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ceited Pharisee, who knows nothing as he ought to know, and especially on a subject which of all things most nearly concerns him, viz. himself. For the Scriptures assure us, that they and they only who persevere unto the end shall be saved—and to say nothing here in the way and manner of polemics in theology, who plainly show that they have but too little of religion, by their angry disputes about it, or rather about dogmas of their own, with which religion has really nothing to do—I say, therefore, that since no man's evidence of the goodness of his state can possibly be any higher in degree than that which he has of the purity and integrity of his character; and since that can never be complete while any parts of trial remain for him to undergo—for though he has stood the test of all that are past, there may remain yet one, more severe than the rest, which he will not endure-it follows, that he can never, so long as he lives, feel so per. fectly assured of his final salvation, as to preclude all further occasion for fear. You will find the statements, exhortations, and approved examples of the sacred Scriptures all support this view of the subject; and you will, probably, also find in your progress through life-at least all shrewd observers of human character before you have found that those men who are under no anxious apprehensions respecting their own personal prospects for another world-whether this proceeds from the hardihood of scepticism or the still more impenetrable hardihood of Phariseeism—are not the men whom you may safely trust. The truth is, that whoever allows himself in any delinquency, either obscures the evidence of his acceptance with God, or violates the terms of it; and, in either view of the case, endangers his salvation: and, it is also true, that whoever considers himself out of danger in respect of his salvation, whether it be because he considers it already sufficiently secure, or because he thinks and cares nothing at all about the matter, will be regardless of moral obligation.

I would observe, in the next place, that the sacred Scriptures insist much and strongly on the necessity of honest industry in some useful calling. They allow no one to be idle; not only because idleness is destructive to our temporal interests, but also, and especially because it is the inlet to many and ruinous vices. No man lives for himself alone, but for the common good; and such as are raised above the necessity of laboring for sustenance ought to employ their time and means for the public benefit, or in administering relief to such as are in want. There is not the smallest difficulty, in our own country especially, for men of education to find situations in which their talents and acquirements may be put to some useful purpose. The civil offices of the government are open to them. The business of education presents a vast field of usefulness to such as possess the requisite qualifications. In no other field is there a fairer opportunity for disseminating the benevolent and pure principles of the Bible than in this. He who instills these principles into the youthful mind, labors in a vocation, which is, in itself, and ought to be esteemed, the most honorable and the most important; for its results, like the mind itself, are imperishable. There

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¿ is, indeed, but one other vocation in life so intimately connected with

the cause of religion and humanity as this is. I refer to that of the ; pulpit. In some minds I am aware that the mention of this may

awaken feelings of contempt. But though it has none of those circumstances which strike a worldly imagination to recommend it, and though it has become degraded in public estimation by causes which need not here be mentioned, it can never become dishonorable in itself; since, in the judgment of sober reason, it surpasses in importance all employments that are merely secular, as much as the concerns of the moral world are superior to those of the physical; eternity to time; or the immortal soul to the perishing body. The state of the world at large, and of our own country in particular, imperiously demands the addition of many more laborers in this holy vocation. It is, I believe, admitted on all hands, that public morals have greatly deteriorated among us in the course of the last fifty years. Should not the spirit of genuine Christianity move the hearts of our young men of talents and educa. tion to come forward in the strength of the divine Master to inculcate the same great principles which He inculcated, regardless of the shib. boleths of sect and party, I know not what is to be done to check the progress of iniquity. Of no one truth, in relation to our beloved coun. try, is my conviction more thorough, than of this, that its interests are identified with those of genuine Christianity—a religion as remote from superstition on the one hand, as it is from libertinism on the other. The freedom of our institutions looks for its support to the purity of public morals; and the purity of the public morals cannot be sustained but by the prevalence of that clear and vivid perception of right and wrong, and that deep sense of obligation and responsibility which the Christian system is so well calculated to inspire.

But it is time that I should think of drawing this discourse toward a close; and I shall do so, by calling to your attention the solemn reflection that your destiny for future life, and for that eternity which is to follow, is suspended on the course you are about to take, and will be greatly affected, perhaps 'decisively determined, by the very first steps of that course-perhaps by the resolutions you are this moment forming! Reflect, I beseech you, reflect seriously on what you have just heard. In you, we, in common with the rest of your friends, have much at stake. In you your country has much at stake. . But this is nothing compared with what you yourselves have at stake. Take heed, once more, I solemnly warn you, how you treat the counsel given you in my text. By an authority the most august and venerable, the most sacred and tremendous, a volume of directions has been given to be

your chart and compass on the voyage of life. Take heed to them. Unless you take heed to them there is no more probability of your going safely, than there would be, for a man benighted, traveling without a light

and without a guide, by a way where at every step, frightful chasms s yawned beneath his feet, and precipices approaching close on either side

opened an abrupt descent to the abyss below. No more probability did I say? Not so much. For such a traveler might, by a sort of

miracle, feel his wayo n in the darkness, till he had passed the danger: and this may well represent the case of a poor heathen, to whom the light of divine revelation has been denied, and who, though surrounded by the gloomy superstitions of pagan night, may nevertheless grope his way through the perils that surround him to the light and joy of a better world. But yours is not this case. To you a light has been given; and you must either use or reject it. You cannot take a neutral position. God, in the dispensations of his wise and holy providence, has precluded that. He has apprised you of your danger; and offers you the means of escaping it. Here it is—the Bible. I throw it in your way; I put it in your hands—I recall the expression. It is not I, it is HE-He that made you, and who has ordered the circumstances of your birth, education, and lot in the world; it is He that has placed you in this dilemma. His hand has put into your way-into your hand-into your very souls—I mean, into your understanding, your memory, your conscience, his DIRECTORY of the WAY. This benefit has been—shall I say— forced upon you? It has been, at any rate, conferred upon you, without even the merit of seeking it on your part. God calls it his grace. And so, indeed, it is; a most free and precious gist. But, as I said before, it places you in a dilemma. You must accept it, or reject it; use it, or refuse it. And, if the latter be the alternative of your choice; if you reject this directory, this light of heaven-not the darkness of ignorance, but darkness of another kind, more deep, moré dense, more rayless, more impenetrable, and bewil. dering will enclose you round—the darkness of obstinate and cherished hatred against the truth you have rejected. For, you must find reasons to justify you to your friends, to the world, to yourselves, for what you have done in rejecting the Directory of your God: and you will find them; or rather, you will find what, to you at least, will seem reasons satisfactory. And this is what will bring upon you that preternatural darkness, involved in which you will have to make your way amidst the snares and perils of a world dangerous to virtue, doubly so to such as have rejected the light of truth; for, to their eyes false lights will show themselves; songs of syren melody from enchanted halls will charm their ears; and a strange infatuation will possess

their souls; and, as is usual in such cases, their confidence and presumption will increase as their perils multiply, and their way becomes more dark and slippery, till from above, at length, the tempest-raised by their own folly and the wrath of insulted Heaven-breaks in ruin on their heads. Such, sooner or later, must be the fate of all, whether young or old, who do not take heed to their ways according to God's word. Young gentlemen! receive it as my last counsel, my most earnest and solemn warning: Beware that this fate be not yours.

175

SERMON LXXXIV.

BY S. G. WARD.

OF KENTUCKY.

ON THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

Romans 13:11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high

time to awake out of sleep.

We live in an age of wonders. Astonishing things have already taken place; and more astonishing, we have reason to believe, are just before us: things that will make the ears of those who hear them to tingle. Events follow each other with a rapidity heretofore unknown in the history of the world. The angel whom John saw fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, has evidently begun his flight; and neither earth nor hell shall stop his progress, till the king. doms of this world become the kingdoms of Christ.

I am desirous that you should know the time in which you live, for if you do, you will know that it is high time for you all to awake out of sleep

That we may clearly discern the signs of the times, it will be necessary for us to go back a little in the history of the world. Some of you, no doubt, recollect the period when a gang of infidels in Europe, and in this country, were banded together for the destruction of all religion; and when it was their arrogant boast that in fifty years Christianity would not be heard of but as a term of contempt. You may remember that the Christian religion was abolished, by a Legislative decree, in one of the most powerful and polished nations of Europe; and the Bible ignominiously dragged at the tail of an ass, and burnt. This was, we think, manifestly the time spoken of in Revelation, as the period of slaying the two witnesses. They were to be slain in the street-that is, in the most public part-of the great city, spiritually called, Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. This strikingly describes the city of Paris, the most conspicuous part of what constituted the Roman empire, in the bounds of which our Lord was crucified.

We fix the event of the slaying of the witnesses at the period of the French Revolution; for we are told that “the same hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of the names of men seven thousand.”

The angel explained to John the meaning of the term “the city;" ihat it was the Roman Empire, which then ruled over the nations of the earth. This empire, as was foretold, was divided into ten king. doms; of which France was the most important. An earthquake, in prophetic language, says Sir Isaac Newton, is a revolution. And we find, in fact, that in the French Revolution, seven orders of nobility were abolished—their names were slain—their titles were destroyed. Thus, this prophecy, which to the translators of our Bible was perfectly inexplicable, has been rendered by the fulfilment perfectly plain. An eloquent writer, who appears to have been an eye-witness, speaking of this period, says, “ the plague spread with a rapidity that as. tonished heaven and earth. Life went out, not only in solitary instances, but by an universal extinction. Religion was dead; and her remains lay in the street of that great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt!”

At the end of three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into the witnesses; and they ascended up to heaven in the presence of their enemies! And we accordingly find, that at the end of three prophetical days and a half—that is, of three years and a halffrom the going forth of this decree for the abolition of Christianity, it was repealed; and from this era we date the commencement of those great movements which are now doing such wonderful things for evangelizing the world. For at the end of three years and a half—that is, in the latter part of the year 1793—the first mission was sent from England to India. Then followed Missionary Societies, Bible Societies, Tract Societies, and Sabbath Schools, in rapid succession. Through the instrumentality of these measures, though they have been but about forty years in operation, surprising things have been done for the conversion of the world. I will tell you some of the things which have already been done. The Bible has been translated into more than one hundred and fifty languages, and more than fifteen millions of copies of it, and of the New Testament, have been printed, and circulated among the nations of the earth. A version of it has lately been made into the Chinese language, giving it, as it is said from the best authority, to a population of about four hundred millions of souls! More than thirty translations have been made of this won.

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