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choice and preference of his own inclinations, whatever may be his convictions of truth and duty, he proceeds, day after day, in a course which God has forbidden. He sins by habit; and every sin he commits strengthens the principle and confirms the habit of sin. He may now and then regret his moral state, and the direction in which he is going, but as his steps have not been retraced, no stop has been put to his active hostilities against the Lord and against his Christ. He is the same man that he was, except, indeed, that the daily heap of his guilt, and his increased love to the world, have urged him further and further from God, and strengthened his hold of earthly things. Sin enlarges the sinner's resources for sinning ; so that his heart must be changed, or the evils of his heart will increase. Undethroned depravity is advancing depravity; and every unbeliever is voluntarily and deliberately forming a 'character which the Judge of quick and dead will pronounce unfit for his heavenly kingdom. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” Luke xiii. 3. “Ye will revolt more and more," Is. i. 5. “ Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil,” Jer. xiii. 23.
Reader ! lay these things to heart. You are entreated to do so; for if you are living without God, you are living in sin, and sin is gaining over you a dominion more powerful every hour. Sin has begun its work of ruin, and is increasing its power to destroy. It is fruitful in itself as well as in its consequences; and the sinner not only incurs the Divine displeasure, but he arms himself more entirely against the truth to which he ought to submit, and increases that very power which disposes him to resist the gospel which he ought to believe and welcome. The habits he has formed and the inclinations he encourages, are closely connected, and he becomes less able to come to Christ as his guilt increases and his need to go to Christ. He rebels against God; and while his iniquity becomes a plea in the court of Divine justice for his condemnation, it throws around him a deadening power which renders him less conscious of the sin which is working his ruin. His moral age increases with his natural; and his position to-morrow will not be the same he occupies to-day. If he lie down in unbelief to-night, and awake in the morning only to pursue an unbelieving course throughout the day, he will, at the close of it, be much further from God than he is now. His progress in sin may be comparatively slow, but advance he does. While time flies, his sins multiply; and so long as the source of ruin remains open, streams of desolation will rush forth with fearful rapidity and
FURTHER AND FURTHER FROM GOD.
millions are exclaiming, “ Lost-yes, we are lost—AND WE ARE LOST FOR EVER!"
Reader ! are you in an unconverted state? Is it so? Are you far from God, and in love with the world? Then be persuaded-for with pity and entreaties the plea is urged upon you - to seek for grace, to consider your ways, and to turn unto the Lord. Remember, oh! remember, that the probabilities against your conversion are multiplying daily, and that, therefore, on this very account, it becomes you to give immediate heed to the things which make for your everlasting peace. Not a day, no, not an hour is to be lost. Your soul has been neglected too long already. “It is high time to awake out of sleep." Death awaits you, yet you are unprepared for heaven. A few more paces, and you will step into the grave; and, if you repent not, you will fall into hell. You have been treading the broad way that leadeth to destruction for years and years; and that your life has been prolonged is a great mercy. If you had died yesterday, you would have been lost. But God has spared you, and given you space for repentance. Yea, so great is his love, that he even invites you to return to him, and promises to pardon all your offences. As Jesus died, so he intercedes, for sinners. The Holy Spirit is sent to renew and sanctify sinners. And why should you not share the blessings of that salvation which in the gospel is revealed to sinners? Delay on your part is dangerous, and may be irretrievably ruinous. Whilst you are procrastinating, eternity is advancing; and before you decide for God, you may be summoned to his bar. You have gone astray like a lost sheep; and like a lost sheep you are still straying from the good Shepherd. Were the history and progress of your heart written out, you would see that it had, week after week, and year after year, been departing from God; and that while it was far from Christ in childhood, it was further in youth, and further still in manhood. And how far it is from Jesus now, ah! none but the almighty Searcher of it can tell. Far off indeed it must be from the centre of rest and the source of happiness! But, cheering thought! to that centre and source you are now invited. “The Spirit and the bride say, Conne. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17. You have trodden a long path in your pilgrimage of folly, and were sinners required step by step to retrace their way, so that they should take precisely the same time in returning to the Lord that they have spent in departing from him, there would, perhaps, in that case, be no hope for you. For if you have been twenty, thirty, or fifty years in the service of Satan, and have only five, ten, or
fifteen to live, you would die before you could get to the cross of Christ. But, fellow-sinner, though you have been rebelling against God all your days, you may in a very short time indeed lose the guilt and dishonour of a rebel, and obtain the pardon and peace of a child. Fly to the refuge, it is near you. Repair to the fountain opened for sin, it is near you. Bow down before the throne of grace, it is near you. One step in the right direction will take you to the Saviour: that step you are urged to take, depending on Divine grace; for you will no sooner weep, as a penitent, at his feet, than you will be safely and happily folded, as a believer, in his arms.
Hear his gracious, alluring, encouraging words : “ Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out," John vi. 37.
O thou, whose tender mercy hears
Contrition's humble sigh ;
From sorrow's weeping eye.
See, low before thy throue of grace,
A wretched wanderer mourn:
Hast thou not said, Return?
And shall my guilty fears prevail,
To drive me from thy feet?
This only safe ratreat.
Absent from thee, my guide, my light!
Without one cheering ray:
How desolate my way!
Oh, shine on this benighted heart,
With beams of mercy shine!
A taste of joys divine.
There is an ingenious modern invention, called the Daguerreotype, by which the rays of light are made to fall on a prepared plate or tablet, so as to print a picture of any object or scene at any moment. The copy is made in an instant, and everything, however small, which belongs to the object, is shown distinctly, and remains permanently fixed.
But there is a more wonderful, more important, and more interesting work than this, continually going on in every human soul, which may be compared to the process above described, and which may well be called the moral daguerreotype. A prepared tablet, most wonderfully made, exists within us, on which the light” is painting and fixing scenes and objects, which can be called forth for our own observation, and which will all hereafter be brought out and spread in order before us, to our honour or shame, our joy or grief.
Many of these daily and nightly pictures consist of various views of ourselves, as we have appeared, acted, spoken, and thought in different scenes and companies ;-there, by the power of the moral daguerreotype, every feature is preserved, the light and shade exactly fixed, and the resemblance made perfect, so that whenever conscience, of itself, or at the command of a supe.
rior power, shall call forth any of these objects and scenes, they will be instantly recognised. Such undoubtedly is the power of memory and of conscience combined, that the whole history of our inner man is preserved and may be recovered ;--sometimes it is recalled with an affecting and distressing vividness. None can doubt, from what they have experienced, that the great Being who has so marvellously gifted the human mind, can at his pleasure cause it to bring before it, either in this life or in the life to come, all its thoughts, and actions, and affections. From the registry within a man's own bosom, God now often draws testimonies which reprove, condemn, and terrify him ; but when we know what deep secrets of sinful actions, what pictures of sinful thoughts are concealed in human souls, and that they must either be now repented of, or must hereafter produce self-condemnation before the judgment-seat, ought we not now to search out and confess our sins, and seek in faith that we may by grace obtain forgiveness through the precious blood of Christ, that these pictures of our conscience be not brought to light against us in that day which will leave no secrets of sin, in the impeni. tent and unbelieving, either unpublished or unpunished ?
Reader! be advised; be serious on so important and solemn a subject, for your eternal happiness is involved in it. Let this little messenger bring to your mind a few truths which you cannot deny, though you may try to forget, or if not to forget, yet to hide, to lessen, or resist.
1. There are true pictures of many great and aggravated sins laid up with all their circumstances in your memory, which, if unrepented of and unpardoned, will certainly one day stare you in the face like frightful and ghastly forms which you would shudder to meet. You are perfectly conscious that you have had and indulged very wicked thoughts, that you have let them gain possession of your mind, and that you have taken a sort of pleasure in them. You could recal many sinful actions in years past, which you committed with the full consciousness that you were breaking God's law and incurring God's condemnation. It may be a very painful thing to call these to mind; but ought they not to be called to mind, so far as to make you feel ashamed of them, and grieved that you should ever have been so foolish and so wicked as to do them?
2. Is it not also certain, that conscience has striven on many occasions, when roused by some event or association of thought pointing that way, to bring those offences under review, that you might judge yourself on account of them; and have you not often remembered passages of Scripture that have called upon you to repent of your sins, as well as to recollect them;