Imatges de pàgina

moderately attached to the world ; do we feel within us the stirrings of envy, pride, and uncharitableness ? We have then a difficult work before us; one which calls for our vigorous and concentrated efforts. Who among us is without sin? Who can say that he never offends ? We all offend, daily, hourly offend, by transgression or neglect. To all, therefore, the solemn admonition may be addressed – Go, and sin no more.' Go, labor, strive not to offend. Strive to do nothing, which you should not, and leave undone nothing which you should have done. Cherish a spirit of rational solicitude, a tenderness of conscience, which is alarmed at the first approach of sin, which sees danger wherever there is temptation, sees it afar off, and flies from it. Be faithful and resolute with yourselves; use no reserve, nor artifice. Lay your

hearts open to your own inspection ; fear not to look into them ; make yourselves familiar with their most secret recesses, and spare no passion or feeling you are forbidden to indulge, as at war with reason and holiness. Attack the enemy in his strong hold, and expel him at


Consider the lofty standard of perfection, with which you are furnished in the instructions and example of Jesus. Contemplate your distance from it; keep in view your weakness, and the thousand injurious influences to which you are exposed, and arm yourselves with courage for the conflict. Be vigilant, be wary, be firm. Encourage an ardent love and thirst of excellence. Cultivate a spirit of deep and cheerful piety, and labor to strengthen and perfect within you the christian virtues of benevolence, humility, temperance,


patience, submission and trust. You then accomplish the purpose for which you were sent into the world, and become fit for a removal, whenever the providence of God shall call


hence. Your efforts must not only be vigorous, but seasonable. No time is so fit as the present. Your work becomes every day less easy. Delay increases its difficulty, and produces in you a growing aversion to begin it. Remember, too, the uncertainty and rapid waste of life.

Another year of the short term assigned you is past, and you are brought proportionably near the grave. This, it may be, gives you little

A year, compared with the whole term of human life, or the sum that remains of it, you perhaps regard as a trifle. But be not deceived. Of the whole time, which may be yet granted to any of us,

, a year forms no inconsiderable portion. You look forward, perhaps, to old age. But old age, you should recollect, is allotted to few.

Of those who are every year dropping from your sight, are the greater part old ? No. A small proportion only are old.

A year you think a trifling matter. But view the changes which a single year occasions, you will no longer regard it as such. Look back on the past. Has death made no inroads in the circle of your acquaintances and friends? Has the face of society within the range of your observation undergone no alteration? Of those who commenced the year with you, have none gone down to the grave? Yes. Each year bears numbers to that place whence they shall not return. Each year many hearts are pierced

with sorrow, and many dwellings filled with dejection and gloom.

We survive, but how long, is in the secret counsels of heaven. What changes await us in coming time, through what scenes we may be called to pass, whether another year shall be added to our lives, or we are to fall by the way, whether we shall weep for friends summoned away, or they for us, who shall precede, and who follow, is known only to him who gave our breath, and who takes it away. These, though trite, are solemn reflections. Let us not too readily dismiss them. Let us not allow the hurry of business, or of amusement, earthly cares, and occupations, to banish them from our minds.

The season calls for seriousness. It holds the language of grave admonition. It tells us of change; it tells of decay and age; it tells of death. Let us not be deaf to its warnings. We are now entering on the year. Let us leave our sins at its threshold. Let us not take them with us, yet more

deform our spirits, and aggravate our sorrows.

The future is to us a dark abyss, an impenetrable mystery.

We should think of it with awe. We should fear to abuse the moment that is given us, for it

may be the last. The sun will rise and set, and the busy world will move on, and some will enjoy, and many will sorrow, but we may have no part in any thing that is done, or known, or felt.


Deep dwellers in yon cells profound

Where dreamless slumbers reign,
No murmuring sigh, nor grateful sound

Rise from your drear domain.

But ye, upon whose unsealed eye

Creation’s glory breaks,
When morning opes the portaled sky,

Or Night her sceptre takes ;

Ye, to whose ear a thrilling strain

Of harmony doth rise,
From warbling grove and wind-swept main,

While Echo's voice replies,

Whose buoyant footsteps traverse o'er

Gay Summer's blooming fields,
Whose free hands pluck the golden store

That lavish Nature yields;

Oh! praise the author of your breath,

The giver of your joy, Until the icy hand of Death

Time's fragile harp destroy ;

'Till rising where immortal lyres

Shall to your hand be given,
Ye find that ye on Earth have learned

The melody of Heaven.


Matt. x, 29, 30. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

The doctrine of a divine providence is essential to the integrity of faith. Indeed, religion rests upon it; for after the idea of a God, the next fundamental truth is, that he superintends the affairs of the universe. Where this truth is doubted, a revelation can find nothing in the mind, on which its authority may be established. The proof, that a general superintendance of the creation is maintained by its Author, is as satisfactory, as its necessity is obvious. If God created the world, we know that he takes care of it; for the plain reasons, that it cannot take care of itself, and that, if he possesses the perfections ascribed to Him, neither his wisdom nor his goodness would permit him to neglect his own works. It is not my purpose, however, to prove a doctrine, which every christian must acknowledge. My object will be to exhibit its true character. Is there not reason to confess, that our belief gives us less comfort than we ought to derive from it, because we have not distinct notions on the subjects which it embraces? We cannot indeed expect that the whole process of the divine government should be clear to our apprehension; for it is the action of an Infinite Mind ; and influences and results extending through the universe and through eternity are beyond our understanding. But besides this

« AnteriorContinua »