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past suffice, wherein ve have wrought the will of the Gentiles.” Is it 10- negbgent man! O sinful sleeper Sis it not enough? Canst thou ask more time to be this wasted and lost? I thou canst, when will the wakening be! When, and where? If thou wilt no arise now from this spiritual lethargy, they wakening may be when to all human view it is too late; and Fhere the last failing voices of mercy may arouse you only to horror and despair!
M hen and where I say not; but this I know, that every hour of this awful repose is an hour of added perii. It is migh time to awake from this sleep, in the fourth place, because there is infinite danger in it. Sleen, if thou wilt, on the brink of a precipice; sleep on the mountain's brow, with a rawning chasm beneath you: sleep on the sea-shore, when the roaring tate is coming in with a food to overwhelm you; but la do man sherp amidst the mountain precipices and okastas a this world's temptations; let no man sleep amais the whelming sides of passion. Those outward dangers are but symbols of a danger internal, purtual, and great, beyond the power of any comparisca to set forth. If you saw a fellow-being in those perilous situations, you would fix to this rescue; or you would be struck with horror at the danger which you could not arert. But, if you are a negligent transgressor of God's commands, a careless offender against your own conscience, an easy yielder to sinful indul. gence, you hare infinitely more reason to tremble for yourself. Ruin is not more certainly in the path of the devouring sea than it is in the path and course of unholy passions and sinful indulgences.
And what a ruin is it?—not of the body, but of the
soul; not of merchandize, but of virtue ; not of gold and silver, but of those affections which, rightly regulated, are richer sacred heaven! how poorly was I about to speak !-richer than gold and silver, was I ready to say ?-nay, richer than all the suns and stars of the firmament, What a ruin is that which is found in the brand that sinful gratifications leave on the soul; in the blight and curse of an envious mind; in the seared and callous heart of avarice; in the meanness of selfish competitions; in the baseness of living on the world's favour; in the barrenness of an unsatisfied and desolated mind; in the darkness of a soul estranged and alienated from its Maker! We talk of ruin; but there is no ruin like that, no desolation like that which enters into the chambers of the soul; no ruin like that which lays waste the spiritual temple; no scourge like that which passes over the immortal nature. All misery but that which sin causes is in its nature occasional, temporary, transient : it does not belong to the mind, but only to its condition. But that misery which sin creates becomes a part of the soul; it will cling to the mind till the last trace of evil habit is worn away by repentance.
It is high time to awake, then, because now is the only time we may have for it; because a matter of infinite weight presses; because too much time has been lost; and because every added moment of spiritual sloth is a moment added to peril.
Once more, let us be admonished that it is high time to awake by the tokens of the closing year. The season which we are approaching is a time of congratulations and kind tokens of remembrance; and be it so. But let the great admonition of the season sink deeper into our minds than congratulations, and become an abiding memorial within us, more precious than all the offerings of friendship. Let the compliments of the season be paid, and let them pass, as they will pass; but so let not the solemn mementos of the coming season pass away from us. These years, Christian brethren, are hurrying us away. I say not this gloomily, nor to communicate gloom; but to awaken from indifference and arouse to exertion. What shall startle us from our sloth and negligence, if these epochs of our hasting life shall not? Most of us, it may be, imagine that a time will come when we shall be more zealous, and earnest, and decided. But when shall it once be ? and what shall awaken us to it, if not the remembrance of lost time, and the present and urgen tokens of its hasty flight ?-Well saith the poet, “ It is the signal that demands despatch; How much is to be done! My hopes and fears . Start up alarmed; and o'er life's narrow verge . . Look down-on what? A fathomless abyss, so
A dread eternity, how surely mine! “ Seize, then, the present moments;
For, be assured they all are messengers;
For every fugitive.
Imprint the mark of wisdom on its wings. .
COMPASSION FOR THE SINFUL.
MARK 11. 5. And when he had looked round about him with
anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand.
THAT part of this passage only which relates to the moral temper of our Saviour is proposed for your present meditations. It is, in other words, and especially, the compassion of Jesus.
In reading the first clause of the sentence-he “ looked round about him with anger"-I suppose that many may have felt an emotion, a thrill almost of pain and doubt; they have felt that these words, by themselves, and in their simple meaning, were in painful contrast with all their ideas of our Saviour's meekness and patience; they have been ready to doubt whether the words could have been correctly translated. But how entirely and delightfully is the mind relieved by the words that follow " being grieved for the hardness of their hearts !" He was indignant as he looked around him, and witnessed the bitter enmity and the base hypocrisy of the Jews; but his indignation instantly softened into pity; he was grieved at the hardness of their hearts.
This is one instance of that sublime moral harmony --that union in which the most opposite qualities met and mingled--that so entirely singles out from all other models the character of our heavenly Teacher and Master. We recognise the same spirit with that which was so pathetically manifested in his appeal to Jerusalem—“O Jerusalem! Jerusalem !—thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent to thee.” Here is the tone of indignation and reproach; but mark how instantly it is redeemed from the ordinary character of those sentiments—“thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children, even as a hen gathereth her brood under her wing, but ye would not !”
The spirit with which we should regard the faults and sins of mankind is nearly a neglected subject in morals; and it had been well for moral reformers and preachers of righteousness, if they had more thoroughly considered it. It is, moreover, a very practical subject to all men; for we are constantly brought into contact with the faults and transgressions of mankind; every day offers, from this cause, some annoyance to our feelings, or some injury to our interests; every newspaper that is taken in our hand is burthened with the recital of crimes—robberies, murders, piracies, wars. Indeed, this constant experience of injustice or exasperation in some or other of their forms, and this extensive observation of human wickedness, are a part of our moral discipline; and it becomes us to consider how we should meet it, and be made better by other men's faults. It is, indeed, in its mildest form,