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Preparation for Heaven.

Preparation for Heaven.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 26, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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PREPARATIO FOR HEAVE. BY WILLIAM B. 0. PEABODY, D. D. PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD. AmOS iv. 12. Every one knows that this life is but the child- hood of existence. If the young will not look for- ward and prepare for the manly duties of life, it is altogether absurd to expect that they shall be re- spectable, useful, and happy: it is next to certainty that they will be just the reverse of all this. And if we who are here to be educated for another exist- ence, — we who are so severe upon the carelessness of the young, — if we should have it pressed home on ourselves in return, " You say this is a prepara- tory state ; where is your preparation ? v — -we might find it somewhat hard to reply. The truth is, that a great many, and not such as pass for bad men either, are making no sort of prep- aration for another life. In all that respects this world's gain, the eye of the lightning is not sharper than theirs. Perhaps in respect to intellectual im- provement they tax heavily the present moment to secure knowledge in time to come, and nothing can exceed the thoughtfulness and attention they bestow 23* 270 PREPARATIO FOR HEAVE.
in preparing the comfort of their declining years. But take one of these deliberate and sagacious men, ask him what duty he is doing because Christianity requires it ; ask what he can truly say he is doing or has ever done from a sacred sense of duty ; ask him if he is in the habit of cross-examining his con- science when it tells a flattering tale ; ask him if he makes a point of doing, not what pleases himself, but what will please God. If he answers as he would reply to his own heart, if he tells the truth, he will confess to you that he thinks of no such things. He is contented if he preserves a good moral character ; if he does not materially injure others, — or, in homely phrase, if he minds his own business and lets others alone, — he is quite easy as to his last account with God. All this is very well. Even though he is not tempted to do otherwise, though character, interest, and all inducements whatever lead him to observe, and never break, this line of conduct, we allow that, as far as it goes, it is duty, though it implies a no- tion of the importance and extent of duty which is extremely weak and low. But after giving all the praise due to this conduct, and perhaps a little more, the great question returns, What is there in all this that you call preparation for another existence ? All this begins and ends in the present world. In all this there is nothing serious, nothing devoted, noth- ing high, nothing which could not be done as well without Jesus Christ as with him. In fact, it all is done without him, and if this is preparation, such PREPARATIO FOR HEAVE. 271
persons expect to be saved without having the least regard for a Saviour. — they expect religion to save them without their paying any respect to its laws. And this is as wise as to expect to be restored to health by a medicine which they never have taken , or enlightened by a book which they have never read. There is no kind of doubt that many, and those not by any means foolish men, are in error here. They are moving on in the voyage of life as if they were sure of drifting to the right harbour. They feel no uneasiness because they see no land, and take no observations : — the very thing that ought to alarm them flatters them into confidence, and they are not startled till they dash upon the rock, or founder in the heart of the sea. What is the preparation required ? One would suppose that there could be no mistake here : but there are great and various errors, and they all re- sult from that passion in man to make the terms of acceptance with God as easy to himself as he can. Devotion and benevolence constitute this prepara- tion ; — in better words, the preparation is to love God with all the heart, and our neighbour as our- selves. Devotion, my friends, does not consist in solem- nity. There is a solemnity which passes for devo- tion, which men approve in themselves as devotion. Just as they take it for granted, that all who wear black are mourners, do they believe, that all whose manner is gloomy are profoundly religious at heart,

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