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His language while on earth was, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness," Psa. xvii. 15; and now the auspicious morn is come.
What is the reason that death is viewed with such different feelings by the good man and the bad? It is because of the different state of their hearts towards God It is this difference which, in the one case, covers futurity with clouds, and darkness, and horror; and, in the other, makes it the region of peace, and light, and happiness.
To conclude : whatever wears the appearance of piety in your estimation, which does not lead your heart to God, be sure is deception and delusion. Whatever those doctrines are, whatever those practices are, whatever that company is, which has an habitual tendency to draw off our hearts from God, and make us esteem and love him less, be sure that that is the path of ruin and destruction. Consider every thing in religion as having this end, and this only-of leading you to God. This should be the sum and substance of religion. If you worship God in the assemblies of his people,and feel no movement of heart to him, be sure that it is a vain oblation, and an abominable sacrifice. If you pray to God, and your hearts do not ascend to him, be sure he will
with indignation at the last day, “Who hath required this at your hand ?" Isa. i. 12. It is the homage of the heart, that he requires. This is his most acceptable sacrifice. Pray to God that he will give you a contrite heart, that he will plant his love there, that he will destroy the moral distance between you and him, and bring you so near to him, that his perfections, and his providence, and his word, may have an abiding weight and reality in your estimation. Make it your constant prayer that the influence of creatures may be less, and the perfection and grace
of God be more and more in your esteem.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
THE CARELESS WARNED.
INDIFFERENCE to religion in a rational being cannot but excite surprise and occasion grief in every serious mind. Religion is an infinite reality ; the Gospel is worthy of all acceptation; its claims are high and paramount to every other; and we cannot but know that in an unexpected moment we may be called to give an account of the deeds done in the body. And can any be found in these circumstances indifferent to their highest interests ? What can be said to one who cares for none of these things which the infinite God has revealed, into which the angels desire to look, which are neither doubtful nor unimportant, but of unutterable value, and will stand when heaven and earth shall pass away
? I entreat your serious attention while I present some reasons why you ought to be alarmed.
1. The fact that you re careless is ground of alarm. It is evidence that you do not reflect upon God. One hour's solemn meditation upon his omniscience, his purity, and righteousness, would break up your apathy. Did you think of your relation to him, his goodness to you, your obligations to him, you could not be at ease. Ought you not to be troubled that you are surrounded by Jehovah, every moment liable to be summoned to his bar-and still indifferent - asleep in your sins? Your carelessness is evidence that you are ignorant of your true condition in the sight of God; for who that realizes the guilt of transgression, the holy nature and fearful penalty of the law, and feels that he has broken that law, and incurred that penalty, will not tremble? There is something truly awful in false security, where the danger is real and great.
Who that had seen the prodigal amid his cups and revels, reckless of his approaching ruin, would not have wept over his guilty thoughtlessness? If just then he had been admonished of his danger, he would doubtless have replied in anger, as the sinner often does, “ Your sympathy is uncalled for; my resources are not exhausted, nor do I intend to become the slave of indulgence; an occasional liberty may be taken without hazard.” Ah ! how little did he know of the wiles of the destroyer! he was then undone; but he had not yet come to himself to see it.
And such is your condition, careless sinner, but you know it not. A disease is upon your soul; it has penetrated your nature through ; and yet you are whole in your own estimation, and need not a physician. Your very apathy is the worst symptom.
You are condemned--the sentence of death lies against you—and yet you feel secure. Just in proportion to the character of the sentence, the nearness and certainty of its execution, is the fearfulness of your indifference. If it were a temporal loss, it could be borne ; apathy would not be so appalling : but when we remernber that the sentence against you is eternal death; that God is the, Judge who pronounced it; that this very night your soul may be required, we know not how to express our sense of the criminality of such carelessness.
2. Another reason of alarm is, that this indifference indicates a state of mind in which every blessing is abused, every warning neglected. The sinner's heart is represented by the barren heath which knoweth not when good cometh h; which receives the sweet showers of heaven, but makes no return. While this apathy remains, the goodness of God may be lavished upon you, the blessings of Providence may fall around you, the kindness and love of God our Saviour may be shown you, and no gratitude spring up in your heart. Should it not trouble you to have such a heart ? Is not such a state of mind truly deplorable ? A habit of body that would render every thing received for nourishment or for medicine perfectly useless would be dreadful ; what then must be that moral disease which leads men to pervert every gift, to turn away from every overture, to resist every motive! Every prayer you hear leaves you far from God; every chapter of the Bible read is without effect; every sermon you hear, every funeral you attend, leaves you still in love with the world. Thus all the means which a merciful God employs, accomplish nothing for your highest good; and this because you are careless.
3. You ought to be troubled when you reflect what it is you are careless about, viz. salvation. The man indifferent about his health is unwise enough; the man regardless of his temporal interests can expect little cominiseration;
what then shall be said of him who by neglect hazards the salvation of his soul? You are now on trial for eternity : Christ has died that you might live-salvation is offered in his name-indifference is unbelief.
In an hour you think not you may be called to your account; by mere neglect you may lose heaven ; eternal death is the fruit of a careless life, and this you may incur before to-morrow. What infatuation, thus to expose immortal interests when nothing is to be gained ! O'ye careless, awake from sleep; you have too much at stake thus to slumber. If
would but pause, you could not fail to see the inconsistency of being so eager after the vanities of this world, while you are negligent of the realities of the world to come; of being so intent upon the acquisition of wealth that may take to itself wings and fly away, while you are indifferent about the true riches; of grasping after momentary honour, while you let go immortal glory.
4. Another cause of alarm is, the danger of your present condition. Neglect of the gospel insures destruction. “ How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation !" Many think, if they escape those out-breaking sins which bring ruin upon men in this world, they are in no danger of the fearful gulf; but this is a fatal mistake. Careless sinner, if you had never uttered a falsehood, injured a neighbour, or stained your hands with a single trespass against society, you would still be in the gall of bitterness : your apathy is a crime for which no morality can atone. You have never thought enough of God to love him, or of Christ to follow him. Were you to die in your present state, your alienation of heart, your indifference to religion, would exclude you from the kingdom of God. Nor would there be any thing arbitrary in this. A heart insensible to the claims of the gospel, and unmoved by the affecting scenes of Calvary, in such a world of ruin as this, surely is not meet for the inheritance of the saints. Were
therefore, not to commit another sin, were you to remain stationary as to moral character, you must be lost. By all that is heart-rending in the idea of banishment from God, in the thought of lying down in everlasting sorrow, I would arouse you to reflection, and entreat you to lay these things to heart.
5. Another consideration is, no more powerful means will be employed to awaken you to the concerns of your soul. Consider what God has done to induce you to seek him. His words are full of emphasis, calculated to seal up every mouth, and sweep away every excuse :