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cise of right feeling. On what course correspondent to our conviction of the fact have we entered? In what practical habit has this thought been embodied? When so busily engaged in the affairs of the present world, to the exclusion of all considerations of the affairs of the world which is to come, do we really believe that death is the appointment of God? No! it comes we know not whence--commissioned by, we think not whom. It is a law of necessity, which prevents inquiry-a freak of fate of which there is no rational solution. really believe that 'death was but the sentence of the eternal one, very different emotions should agitate, and very different plans should occupy our minds. Other views should attend us through the perplexities of the day; follow us to our nightly slumbers, be present with us in the place of prayer, give greater importance to the varieties, and another meaning to the joys and sorrows of life. Prove me this, and you have introduced me to a train of thought of high and awful character—thought which conveys a shock to the inmost soul, and fills it with emotions to which otherwise man must be a stranger. Did we but feel it as true, the awful secrecy in which he has wrapped up our destiny, 'would wrest from us all our fond, but false calculations, and make a matter of present interest the event whose considerations we postpone to future years. With what cautious step should we tread through a world which, on every side, presents to us the symbols of death. In what a prayerful frame should every change find us; how full our preparation to depart. How precious, then, should every Sabbath seem. We should not, then, so often speak to you in vain-argue without convincing-entreat without affecting you. Oh ! my brethren you do not feel it because you do not believe it. You shut your ears when we declare it--you steel

your

hearts when we would urge it.

Oh! what an assembly have I been addressing; what solemn, fearful truths have I uttered. Brethren, beloved brethren, if I reproach you, it is in kindness-it is in the discharge of a duty, springing out of a relation which God has established be.tween you and me, and over which, as a God of love, he himself presides; and you know that not without cause, I speak as I huve done.

Death is the wages of sin; and can the sinner go cheerfully on, adding to his sin, to aggravate his death? Will be spend the last hour in thoughtlessness, and even while quivering on the verge of the grave, turn away from, perhaps the last admonition ? Will he amuse himself with sin, and make profaned Sabbaths, a neglected sanctuary, and abused mercies' his pastime? Oh, this is fearful trifling with the anger of an Omnipatent God.

God will come suddenly--he will break in upon' all your schemes, and as you are running in the full chase after worldly

I pleasures, throw in between you and the object of your pursuit bis summons to judgment, to check you in your course and bring you away. The elements by which bę means to affect your change, are even pow at work in your bosom, imperceptibly to yourself, but they are shoạtly and surely to develop the fearful catastrophe-and if you can still be unconcerned, we can but retire to weep over ineffectual admonitions.

Do you ask me what you shall do? I preach to you, then, Jesus, " the resurrection and the life.” I preach him to you, my hearer, for yourself, an able Saviour, and willing to save unto the uttermost. He hath borne your griefs and carried your sorrows. By his own death he has destroyed death, and him that had the power of it. Believe on him, and you shall share with him in his triumphs, and have part in the first resurrection. Do it at once. Renounce every false hope. BCware of the deceiver ; he secretly lurks for thy soul. Reason not against the truth ; stiffe not your convictions ; smother not your impressions. Believe not that the hope of the Gospel is the acquisition of an hour; the child of disease, the boon of death. Think not that reason must light up her lamp amid the storm which destroys you, and discover to you there the paradise of God. Think not that the angel of pity must compassionate your last agony, and give you a joyful hope. These are all deceitful, damning expectations, oh repeat them no more to a convicted conscience. They will serve but to bush you to a deeper sleep, and render more fearful the crisis when it shall arrive.

Brethren, my warning is concluded. My message, perhaps, may be ineffectual; its impressions may die away with the sound of your speaker's voice. But of this I am sure: If it has been received with the same interest with wbich it has been prepared and uttered, the scene of the judgment will show that. it has not been spoken nor heard in vain. We leave its results, then, to the developments of that solemn scene.

SERMON CCCLXXXIX:

BY REV. DAVID MAGIE, I

ELIZABETHTOWN, N. J.

THE MINISTRATION OF THE SPIRIT. "Shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious.”—2 CORINTHIANS 8 : 8 · Nothing seems to reach perfection at once. In the visible, material world, we see first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. The acorn grows into a majes;

tic oak, with its branches outspread, and its top looking boldly up to the skies. A cloud appears, and it is not bigger than a man's hand, but increases until the heavens are black, and there is a sound of abundance of rain. The mighty river may be traced to an insignificant spring, silently oozing out of the mountain's side.

Thus, also, is it in the moral and intellectual world. We witness, everywhere, a beginning, a progress, and ultimate development. The mind is so constituted that all its attainments whether of knowledge or of virtue, must be made by degrees. It is impossible for every part of any given science to be comprehended at a glance. There are successive steps to be taken and these steps have to be taken from points already gained, and acquisitions alieady made. No one is found to become either very wise, or very good, of a sudden. Advancement is the divine law, inscribed indellibly everywhere, and controlling all creatures and all events.

The history of the church of God is but an expansion of this one idea. It was not deemed meet that everything should be revealed and brought to its present state of clearness or perspicuity at first. There was progression even here—Adam was not told all that was subsequently told to Abrabam; nor had the father of the faithful as much light as Moses enjoyed, David had discoveries still more perfect; and Isaiah and Daniel were carried yet further on. But none of these men saw things as fully, and with as much distinctness, as did the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Theirs was the dawn--his was the perfect day. Everything, from the commencement, has been looking onward. Originally, and in the infancy of the world, nothing more was done than to throw into the mind a few leading essential truths. Thought was excited-expectation was awakenedheart was impressed. Enough was revealed to secure the believer's salvation, but not to render the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work. A foundation was laid, yet the superstructure was not completed. The light became more and more distinct, until it shone out, with the unclouded brightness of noon, upon the beloved John, in the Isle of Patmos. This finished the vision.

God has not spoken since that hour. Now the volume of inspiration is complete, and not one more chapter or verse is ever to be added while the world stands. The last and the grandest development of the purposes of divine mercy towards our fallen race, has been made. In this respect we stand upon the shoulders of all that have gone before us. Ours may be called the mature age of the church. The times appointed of the Father are come. We are no longer under governors and tutors.

Such, evidently, was the view of Paul. Turn to the chapter which contains the text, and weigh the remarks he here makes, in connection with other and similar portions of the sacred volume. See what he says of the unrivalled excellency of the times, which had then commenced. There is one great thought filling his mind. His attention is fixed upon the blessed Spirit already just given, and afterward to be given still more plenteously. This, next to Christ's death, he regarded as the best of all God's favors. It was the end, the completion, the glory of all previous and repeated manifestations.

The passage before us is one of a very striking character. It speaks of the days when the Spirit was to be poured out from on high, largely and copiously, as possessing a peculiar honor and value. This is the point we are to discuss. Three questions arise-What is the ministration of the Spirit ?--With what is it here compared?-and, Why has it so distinguished a glory? The answer to these inquiries will prepare the way for some useful inferences.

I. Firet--What are we to understand by the ministration of the Spirit?

This we shall best find out, by marking how the writer interprets his own language. No minister of the gospel ever magnified his office more than Paul did; but he magnified it, be it remembered, mainly and preeminently becanse he was a minister of the New Testament, and not of the Old. It was his privilege, not to rest in the letter which killeth, but to be filled with the Spirit that giveth life. In a word, he preached in the midst of revivals of religion, and his labors were rccompanied by an influence which brought multitudes out of darkness into marvellous light, and from the power of Satan unto God. What, therefore, could he mean by Ministration of the Spirit, but his own favored times, and the times which were to follow? This is, doubtless, what he referred to; and the period embraced by it reached back over the few years which had elapsed since the death of Christ, and forward through all intervening ages, until the end of the world. It took in what we term the evangelical economy--it included these latter days.

We put, I beg you to notice, no forced construction on the Apostle's words. It is impossible to give them any other intelligible import. Our times, beginning with the era of Christ's ascension, and extending until his second coming, are here denominated the Ministration of the Spirit, and are so denominated because the Spirit is now given with a power and shed down with a fulness never known before. These are the days of the Son of man—this is the season for the display of God's convincing and converting grace. During this period especially, is it that the kingdom of truth and righteousness is to prevail on the earth. Pompous external rites have given place to deep internal influence. Altars have been forsaken,

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and sacrifices have ceased; but in lieu of them, we have the Holy Spirit applying to thousands of hearts the efficacy of the Saviour's atoning blood. Moses is no longer read in the Bynagogue, but Christ is preached in the church. The priest does not burn incense in the temple, but Jesus intercedes in heaven.

Yet, mistake me pot. There never was a period when the agency of the Divine Spirit was wholly unknown. The church which Jesus bougbt with his blood, is not only one in all places from the rising to the going down of the sun, but is one too in all ages, from Adam to Malachi, and from Matthew to the sounding of the last trumpet. In the days of our first parents, the God of heaven set up a kingdom, and that very kingdom still exists. Its outward ritual has been changed; its form has been altered ; but it is the same church now it ever was, having the same God and Father of us all--the same Lord Jesus Christ, and the same Holy Ghost. There was a household of faith in the days of Enys, when men began to call on the name of the Lord. Noab, and the believing members of his family belonging to this spiritual kingdom, when they went into the ark and when they came out of it. And here all the Patriarchs had their membership. Never has there been an age without converted men, and men have never been converted without the spirit of God.

Truth enough was given, and influence enough was felt from the first to save the soul. The gospel was exhibited then only by shadows and symbols, but thanks to God, it was the same gospel, and sinners were brought to believe and obey it, by the very same power which is now exerted to take away the heart of stone, and give a heart of flesh. There is a difference ; but it is a difference in the degree and extent, and expansiveness of the influence, rather than in the nature of the influence itself. Our times are the Ministration of the Spirit, vot because his power was not felt in the days of Ezra and Jeremiah, but because it was more deeply felt in those of Paul and Edwards. This blessed season began at the feast of Pentecost, and it will last until the earth is filled with the glory of the Lord.

In the very midst of this privileged period, it is our happy lot to live. The Spirit has been given to abide with the church for ever, to dwell as a Comforter in the bosom of the faithful, and to convert sinners to God ; and he has thus been given because Jesus has been glorified. This is the grand reason. The Saviour died to redeem meu from the curse of the law ; but he revived and ascended up on high to procure for them the regenerating influence of the Spirit. This, therefore, is the ministration of the third person of the Trinity. Now he is making his conquests in our world. Now is he moulding the hearts of men ; and, under his agency, multitudes which no one can number, are rising from the death in sin to a life of holiness. But

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