The Royal Death Bed
“Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?”— Amos 3:6
WE have nothing to do this morning with the question of moral evil, and indeed with the awful mystery of the origin of moral evil, we have nothing to do at any time. There may have been some few speculators upon this matter, who like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, could walk in the midst of the fire unharmed, but most men who have ventured near the mouth of this fiery question, have been like Nebuchadnezzar’s guards— they have fallen down, destroyed by the blasting influence of its heat. The problem we have to solve is not how was evil born, but how shall evil die— not how it came into the world, but the mischief it has wrought since its coming, and how it is to be driven out. Those persons who fritter away their time in useless and curious enquiries about the origin of moral evil, and so forth, are generally persons who are too idle to attempt the practical casting out of the fiend, and therefore would kill their time, and quiet their consciences by abstruse controversies and vain janglings about subjects with which we have nothing to do.
The evil in the text is that of calamity, and we might so read the verse— “Shall there be a calamity in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?” — a question exceedingly appropriate at the present time. There has been evil in this city; a calamity of an unusual and disastrous nature has fallen upon this nation. We have lost one who will find to-day a thousand tongues to eulogize him; a prince whose praise is in the mouth of all; and who is in such repute among you that it is utterly needless for me to commend his memory to your hearts. We have lost a man whom it was our habit to suspect so long as he lived; he could do little without arousing our mistrusts; we were always alarmed by phantoms of intrusion, and unconstitutional influence, and now that he has departed, we may sincerely regret that we could not trust where confidence was so well deserved. Not of lack of homage to his rank, his talents, or his house, could he complain; but from his tomb there might well come the still small voice of memory, reminding us of many causeless suspicions, a few harsh judgments, and one or two heartless calumnies. I was pleased by a remark made by the leading journal of the age, to the effect that the Prince Consort’s removal might suggest deep regrets for our thrifty homage and measured respect. He has deserved nothing but good at our hands. Standing in the most perilous position, his foot has not slipped; standing where the slightest interference might have brought down a storm of animosity upon his head, he has prudently withheld himself, and let public affairs as much as possible alone. Looking upon the nature of our government, and the position of the throne in our constitution, I can but say, “Verily it is a heavy calamity to lose such a husband for such a Queen.” So dire is this evil that our troubled hearts are shadowed with dark forebodings of other ills of which this may be the mournful herald. We were saying with David, “My mountain standeth firm, it shall never be moved an earthquake has commenced, the mountain trembles, one great rock hath fallen— what may come next? We did reckon upon war, but we had no forewarnings of a Royal funeral; we looked forward with some apprehension to strifes abroad, but not to losses at home. And now we feel that a corner-stone in the Royal house has been taken away, and we look forward with sorrow and fear to what may come next, and next, and next. We have great faith in our Constitution, but had we not even greater faith in God, we might fear lest the removal of an eminent minister, lest the taking away of some great men who have stood prominent in our commonwealth, should leave us desolate, without earthly helpers. ’Tis not the fall of yonder stately column, which alone has caused us sadness; it is the prophetic finger pointing to other parts of the goodly pile, which has made us full of forebodings of the time when many a noble pillar must lie in the dust, Nor is this all, or the deepest sorrow. We feel this to be an evil upon the city, because of the taking away of a parent from his children, and such children too— princes, princes whom no man may venture to instruct as could a father, princes into whose ears wise counsels will scarcely enter, save through a father’s voice— princes and princesses, who needed to have his prudent counsel to steer them through the various trials of their minority, and to cheer them when they should come into the battles of life. He is taken away, who, in concert with the Queen, hath so well trained them, and what his loss may be to their future characters time only shall reveal. More than this — and here we touch the tenderest string and come nearest to the heart of the evil— Her Majesty has lost her beloved husband, her only equal friend, her only confidant, her only councillor in her private cares. Save her children, she has lost all at a blow, and she is this day more widowed than the poorest widow in the land. The bereaved wife of the peasant is too often afflicted by the grasp of chill penury, but she has some equals and friends who prevent the colder hand of regal isolation from freezing the very soul In our tenderly beloved Sovereign we see Majesty in misery, and what if I say, we behold the empress of sorrow. Just as the mountain-peaks, the first to catch the sunbeams of summer, are the most terribly exposed to the pitiless blasts of winter, so the elevation of sovereignty with all its advantages in prosperity, involves the maximum of sorrow in the hour of tribulation. What rational man among us would be willing to assume imperial cares in ordinary times, but what must they be now, when household bereavement wrings the heart, and there is no more an affectionate husband to bear his portion of the burden. Brethren, we can only sympathize, but we cannot console. Ordinary cases are often within reach of compassion, but the proper reverence due to the highest authority in the land, renders it impossible for the dearest friend to use that familiarity which is the very life of comfort. This is a calamity indeed!” O Lord, the comforter of all those whose hearts are bowed down, sustain and console our weeping monarch! Would that Robert Hall, or Chalmers, could arise from the grave, to depict this sorrow! As for me, my lips are so unaccustomed to courtly phrases, and I understand so little of those depths of sorrow, that I am not tutored and prepared to speak on such a subject as this. I do but stammer and blunder, where there is room for golden utterance and eloquent discourse. Thou God of heaven! thou knowest that there beats nowhere a heart that feels more tenderly than ours, or an eye that can weep more sincerely for the sorrow of that Royal Lady, who is thus left alone. Alas! for the Prince who has fallen upon the high places! From the council-chamber he is removed; from the abode of all the graces he is taken away; from the home of loveliness, from the throne of honour, he is gone; and it is an evil— such an evil as has never befallen this nation in the lifetime of any one of us— such an evil, that there is but one death— and may that be far removed — which could cause greater sorrow in the land.
But now, our text lifts up its voice, and demands to be heard, since it is a question from the lips of the Eternal God. “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?”
There are two things upon which we will speak this morning. First, God has done it; secondly, God has done it with a design. Let us endeavour to find, if we can, what that design is.
I. First, then, there is an evil in the city; but GOD HAS DONE IT.
There was considerable curiosity to enquire into the second cause of this evil. Whence came the fever? We could not suppose it to be bred, as the fever frequently is, in our courts and alleys; in the plague-nest where filth provided it with all its food, until it was hatched to pestilence. What were its earliest symptoms, what its growth, and how it was that it baffled the physician’s skill? We may lay aside these enquiries, to look apart and away from the second cause, to the first great cause who hath done all. “The Lord hath done it.” He gave the breath, and he hath taken it away; he moulded the manly form, and he has laid it prostrate in the dust; he has sent the man, and he has said, “Return! to the dust whence thou wast taken.” I call to remembrance the notions which have spread throughout this world, and which are still living in our age— the notions which seek to banish God, and make him a stranger in the midst of his own works. God must have done this thing, or else we are driven to some other alternative. How came this calamity about? Shall we suppose it to be by chance? There are still some found foolish enough to believe that events happen without divine predestination, and that different calamities transpire without the overruling hand, or the direct agency of God. Alas! for you and for me, if chance had done it. Ah! what were we, men and brethren, if we were left to chance! We should be like poor mariners, put out to sea in an unsafe vessel, without a chart and without a helm; we should know nothing of the port to which we might ultimately come; we should only feel that we were now the sport of the winds, the captives of the tempest, and might soon be the victims of the all-devouring deep. Alas! poor orphans were we all, if we were left to chance. No father’s care to watch over us, but left to the fickleness and fallibility of mortal things! What were all that we see about us, but a great sand storm in the midst of a desert, blinding our eyes, preventing us from ever hoping to see the end through the darkness of the beginning. We should be travellers in a pathless waste, where there were no roads to direct us— travellers who might be overturned and overwhelmed at any moment, and our bleached bones left the victims of the tempest, unknown, or forgotten of all. Thank God, it is not so with us. Chance exists only in the heart of fools; we believe that everything which happens to us is ordered by the wise and tender will of him who is our Father and our Friend; and we see order in the midst of confusion; we see purposes accomplished where others discern fruitless wastes; we believe that, “He hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”
Some, on the other hand, run to another extreme, still forgetting their God. They deny the thought of chance, but they bend to the idea of fate. Some predestinarians without a God, are as far astray in their ideas as those who believe in chance without a God. For what is the “fate” of some men? It reminds me of one of those huge machines employed in the lead mines, where two wheels are always revolving, and breaking the stones quarried from the pit. The stones at first lie at a distance, but they are continually moving nearer and nearer to the all-devouring mouth of the great wheels, and at last they are crushed and ground. Such is fate in the minds of some men. Or to use another figure. It is like the great car of Juggernaut, dragged along by irresistible power. On it comes, crushing, mangling, flattening beneath its wheels the bleeding bodies lying in the way. From this horrid car of fate none can get-away; none even attempt to escape. They are bound hand and foot, and laid down in its pathway, and when the time comes the wheels will grind the poor wretches to powder. Well, I thank God that while I believe in predestination, I know the difference between that and fate. Fate is predestination blind, demented, brainless, wandering about, achieving wondrous things without a purpose, overturning mountains, plucking up cedars by the roots, scattering firebrands, hurling deaths about, but all without an end. Such is fate. because it must be, — events occur, because they shall be. But predestination is a glorious thing. With many eyes it looketh to the interests of God and his creatures too, and although it saith the thing must be, yet it must be because it is wise, and right, and just, and kind, that it should be; and though we may think that it comes to the same in the end, yet to our hearts the differences are. as wide as the poles asunder. Believe not in fate, but believe in God. Say not it was the man’s destiny, but say it is God’s will. Say not, a cruel and irresistible fate hath snatched him away; but say, a tender hand, finding that the due time was come, hath taken him from evil to come.
These two suppositions being disposed of, there remains another. “Is there evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” If neither a foolish chance nor an insensate fate hath done it; perhaps the spirit of evil may have inflicted it. Perhaps Satan may bring evils upon us; perhaps he may drag down men to their graves; perhaps he may cut the thread of life; perhaps he is the evil genius of the world, and the keeper of the gates of death. Brethren, we scout the thought at once from our minds. Begone far hence, foul King of Errors! thou art the prince of the air, but thou art not king of kings; nor art thou now the king of death; the keys swing not at thy girdle; not from thy black lips can come the summons, “Prepare to meet thy doom;” not with thy foul fingers are we plucked from our houses and from our thrones; not through thy cruelty are we given up to an ill and black day. Thy despotic and tyrannic mind has no power to lord it over us. No, Jesus, thou hast vanquished Satan; thou hast delivered us from the very fear of death, because thou hast destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. A thousand angels could not drag us to the grave; and thou, black spirit, thou shalt not be able to confine us there, when once the trump of the archangel shall awaken us from our sleep. Nay, Satan has not done it. Look not on your troubles and trials, my brethren in Christ, as coming from hell. Satan may sometimes be the instrument of your pains, but still they come from God. In the cup of our sorrows, there is not a dreg which the Father did not put there; bitter as the compound may be, the eternal hand of wisdom mixed the whole. The rod may fall, but Satan does not wield it. Like as a father “chasteneth his children,” so the Lord doth chasten “them that fear him.”
But, once more: one more thought arises in our mind. Perhaps the greatest temptation of modern times, is to impute everything which happens to the laws of nature. Now, this may satisfy philosophy, but theology goes a little further, and while it admits all the laws of matter, yet it asserts that a law is in itself utterly powerless, apart from a power to carry it out. It may be a law that such-and-such things shall be done, but they never will be done unless there be some power to make the law effective. The notion of some in modern times seems to be, that this world is like a great clock, wound up many years ago; in fact, there are some who believe in perpetual motion— and appear to teach that it wound itself up. In order to get rid of God, and send him as far away as possible, they go back to primeval times, and conceive that then all the wheels were set in motion, and a sufficient quantity of momentum put into the whole affair, so that it is now going on of itself. As to divine interpositions, these they will not believe; miracles, of course, are absurd, and everything is left to the ordinary laws of nature, there being sufficient vitality, according to some, in the world itself to carry on its own acts, according to certain laws and rules. Blessed be God, we know that this is not true. We believe it is our duty to use every sanitary means to remove the seeds of disease; we believe that they err who would proclaim a fast over a plague, when it were better to sweep the streets; we think that they are wrong who only go to the prayer-meeting when they had better go and pull down a row of dilapidated cottages and build better ones; we think that they are unpractical and do not understand the Scriptures well, who would be on their knees when they ought to be on their feet and doing earnest work for man; but at the same time, still we have it, that the Lord has done everything, and that these calamities come not except God putteth forth his hand— that it is his will to remove men by death, and only by his will could they die. Why, that idea of leaving us all to machinery is an unhappy one to a man who can say, “My Father, my Father in heaven!” It is as if a child should be left without nurse or parent, but then there is a cradle which works by machinery, and rocks the child so many hours a day; when it is time for the child to wake he is aroused by machinery; there is an engine ready to feed him; there is a contrivance prepared to take off his. garments at night, and an invention to put them on in the morning; he grows up, and whatever is to be done, has to be done by a machine; — no love, no father, no tender nurse, no kind and affectionate mother, — he is the child of machines and wheels; and so, from year to year, he is passed on from one to another. When he comes up into life he is still fed by a machine; he sleeps, he goes on his journeys; in everything that he does he sees no living face, he feels no soft hand, he hears no loving tender voice; it is one clever piece of soulless, lifeless mechanism that accomplishes all. Now, I bless God that is not the case with us. I can see my Father’s hand; I thank him I am fed, but I know he feeds me; I know the laws of nature contribute to preserve life, but I see the impress of his presence in my life, and I should feel like a sad and miserable orphan, with nothing that could fill my heart’s craving after a something to love, if I believed this world to be deserted of its God, and to have been going on with no Father near it to keep it in order, and to make it produce the results which he designed. Blessed be God, we have no doubt about our answer to the question. Even if there be evil in a city the Lord hath done it!
Let us pause a moment here, and think. If, then, the Lord hath done it, with what awe is every calamity invested? Standing by the royal death-bed, I thought I was in the presence of a prince, but lo, I see a man. It is thy work, O thou Most High; thou hast sealed those eyes in darkness; thou hast bidden that heart ceases its beatings, thou, even thou, hast stretched the manly form in death. How near we are to God! Tread softly, as you go by that little room where your infant’s dead body lies yet unburied; for God is there, plucking the flower-bud and appropriating it to himself. You have had some trial yesterday. “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet;” for God is in that burning bush. Men see nothing but the calamity; the eyes of faith see God. We sometimes count it matter of interest if we hear that such-and-such a departed worthy slept in such-and-such a room, or wrote in such a place. What shall we say, when we remember that God is there— that God is here— that while we wear these garments of sorrow, when we bowed our heads just now, and shed tears of sympathy, God was here himself, — the All-worker, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. Speak with bated breath; hush, and be silent; you are in the presence of majesty. Let us think of national calamities or of private ills with that reverence which should be inspired by a consciousness of the presence of Deity.
And then, again, if God hath done it, for ever be put away all questions about its being right. It must be right. If any would reply, we would answer them in the curt phrase of Paul, “Nay but Oman, who art thou that repliest against God?” But to take him away, and to remove him just in the hour of the nation’s peril—can this be right? Brethren, it must be. He has died at the best hour; the affliction has come at the most fitting season. It would have been wrong that it should have been otherwise; it would neither have been wise nor kind that he should have been spared. And this I gather from the fact that God has taken him away; and therefore it must be wisest, best, kindest. Only say the same over all your losses. Though your dearest friend be removed, be hushed, be dumb with silence and answer not, because thou didst it, even thou, O God, therefore we say, “Thy will be done.”
And this, too, shall be our best comfort. God hath done it. What! shall we weep for what God hath done? Shall we sorrow when the Master hath taken away what was his own? “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” The gardener had a choice flower in his beds. One morning he missed it. He had tended it so carefully that he looked upon it with the affection of a father to a child, and he hastily ran through the garden and sought out one of the servants, for he thought surely an enemy had plucked it, and he said to him, “Who plucked that rose?” And the servant said, “I saw the master walking through the garden early this morning, when the sun was rising, and I saw him bear it away in his hand.” Then he that tended the rose said, “It is well; let him be blessed; it was his own; for him I held it; for him I nursed it; and if he hath taken it, it is well.” So be it with your hearts. Feel that it is for the best that you have lost your friend, or that your best relation has departed. God has done it. Be ye filled with comfort; for what God hath done can never be a proper argument for tears. Do ye weep, ye heavens, because God hath veiled the stars? Dost thou weep, O earth, because God hath hidden the sun? What God hath done is ever ground for sonnet and for hallelujah. And even here, o’er the dead as yet unburied, our faith begins to sing its song— “’Tis well, ’tis well; ’tis for the best; and let the Lord’s name be praised now as ever.”
II. I now only want your attention for a few minutes while I pass on to the second head. IF GOD HATH DONE IT, HE HATH DONE IT WITH SOME DESIGN.
It is not always proper for us to ask reasons for divine acts, for if he gives no account of his matters we ought not to ask any account. That frivolous affectation of piety which leads even professedly Christian men to call every affliction a judgment, and to consider that every person who is suddenly taken away, dies as a judgment either upon him or others, I detest from my very soul. The infidel press usually lays hold upon this as being our weakest point. It is not our weakest point; we have nothing to do with it. Those who talk thus know nought of their Bibles. They upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, dream ye that they were worse sinners than others? I am utterly sick of the cant of a portion of the religious world, when they raised a kind of miniature howl at me, when I said, and still repeat it, that an accident on a railway on the Sunday is not a judgment, but happens in the common course of Providence, and that we are not to look for an immediate reason close at hand for any of these events. God’s judgments are a vast deep; they are not that little shallow pool, to the bottom of which every fool’s plummet may reach. God has some greater mystery in what he does than these, which every babe might discover. But, we draw a line between private calamities and national calamities. Nations have no future; hence the Judge of nations must chastise them here. For individuals, the punishment of sin is not in this world, but in the world to come; but nations will not rise as nations — they will rise as individuals; hence, when a death becomes a national calamity, it is fitting and proper to question, if we do not pry too deep, as to why God hath done it. Personally, the judgment is in the next world, and to each man the end of his career is to come there; but with nations I think there are judgments here, and that we should be wrong if we passed by the dealings of God, without hearing “the rod and him that hath appointed it.”
Now, why hath God been pleased to take away the Consort of our Queen?
I think, in the first place, we may see a motive for it in his thus giving a most solemn monition to all the kings and princes of the earth. Thus saith Jehovah, King of kings and Lord of lords: “Emperors and princes! ye shall die like men. Let not your crowns seem to you eternal; there is but one King, immortal, invisible. Think not, when ye stretch your sceptres over nations, that yours is an Almighty arm; your arm shall drop the rod; your head shall lose its crown; your purple shall give place to the shroud, and your palace shall be the narrow limits of the tomb.” The dead from their graves are crying—
“Princes! this clay must be your bed
In spite of all your towers;
The tall, the mighty, and majestic head
Must lie as low as ours.”
You will say, “But why not remove a common and ordinary person?” Because it would not have that effect. Thou, God, hast spoken from the castle, where the flag, half elevated, hung out the sign of sorrow, and thou hast said to princes who must hear, and to Czars who must listen, “I am God, and beside me there is none else. As for you, ye kings, your breath is in your nostrils; men of high degree are vanity; wherein are ye to be accounted of?” We, the multitude, can hear sermons every day, when we see our fellows and our equals removed from us by death; but these high and lofty ones sit up in their state like the gods in high Olympus, and if there were not death in their ranks, they might write themselves down as demigods, and demand worship at our hands. Stained is thy pride, O empire! thy escutcheon marred and blotted; for Death, the herald, hath challenged the royalty of emperors and kings, and dashed down, once for all, his gauntlet in defiance of the princes of the earth. Ye shall sleep like your serfs and slaves; ye shall die like your subjects. Xerxes has passed away, as well as the millions he led to slaughter. And so, ye mighty ones, must ye find that Death advances with equal foot to the palace of the king— to the cottage of the poor.
More than this: who can tell how many a heart that had been careless in our court, and thoughtless among our lords, may be made to consider? If anything can do it, this must. They who have been dazzled with the brightness of splendour, and have lost their thought amidst the noise of pomp, will hear for once a sermon by a preacher whom they dare not despise; for God will say to them, “Courtiers! noblemen! peers! I have taken away your head from you; prepare ye to meet your God!” And it may be that to-day there are knees bowed in prayer which never bowed before, and eyes may weep for sin as well as for death to-day, and hearts may be breaking with a consciousness of guilt, as well as with a sense of loss. ’Tis hard for the rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven; thus Providence attempts to make it easy. It is not easy to get the ear of those who are thus immersed in the ordinary gaieties and cares of Court life; but this detains them, death holds the wedding guests, while with his lean and skinny hand uplifted, he tells out the tale, and makes them hear, and checks and keeps them till the story is done. It may be that God intends to bring out for this our age, some who shall stand towards the Church of God to-day, as Lady Huntingdon and Ann Erskine did to the Church a hundred years ago. It may be he is tutoring to-day, some women who, like Anne of Bohemia, the friend of the Reformers, may become promoters of the gospel of Christ; and those who otherwise might have been strangers may come to lend their influence and their power to the promotion of real godliness, and the vital interests of men.
I think these are not unreasonable things to say. We may see that God has his purpose here. Besides, methinks to-day God has spoken to us as a people. He has shown to us our entire dependence upon him. He can take away every Prince and every Noble, every Cabinet Minister, and every Privy Councillor; he can leave this nation like a ship dismasted; he can, if he so wills, take the hand from the helm, and let her be drifted out to sea, and there she may be encompassed with the clouds of war and the lightnings judgment, and all our state may suffer wreck like Nineveh and Babylon of old. Britain! God hath blessed thee; but remember, it is thy God. England! God hath honoured thee; but forget not the God who keeps thee. O nation, too apt to become proud of thine own strength, now that thou art to-day wrapped about with sackcloth, and the ashes are on thy head, bow thou and say, “God is God alone; the shields of the mighty belong unto him, and unto him, and unto him alone, be glory and honour, for ever and ever.”
Then, he has spoken to each of us as individuals. I hear a voice which says to me, “Preacher! be instant in season and out of season; be up and doing, earnest and fervent, for thy day is short, and thy time shall soon be over.” I hear a voice which says to you, officers of the Church, “Be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; for soon shall the pallor of death overtake you, and he shall lay his chill hand upon your hoary heads, and stretch you in the cold grave.” I hear a voice which speaks to the people of my charge, — the members of this Christian Church — “Work while it is called to-day, for the night cometh wherein no man can work.” And I hear a solemn note, ringing as a funeral bell to you who are unconverted, and I translate its message thus, — “Prepare to meet your God; ye careless ones, who are at ease, make ready, for he comes; ye thoughtless ones, who give yourselves no trouble about eternity, make ready, for he comes; drunkard, thou who art a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God, make ready, for he comes; swearer, blasphemer, if there be such an one here, make ready, for he comes; he comes whom thou hast blasphemed; and each one of you, if ye be out of Christ, if your sins still lie upon you, if ye have never sought and found absolution from the lips of God your Father, seek it, seek it, for he comes.” When at the battle of Balaklava, the troop of soldiers rode into the valley of death, it must have been a frightful thing to see your comrade reel in the saddle and fall back; to hear bullet after bullet whistling about one’s ears; and shots finding their mark in one’s companion; to see the road strewed with bodies, and the ranks so continually riddled and thinned. And what has been the life of many of us but such a charge as that? Companions of our boyhood! where are ye? Friends of our youth! how many of you have fallen? And the grey-haired sire, as he looks back can say, “How few survive of all I once knew! How many have gone! What multitudes have fallen in the valley of decision!” And we stand miracles of long-suffering; we stand monuments of mercy! Must not our turn soon come? Must not our turn soon come, I say? Have we a lease of our lives? Can we postpone the dread moment? Can we hope to live long, when the whole of the longest life is short? Let us prepare, for to-morrow may see our coffin measured; to-morrow may behold us ready for our cerements; nay, to-night the setting sun may set upon our dead bodies. I do beseech you, remember, men, that ye are mortal. Call to recollection, by this solemn drapery of woe, and by the garments of your sorrow, that soon you must be wept over; soon mourners shall go about the streets for you, and you shall go to your long homes. I am addressing some of you this morning, who awake my tenderest anxieties. You have been to hear this voice before, some of you, and you have trembled; but your strong passions are too much for you. You have said, “Go thy way; when I have a more convenient season I will send for thee;” and that convenient season has not come yet. You would be saved; but you must be damned. You have longings after life at times; but the cravings of that old lust, that old habit of drunkenness, that old vice, those old corruptions, come, and you go back like dogs to your vomit, and like sows that were washed to your wallowing in the mire. I speak to some this morning, who have trembled in this house, when they heard the Word preached, and they have gone home, and they have felt for a little while solemnly impressed; but they have put the angel of mercy from them; they have despised there own salvation. Well, ye shall do it but a few times more; ye shall despise your own souls but a few more days; and then ye shall know, on your deathbeds, that we have not lied to you, but have spoke to you God’s truth. May God convince you of that, before you discover it too late, when the judgment shall sit, and your body, together reunited, shall stand before the judgment seat. Feeble as my words may be, it will make a sad part of the account that you were warned to think on your latter end, and to turn to God. Oh! by death and all its terrors, if unaccompanied by faith — by resurrection, and the horrors it shall increase, if you shall perish unforgiven — by the judgment and its tremendous pomp — by the sentence and its eternal certainty — by the punishment and its everlasting agony— by time and eternity — by death and the grave — by heaven and by hell—by God and by the wounds of the Saviour—awake, ye sleeping ones! Awake, ere ye sleep the sleep of death! The way of salvation is again proclaimed. “Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ hath everlasting life.” “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” On yonder tree he pours out his blood a sacrifice. Trust thy soul with him, and he will save you; put it in his hands, and he will keep it, and at the last he will be answerable for thy soul, and he will present it “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” before the throne of God, even the Father. May the Lord follow with his blessing what has been said, and to him shall be glory.