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ignorance of a child! All is mystery. A mind little inferior to what we conceive of angelic powers, is destroyed by the resistless force of its own imagination; and reason is subdued by the uncontrolled power of fancy. Like a majestic building raised upon too lofty a scale, it sinks under its own pressure—and from the Very grandeur of the design becomes an heap of ruins. Like a bright meteor, shines the blaze of genius for a Season; but, from some unknown cause, it is precipitated from its exalted sphere in a moment, and the ray of intellect which illumined the world—expires. We deplore in vain the ruins of that beautiful fabric, the human mind; and with anguish of spirit we discern the light of the understanding extinguished. But we are not ignorant of the hand which quenches it. It is the same that kindled it at the first. These are the mysterious transactions of the Fountain of Life: “For there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.”

3. SPIRITUAL KNow LEDGE IS THE GIFT OF God. We too frequently see men of distinguished talents, inost deplorably ignorant in that knowledge, which of itself is able to counterbalance the want of all others; and without which, all science is less than nothing. We stand astonished, and look upon the man as something more than mortal. What admirable powers of intellect! What a capacious understanding! What greatness of soul! What genius! What acquirements What intelligence! What pity is it the picture is not finished! But the noble outline wants filling up by moral worth; and wanting that, it wants everything. Alas! “one thing is needful”—and the lack of that one thing, destroys the worth of all! Without this, that godlike capacity is degraded: those superior powers are abused. They are mischievous rather than useful. They are ruinous to their possessor, and injurious to society. They are turned against HIM who bestowed them. They are wasted in wanton profusion; but they are followed by a dreadful responsibility. If it should please God to kindle a ray of spiritual light in that mind, what might not such a man, in the right employment of such distinguished talents, perform! But in the mean time our position is established—that spiritual knowledge is the gift of God. “A man can receive nothing except it be given him from above.” We are maturally ignorant in all spiritual concerns. Still worse than this, every power of our mind is directed against divine knowledge. “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” He, who leads the morning stars, and kindled the radiance of the sun; He, who “in the beginning.” said, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light;" He, who bestows natural and intellectual life upon the man; He it is, who pours spiritual knowledge into the mind, and to Him is it ascribed in the scriptures. “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.” 4. The FUTURE ExistENCE OF THE SPIRIT wils. flow FRom God. Leaving this world, our prospects are unbounded. The word of God draws aside the veil, and transports us to the foot of the eternal throne. The eye of faith numbers the different orders of glorious spirits which bend before the Deity. First, the various ranks of those pure Intelligences, those myste

rious Beings, who never sinned, pass before the eye of

the mind. These evermore cry, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty”-- and hide their faces before un

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created Excellence. And these derive their existence, and their powers from Him, before whom they do homage. Then, the myriads of the Redeemed pass along before us, divided into their companies, and possessing their respective degrees of glory: but it is “a great multitude which no man can number.” Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, lead the way: the noble army of martyrs follows: the general assembly and church of the firstborn, the spirits of the just made perfect, from Adam to the last spirit that fled from this vale of tears, are in this illustrious crowd, each of them clothed in righteousness, and bearing the emblem of victory in his hand. And these all live upon the “Fountain of Life”---all derive their superior intelligence from the “Father of Lights.” “The inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” We have contemplated the natural dignity of man, and uncovered the source of his greatness; from all that has been said, his destination may be prejudged; and indeed it has been interwoven throughout the texture of the whole of this Lecture: we may keep it in view also, in setting before you


Is there “a spirit in man?”

1. How High is its DestiNATION! It was not designed to be immured in these walls of flesh for ever. The harps of angels invite us to our rest. Departed saints attract us forwards. The voice of God himself calls us home. It is the combined testimony of the scriptures, of reason, of conscience, that this immaterial principle is destined for the enjoyment of God for ever. He who buries his expectations here forgets his dignity. Like his divine Lord, the Christian passes through this world in the shape of a servant; in the world of spirits, he shall appear in all the majesty of an heir of glory. Yonder sun shall be extinguished; those stars shall fade; the beauties of creation shall be blotted out; the trump of God shall announce the dissolution of nature; the heavens shall be wrapped together as a scroll; all shall be consumed; all shall be destroyed; the whole globe shall be a mass of ruins; but at that instant the concealing curtain shall fall; the new creation shall burst upon the enraptured sight; the redeemed spirit shall be put in possession of its everlasting habitation; and the man shall enjoy God for ever. Such is his high destination. Does “the inspiration of the Almighty give us understanding?” 2. How ought. THE Powers of The spirit To BE Devoted to HIM! Shall I deem his service a drudgery, who made me what I am? who requires in return only that I should fear him, and love him? and who in order to induce me to obey his commands, assumes and exercises the most tender of characters and of relations? O, ungrateful that I am! shall I deem the gentle requisitions of a father; the claims of an elder brother, founded equally injustice and in kindness; the expectations of a friend—an hardship? Impossible! No—had he demanded the unceasing tribute of my spirit; had he marked out every moment of my life; as a season of worship; I ought not, even then, to have deemed it an hard service! Did he not bestow those powers? Has he not a right to do that which he will with his own? Does he ask more than he gave? Did not Jesus die to save that spirit? Surely his commandments are not grievous: but “his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.” And are there any who live day after day without bowing their knee to God? Are there any who live in the neglect of secret prayer, upon whom he has bestowed an immortal spirit—perhaps distinguished talents? How are they to be pitied! the voice of joy from nature reproaches them—the voice of conscience from within reproaches them—the voice of the scriptures reproaches them: for it says– and reason seconds its injunctions—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.”

Is there “a spirit in man?”

3. How vast Is It's Loss! I shudder to paint the lightest shades of this horrible picture. To die an enemy to God, is to have all the powers and capacities of the mind blotted out—I correct myself—not blotted out, but continued, and enlarged, only to increase the agony of their miserable possessor. The tortures of futurity will be augmented by the bitterness cf reflection and of self-reproach. The memory will be tenacious of all the scenes of the past life—and strong to recall the opportunities which were neglected, the time which was wasted, the ordinances which were despised, the salvation which was proffered, and which is now for ever hid from their eyes! What a dagger to the heart is the reflection, “I have done all this! my own hand has pulled down ruin upon my head; my own hand has extinguishished the ray of hope for ever: my own hand has fixed the eternal bars of this ever-during dungeon!” Is it not enough that now, when the spirit is wounded by the arrows of the Almighty, the accusations of conscience torture the bosom beyond the utmost stretch of thought, but will you tempt the worst, and dare the arm of Omnipotent vengeance to strike, and “to cast body and soul into hell?” Is it not

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