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and the rain and the sunshine which God gives it must fall equally upon all those who work in it. But then, one shall be taken and the other left: the Lord has taken to him his great power, and reigneth; and all that he regards in those whom he had suffered to live here together, is, whether they are fit to be transplanted together to heaven.

Such will be the separation that will, one day or other, take place amongst us who are now so closely connected. But this last separation differs in one very great point from that other and nearer separation which I spoke of just before, when we go out to our several fortunes in life. Of that, I said, that no human eye could judge, or even guess, who, amongst the congregation now here assembled, would be taken, and who would be left; whose lot in life would be prosperous, and whose the contrary. And not only can we not guess, but no efforts of your own can be sure of success in this matter; do what you will, the experience of all ages has proved that you cannot insure earthly prosperity. But, in the great separation that will take place hereafter, it does depend on yourselves, for I speak to persons already called to the privileges of Christ's Gospel, and with all things ready on Christ's part to give you the victory: it does, I say, depend on yourselves, whether you shall be among those who are taken, or among those who are left. And not only so, but they who watch you narrowly, cannot but see that in your several characters, which is the seed, however far from maturity, of eternal happiness or misery. True, indeed, that the seed which promises the fairest may be blighted, withered, choked, and never come to the harvest : true, also, that the seed of the worst and most deadly plants, may, also, be timely smothered, or the plant, in its middle growth, may be weeded out, and

We may neither rashly or blindly trust the promise of good, nor fearfully and desperately abandon to itself the promise of evil. Still there is the seed at this moment to be seen, which, if it does hold on its natural progress to the end, will yield the harvest of life in some, of death in others. And, therefore, we have deep reason to be thankful for every mark of early goodness : we dare not slight as trifling the faintest sign of early wickedness. We dare not, nor should you dare: for if you do slight such signs, they become every year darker and more fatal, and give more alarming assurance of

thrown away.

a deadly issue. There are some boys whose tempers are weak and timid,who yield to the persuasions of others,--who dislike trouble and fear danger. But the Christian's spirit is not the spirit of fear, nor the spirit of softness; but the spirit of power, and of hardiness, and of love, and of a sound mind. And such tempers, if they are not often guilty of violence or cruelty, are very apt to sink into sensual lusts, meanness and fraud, and all the baseness of luxurious selfishness : for it is not without reason that St. Paul puts the sins of uncleanness, and of covetousness or selfish greediness, so close together; both very com

' monly belong to the same character. Others again are bold and overbearing, --insolent and oppressive,--tyrants to all within their power, and offensive to their equals and superiors. This character too, so totally opposite as it is to Christian charity, hardens more and more with the hardening influences of the world, till it becomes, like the wayside in the parable of the sower, so hard that the seed of eternal life makes not a moment's impression on it. It is most common to see it retained through life,—to see those, who were known at school as cruel and oppressive, go on in life equally hard and



unprincipled at the bottom, however much the mere forms of society oblige them to cloak it under a manner of outward decency and courteousness. Others again, and these by far the more numerous body, are with no such decided symptoms of evil,-neither cowardly and weak, nor cruel and oppressive, with no more alarming sign than a general thoughtlessness, and a fondness for what they like to do rather than for what they ought. With no more alarming sign, it is true ; but is not this alone alarming enough? If it be not, what becomes of Christ's words, that unless a man deny himself, and take up his cross daily, he cannot be his disciple? He means, that a man, to be a Christian, must be living upon principle, and not according to his humour: that they who are called goodnatured, are often good-natured by fits and starts, or by halves; they are so in some instances--that is, they will do a kind thing to please their companions, but they do not care if they give their parents pain by their extravagance and by their neglect of their proper duties; that they are good-natured, in short, from constitution and fancy, not out of a true Christian spirit of kindness. It is true that thoughtlessness, merely considered in itself, is a fault which growing years are very likely to amend; and this is the reason, I believe, why older persons sometimes view it with indifference. It is true that the empty. house will surely be filled hereafter ; but, because it has been left so long empty, it is the evil spirits, far more than the Spirit of God, that are likely to become its inhabitants. I use the language of that beautiful parable which was read in the Gospel of this morning, and which so strongly enforces the truth, that idleness and carelessness, although they are very likely to be themselves removed, are likely also to be only changed for other and worse evils, instead of for good. In fact, in other words, he who is idle in youth, because that is the natural fault of youth, is likely to be worldly-minded in after life, because that is the natural fault of manhood. And, therefore, I regard carelessness as an evil and alarming symptom, because it is a proof, that in the heart left so empty, the Spirit of God cannot be abiding; and where he is not, it is but a choice between varieties of evil. Finally, there are some in whom the Spirit's work, though faint, is already visible,—who are walking, however imperfectly, in the faith and fear of God. This, too, is a seed, which

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