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ated by sin, it could never be drawn into a precedent.

The Second is derived from observation. We have often attended persons on what was deemed their dying bed; we have heard their prayers and their professions; we have seen their distress and their relief; and had they died, we should have presumed on their salvation. But we have never known one of these, who on recovery lived so as to prove the reality of his conversion? We have often asked ministers concerning the same case; and they have been compelled to make the same awful declaration.

The Third regards the force of habit. "As well may the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots, as they learn to do good who have been accustomed to do evil." Diseases which if taken in time are curable, by becoming inveterate are rendered desperate. “But there is no desperate case here," you are ready to say. "With God all things are possible. His grace is almighty." Acknowledged: and you shall have all the encouragement derivable from a miracle of grace. But what probability is there, that an extraordinary dispensation of grace will be adopted, after all the ordinary means of salvation have been despised and neglected? And despised and neglected too in hope of this!

Yet, by the way, we should have more hope of such a man, if he died uncertain and distressed, than were we to see him dying in "the full assurance of hope." For though God is a sovereign, and we are not to limit the Holy One of Israel, it is not surely reasonable to expect, that a man who has given his whole life to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and is only driven to God by dying regret, should be able to say with a Simeon, who has been waiting for the consolation of Israel; "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation!" Let us conclude by three reflections.

First. How good is God! He is much more attentive to our welfare than we 'ever have been, or ever can be. He originally made man upright; and when by transgression he fell away from him, he did not avail himself of the rights his justice had acquired over him; nor did he even treat him with neglect. He remembered us in our low estate, and "so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He has sent us the information, with numberless means and motives to awaken our attention to it. And these he is continually reaping. So true is it, that he is “ "longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and live." So justly may he complain, "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" For,

Secondly. How fallen is man! Some deny his depravity, contending that we are naturally virtuous, or at least as much inclined to good as evil. But if this be the fact, why do we need so many hinderances to restrain us from evil, and so many endeavours to excite us to good? And why are they ineffectual too? They ought upon this principle to be successful with the majority, or at least an equal number of mankind. But are they?' Do we not see men generally breaking through every restraint, and disregarding every kind of instruction and reproof? And are not they who walk by the rule of God's word, "a peculiar people?"

Hence our Fourth remark regards the influence of such examples. If persons who live without God in the world were as frequently called in their last hour as too many seem to admit, would not the frequency of the occurrence influence persons to procrastinate their religious concerns, and to say to every present application, "Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season I will call for thee?" But does God by his conduct contradict his commands? And having said, "To-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your heart;"-" now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation;" "seek ye the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near;"-would he supersede the necessity or weaken the impression of all this, by his constantly receiving sinners when they can insult him no longer, and showing that forced regret is as acceptable to him as genuine repentance?

For Finally, observe the uncertainty the individual must feel in determining the reality of his religious feelings. How is he to know whether they are the cries of nature, or the desires of grace? whether they flow from the Spirit of God, or result from his tremendous situation, and his depressed and disordered frame? And has he not enough to bear without this cruel perplexity? Now that he needs the comforts of religion, is he incapable of deciding whether he is entitled to its promises? Now that he needs confidence,

Thirdly. How important is serious thought! In this religion commences: "I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments." Could men go on as they do, if they considered their ways, comparing them with the word of God, and examining their consequences? Impossible. It is thoughtlessness that ruins them. They never faithfully inquire, How will this close? Will it bring me peace at the last? How will it appear when reviewed from the bormust he expire in darkness and in doubt?-ders of the grave? "A prudent man fore

seeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the | simple pass on, and are punished." "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!"




Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Phil. iii. 20, 21.

latter; and rendered it conversation. And they have done so, not only in the passage before us, but in several other places, meaning however by the term, not discourse only, but the whole tenor of our conduct. We need not disunite these two senses. The one will infer and explain the other.

Be it remembered therefore, in the First place, that the believer stands in connexion with another and a nobler world; he belonge to "a better country, even a heavenly." He is a citizen of no mean city: "a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," and which abounds with laws, honours, riches, pleasures, immunities, and intercourse, the most valuable and glorious. How did a man boast in being a citizen of Rome! When the centurion heard that Paul was a Roman, "he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman ! He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was freeborn." Think, then, what a privilege it is to belong to a state concerning which it is said, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him!"-Hence our Saviour teaches his disciples to prefer their being registered among the living in Jerusalem to the power and fame of working miracles: "Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."


Now, Secondly, as the Christian is allied to such a country, a suitable mode of living becomes him. A citizen of Rome could live elsewhere, even in any of the distant provinces. A citizen of heaven resides on earth for season; but he is a stranger and a foreigner. Though in the world, he is not of it. And while certain purposes detain him here, his principles, his habits, and his speech, show that he belongs to "a peculiar people." He is a citizen of glory. He prefers his fellowcitizens. He loves to speak of the glory of his kingdom. He will correspond with it; and as cold water to a thirsty soul, so will good news be from this far country. His body is here, and his business is here but his soul is there-there is his treasure; there his inheritance; there his thoughts fix; there his affections rest;

THE present is not the principal state in which man is to be found; and it shoud never be viewed separate from another; to which it bears the same relation as infancy to manhood, as spring to autumn, as seedtime to harvest. Who, in nature, having scattered one kind of grain in his field, would think of filling his barn with another? And in religious concerns "be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; for he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

This consideration stamps an awfulness on human nature; and teaches us the true importance of the present period. It is comparatively a matter of little concern what is to become of us, and where we shall reside, for a few weeks or years. The grand question is, Where are we to reside for ever? And what is to become of us when the trumpet shall sound, and all the dead, both small and great, shall stand before God, and receive of the things done in the body, whether they be good, or whether they be evil?

Some never afford this subject a moment's thought. Others remain in a state of uncertainty. But the primitive Christians gave all diligence to make their calling and their election sure; and conscious of the reality of their religion, and the blessedness of their condition, could say; "Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Let us considerTHE CHRISTIAN'S STATE-THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPECTATION-THE CHRISTIAN'S DESTINY. He acts habitually under an impression of heaven, and with a reference to it. His chief care is to gain it. He often fears that he shall miss it at last; and the apprehension stimulates his vigilance, self-examination, and diligence. He concurs in the prayer, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in hea

I. His present STATE. It is thus expressed: "Our conversation is in heaven." The original term is used two ways. Sometimes it signifies a certain alliance, and means citizenship: and sometimes it denotes a peculiar behaviour. Our translators have preferred the

"There his best friends, his kindred dwell;
There God his Saviour reigns."

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ven:" he mourns over his want of conformity to the servants of God above; and is seeking after an increase of those blessed tempers and joys, which are possessed by them in all their perfection. He is not only longing, but preparing for heaven. And he is hastening towards it, not only as a place of release from trouble, but as a state of freedom from sin, and communion with God.

This reminds us of the present abode of our Redeemer: he is now in heaven. And hence we need not wonder that Christians should have their conversation in heaven. For he is their treasure; and where "the treasure is, there will the heart be also."The removal of a very dear friend into another neighbourhood will frequently render a place indifferent to us; and we change our residence to be near him. The death of a delightful relation will turn a paradise into a wilderness. How often do we look up, and follow our departed connexions in our thoughts! But something of them remains. The body we have laid in the grave. We go to the place to weep there. We feel a propriety in the very dust we tread. But nothing of our Saviour remains to attach us to earth: his very body is gone from us. "I am no more," said he, "in the world"-a sentence sufficient to render the world dreary; we feel his attraction as he ascends; and "rising together with Christ, we seek those things that are above, where he sitteth at the right hand of God. We set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. And when he who is our life shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory."


Again. Though our Redeemer is now in heaven, he will come thence. The time is indeed a secret: but the thing is sure. He does not forget his friends while he is absent; he communicates with them, and supplies them: and has promised to come again and receive them to himself, that where he is there they may be also." But how wonderful the difference between his former and his future coming! Then he was seen of few; now "every eye shall see him."Then his glory was veiled, and "the world knew him not" now we shall "see him as he is." Then "he was despised and rejected of men;" now he "shall come in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels!" Then he was born in a stable, and nailed to a cross; now "he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations." He was "once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him will he appear the second time without sin Into salvation." Observe also the state of the Christian's

II. His high expectation. "Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."

mind with regard to this appearance. He looks for him.

He believes his coming; and this distinguishes him from infidels. They ask, "Where is the promise of his coming?" and having rendered it their interest that he should not come, persuade themselves that he will not. Their unbelief is the offspring of their vices and their fears. But with the Christian it is not a matter of opinion or conjecture; he does not say, He may come; but He will come and by means of that "faith which is the evidence of things not seen," he beholds him already marshaling his angels and traveling down.

But do not all believe this truth? It is an invidious task to call men infidels. But suppose they prove themselves so? Now we know from observation and experience that belief sways the mind, and governs the conduct. Even when our persuasion is founded on our own imagination, or the testimony of our fellow-creatures, it produces some effect. How much more operative should be our confidence in the testimony of God, who cannot be deceived, and who cannot lie! Now if men live precisely like others; as bold in sin; as remiss in duty; can they really believe? Do not actions speak louder than words?

The true believer therefore pays attention to his coming, and thus he is distinguished from nominal Christians, who, if we must allow that they believe it, are not influenced by it. What we look for we prepare for in proportion as we attach importance to it. We prepare for the reception of a friend. How much more should we prepare for the reception of a king. But here the personage expected is the King of kings; the Governor of the universe; the Judge of all!-And does the Christian, who is looking for Him, immerse himself in the cares of this life? Does he "sleep, as do others?" Does he play and trifle? Does he smite his fellow-servant, and eat and drink with the drunken? No; but "seeing he looks for such things, he is diligent that he may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." He waits with his "loins girded, and his lamp burning;"and "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, he should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world," and is thus looking for that blessed hope, "and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

For, Finally, remark the character under which the Christian waits for him: "from whence we look for the Saviour." This was the name given him at his birth, and for the most important of all reasons, because he should "save his people from their sins." This work he has not only undertaken, but will completely accomplish. He is coming to finish it; and to fulfil all that the name imposes upon him, or implies. He will create

new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. He will gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. "O Death! he will be thy plagues. O Grave! he will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from his eyes." "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." III. His final DESTINY. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Three things are observable.

sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."


Secondly. Here is the model to which it will be conformed: "It shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body." The comparison does not regard his body in "the days of his flesh." It was then possessed of all sinless qualities and feelings. But, after his resurrection and ascension, it was deprived of every thing animal and humiliating. It was incapable of hunger or weariness. It could move with the ease of thought, and was invalnerable and eternal as the soul. It was glorified. A glimpse of this glory was given by way of anticipation to the disciples, in the transfiguration, when "his face shone as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." In this glory he appeared to Saul: he shone "above the brightness of the sun," and struck him blind. When John saw him, "his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength," and though he had been once familiar with him, and had leaned often on his bosom, he fell at his feet as dead. How glorious must that body be in which he now governs the world! In which he will judge the universe! In which we shall hold all our intercourse with Deity for ever! Yet a 60formity to this glory is not a privilege too great for our hope. As sure as we now resemble the Saviour in disposition, we shall be like him in person: and the same mind will be followed with the same body.

Thirdly. We are informed of the omnipe tent agency by which the work is to be accomplished; "according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." It is obvious that such a renovation is nothing less than a miracle, and the most stupendous of all miracles; and therefore that it demands in him, who is to effect it, something more than kindness "We cannot by taking thought add one cubit to our stature." We cannot replace a leaf; or revive a blade of grass. Oh! if love could bring back the dead-if cries and tears could be heard-how soon would our breaches be repaired, and our wounds healed!—Such power is not ours; it is not ours by nature; a it is not ours by dispensation. But it belongs to the Saviour. He is the mighty God." He has "power given him over all flesh. He is Lord of the dead, as well as of the living." And he fainteth not, neither is weary. The reanimation and organization of millions of dead bodies will not exhaust him. He could do infinitely more. He is "able even to subdue all things unto himself."


First. The subject changed. "This vile body." Much of the wisdom and power of God is displayed in the formation of the human frame. And when we consider the multiplicity and delicacy of its parts; the connexion of its members; the proportion and adaptation of its organs to each other, and to the whole; we need not wonder that David should say, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!" In this sense, it is not a vile body.

But when we view it as degraded by the Fall; as prostituted to the purposes of sin; when we think of the sordidness and lowness of its appetites and infirmities; when we view it under various kinds and degrees of disease, requiring all the interest of reward or vigour of friendship, to discharge towards a fellow-creature the common duties of humanity; when we are compelled by the approach of putrefaction to bury our dead, however once loved and valued, out of our sight; when we go and open a grave, and witness the intolerable disgrace of our nature; we acknowledge with what propriety it is called "the body of our humiliation." But this body is not to be annihilated, though reduced-it From this subject we should learn, First, will be only changed. "So also is the resur- to be thankful for the discoveries of revela rection of the dead. It is sown in corruption. The notions of the heathen philoso tion; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown phers, even concerning the immortality of the in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown soul, were very confined and confused; and in weakness; it is raised in power: it is it is to be observed that they never laid stress


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Lastly. Are you children of the resur

upon it, as a principle and a motive. But the resurrection of the body never entered their minds. The history and experience of mankind had furnished no ground for such an expectation. They had always followed the body to the grave, and had seen it return to its original element. The doctrine of its revival and transformation was so new at Athens, that the preaching of it by the Apos tle was turned into mockery. But the poor-rection? Let me earnestly entreat you not est and most illiterate Christian can open his to elude the inquiry. For though the resurBible, and say, "I know that my Redeemer rection, as an event, is universal; as a priviliveth, and that he shall stand at the latter lege it is limited. "All that are in their day upon the earth: And though after my graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; skin worms destroy this body, yet in my they that have done good unto the resurrecflesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for tion of life; but they that have done evil myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not unto the resurrection of damnation." And another; though my reins be consumed can that be called a deliverance that raises within me." a man from a bad state, and consigns him to a worse? This will be the case with the wicked and the worldly; this will be the case with all those who have not been raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. The pit of corruption will resign its charge into the pit of destruction. O dreadful doom! Those bodies for which you have disregarded your souls; those bodies upon which you have expended all your time and attention; those bodies which you have nursed in sickness, and pampered in health-those bodies -death will surrender to the worms; andthe resurrection to the flames.

Secondly; observe the importance the Scripture attaches to the doctrine of the resurrection. With what severity does the Apostle speak of those who endeavour to explain it away metaphorically; and "said the resurrection is past already, and overturned the faith of some." The Gospel certainly admits of an intermediate state between death and the resurrection; but whenever the blessedness of the future world is spoken of, it is, with few exceptions, placed not immediately after death, but after the resurrection. "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day. A crown of righteousness, which the righteous Judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing." It would be unnecessary to multiply passages to prove the remark. But does not all this imply, that whatever the intermediate state may be, compared with the present, it is a defective one compared with the final state of the believer? And it cannot be otherwise. Man was imbodied in his original creation; and so he will be in his ultimate condition. Till the resurrection, he wants an essential part of human nature; and a medium of connexion and intercourse with material things, from which a large proportion of the happiness of our compound being results.

Thirdly. Let this truth be always combined with the thought of death. Remember it in view of your own dissolution; and as you look towards the grave, and tremble, take courage, and drink in the heavenly intelligence which the Saviour communicates: "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die."

Remember it when you are called to lose your pious friends and relations. You have

not parted with them for ever. Thy brother, thy sister, thy child, thy mother will rise again. "Be not ignorant concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”"



Now when Daniel knew that the writing was
signed, he went into his house; and his win-
dows being open in his chamber toward Je-
rusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three
times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks
before his God, as he did aforetime.—Dan.
vi. 10.

In a day of rebuke and blasphemy, in which we see so many of an infidel and profligate character, and so few, even of those who profess the Gospel, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, it is peculiarly pleasing and useful to be able to contemplate an instance of genuine, decisive, impartial, persevering, unrebukable religion before God and the Father.

And such an one we have in the example of Daniel. He had doubtless his infirmities: "for there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not:" but nothing is alleged against him. This is the more remarkable, since the sacred writers freely mention the faults as well as the excellences of good men; and I do not remember that

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