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efficiency and free-agency, is there not irresistible evidence of their existing together?
186. When it is best, perhaps the only time to begin a religious life?
Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, TO-DAY if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.- For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: BEHOLD, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME; BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.- Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Heb. 3. 7, 8, 12, 13. 2 Cor. 6. 2. Ps. 2. 11, 12. || Gen. 6. 3. Heb. 4. 7. Jam. 4. 13-17.
Can any of you be so unwise, so presumptuous, as to defer your soul's concerns till to-morrow? Where would you be should you not live till to-morrow?
187. Is this life a state of probation?
Be not deceived; GOD is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Gal. 6. 7, 8. Rom. 8. 12, 13. 2 Cor. 5. 10. || Is. 61. 2. Hos. 10. 12, 13.
Are you sowing to the flesh as to the Spirit? Are you desirous of living every day with reference to a never ending eternity?
188. It is appointed unto ALL men ONCE to DIE?
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind
passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.- The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.- There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit: neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. Job. 14. 1. 1 Chron. 29. 15. Ps. 103. 14-16. 1 Sam. 2. 6. Eccl. 8. 8. || Job 16. 22. and 30. 23. Ps. 39. 4, 5. Job 4. 12, 20. and 14. 2, 5, 10, 12, 19, 20. and 21. 23-26.
How do you feel respecting your own death? Do you try to banish from your minds the thoughts of dying? Or are you willing to render this subject more familiar to your thoughts?
189. Is the time of death EXTREMELY uncertain?
Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain; Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.- Boast not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.- Lord, make me to know MINE END, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I AM. Jam. 4. 13, 14. Prov. 27. 1. Job 21. 23. Mat. 24. 44. Ps. 39. 4. || Gen. 3. 19. and 27. 2. 1 Sam. 20. 3. Ps. 90. 5, 6.
Do we often reflect that our mortal lives may terminate soon and suddenly? Does not death overtake most persons unexpectedly? What if our souls should this night be required of us?
190. "If a man die shall he live again ?" Job 14. 14.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.- Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of GoD• and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words. John 5. 28, 29. 1 Cor. 15. 51-53. 1 Thes. 4. 15—18. || Rev. 20. 6, 13, 14. Job 19. 25-27. Acts 24. 15, 16. Ps. 16. 8, 9, 11. Dan. 12. 2. 1 Cor. 15. 12, &c.
Where is the doctrine of the resurrection taught clearly but in the Bible? How solemn, how interesting, how precious is this doctrine?
191. Who will "judge the world in righteousness ?"
For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.- Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained: whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.- For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to GOD. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to GOD.- When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one: from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. John 5. 22. Acts 17. 31. Rom. 14. 11, 12. Mat. 25. 31-33. || Rev. 20. 11, 12. Eccl. 12. 14, 11, 9. Jude 14. 15. Rom. 2. 3-16. Mat. 16. 27. and 24. 36-42. Luke 9. 26. Mark 13. 32-37.
Must your eyes see Christ descend in judgment? Must your feet stand before the Son of man? Must your ears hear the irrevocable sentence from his lips? Can you feel stupid?
192. What will be the sentence of the righteous?
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or raked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and
say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Therefore are they before the throne of GOD, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the LAMB which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and GoD shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the LAMB. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of GOD and of the LAMB shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Mat. 25. 34 -40. Rev. 7. 15-17. and 22. 1-3, 14. || 1 Cor. 2. 9, 10. and 13. 9-12. 1 Pet. 1. 3—5. 2 Pet. 1. 10, 11. Heb. 4. 9, 11. Rev. 3. 21. Rom. 2. 7. Mat. 6. 9-21.
Should your characters be sealed from this moment, would your portion be with holy beings? Have you a relish for the employments and enjoyments of heaven?
193. What will be the doom of the wicked?
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was a hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: this shall be the PORTION of their cup. Mat. 25. 41-46. Ps. 11. 6. || Prov. 1. 24-31. Mal. 4. 1. 2 Thes. 1. 7-9. Is. 33. 14. Ez. 22. 14. Mat. 13. 40-42. Rev. 14. 9-11. and 20. 10, 14, 15. and 21. 8. || Luke 13, 24-28. Can you doubt for a moment that the GOD of truth will execute his threatenings? Let me affectionately request you to consult the Scriptures which follow this answer. Could ANY
LANGUAGE prove the doctrine of endless punishments if the passages quoted below do not?
FINAL STATES OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
From men which are thy hand, O Lord from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness but the expectation of the wicked shall PERISH.- And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to EVERLASTING LIFE, and some to SHAME and EVERLASTING CONTEMPT.- Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; But he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.- His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, COME, YE BLESSED of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, DEPART FROM ME, YE CURSED, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be SAVED; but he that believeth not shall be DAMNED.For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like. He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth, against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that