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have their perfect and endless consummation in the service and felicity of God above ì
Should the time of salvation pass away, and he who desires to save us, hereafter behold the utter shipwreck of our eternal hope, and cry, "If thou hadst known, even thou, the things that belong to thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes," tongue may not declare, nor mind imagine, the anguish of that self-reproach which will be enkindled to torment us with a never-dying flame. Brethren, that irreparable mistake may be committed, unless we walk in watchfulness and prayer, and holy duty. The night is coming, in which no man can work. May we then squander an hour with the confident prodigality of him who threw his dearest jewel into the sea, and felt certain that it would be restored to him? Doth it not rather become us to "walk while it is light, lest darkness come upon us?" If the spirits of the redeemed could address us from their thrones of glory, or their voices could be heard through this gross tabernacle of clay, they would indeed animate us to run the way of God's commandments, and to partake with them the fulness of joy in which it terminates. Could one be sent from the abodes of those who are lost beyond the influence and reach of hope, by having neglected their hour of mercy, with what im
pressive earnestness would he warn us to beware, lest, by the same folly, we come into that place of torment. Surely, a Christian, with the Bible in his hand, and with God's Spirit addressing his soul, may well imagine, that such voices meet his ear, from the infinite opposites of heaven and hell. And surely, while they smite upon his heart, he should arise, in the strength of his Father's all-sufficient Spirit, and say, Henceforth,-all other considerations being postponed to the great business of my eternal salvation, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
JOSHUA'S DYING TESTIMONY TO THE FIDELITY OF GOD IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HIS PROMISES.
JOSHUA XXIII. 14.
Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth : and ye know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you: all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
JOSHUA had accompanied the armies of Israel from Egypt to the land of Canaan. He remembered all the promises of God, and had witnessed their fulfilment. When the chosen heritage was at length placed within the borders of the promised country, he confessed the immutability of the divine counsels, in the beautiful language of the text, and glorified God for Israel.
The experience of every Christian attests the same animating truth. His conflict may have
been severe and long, his trials great and many; his voyage through life variable, eventful, stormy: but when he is about to enter the eternal haven where he would be, his duty and his privilege will alike lead him to acknowledge, that goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life; and to express an humble persuasion, that the God who guided him with his counsel, will afterward receive him to glory.
Such a lesson is taught by the impressive words of Joshua. They describe in terms of inimitable beauty, The delight with which a faithful servant of God bears testimony to the truth of every promise.
I. IN THE HOUR OF DEATH.
Almost twenty years had elapsed since Israel had experienced the fulness and blessings of Canaan. The time drew near in which Joshua must die. His important work was done: and he might well have pleaded the weight of years and infirmity, as a reason against further toil. But the love of God and of his brethren was a principle which age could not diminish, nor approaching death subdue. He called therefore, for all Israel, and for their heads, and for their elders, and for their officers, to communicate his last advice; and to persuade them, if possible, to serve the author of all their accomplished mercies, with steadfast hearts, and willing minds.
Now what will be the conduct of a dying servant of God? Place such a man before the eyes of your imagination. His conversation has been in heaven. He has trodden the path of faith and holiness, cleaving to the refuge of his Saviour's cross, patiently endeavouring to bear his own, and aiming to glorify the gracious God, whose he is, and whom he serves. The hour of his dismission is come; his warfare is accomplished, his rest prepared. The body is about to return to the dust as it was, and the Spirit unto God who gave it. But, as the planet reflects a more pure and brilliant radiance, when it draws nearest to the fountain of light, so will the last earthly hours of such a man be gilded, if sense and strength be allowed him, with a more enlarged communication of the love of God, shed abroad in his heart, by the Holy Ghost given him. Jesus Christ, having loved his own which were in the world, loved them unto the end and his last earthly cares were directed to their future welfare. The penitent and pardoned apostle, again commissioned to, feed the lambs of his Redeemer's fold, thought it meet to put them in remembrance of their duties and their mercies, knowing that shortly he must put off his earthly tabernacle, even as the Lord had showed him. Paul testified to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, that they all among whom