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that springs from refined occupations from exalted intercourse and ethereal contemplations-all that can be perceived and felt and enjoyed in the splendid presence of that Being who is the light, the life, and the joy of the universe; Christianity encourages us to anticipate, and promises to unfold, before the astonished gaze of creation, and to bestow freely and for ever upon the just made perfect.
The reasonableness of the hope of immortality is evinced the certainty is established. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! How valuable it is none can tell; but many can feel, who derive from it renovation to their decaying spirit, who cling to it as a refuge when the hand of the spoiler overturns the fabric of their earthly happiness and lays one after another their loved ones in the grave. Yes! many can feel, who repose upon it in the midst of earthly trouble; to whom it is the anchor of the soul when the waves of adversity beat against their fragile bark, and threaten to bury it in the deep waters. Without it, the world would present a different aspect. Clouds and darkness would often rest upon it-storms and tempests would often devastate it-and fear, and sorrow, and despair would often maintain their dreadful empire. With it, there is light and beauty-there is serenity and peace; where sorrow shows her tearful visage her sister joy is not far distant, and both are but the handmaids to conduct to the mansions of unfading glory and bliss.
Had the course of argument been as luminous and powerful as the subject permits, we should then fully perceive
in what an admirable manner the religion of our honored Lord corresponds to our situation! how it strengthens our weakness and supplies our wants! But perhaps enough has been said to give stability, where that stability was wanting to our convictions of its excellence. Oh, when it teaches us to be diligent in the improvement of every faculty and talent which we possess-when it requires us to be upright, and kind, and merciful in every relation of life-when it leads us to an intimate and holy communion with God, raises our trembling soul to his presence, and sublimes it with the essence of his purity and love-when it cherishes and exalts our virtues in the present life, and crowns them with glory in the life which is eternal-we should not refuse our admiration of its excellence, we should not count other things than as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord! Should we attempt with the most scrutinizing exactness to discover in any respect its incapacity to refine and ennoble, to communicate the most pure and enduring joys, to console amidst the afflictive changes of our mutable condition, and to sanctify every dispensation of our God and Father in heaven, the attempt would fail; we should make no such discovery, for, in this and in all respects, it is exactly such as the most perfect wisdom would contrive for us and our purest affections delight in.
Is it without reason, then, that the Apostle Paul places so distinguished a value upon it? that he esteems it above all price? that he suffered the loss of all things for it? and was only anxious in his own expressive words to win
Christ? His admiration is just and natural. Having drank deep of the inspiration of Christ's religion, he was qualified to speak to its value; that value was impressed upon his heart, it was enhanced during the course of his apostolic labours, it was lessened neither by the prospect nor the experience of death. May we value it also! May we hold fast the profession of it, and receive from it the blessings of which it is constituted the medium. Enough are the trials in which we require fortitude and prudence; enough are the afflictions in which we need consolation and hope. In these trials and afflictions religion will be found a sovereign-a perpetual aid. And she is ever at our hand to do us good, to bless us, to restrain or to excite, to admonish or to commend, to subdue or to exalt-and thus to be the companion and the monitor of our life. If we follow her dictates, if we act according to her suggestions and make her our friend, we shall receive happiness from her when the world frowns or when it smiles, when adversity enters our dwelling or prosperity gladdens our footstep with its rays. And hereafter, at the consummation of all things, our happiness will be perpetuated; religious hope will be succeeded by enjoyments to which religion will still yield its attractions-with which it will still mingle its sacred delights.
The Voice of the Lord.
We have in the 29th Psalm a vivid description of the effects of the word of Jehovah, chiefly upon inanimate nature. The sacred poet describes, in a sublime and impressive manner, how this word produces those phenomena of the natural world which are of a grand and awful character, referring particularly to the scenes which were dear to the hearts of the sons of Israel-and amid which, to their view, the majesty of Jehovah was chiefly unveiled. The Psalm is a majestic outpouring of the spirit of devotion, and attests equally the energy and fire of Hebrew poetry, the talent of the Hebrew bard, and the inspiration of sacred truth. We love to hear the praises of the One True and Living God sung to so gifted a lyre. Entering into the feelings of the Psalmist, we shall not confine ourselves to the ideas contained in his noble and highly devotional ode; for the voice of the Lord has been heard in various ways, and in every age of the world, proclaiming his existence and asserting his supremacy, with a grandeur and authority which rivets the attention, and awe the soul to silence. We do not now allude to the awful proclamation to which Moses and the Israelites listened, with speechless wonder, amidst the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai-to the sublime communications vouchsafed to the Hebrew prophets, to the testimony from heaven, given to Jesus near the waters of the JordanThis is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased,'— -nor
to the same grand testimony repeated in his favor on the mount of Transfiguration. It is not only in the extraordinary communications of his spirit that the voice of the Adorable Creator and Governor of the world is heard, but in all the works of his hands. These have a voice which tell us that he exists, which proclaim with immense authority and energy his infinite power, his consummate skill and wisdom, his overflowing goodness.
Walk into the garden, or the field, or the grove. Look at the varieties of plants which flourish on every side! On the stem and the leaves of each you may look with admiration, and discover in them the work of a master hand. Look at the flowers! The form how various, yet elegant in all; the colors how rich and glowing, and though few in number, yet blended and diversified almost to infinity! Their odour, too! The air is filled with it; and it is wafted along by the breeze to delight the labourer as he applies himself to his task, and to refresh the traveller as he hastens on his way. Press the turf with your foot-and whilst you admire its velvet softness, think that every blade of grass and every minute plant which compose it, are formed with a skill that none can rival or imitate. Raise the eye to these trees, which planting their broad and rugged trunks firmly in the ground, lift their branches on high, and weave them out to minute tendrils on which they hang their green and glossy leaves. Here is the oak, justly named the monarch of our woods, the glory and protection of our island. And here the elm towers above it, a stately and majestic tree; whilst the beech inclines its