appetite! How should we daily strive to increase in purity and holiness of living! Let us once more advert, my brethren, to the Apostle's figure of the body to be raised again. The grain that is sown, does truly putrefy and decay, before its appearance is renewed; but then it is committed sound into the earth: but there is a possibility that the seed may be kept too long, and so much decayed at heart before its being sown, so as never to rise to any valuable purpose-it may appear, but never yield fruit. The comparison is plain, just, and most profitable to attend to: if we hope to rise to glory, we must contrive to die in the Lord; i. e. so live now, that we may rise triumphing at the last day. They that are holy, must continue holy still, and they that are filthy must instantly reform their hateful ways; for, as the tree falls, so shall it lie: and be not deceived, my brethren, in a case of such irretrievable concern; for God will not be mocked. What a man soweth, that shall he reap: he that soweth unto the FLESH (that thinks only of this life), shall of the flesh reap corruption (be punished for ever); but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (shall, when
he rises, be like a full ear of corn, springing from an uncorrupted grain). He shall come again with joy, and bring his sheaves (the good fruits of his bodily works) with him.-God, of his infinite mercy, endow all present with this heavenly wisdom in time, that we may all be fitted for the praise of his holy name, to all eternity, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.-Amen.
TWELFTH ARTICLE OF THE BELIEF:
"The life everlasting.”
1 JOHN, II. 25.
And this is the promise that he hath promised us,
even ETERNAL LIFE.
THIS, my brethren, is the last article proposed to our faith, in the Creed or Belief-an article highly necessary to be explained, and thoroughly understood, as it contains a declaration of the utmost happiness or deepest woe that creatures are capable of receiving: it points out to us the end of our temporal state, and the never-failing portion of all mankind, according as they have profited by that state of trial in which they are here placed, and as they are prepared for the society of more perfected spirits; or, from wilful continuance in evil, have so increased their original depravity, as to be fit only for the company of the devil and his angels.
The words eternal, everlasting, are often used (after the strong manner of expression of