Imatges de pÓgina

his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.-Behold then, thou child of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, the goodness and mercies with which thou art surrounded. Review the foundation of thy faith, firm as the throne of God. Examine the charter of thine inheritance: it presents thee with more than crowns and sceptres. God is the Father of the universe, and thy reconciled God and Father in Christ Jesus. His providence and presence attend thee: his creation supplies thy wants: his winds blow, his showers descend, his sun and stars shine and the whole presents thee with a temple filled with his presence, resounding with his praise, and exhibiting the traces of his majesty and glory. He, whose presence fills the universe, is intimately present with thee, not in his works alone, but in himself; the soul of thy soul, the life of thy life, inhabiting, by his Spirit, thy body as a living temple. He considers thy frame, he pities thy sorrows and infirmities, and pardons thy sins, Thy sufferings are medicinal, invigorating thy moral frame. Thy corrections are the chastisements of a Parent solicitous for thy welfare, and studying by every means to advance thy best interests, and promote thy salvation. The almighty, the everlasting God, the God of grace and glory, is thy present and satisfying portion; the ages of eternity are thy happy reversion. What canst thou conceive as secure and inviolable, free and independent, full and satisfying, that is not comprehended in an infinite and gracious God, and a blessed eternity?

Conceive, if you can, the present and actual, the possible and future effects of divine love; the opening spreading faculties of the soul; the manifestation of clearer and sublimer truths; the everblooming fruits of the heavenly paradise; fountains of pleasure for ever flowing; fields of knowledge for ever enlarging; and new scenes of bliss and glory for ever opening: and after all, the conceptions of men and angels can never do justice to the perfections of the infinite God, and the riches of his eternal kingdom. But conceive of these things in the best manner you can, as the effects. of infinite power, wisdom, goodness, mercy, and love, operating in a sphere of infinite space, and in a succession of eternal duration; and what should be the sentiments of creatures such as we are, redeemed from eternal death and misery, and raised to such glorious hopes and privileges by the meritorious obedience and sufferings of God's eternal Son-creatures thus dignified and exalted, who can call God their God and Father, and this exceeding great and eternal weight of glory their everlasting reward! Rejoice then in the Lord, ye righteous. Walk worthy of the high and holy vocation wherewith ye are called. Be constant and unmoveable, always abounding in the good work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.

2. Let us improve this subject, by considering the experience we have had of the power, wisdom, goodness, and mercy of God, in the by-past part of our life. And here I might begin with what

strongly excited the admiration of the psalmist the formation of our bodies and spirits in the womb, before we came forth into the light of life. I will praise thee, says he, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect, and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them.

At our birth, and for some considerable time after it, we were the most helpless of all creatures. The young of other animals are soon capable of providing for themselves; but a course of years elapsed before we could contribute in any respect to our own subsistence. But God inspired our parents with strong affection to us their offspring. We who are parents know, by experience, the feelings of paternal tenderness; but we cannot describe them to our children, nor are they capable of conceiving them, till they in their turn have the same offices to perform to their children.

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Let us then go back to the commencement of our being, and bless, with thankful hearts, the hand which protected and guided us in infancy and youth. Let us retrace all the way by which he has since conducted us, and rejoice in the remembrance of that kindness with which each successive step has been accompanied. When worn with sickness, he hath renewed our strength: when oppressed with foreboding fears, he hath made light to arise out of darkness: when we seemed forsaken, he hath raised up friends to console and

tô support us. But it were endless to enumerate the instances of the divine goodness and mercy in which we have shared.

I shall conclude this discourse by reminding you, that every revolving year, every day, every hour, addresses us in moving language, if we would but listen to it. It tells us, that the period of our probation is hastening to an end. The past year is gone to join the multitude of years that have expired before it. It will return no more upon earth, and the scenes that were acted in it are closed for ever. It will be thus with each of us. A year will come, a day will dawn, which is to be our last: and the place that now knows us, will know us again no more. But, though this is a truth so evident, and confirmed by so many daily examples, how little do we lay it to heart! We see our friends and neighbours dropping into the grave around us; but how seldom does it occur to our thoughts, that our own departure may give to the world its next fruitless warning! If God, in some clear and manifest way, should declare to us, as he did to Hezekiah, the term of our years, and give us assurance that at such an appointed time we should die, would not that fixed period continually occupy our minds? Would not the image of death be continually before us? Would not the interval between us and that period appear too short for our allotted labours? We would indeed in such a case pass the time of our sojourning here in fear, and endeavour, by every possible means, to make


our calling and election sure. If then death, seen at a distant but certain and determined period, would so alarm us and engage our thoughts, is it, not extreme folly to suffer this solemn and interesting event, now that it may arrive every moment, to slip from our minds?

Did this uncertainty regard merely the time, the place, or the manner of our departure, it would be a subject of comparatively little moment. But when we think that eternal happiness or eternal misery is placed at the end of our course, and yet know not which shall be our portion, how dreadful is this uncertainty! Is this a situation in which you can possess your souls in peace? Oh! remember, that this is not like the common uncertainties, of life, in which we may learn lessons of wisdom from our very errors, and time may enable us to repair the effects of past miscarriages. Miscarriage here is irretrievable. There is no work, nor knowledge, nor device in the grave-no opportunity of recalling mispent time, and neglected privileges. God affords you the present moment to seek his mercy, the next is with himself. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Watch against a worldly temper and disposition of mind. While we are in the world, we must act a part and take our share in its concerns, either public or private, that we may be useful in the station wherein Providence has placed us: but to encumber ourselves with more than is necessary

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