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They pray that all these may be prepared, and so naturally they pray that they may not be removed hence suddenly, unprepared, without time to make their peace with God, and, as is often so needful, their peace with their neighbours.

And so I may here state what may appear paradoxical and strange, but it is, nevertheless, perfectly true, that a man at peace with God, and living in the light of His countenance, may desire sudden death in his own case, and yet pray earnestly and in all sincerity against it when he puts up the prayers of the Church.

For such a man may reason thus :—“God has been, I know, very merciful to me, in that He has saved my soul. He has reconciled me to Himself. He has made me very different from what I once was. He has made me to love prayer -to love His word and His Church, and to desire to be united to His Son, now and for ever. I know this is all from Him. I take it to be a token that He intends my everlasting salvation. Well, being thus safe in His hands, I humbly desire that when I die I should not be a burden to my friends. Whenever He calls me I am ready.” But this same man may look around, and see the claims of his God and Saviour disregarded by the generality of men, even of professing Christians. with the Psalmist, “I am horribly afraid for the wicked that forsake thy law;" and with the

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He may say

deep consciousness that the most of those around him are, to all appearance, unprepared to die be may pray-may, did I say?-I think he will pray that God may not cut them off in their sins, but may give them time and opportunity for the exercise of repentance, faith, and prayer; and so in praying for their conversion he will pray that they may have time to be converted, and so he will pray with all his heart, “From sudden death, Good Lord deliver us!"

Well, then, my brethren, we must pray to be delivered from "sudden death," but it may not be God's will to hear our prayer in our own case. He only knows when He intends to cut short our accepted time, our day of salvation. He has not given to us to know this; but one thing He assuredly has given us to know, and that is, that now is our accepted time-now our day of salvation. The present time is the only time that we can call our own; and we can call it our own, and we can so use it, that the future-the boundless future may be our own too.

How then are we to set about this matter ? Let us see. When God says

“ now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation,” it means, of course, that God is now willing to be found by us—that He is near to us to have mercy upon us. “ Seek ye then the Lord while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Determine, then, this very day to have to do with God. Determine to have to do with Him in the matter of your salvation from sin, its guilt, power, and consequences. Determine to have to do with Him, ere it be too late, about such all-important matters as repentance towards Him, and faith towards His Son.

A living divine of our own Church has written thus upon sudden death:

“ We should shrink from it ourselves; we should wish for the most part to have notice of our death, to wind up our repentances, to be disciplined by its approach, to receive the comforts of our holy faith, to be prayed by and prayed for; to be commended to God by those whom He has appointed to bless in His name; once more to receive the pledges of our Saviour's mercy,” once more to hear the most mysterious words that can fall from mortal lips, or be heard by mortal ears: “The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life;" once more to renew our union with Him, and in that union to wrestle with the last enemy, and in Christ's strength to trample

upon him.

Such, my brethren, is the prospect of death

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to a righteous man, to one reconciled to God, and spending life in His service.

If this is his view of death, of what he would wish for in his last hours, even though he might be saved, and doubtless would be, without, what should be the şinner's thoughts of being hurried into eternity; what his fears lest God should so cut him off'; what his prayers that God should spare him, that “ he may recover his strength before he go hence and be more seen ?” No more

seen-no more seen—but by whom? Only by us. He yet continues to be seen by God, by angels, by devils, by the souls of those who, like himself, have laid aside the burthen of the flesh.

Determine then, this very day, not to leave in doubt the one thing of overwhelming importance to you as one who must exist for ever, the salvation of your soul. Remember the awful words, “ If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ?" And lest such words should overwhelm you, as, believe me, they would do if you realized them, remember other words full of encouragement, He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." " Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost all those that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

“ He

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XVII.

SERMONS AND THEIR EFFECTS.

ACTS xxviii. 24, “Some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not."

As we read any book of the history of bygone times we silently pass judgment upon the conduct of the different characters which come before us in its pages. We do this with the Bible, of course, and it was intended that we should. When we read of Judas betraying Christ we are confounded at his wicked treachery. When we read of Peter denying Him we are ashamed. We trust, perhaps, that we should have been more courageous, but, it may be, we have wholesome misgivings. But whilst we pass judgment on the conduct of Apostles with much reserve and fear, there is one thing, I think, which we all assume, and that is, that we should certainly have been on the side of Christ. It never crosses our minds that we could possibly have taken part with the Pharisees, and vehemently opposed Him. It would have been out of the question that we should ever have called out “Crucify Him." How could it possibly be that we, who now say

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