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"ATING UPON RELIGION. rest and concern of our existence, s that our greatest interest and con

those things which are now invisire saved by hope, but hope that is ppe: for what a man seeth, why doth for; but if we hope for that we see we with patience wait for it.” The - therefore, which religion has to conus, is that which binds down our ate things which we see. The natural ersed in sense : nothing takes hold of ut what applies immediately to his nis disposition will not do for religion : - character is founded in hope as con hed from experience, in perceiving 1 what is not perceived by the eye; n can do this, he cannot be religious any it is a great difficulty. This powwhich, as St. Paul observes of it, is places the invisible world before our ecifically described in Scripture, as orhan Cleeided, whether years to all it stew e gifts of the Spirit, the natural mall titlent nie deed much in need of it, being alto emablement

opposite tendency. Hear St. Paul's his Roman converts; “ The God ol u with all joy and peace in believing: ay abound in hope through the power

Ghost.” Again to the Galatians, how scribe the state of mind of a Christian: disposition gh the Spirit wait for the hope of right. It not tien

faith.” Another impediment to the thought of the uncer the faculty and the habit we have acided for when it morted or br ress regarding its concerns as at a distance. Prores de affected by nothing but what is present, thousands in this respect continue chur heir lives; in a degree this weakness us all, or produces upon us the same wire this er a different form, namely, in this way: prishing, it and ourselves necessarily disturbed o n: no proaching evil, we have the means of debet the nearness or the approach of that constan

MEDITATING UPON RELIGION."
which must bring with it the greatest evil or the
patest good we are capable of, our change at
bath. Though we cannot exactly offer any ar.
paments to shew that it is either certainly or pro-
bably at a distance, yet we have the means of re-
prling it in our minds as though it were at a dis-
tanice ; and this even in cases in which it cannot
possibly be so. Do we prepare for it? no; why?
because we practically regard it in our imagina.
tions 28 at a digante : we cannot prove that it is
at a distance: may, the contrary may be proved
against us : but still we regard it so in our inna.
ginations, and regard it so practically; for ima
pination is with most men the practical principle,
But however strong and general this delusion be,
las it any foundation in reason? Can that be
ranght at a distance which may come to-morrow,
which must come in a few years? In a very few
years to boost of us, in a few years to all it will be
fixed and decided, whether we are to be in heas.

en orbell; yet we go on without thinking of it,
all vident preparing for it, and it is exceedingly ob.
for stervable, that it is only in religion we thus put

Var the thought from us. In the settlement of wir worldly affairs after our deaths, which exact.

depend upon the same event, commence at the maine time, are equally distant, if either were dis. tante, equally liable to uncertainty; as to when the

disposition will take place, in these, I say, men Chat are not usually negligent, or think that by reason of righe chita distance it can be neglected, or by reason of

of the uncertainty when it may happen, left unpro

rided for. This is a flagrant inconsistency, and
prores decisively that religion possesses a small
portion of our concern, in proportion with what
it ought to do. For instead of giving to it that

speriority which is due to immortal concerns,
ime we those which are transitory, perishable and

por even put upon an equality with abstem: Dor with those, which, in respect to time unts of the uncertainty of time, are under the same

ate tercumstances with itsell. .

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rishing, it is not even to

aces with itseleine, are complect to time

ing with it the greatest evil or the we are capable of, our change at gh we cannot exactly offer any arew that it is either certainly or proEance, yet we have the means of reour minds as though it were at a dismis even in cases in which it cannot

. Do'we prepare for it? no; why? Practically regard it in our imagina

distance : we cannot prove that it is e: nay, the contrary may be proved but still we regard it so in our ima. nd regard it so practically; for ima. with most men the practical principle. r strong and general this delusion be, foundation in reason? Can that be

distance which may come to-morrow, - come in a few years? In a very few st of us, in a few years to all it will be ecided, whether we are to be in heavyet we go on without thinking of it, paring for it, and it is exceedingly obhat it is only in religion we thus put nought from us. In the settlement of y affairs after our deaths, which exactupon the same event, commence at the , are equally distant, if either were disly liable to uncertainty; as to when the will take place, in these, I say, men zally negligent, or think that by reason nce it can be neglected, or by reason of ainty when it may happen, left unpro

This is a flagrant inconsistency, and cisively that religion possesses a small our concern, in proportion with what do. For instead of giving to it that which is due to immortal concerns, e which are transitory, perishable and it is not even put upon an equality with

with those, which, in respect to time, acertainty of time, are under the same nces with itself. .

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ATING UPON RELIGION. Che spiritual character of religion is

impediment to its entering our 1 religion, which is effectual, ig and ual. Offices and ordinances are the d instruments of the spiritual relied to generate, to promote, to main. U it in the heart, but the thing itself tual. Now the flesh weigheth down vith a load and burden. It is diffithe human constitution to a sense

of what is purely spiritual. They ted, not only to vice, but to gratifieasures; they who know no other o with the crowd in their career of d amusement: they whose atten

fixed and engrossed by business, From morning to night are counting g; the weak and foolish and stupid; comprehends a class of mankind de

olent and slothful: can bring themselves to meditate

The last class slumber over its in, acerns; perhaps they cannot be said solutely, but they slumber over the Ich state nothing as to their salvation decision, no practice. There are,

see, various obstacles and infirmie stitutions, which obstruct the recep s ideas in our mind, still more sucli, tertainment of them, as may bring - ought therefore to be our constant

, that he will open our hearts to the as word, by which is meant that he en and actuate the sensibility and minds, as to enable us to attend Lich really and truly belong to ou ligion gains that hold and that posheart, which it must do to become ur salvation. things change within other respects, so especially in this. eat deal more frequently about 10

MEDITATING UPON RELIGION ve think of it for a longer continuance, and oor thoughts of it have much more of vivacity and impresiveness. First, We begin to think of relifor more frequently than we did. Heretofore we zever thought of it at all, except when some mel. ancholy incident had sunk our spirits, or had terrified our apprehensions ; it was either from low. ness or from fright that we thought of religion at all. Whilst things went smoothly and prosperously and gally with us, whilst all was well and safe in our health and cireumstances, religion was the last thing we wished to turn our minds to : we did not want to have our pleasure disturbed by it. But it is not so with us now : there is a change in our minds in this respect. It enters our thoughts tery often, both by day and by night; " Have I not remembered thee in my bed, and thought upon the when I was walking. This change is one of the prognostications of the religious principle forming within us. Secondly, These thoughts detle themselves upon our minds. They were bonaerly Beeting and transitory, as the cloud which passes along the sky; and they were so for two reasons: first, they found no congenial tem. per and disposition to rest upon, no seriousness, no posture of mind proper for their reception : and secondly, because we of our own accord, by a positive exertion and endeavour of our will, put them away from us ; we disliked their presence, we rejected and cast them ont. But it is not so NOW: we entertain and retain religious meditations, as being in fact those which concern us most deeply. I do not speak of the solid comfort whichi is to be found in them, because that belongs to a more advanced state of Christian life than I am now considering: that will come afterward; and, when it does come, will form the support and consolation and happiness of our lives. But whils de religious principle is forming, at least durin

De first steps of that formation, we are induced this. Wink about religion chieflis from a sense of its out in basequences, and this reason is enough to me

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we think of it for a longer continuance, and our thoughts of it have much more of vivacity and impressiveness. First, We begin to think of religion more frequently than we did. Heretofore we never thought of it at all, except when some melancholy incident had sunk our spirits, or had terrified our apprehensions; it was either from low. ness or from fright that we thought of religion at all. Whilst things went smoothly and prosperously and gaily with us, whilst all was well and safe in our health and circumstances, religion was the last thing we wished to turn our minds to : we did not want to have our pleasure disturbed by it. But it is not so with us now: there is a change in our minds in this respect. It enters our thoughts very often, both by day and by night; “ Have I not remembered thee in my bed, and thought upon thee when I was waking?” This change is one of the prognostications of the religious principle forming within us. Secondly, These thoughts settle themselves upon our minds. They were formerly fleeting and transitory, as the cloud which passes along the sky; and they were so for two reasons: first, they found no congenial temper and disposition to rest upon, no seriousness, no posture of mind proper for their reception : and secondly, because we of our own accord, by a positive exertion and endeavour of our will, put them away from us, we disliked their presence, we rejected and cast them out. But it is not so now: we entertain and retain religious meditations, as being in fact those which concern us most deeply. I do not speak of the solid comfort which is to be found in them, because that belongs to a more advanced state of Christian life than I am now considering : that will come afterward; and, when it does come, will form the support and consolation and happiness of our lives. But whilst the religious principle is forming, at least during the first steps of that formation, we are induced to think about religion chiefly from a sense of its vast consequences, and this reason is enough to make

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STATE AFTER DEATH. k about it both long and closely igious thoughts come to have a vie ressiveness in them which they had hat is to say, they interest us much - did. There is a wonderful differat in which we see the same thing,

d strength with which it rises up v, in the degree with which we are

This difference is experienced in ore than in religion, not only bet persons, but by the same person nes, the same person in different hristian progress, the same persol E measures of divine grace. ould we know whether we have naking, any advances in Christianiese are the marks which will tell ink more frequently about religion

do? De we cherish and entertain for a longer continuance than we nterest us more than formerly! Do 5 more, do they strike us more for sink deeper? If we perceive this, ve a change, upon which we may pes and expectations : if we pel. e have cause for very afflicting ap. at the power of religion bath not

cause for deep and fervent inter, d for the much wanted succour of

OF THE STATE AFTER DEATH. 31
nesten, whether we and they shall be happy ce
aserable; as I mean the question, what is the
sture and condition of that state, which we are
o son totry. This solicitude, which is both na-
mal and strong, is sometimes however carried
39 far: and this is the case, when it renders us
uneasy, e dissatisfied, or impatient under the ob-
seurity, in which the subject is placed ; and placed,
not only in regard to us, or in regard to common
men, but in regard even to the apostles themselves
of our Lord, who were taught from his mouth, as
well as immediately restrueted by his Spirit. St.
John, the author of the text which I hate read to
rou, was one of these ; not only an apostle, but oi
ll the apostles, perhaps, the most closely con-
sented with his Master, and admitted to the most
naktiemate familiarity with him. What it was al-
loved therefore for man to know, St. John knew.
Yet this very St. John acknowledges " that it deth
not yet appear what we shall be; " the exact na.
ture and condition and circumstances of our fu-

mure state are yet hidden from us.

I think it eredible, that this may in a very great
begree arise from the nature of the human under-
standing itself. Our Saviour said to Nicodemus,
" have told you earthly things, and se believe
not, how shall se believe, if I tell you of heaven.
ly things ?" It is evident from the strain of this
extraordinary conversation, that the disbelief, on
the part of Nicodernus, to which our Saviour re-
fers, was that which arose from the difficulty of
comprehending the subject. Therefore our Sa.

viour's words to bim nay be constructed thus. If
what I have just now said concerning the new birth,
concerning being born again, concerning being
bom of the Spirit, concerning the agency of the
Spirit, which are all earthly things that is, are
I things that pass in the hearts of Christians in
Sis their present life, and upon this earth: if this
Normation prove so difficult, that you cannot
king yourself to believe it, by reason of the diffi-
vdy of apprehending it, how shall ye believe

SERMON IV.
DE STATE AFTER DEATH.

are we the sons of God; and it hear what we shall be: but we know wall appear, we shalí be like him;

him as he is.—1 John iii. 2. most natural solicitudes of the hu. know what will become of us are is already become of those friends I do not so much mean the great

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