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and determined. But greater is He that is on our side than all they that can be against us. The great Captain of our salvation thus addresses each of
us, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Let this word animate us to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life. But a short time, and the warfare shall be accomplished. Happy they who shall then be found "
more than conquerors through Him that loved” them. They shall be crowned as victors, they shall be clothed in white, and they shall wave the palm of an everlasting triumph over Satan, Sin, and Hell !
That you, my dear friends, may be partakers of the Saviour's joy, sharers in the everlasting victory, and wearers of the heavenly crown, has long been my earnest prayer. My ministry, you know, was exercised amongst you in much weakness, and amid repeated illness and protracted sufferings. I deeply feel how very far short I have come in my duty toward your immortal souls. And now I shall rejoice if this little volume placed in your hands may in any measure supply my lack of service toward you. “God is my record how greatly I long after you
all.”—“ My heart's desire and prayer to God for every one of you is, that you may be saved.” Awful is the alternative for precious and immortal souls. Every true pastor's heart trembles at the thought of a lost parishioner. Keep these two alternatives ever in view, I earnestly beseech you. Let the one repel you from destruction : let the other attract you to salvation. Shut not your eyes to the truth. Take it not too easily for granted that all shall be well with you at the last. Set before your mind, each of you, in solemn, serious, meditation, the awful truth embodied in these three words, “MY SOUL LOST !" And oh, cease not your earnest search, your anxious inquiries, till on good grounds you are each enabled to appropriate all the delight, the rapture, the everlasting joy, which are embosomed in these three words, “ MY SOUL SAVED !”.
If any question be worthy to occupy the mind of an immortal being, surely it should be his own eternal destiny. Indifferency to this question is soul-destructive. “How shall we escape,” asks the Apostle, “if we neglect so great salvation ?” Yet" neglect” is the sin of multitudes. They would not do anything knowingly wrong against God or their fellow creatures. They wish to lead a quiet and an inoffensive life. They love the world, and endeavour to acquit themselves, it may be, to all their neighbours in a kind and amiable manner. But they are not in earnest about their souls. They neglect the great salvation. Eternity to them is like some distant ocean of which they may have heard, but of which they seldom think, and on which they never entertain any conscious desire to embark. Let not this be the case with any of you, my dear friends. “Give good heed unto the things that ye have heard, lest at any time ye should let them slip." Let the eternal world be a present reality to your minds; and as surely as you desire to be happy here, so, with tenfold more earnestness, desire to be happy hereafter. Be not engrossed with the cares of a present life, so as to have no care for the life to come. Let not the honours of this world allure you. Let not its riches deceive you. This world is a passing shadow-Heaven is an enduring substance. This world is a pilgrimageHeaven is a home. This world is a desert-Heaven is a paradise. This world is full of strangersHeaven is filled with friends. This world's friendships are often hollow, and its enmities are realHeaven ensures everlasting friendship, and excludes all manner of enmity. This world abounds with storm and tempest-Heaven is a universal calm without and within. This world is full of trial and conflict-Heaven is all love, and rest, and peace, This world is full of changes ; the summer's sun gives way to winter's cold—Heaven changes not from summer's genial glow. This world is full of sin-Heaven is full of holiness. This world lieth in the wicked one. Heaven lieth in the bosom of God. This world tempts the soul, and torments the spirit-Heaven presents no temptation, and yields no kind of torment. This world groans with sickness and disease-Heaven rejoices with health and happiness. This world is the abode of sin, and shame, and sorrow-Heaven is the abode of good. ness, of glory, and of God ! Blessed is the contrast which heaven presents to earth. Oh that I could more fully describe to you that world of bliss, to which it is bliss even to look forward !
Look, then, ever upwards, my dear friends. Let the hope of the heavenly glory take full possession of your breasts. And whenever Satan assaults you, or sin would beguile you, or your own weak hearts would waver, look upward again, and with renewed determination, press on to the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The noble army of martyrs were faithful unto death. Multitudes of Christians in various ages have proved their fidelity to their great Master. They showed that, like the Apostle, they reckoned the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the glory which was to be revealed in them. Let us also learn to think and to say the same. The remembrance of the just is blessed. Some of our own friends and neighbours have left us an example that we should follow them as they followed Christ. They are now resting from their labours, and their journey through the wilderness is ended. Some of them were young, and others were advanced in years. Various were their situations, their dispositions, their temptations, and their trials, yet they
persevered along the narrow path of life, and shrunk not at the descent into the valley of the shadow of death. As the pastor of the flock, it was my duty and my privilege to attend the last hours of your departing friends; and I can truly say, that I often entered the house of mourning to obtain, rather than to communicate, instruction. I wished to know how to live, and I wished to learn how to die ! Often have I desired that you could be partakers of the benefits which I derived from the sick and dying beds of your fellow parishioners. And were I now to give you an account of some of the Christian experience there exhibited, I think I should convey more spiritual instruction to your souls, than any words or observations of my own could afford. Time and space, however, will not permit me at present to mention more than two
The first departing parishioner I was called to attend (the late Mr. Secombe, of Polwin) was an experienced believer, whose consistent life and blameless conversation had gained for him the esteem even of some who were not themselves actuated by religious principle. He was in a declining state for some time before I commenced my ministry amongst you, and it was evident on my first visit that soon the mortal tenement would cease to possess its spiritual inhabitant. Of this fact he was himself quite conscious, but the near approach of