« AnteriorContinuar »
either to continue or resume them. What if he were called to resign them all, and to endure the worst of temporal evils without any prospect of escape, still he trusts in the sure word of promise of that God who raiseth the dead-of him who raised up Jesus, and gave him glory, that the faith and hope of those who believe in him might rest upon a sure and unde. ceiving foundation. Take, my brethren, for an ex. ample not only of suffering affliction and of patience, but of triumphant hope, the man who wrote the words of our text. After all his escapes and deliverances, a period arrived when he found himself obliged to say, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand;" and he accordingly yielded up his life for the testimony of Jesus. Does he, in this prospect, repine at bis past sufferings, or think all his labour lost? No! I have fought," says he, “a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid
up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day." Armed with the like mind, animated by a portion of the same spirit, let us, my friends, address ourselves to meet the events of the coming year. While, like Paul, we draw from past mercies and deliverances, the pleasing and enlivening inference of future support, let us hold ourselves in a constant posture of preparation for whatever may happen. Never in any circumstances let us part with our full persuasion of, and dependance upon, the divine goodness, assured that if we are tempted to distrust it, we ought to look for the cause in some wrong conduct of our own. Let us fulfil, to the utmost of our ability, the duties of the stations in which Providence hath placed us;
convinced that while our Father has any work for us to do, he will enable us to discharge it; and that when we are dismissed from our post, it is because he has no farther occasion for our service. While the good things of life are continued to us, let us use them with gratitude, but not abuse them by excess; and, if they be taken from us, let us not deplore their loss as if all our hopes of happiness vanished together with them. Let us not think hardly of the discipline it may be necessary for us to undergo in order to reduce us to a disposition of entire acquiescence in the divine will; and let us calmly wait our father's pleasure, either for the removal of affliction, Ol' our release from the troubles of a transitory world by our being called out of it. Let us not start back, with affright, at the thought of what it is impossible to avoid. Death, on a nearer view, may not wear so terrific an aspect as our imaginations have pictured. Although the sudden apprehension of danger operates instinctively upon us, and impresses us with the fear of the loss of life, a little reflection will convince us that our Creator has made many merciful provisions for lessening our natural dread of it upon its gradual approach. Probably, the moment of dis. solution itself may be little or nothing more than we have experienced when the vital functions have been suddenly arrested by a fit of fainting--possibly, even as easy and tranquil as when, after a toilsome journey, we drop insensibly asleep, and on opening our eyes in the morning know not at what moment, or in what manner, or how long our slumbers have lasted. Yes! brethren-that important, that triumplant morning will dawn, when we shall shake off the slumbers of the tomb-when our now. weak,
pained and corruptible bodies shall rise in the vigour of undecayiug health in the glow of unfading beauty-to the enlarged and unwearied functions of an immortal existence. Let us then, as it were, spring forward to meet that glorious, blissful period; and passing over with a comparatively careless and transient glance, the lapse of years and every thing seen and temporal, let our fixed regards, our warmest affections, and most ardent pursuit; be engaged by those things which are unseen and which are eternal.
PROPHECIES OF THE MESSIAH FULFILLED IN JESUS
DELIVERED ON CHRISTMAS DAY, 1815.
Rom. i. v. 1-4.
The Gospel of God which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness--[or, the holy Spirit.]
WHEN we take an extensive retrospect of the affairs of this world of ours, and compare the actual moral condition of its inhabitants with what it might liave been but for their departure from the original purity and rectitude of their nature—when we see, on such a review, the evident tokens of an increasing degeneracy, and of a tendency to absolute ruin and destruction-I say, when we consider these things on the one hand, and on the other, the infinite power, wisdom, and goodness of the Supreme Being, and particularly his tender compassions, so directly implied in his character of the Father of men, it must seem highly reasonable to expect that he would, in some way or other, and at a proper season, interpose for their deliverance. And as the fact is unde