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tumbles down, the memory seems to be quickened with a new life. Persons on the very brink of the grave have been known to relate, with wonderful minuteness, circumstances which occurred
many years before, and had been long forgotten. Sometimes they have even used a language which they had learned in childhood, but in which they had not been able to converse for years. A Lutheran clergyman in Philadelphia asserts, that he has often heard aged Germans, on their death-beds, pray in the German language, which they had not spoken for sixty years. It is also related by persons rescued from drowning, after consciousness had ceased, that during the few moments of their consciousness while in the water, their whole lives seemed to rush in a torrent of recollection through their minds. These, and many other facts of a similar character, show that the powers of mind do not partake of the body's decay, and they distinctly foreshadow its increased activity in its disembodied state. And what is there in death, either to impair the powers of the mind or break the chain of its exercises? Why should the soul be more affected in its qualities by the dissolution of the whole body, than by the amputation of a limb? It escapes from its prison, and changes its residence, but does not lose its identity, nor surrender its powers. It will anticipate the future ; it will be conscious of the present; it will remember the past.
II. Not only will the memory exist in the future world, but it will probably possess far greater activity and energy than in the present life, and thus be able to recall the past with a distinctness and vividness which are now wholly unknown.
I admit that we are now going beyond the domain of certain knowledge, but we may make inferences with considerable certainty, from facts which are well known. It is rational to suppose that the mind will acquire new activity, by its emancipation from the body; that when it throws off this mortal coil, it will start up into a new and more vigorous life: and why should not memory receive a new impulse as well as the other powers ? That our knowing faculty will be vastly increased, is expressly asserted in the Word of God. Why not then the remembering faculty, which is so intimately associated with it?
But there will be circumstances connected with the lost which must greatly facilitate the remembering of earthly scenes. There will be nothing to divert the mind from the view and study of the gloomy past. The lost soul will be excluded from all society except the society of those as solitary and wretched as itself, and shut up to its own melancholy reflections. The saved, we have reason to believe, will be actually engaged in ministries of good, and this will consist no small part of their happiness. But the lost will have nothing to do but to "remember.” They are spoken of in the Scriptures as shut up in prison, as bound in chains. They will be constrained to reflect-they will find no other employment. There will be nothing to turn off the mind from its dismal work of remembering. There will be no bargains to be madeno schemes of ambition to be formed-no scenes of gayety and mirth to drown the thoughts and keep them from straying back over the past. There will be nothing to do but to remember, and the memory will act with terrible energy and effect.
You know what reflection does for a guilty soul even in this world. Peter was very comfortable for a while, after denying his Master, but “when he thought thereon he wept.” Judas, as soon as he came to reflect, saw, as he had not seen it before, the enormity of his sin in betraying his Master, and in bitter anguish of soul cast down the price of the Saviour's blood, and rushed out and hanged himself. Herod was so troubled by the remembrance that he had murdered John the Baptist, that he could not think Christ was any one else than his murdered victim raised from the grave. This, said he, is John the Baptist : he is risen from the dead. How often have criminals shown no uneasiness in consequence of their crimes, till they came to reflect in the solitude of a dungeon. Then they remembered, and every thought of the past rolled, as in billows of fire, through their souls. Why is it, that solitary confinement, without labor, is regarded as the severest form of imprisonment? It is because the lonely victim can find nothing to do but to remember. And this incessant remembering has often proved more than the mind could bear, and reason has been driven from her throne. Philanthropists have protested against the cruelty of thus compelling the criminal continually to remember.
In the old State-prison in Connecticut, this form of punishment was employed as the extreme of severity. There was an apartment of the prison called the “sounding-room,” which was round -a cavity dug from the solid rock. In this spherical cell the refractory convict was chained to the floor, and left to his solitary reflections. This treatment was always successful. The stoutest heart could not endure it long. Give me something to do," he would say, " or at least something to look at; or if that cannot be, give me a cell that is noi round—one that has some inequality, or corner, or crevice-something on which I can fix my aching eye-something to occupy my aching thought.” Yet this was but for a few days, and much of this time was spent in sleep. And if memory can do such a work for a guilty soul, during a few short hours of reflection in an earthly prison, oh! what an array of bitter, appalling thoughts will it summon before the soul during its endless reflections in the prison of despair ! There will be time enough there to spend an age upon each particular act of life. There will be no variety, no objects of curi.
osity or interest to divert the mind. There will be no respite, no sleep, no rest,-nothing but incessant, intense, eternal remembering.
But, it may be urged, the condition of the lost soul is not represented as a solitary one. Will not the society which the sinner will meet in the eternal abode shield him, in some measure, from the power of the remembered past ? No! On the other hand, it will constantly remind him, with new distinctness, of the scenes of his probation. He will meet in the world of torment those whom he knew on earth, and whom he encouraged and helped on in the road to death.
When the exile, who has been driven into banishment for crimes committed in his native land, meets an old accomplice in crime whose ruin he has himself assisted to procure, how vividly does the meeting call to mind the scenes of their guilty career, mantling the cheek with a deeper hue of shame, and piercing the soul with sharper stings of remorse! Will it be otherwise when the exile from God and Heaven encounters the companions of his godless days-perhaps the victims of his own sinful conduct or example ? Must not the meeting awaken a thousand bitter memories of this wasted probation, and open new vials of woe upon the conscience-stricken soul ? All the associations of the world of the lost will be the agents which conscience shall employ to carry the mind back to earth, and to echo the terrible words of Abraham to the rich man-remember! renuember !
The agency of the Devil, by whom they were deceived and allured to ruin, will greatly quicken the memory of the lost, and supply abundant materials to exercise it. Now he would have men forget their sins; wipe out the faintest remembrance of them, lest they should be so distressed by them as to cry to God for mercy and for deliverance from them. But in the world to come we know not that he could do this if he would, and evidently he would not do it if he could. For he is supremely malignant, and is bent on making his victims as utterly miserable as he can. When once he has made sure of them beyond the possibility of escape, he will throw off the mask of innocence and kindness which he now wears, and make it his chief delight to torment them. To this dreadful end will he apply all the art and power of his infernal agency. He will see that they escape no bitter reflection or agonizing thought; no ingredient in their cup of woe will be wanting; and he will constrain them to drink that cup to its lowest dregs. With bitter taunts for their folly, and fiendish delight in their woes, he will point them to the wasted and perverted past-a Saviour refused-a probation lost-a heaven despised-repeating, though with a far different motive, the words of Abraham to the rich man, remember! remember!
The process of judgment, moreover, will greatly quicken memo
ry and furnish the mind with exhaustless topics of reflection. "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” By some means, we know not what, we shall be enabled to recall all the scenes and acts and even the thoughts of our whole lives; and the terrible
will be as distinct before our eyes as the sun in heaven. And as God himself summons them before us, as they are the basis of judgment, and the grounds of the final sentence, and as conscience will stand ready to burn them into the soul unless they are washed out by Jesus' blood, they will remain for ever in distinct remembrance. But it is proper to inquire,
III. What subjects will probably be most prominent in the reflections of the lost soul.
Remember,” said Abraham to the rich man, “ that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things.” Here, then, is one thing which the lost will certainly remember. They will remember the gifts of Providence, for which they requited their Maker with ingratitude and rebellion.
My hearer, God has opened his hand, and strewed your path in life with blessings. The wholesome atmosphere that heaves your breast, the healthful pulsations of your heart, the supply of your unnumbered daily wants, the shield that protects your slumbers at midnight, the friends that share with you the trials and joys of life, the innumerable blessings with which your life is filled, are the free bounty of your forgotten Father in heaven; they are so many cords thrown around your soul to draw you to himself:
you break away from them all and press on in impenitence down io death and to hell, you will remember these ten thousand kindnesses of the Lord. The remembrance of the amazing ingratitude of your conduct in resisting all these mercies, and hardening your neck in rebellion against the generous Giver, will follow you to eternity, and harrow up your feelings to their intensest pitch. You will remember distinctly each of the countless blessings with which God crowned your lives, and gladdened your hearts in this world of grace, but which were forgotten in un. thankfulness. You will remember how He fed, and clothed, and protected you, though you were so unthankful and disobedient; how He held back the bolts of his anger from your head, and permitted you to prosper while you were "despising the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." All this, and the ingratitude it involves, and which you would give worlds to forget, you will be compelled to remember, and remember for
and if you
2. Again, you will doubtless remember the spiritual privileges which you failed to improve. Whatever may be your present estimate of these privileges, you will fully appreciate them when they are for ever gone.
shall live and die as you are, impenitent, you will begin to consider then what you have lost. You will recount the days now passing over you, bright with the promises of mercy. A Saviour "wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities,” will stand before you, and you will remember how you pierced him by your sins. You will remember all the means of grace which you resisted--the gracious Spirit who strove with you till you grieved him finally away--the min. istry of the word, proclaiming the offers of life in your ear, which you closed against them—the pious relatives and friends, whose earnest entreaties to repent you disregarded. These Sabbaths will return to you—not as available realities to be again enjoyed --but the ghosts of their murdered hours will throng up the avenues of memory to lay their accusations at your feet. 'You will remember this house of prayer, where you so often turned your back upon your Maker, and the memorials of your Saviour's love. You will remember this blessed Bible, given to make men wise unto salvation, the dust of whose unopened lids will testify against you. You will remember its holy truths, once your rule of action and
your guide, but now the matter of your accusation and the sentence of eternal condemnation. You will remember how those influences followed you up, step after step, from Sabbath to Sabbath, year after year—from the earliest dawn of reason to the close of life—and how you steadily, perseveringly and stubbornly resisted them all-fighting your way through a thick array of warnings, entreaties, prayers, tears, nay, through the blood of atonement, and the strivings of the Spirit, down to eternal death.
3. There is another class of means by which God is striving to win sinners to his service and love; I mean His paternal chastisements. Many are subdued and saved by the hand of affliction upon whom all other means have been tried in vain.
My hearers! why is it that God has so often stepped between you and the object of your earthly desire? Why has He so often disappointed your plans, and blasted your hopes, and stripped you of worldly good? Why has He constrained you so often to see and to feel the utter emptiness and vanity of all things earthly, and to sigh in your soul over the blight and misery of this sinful state of being? It is that He might withdraw your affections from earth and centre them on heaven-reclaim you from the ways of sin, and establish you in obedience. This is the design and the natural tendency of all God's chastisements; and this would be their invariable effect, through the blessing of his grace, if they were not resisted and perverted. You may not see this now: sin may shut this truth out of sight; but the day will come when the darkness will vanish, and you will remember all the scenes of your earthly suffering and disappointment, with a perfect recollection. Memory, from the remotest future, will wander back to this probation