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"that are in the graves, shall hear his voice, and shall come forth." Those who, on earth, did not believe in Christ, nor serve him, will then be utterly consumed with terrors: they will be driven into outer darkness, where shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, for ever. "This is the second
death!" This ought to make every sinner tremble. O sinner! take no rest, no sleep-enjoy no pleasure, no company, till you have prayed earnestly to Jesus, to deliver you from the wrath to come! For your life's sake, repent, believe, and turn to God. Pray for his Holy Spirit to change your heart. O sinner! with such an evil heart as thine, thou canst not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Pray that it may be made a new heart. No longer remain dead in trespasses and sins, lest the hour of death should find you unprepared. But cry mightily to God; and remember, that "now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation."
But, perhaps, you have begun to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and you desire to live and die in his service. If so, let Him be your hope, your joy, your rest. Let not Satan trouble you with the fear of dying. Sometimes you may be lowspirited, and ready to sink. At such moments, let this short sentence comfort your heart, "FOR ME CHRIST DIED!"—And when, at last, we come to die, may some kind Christian friend be near at hand, to whisper in our ears these blessed words, "I know that my Redeemer liveth !” "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
Lord, what is man? At his best estate, he is altogether vanity. Thou turnest man to destruction: war, and pestilence, and famine, and disease, and accident, are thy ministers of death. We spend our years like a tale that is told: we are as a sleep: our strength and our feebleness are both alike to thee, O thou Almighty and Eternal God! who for our sins art justly displeased.
But our hope is in Thee, O Lord, and in that covenant of mercy, which thou hast made for a thousand generations. Thou art the dwelling-place and refuge of thy people. Our times are in thy hand; and precious in thy sight is the death of thy saints. Deal gently, gracious Father! with our frail bodies, and our fainting spirits. When we draw nigh unto death, O bear us up with thine everlasting arms! let not the enemy prevail against us. And when our spirit shall be called to return to thee, may we sweetly sleep in Jesus, in the blessed hope of beholding thee face to face, and awaking up after thy likeness.
Prepare, O Lord, the dying for death! May they seek and obtain peace in Jesus, now in an acceptable time, in this their short day of salvation.
We ask these mercies, and we commend our spirits into thy hands, through our only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
THE FIERY SERPENTS.
NUMBERS Xxi. 5-9.
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people; and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee: pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole : and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
THIS would be a very instructive story, if considered only by itself; but our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us, that it is also a lively picture of the danger of sin, and of the sufficiency of that salvation which he purchased for us, when he died upon the cross.
The bite of sin is more dreadful than the bite of fiery serpents; for it poisons the soul. All mankind have suffered from it. It is the bite of that old serpent, the devil. See how fiercely it inflames the soul with raging lusts, which hurry men on into perdition! Some men, even in this life, seem to be almost in hell-swearing, fighting, lying, drink
ing, gambling, stealing; running into all sorts of riot and excess; speaking against God; vexing the hearts of the godly; jesting about the devil; and madly sporting on the very brink of hell! These are of their father the devil; they do the works of their father; and, except they repent, they will, in the end, have their portion with the devil and his angels, in the lake that burneth with fire and brim
But there are sinners of another kind-sinners who outwardly appear decent to men, but whose hearts are full of evil in the sight of God. Solomon
speaks of such, when he says, "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." Such sort of persons are, the proud; the covetous; those who attend public worship only from custom; those who go about to establish their own righteousness, thinking they want no better; and will not accept that perfect righteousness, the righteousness which is of God by faith. In these persons, sin is working like as low poison. It does not show itself, so as to alarm: still, they are most surely dying, from the venomous sting of sin.
Every thing that falls short of perfect love to God, and perfect love to man, is sin: so, then, all are sinners, and all have come short of the glory of God.
But the cure for sin is very simple: it is, faith in Christ. Jesus himself explained this to Nicodemus, when he said, "And, as Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Who would have thought that a brazen serpent, set up on a pole, could do any good to those bitten with the fiery serpents? Some would have said, "Put a plaister upon the wound." Others might have said, "Tell those who are bitten, to keep moving about, and so shake off the disease." But God had appointed another way-only one way. And they who looked at the brazen serpent were healed, because they believed His word.
So should we point dying sinners to Christ crucified. It is in vain to tell them, "Try to do your best" for men cannot save themselves. We must say to sinners, as Christ did, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Give me leave to ask, Have you felt the miseryof your sins? sins? Are you looking for cure to the Lord Jesus Christ alone? When you hear of His saving name, is faith immediately at work? Do love and joy spring up in your heart, so that you are ready to sing, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to him be praise and dominion for ever!"?
Are you one of those persons, who think that sin is not so deadly in you, as in some of your neighbours; that you have done nobody any harm; that you need the Saviour only a little; and that, after