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told that he is the King of Glory, and the everlasting Son of the Father, that is to say, that he was begotten of the Father before all worlds. Before the earth and the sun and the heavens, before the angels were created, before any thing that is had life or being, the everlasting Son dwelt in the bosom of the Father, sharing in all his glory, and full of his wisdom and power. Yet, though he was so high above all beings, he humbled himself, and, in order that he might deliver us, did not abhor the Virgin's womb, but became man for our sakes, being made in all things like as we are, sin alone excepted: and having lived a life of pain on earth, after overcoming the sharpness of death on the cross, he opened the gates of heaven for his people, and now sits at the right hand of God, continually making intercession for them, as he will do, until he returns in great glory, to judge both the quick and the dead. At that awful day we shall have to appear before him as our Judge. Well then does it behove us to consider how we are to fit ourselves for that day of terrour. The Te Deum shews us this too. The thought of that day should awaken us to fervent prayer. No sooner has it confessed its belief in Christ as our Judge, than it changes its tone from praise to prayer, and goes on: "We therefore pray thee, help thy servant, whom thou hast
redeemed with thy most precious blood." For thine own sake help us. Let not thy sufferings have been endured, let not thy blood have been shed in vain; let not all that thou hast done for us be of no avail to us: but as thou hast done so much, even to the shedding of thy precious blood for our sakes, assist us that we may obtain the benefits purchased for us by thy cross and passion, and make us to be numbered among thy saints in glory everlasting. To that end continue to preserve thy people, continue to bless thy heritage. Be thou our governor, our only Master and Lord; and, forasmuch as without thee we are unable to stand, do thou lift us up and uphold us. So may we magnify thee day by day, and worship thy name ever world without end. In order however that we may attain to all these blessed privileges, it is necessary that we should be without sin, that we should be pure and holy. But pure and holy we cannot be of ourselves: we cannot keep ourselves without sin. Even for this one day we cannot keep ourselves without sin. Do thou therefore vouchsafe to keep us this one day without sin. Of thy free mercy keep us: we have no claim upon thee, but thy mercy. Let thy mercy lighten upon us for that is our only trust. And inasmuch as we place our whole and sole trust in thee, O Lord, let us never be confounded.
This is the way, my brethren, in which we are to prepare ourselves against that terrible day, which, while it will be a savour of life unto life for the godly, will be a savour of death unto death for the ungodly. We are to prepare for it by keeping from sin, by trusting wholly in Christ, and by prayer. Many good men have puzzled themselves and others by asking, as the disciples did of old, When will these things be? Now so far as you and I are concerned, this question may be easily answered. To you, to me, to every one present, the awful moment, which is to close the door of repentance and hope for ever, will come, whenever it pleases God to call us away from this world. The hour of death is to every child of Adam the same as the hour of judgement. The page in the book of life where our name should have been written, is then turned over; and if it be not written there then,—rather if, having been written there at our baptism, we have blotted it out by our sins,―miserable, most miserable shall we be. It had been better for us that we had never been born, that we had remained lifeless clods, without sense or motion, than that we should have been called into life to throw that life away, and to die eternally. Mind, I do not the door of repentance is open to you until the hour of death. I have no authority from
Scripture to say any such thing. I only say, that after death the door will assuredly be closed and barred, and that no tears, no entreaties, no groans That it will be closed
will then avail to open it.
But there are so many
before, I do not say. sayings in Scripture about wearying the Holy Ghost, about God's giving us over to our own devices, about his refusing to strive with man any longer, that a person who reckons on what is called a deathbed repentance, leans on a broken reed; whereon if a man lean, nine times in ten, ninety-nine times perhaps in a hundred, it will either break under him or pierce him. For the man who puts off forsaking sin till he has lost the power of sinning, cannot pretend that he hates sin. How can a man be said to hate that, to which he clings as long as he can? On the contrary he loves sin he only fears and hates the punishment of sin; and this he would fain escape. But can tears which spring from such a base source be acceptable to God, who tries the hearts and the reins? Will God allow himself to be mocked with such pretenses as this? No, my brethren : the only right, the only safe way is to serve God from your youth upward, to turn to him betimes, to come to him the very first moment he calls you. Let no warning go unheeded. Let no prayer pass over your lips, without your bidding your heart go
along with it. Trust in Christ's mercy. Strive to keep from sin, and pray to Christ that he will help you to keep from it. Then and then alone may you cherish the hope that you will be numbered among his saints in glory everlasting.
After the Te Deum the second lesson is read to you. While the first lesson, as you know, is always chosen out of the Old Testament, the second lesson is taken from the New Testament, in the morning from one of the Gospels, or from the book of Acts, in the evening from one of the Epistles. The Gospels tell us what our Saviour said and did and suffered. The book of Acts sets forth how quickly and marvelously the religion of Christ spread over the earth, and what mighty things God brought to pass by means of the holy apostles, within the first thirty years after our Lord ascended into heaven. The Epistles are letters written by those apostles, declaring the truths which the Spirit of all truth had revealed to them, the truths which they went about the world preaching, which they sealed with their blood, and on the foundation of which they built up the Church of Christ. All these blessed words are read to you in your own tongue, so that even those who cannot read themselves, may yet hear and understand the great things which Christ has done for the salvation of mankind, and may know him in whom they are to believe.