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By these words the Holy Apostle addressed the first converts to the faith of the Gospel, when he urged them to the obedience of its commands; to practise holiness, and to flee from sin. By the very same words must we all understand, that if we be strangers, we are absent from our proper home; that if we be pilgrims, we are on a journey which must come to an end. ct
The thought of our being strangers upon earth, and of our life being a pilgrimage, that is, that at every moment of our present exist
ence, we are in a state so uncertain in its duration, and so certain not to endure long; this thought should indeed be profitable for it has many awful inferences, fearful to every one of us, but qualified with great consolation, or armed with well known terror, according as we ourselves apply them to ourselves.
This thought should be profitable at all times; for we always need it. But if there be one period of our days better suited for the solemn impressions of a thought like this, leading to the vivid, the demonstrative representation of the short and fleeting endurance of everything earthly, it must be that at which God, in His ever-ruling Providence, for our good, hath lately brought those who are here -the end of one year, and the beginning of another, Let us, then, well consider the sof lemn lesson which this circumstance ought to bring before us, and through God's grace, strive to profit by the truth, that we are all "strangers and pilgrims" upon earth.
It appears a very singular fact, that there should be so wide a distinction made by mankind in general, between the effect to be produced by truths belonging to the things and circumstances of time, and the very same truths belonging to the things and circumstances of eternity.