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In reference, then, to our deceased Sister, I would observe; That she appeared to have a deep sense of the corruption of her nature, and of the awful evil of sin. She told me, That when her conscience was first awakened, she had such a view of her own sinfulness, as made her suppose, that her state was desperate. But it pleased God to relieve her desponding mind, in a little time after, under the ministry of the word in this place, on the subject of Peter's denial of his Lord, and the forgiveness he received of that complicated and shocking crime. -Nor did the conviction of her own unworthiness depart from her mind. In her late illness, and but a few days before her departure, she strongly expressed it in my hearing. My soul,' said she, 'is more defiled by sin, than my poor body is by this disease.'* *-Having such a view of her native impurity, it is no wonder, if she had any peace in her conscience, that it arose from divine grace, as it appears and shines in Jesus Christ: and this was the case. Peace she had, peace she enjoyed; even that peace which the world cannot give, she richly possessed, from the time that she knew the grace of God in truth. She frequently found herself res markably comfortable at the Lord's table: some. times to such a degree, that her delicate and feeble frame was ready to sink under a transport of joy. -She appeared, from the first attack of the mortal disease, by which she was removed from us, to be very resigned. resigned. Once, after Once, after saying repeatedly, Lord have mercy upon me;' she immediately corrected herself, in words to the following import: What! shall I be impatient?-Nor was she only * She died of the Small-pox.
resigned, but cheerful, and joyful through hope. On the Thursday evening before she died, I had the pleasure to find her, all joy and thankfulness. She then greatly admired the condescension and goodness of God, in hearing her prayers. I no sooner asked,' said she, than he answered.' With astonishment she expressed her views of God's distinguishing grace to her soul. What am I,' was her language, that God should thus favour me! I have nothing to ask of God: I have nothing to do but praise. The night before her departure, she had but few and short intervals, in which she was ca pable of exercising the powers of reason. But be fore she expired, she said; 'Q, my dear Lord! O, my dear Lord!' which were her last words; and quickly after fell asleep in the arms of that Lord, who was dear to her soul.
And now, my friends, what improvement shall we make of this encouraging narrative? Why, hence we may learn, That there is a divine reality in the religion of Jesus. Hence it appears, that the knowledge of Christ is true wisdom; and the enjoyment of him substantial happiness. Let none of you, then, suppose, that the gospel is a mere sound, or christianity an empty name. The glorious reverse appears, from the whole tenour of the inspired vo lume, and from the facts I have now related. That religion and those enjoyments, which are able to support the mind and comfort the heart of a sinner, conscious of his desert, when on a dying-bed, are truly solid but such pleasures, and such posses sions, as vanish at the approach of death, are not worthy of the names they bear; are no other than fleeting shadows. This you will all find, by expe
rience, in a little time, however fond you may now be of the world, or however much you may, for a while, trifle with God and eternal things. Trifle with GOD! Trifle with ETERNAL THINGS! Amazing stupidity, folly, and madness! Remember, then, ye triflers! that if ever you enjoy true happiness, either here or hereafter, you must know yourselves; and believe in Jesus; you must love God, and live to his glory. Death will teach you the truth of what I now declare: but it will be dreadful to learn it, from the pangs of a guilty conscience, in the agonies of a dying hour!
From the preceding account we may also learn; That a deep sense of our own depravity and unworthiness, is quite consistent with a cheerful confidence in the Lord Redeemer, and a joyful hope of immortal glory. Of this we have a striking instance in the experience of our dear, deceased Sister; and, which is infinitely more, it is abundantly evident from the sacred writings. No saint, that ever lived, had a firmer confidence, or a brighter hope, than Paul: yet none, I may venture to affirm, have a deeper sense of their own unworthiness than he had. He considered himself as the chief of sinners, and the least of saints: nor does it appear that he had any hope, except in sovereign mercy. In his invaluable writings, we hear him sigh and groan under the burden of his own corruption; and, at the same time, we behold him rejoice, in a steady persuasion, that he was accepted in the Beloved, and an heir of immortal bliss.*-Were my esteemed Friend present, the loss of whom we now lament, I am fully persuaded, she would not think I injured * Rom. vii, 14-25, 2 Cor. v. 2, 4. Rom. viji, 1, 38, 39.
her character, or under-valued her worth, if she heard me call her a miserable sinner; one who had no peace in her conscience, no hope of eternal hap-. piness, but what arose from the grace of God, as divinely free, and the work of Christ, as quite complete. Such was the foundation of her hope, and such must yours be, if ever you meet death with comfort. To live under an habitual consciousness, that we deserve to perish for ever; and at the same time to maintain a steady persuasion, that God accepts us in Christ, acquits us from every charge, and will receive us to glory, are the mystery of the life of faith.
Before I conclude my discourse, I would take the liberty of addressing my hearers in a more particular manner; and, especially, the younger part of the audience. It gives me frequent pleasure to observe, that many young persons attend on the ministry of the glorious gospel; and I rejoice to see such a number present on this occasion. I trust that a nobler principle than mere curiosity, has brought you hither at this time. But, if so, you will not be offended with a free address from the pulpit. Nay, I must be free: the work in which I am now engaged requires it of me.-There is too much reason to fear, that many of you are ignorant of God, and unacquainted with the state of your souls: such I sincerely pity. Others there are, I am fully persuaded, who believe in Jesus and love religion in the happiness of such I greatly rejoice. Give me leave, then, to address a few words to each, as your different circumstances seem to require.
Are there such among you, my junior friends, as are ignorant of God, and unacquainted with the state of your souls? Let each of you make the enquiry. Ask at the mouth of conscience, and listen to her impartial dictates. If not asleep, or dead, she will speak; and you will feel that her words have power. Consider how it stands between God and your souls. What is the object of your warm, est love? What is the ground of your future hopes, if you pretend to have any hope at all; and what is likely to become of you, when you leave the world? Some of you are, perhaps, ready to say, It is time enough yet for us to be concerned about our souls. Religion is better adapted to riper years, and is the business of a more advanced age. We are young, healthy, vigorous; and, probably, have much of our time to spend.' You are young, you are healthy, it is true; but-O, that stinging BUT! -remember you must DIE; and death is a solemn event. But why talk of youth, or of health? when, let me tell you (and O, that I could make the whole careless world hear!) the very next hour, may either elevate you to the immortal joys of angels, or plunge you deep into the eternal torments of devils, Astonishing, awful thought! enough to chill your blood, Will you dare to say, then, it is time enough to think about your souls? Will you still persist in it, that you need not yet be concerned about religion? Poor deluded creatures! I pity your case: I tremble for you. In the hands of an angry God you are, and who knows what he will do with you? Some of you, perhaps, may reflect on the solemn warnings I now give, when you lie strug