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receive not the truth in the love of it. Materialists, who deny the immateriality and immortality of the soul, belong to this class of persons, and erroneously conjecture that the soul is inactive from the period of its separation from the body until the last day. This Socinian hypothesis is as unphilosophical as it is anti-scriptural. The soul is a thinking being, and can no more be divested of thought, than matter can be deprived of solidity, or of length and breadth, which are essential properties of all bodies, as much as a conscious state of being is absolutely requisite to the essence of the soul of man, which is an immortal spirit. The soul-sleeping system has a baneful influence upon the conduct of worldly men; it lulls the guilty conscience in its slumbers, and calls in question the final day of retribution, and thus hardens the wicked in their sins. For if the spirit falls asleep with the body, where is the scripture to prove that it shall be raised again? Upon the admissibility of this supposition, the fatal and délusive doctrine of the soul's ETERNAL SLEEP must be irrefutably established, which is all the heaven the ungodly desire. They “shall seek, death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them," Rev. ix. 6. What a gloomy and discouraging aspect it presents to unbelievers, in reference to their departed christian friends and relatives, whose souls it represents as locked up in the cold embrace of death, as incapable of happiness as their bodies; and therefore it robs them of the joyous and pleasing remembrance of the gospel fact of being with Christ in glory. With respect to believers themselves, according to this chilling scheme, how truly comfortless the prospect of death! Far better would it be for them to remain in this wilderness of sorrow and affliction, where they often enjoy the gracious presence of their God, in his service, which is perfect freedom; and frequently have their spirits refreshed, and their hearts delighted with the soul-cheering visits of their Almighty Friend, than enter a state of inactivity and unconscious existence. This benumbing chimera flatly contradicts the word of God, and therefore ought to be rejected by all real christians, with merited disdain and holy detestation. The unerring language of inspiration is explicit. The ungodly antediluvians and Sodomites are now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 1 Peter iïi. 19, 20. Jude 7. The rich glutton that fared sumptuously every day, and

despised poor Lazarus, is lifting up his eyes in hell, being tormented with unquenchable fames of brimstone and fire, St. Luke xvi. 25. O who can fall asleep amidst devouring fire; and who can slumber tortured in everlasting burnings?

“ The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?” “ For the smoke of their torments ascendeth up for ever and ever.” Though the immortality of the soul is indescribably dreadful to the wicked, it is a theme which causes the troubled hearts of the righteous to rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. When Moses and Elias conversed with Christ upon the mount of transfiguration, upon the sublime mysteries of the cross, they certainly were not asleep. The happy spirits of just men made perfect, who serve God in his temple without being weary, though they rest not day nor night, are far from being in an unconscious state.

6. Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord;" and when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. It was this animating and sure hope of the faithful entering glory immediately their souls leave the body, caused St. Paul to say, though he enjoyed such an elevated degree of communion with God, equal to any saint upon earth, “ I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” The thought of reigning with his Almighty Friend, inspired him to sing in the prospect of martyrdom, with all its attending evils, “ None of these things move me ; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy." I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed against that day.” These divine verities the martyrs of Jesus firmly believed and vitally experienced. Through the energy of the Holy Ghost, they were enabled to maintain the all-important truths of the gospel with such unshaken constancy and intrepidity of spirit, that in these days of modern refinement and liberalism, the worldly-minded and fashionable professors of every sect, would have denounced them as obstinate bigots, wild fanatics, and absolute madmen. But they loved not their lives unto the death, that they might obtain a better resurrection; and our Lord declares, “ He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth

6. For

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his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal," St. John xii. 25. These noble witnesses, of whom the world was not worthy, possessed the enjoyment of the full assurance of faith; and a hope, fraught with a blessed immortality, fired their zeal with a celestial flame, the floods of the enemy could never quench-which was stronger, and shone brighter than the fierce flames that consumed their mortal bodies. Listen attentively, and you will hear them sing the song of triumphant victory in the midst of cold, hunger, nakedness, famine, pestilence, and in the face of devouring fires, the sword, and death : “ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We now proceed, fourthly and lastly, to the truth and infallible certainty of this consoling promise, “ Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Verily, or as it is sometimes translated, amen, is of itself a pure Hebrew word, signifying firmness, stability, faithfulness; it is expressive of consent or desire, so be it; in this sense it concludes prayers, and also thanksgivings, St. Matt. vi. 13. Rom. xv. 33. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Rom. xi. 36. xvi. 27. It is used as a word of affirmation; in truth, verily it is so. St. Matt. v. 18, 26. vi. 2. In this signification we are to understand it in the text. It is likewise worthy of your marked attention (according to the observation of a learned critic) that no one but our blessed Redeemer ever uses it in the New Testament at the beginning of a sentence as a definite word of affirmation. Yet in this sense it concludes all the four gospels. It is also applied to our blessed Lord as a noun, which was to certify to the mind of all repentant sinners, that he not merely spake the truth, but that he was the unerring and infinite Fountain of truth.—“These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness." Rev. iii. 14. In this character as the faithful Saviour, he is indeed unyielding firmness and immutable stability — neither smiles nor frowns-pleasures nor pains-prosperity nor adversity

could ever cause him for a moment to relinquish what he had undertaken to accomplish for the salvation of his people, and the glory of God, when he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He courageously travelled the path of unexampled tribulation alone. “ Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me.

The treachery of friends and the implacable hatred of his evil and relentless enemies, combined and strengthened with the craft and assaults of the devil, could not in the least influence his stedfast and faithful heart to give up that cause which was dearer to him than his life, namely, the stupendous undertaking of human redemption, which he emphatically calls his Father's business; a work far exceeding in wisdom, power, grace and glory the heavens and the earth. “ Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders.”

Ever bear in mind that the merciful declarations of the Son of God, are not like the pompous promissory affirmations of deceptive men, who mean nothing but words, nor do they resemble the vain shadows, and empty bubbles of this perishing world, that is rapidly passing away, which disappoint our hopes, and blight our expectations; no : they contain imperishable and eternal realities, and enrich the believer with all the unsearchable riches of Christ, which never fade away, and ultimately bring the saints to the possession of those blessed mansions, where sin, sorrow, and tribulation, cannot enter, and where they will for ever triumphantly reign with their exalted Redeemer, in his glorious kingdom, in all the bloom of immortal youth. “ All things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Our divine Redeemer and exalted Sovereign Lord will in the language of triumphant joy welcome home all his redeemed family, saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world.”

That the invariable faithfulness of the Saviour was confirmed by this significant word verily, to the comfort of the convicted malefactor, upon which he simply depended, even in his last breath, will be easily ascertained, if we

attend to our blessed Lord's usual method of introducing to the notice of his hearers some mighty and important truth. I have only time to furnish you with one illustration of the foregoing remarks; and it is in reference to the gospel doctrine of the new birth ; the veracity of which no real christian can doubt, no more than he can doubt the existence of a God. The Lord Jesus introduces this all-important subject to Nicodemus, in the following impressive and emphatic manner_“ Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And to assure the penitent thief of the truth of his declaration, he saith, “ verily ;" or amen,


say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” As if he had said, As certain as I am the faithful and true Witness, thou shalt not be deceived in reposing implicit and unlimited confidence in me; for I most solemnly affirm, as thy dying Saviour, and the everliving Jehovah, that I will receive thy deathless soul in a few hours into the kingdom of my glory. And has not every returning prodigal, I ask, the same solid ground of confidence? Why should any believing sinner doubt the fulfilment of his gracious and free promise of pardon, peace, life, and salvation, when the blessed Jesus is faithfulness itself? Remember,

“ The voice that rolls the stars along,

Speaks all the promises." And finally, it is written, “ All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him, amen, unto the glory of God

Having now shown you, my friends, a little of the exceeding riches of divine grace in the conversion and salvation of one of the thieves who was crucified with our Lord; this monument of mercy will be a standing proof to the end of time, or the last burning day, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief.

The young man, whose name I have before mentioned, in some measure experienced the efficacy of the same grace, in opening his eyes to see and feel his condition as a lost sinner, and working in his heart true repentance, that (with others who attended him) I have reason to believe, like the penitent thief, he is now with Christ in everlasting glory. A week before he suffered, his eldest brother called upon me with the melancholy intelligence;

by us."

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