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fared sumptuously every day: yet, blessed be God, I have not the distresses of Lazarus, nor am I fed with his crumbs: but, if I must set my foot in one of these two paths, when I look to the end thereof it does not require a moment's hesitation to decide between them. : Let me be Lazarus: let me see Abraham’s bosom, by faith; and wait God's time in God's way.”
I have seen enough of life, and felt enough to know how painful it is to speak plainly to the Young and Gay: but shall we say to them that the end of these things is not death?--that the House of Feasting may probably end as well as the House of Affiction-of repentance-of faith, and hope, and love? Dare we say this ? Shall we not rather declare, plainly and expressly, Thus saith the Lord, Rejoice, 0 Young Man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth:-go to the House of Feasting: call your father a fool: say that religion is the language of the nursery: adopt the maxims of a set of mad companions : laugh at every thing serious : go on--but, God says, in answer to all this, Know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment. Know, Young Woman, that, with all the admiration thou wilt attain, God has said, that She, that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth:
In passing through such paths, therefore, as God has set before us, either in the dispensations of his Providence or in his Word, and in waiting on a faithful God for the fulfilment of his promises, we shall have a better conclusion in going to the House of Mourning than to the House of Mirth.
I speak more particularly to young persons on this point, because, of all people, they seem least acquainted with it. I would say to such, Fear not this doctrine: Fear not the truth of God. It will always do you good : you will be ruined in opposing or neglecting it. Be not, therefore, afraid of the truth. A poor lunatic, in the midst of his gaiety and vanity, if his physician should offer him a bitter medicine, might hate the man because he brought the medicine, and the medicine because it was bitter and would spoil his sport, while its tendency was to enable him to enjoy life and perfect rationality-Such is the man who hates truth or its teachers ! All that you can possibly wish for or imagine here, how many thousands have attained! And where are they now ?-- they have passed, in a long procession, one after another, down to the grave, Follow
: the bier of any one of them : the corpse would shock you—it is covered up-hid from your eyes-put into the ground-soon forgotten-and, now, where is all that House of Mirth in which the man once shone, and was amused, and was admired by others, and most of all by himself? While you see this most evidently before your eyes, remember that this is no mystical doctrine,
no difficult controversial point, but the history of every day.
Let us take heed, then, whatever else we forget, that we do not forget the remedy, which God has set before our eyes.
You have heard many a sermon from a weak man, like yourselves—a man
a of like passions with you: but, perhaps, your own family God has made a House of Mourning : he brings home what you have heard : he sets it before your eyes, and wrings your feelings with it: and are you as vain and trifling now, as if he had not taken pains with you? Is all this care thrown
! away? Do you need another stroke? I assure you, that though, as ministers, we cannot avoid feeling sympathy with those who have lost a friend or relative; yet a preacher cannot but recollect that this is the sound of his Master's feet behind him: and, while he laments your sufferings, he knows that his admonitions would have little effect in many cases, were not truth brought home thus painfully to your business and bosom.
Again, it is better to go to the House of Mourning than to the House of Feasting, because however dark the house may be; though it may resemble a prison with its bars, so that a man may be ready to say, I am shut up: I cannot get forth: : yet there is no House of Mourning but what admits a ray of the sun, and that beam is a beam of immortality. Christ says to the inhabitants of the House of Mourning, “ Look out! Is thy consola
tion small Is thy prospect to be despised ? Is there nothing to be said in this case, that may rouse thy attention, comfort thy heart, and excite a hope full of immortality, when this vision of the moment is gone?"--and how soon will it be gone with every one of us !
There is not a house in which any one of you lives, which will not soon be a House of Mourning on his account. “ He is dead !"" He hath been dead these four days !"_" My father is dead!”
My mother is dead !”—“ The desire of my eyes is taken away at a stroke !-My dear child is
Remember, then, that, in that house, whatever is gone, one thing is left--the promise of a faithful God: I am the resurrection and the life: he, that believeth in me, shall never die. There is a one thing needful: a better part: a voice of instruction, at that very time saying to you, “ Take hold of my hand, as you descend to the grave: hold fast my hand, as your refuge set before you. Pray to God with David, Remember me with the favour which thou bearest to thy people: visit me with thy salvation: that I may see the good of thy chosen ; that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation; that I may glory with thine inheritance. Remember the word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope."
Whatever remedies others may propose on this occasion, there is no effectual remedy but the Gospel. Imagination even cannot suppose comfort in death, but from the voice of God calling to look forward to immortality and security. Let us, therefore, while in the House of Mourning, not lose the grand truth which is so strongly set forth in it-I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live; and he, that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. That you and I may take firm hold of that privilege, may God grant, for Jesus Christ's sake!