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rally tend to direct our thoughts and desires to God. Take but a superficial survey of your past life, and you will perceive the truth of this remark. You will recollect repeated instan ces, in which the conduct of heaven has impressed your mind with a deep sense of your moral obligations. At the solemn period, when threatened with the loss of an affectionate friend, a beloved relative, a bosom companion, a darling child; or, when in dangerous sickness, there seemed “but a step between you and death,” you
your dependance and your peril; and, in the anguish of your soul, poured forth your supplications for deliverance, and with your supplications, your vows of future allegiance to the king of kings. Deliverance was granted to the extent of your wishes, and far beyond your fears. What, then, are the returns which you ought to make ? Can it be innocent to suffer your devout impressions and resolutions to vanish with the calamity which produced them ; to lose even the remembrance of your divine benefactor, and plunge again into the vanities of time and sense ? If you thus requite the Lord for all his benefits ; if you prove thus disobedient to his“ heavenly warnings," and faithless to your own engagements, can you hope for the
contiņuance of his protection in this world, or the enjoyment of his presence in the next ? Are you not rather exposed to that awful repulse, “because I have called, and you have refused ; I have stretched out my hand, and you have not regarded, I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when cometh.” “Sit down, therefore, and count the cost.” Contemplate the nature and circumstances of your being. Look back to the hour of retirement and distress, and recall the sentiments both of time and eternity which you then entertained. . These sentiments, however indifferent or averse to them in the day of prosperity, will return with adversity. Nor will they return alone. They will be attended with painful reproaches of conscience, and fearful apprehensions of divine displeasure for past neglects. Be wise now to understand this, and consider your latter end.” Dismiss not the awakening meditation, but yield to its salutary influence ; live - as seeing him that is invisible ;” and" bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”
This, as we are taught 3. is the proper test of the duty now recommended. We may 00casionally employ our thoughts on the interest
ing realities of another life ; we may acquaint ourselves with the theory of christianity, and become zealous advocates for certain tenets; we may withstand every differing opinion, and contend earnestly for the peculiarities of a favourite creed ; our passions and affections may be often moved ; and we may be ready, not only to dispute but to converse on the logical topicks, whilst as yet we are strangers
the plague of our own hearts.” The important inquiry is, not how we speculate, but how we practise ? That consideration on our ways, which the Lord of hosts requires, is inseparably connected with a cheerful and unreserved obedience to his commands. Nothing, which admits delay or exception, is worthy of the name : It is mere hypocrisy and pretence.
Have we then inspected the inmost recesses of our souls, and assiduously sought to “ understand our errours ;" to discover and irradicate our most " secret faults” and darling lusts? With our personal exertions, have we combined the spirit of that fervent prayer, “ search us, O God, and know our hearts ; try us, and know our thoughts : See if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting ?” Do the apprehensions, which we habitually cherish, of the intrinsick turpitude of all sin, render us solicitous, in preference of every other achievement, to “glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are his ?” Convinced, that to defer the work, which is given us to do, would betray a thankless insensibility to the greatest and best of beings, and lead to incurable habits of impiety and vice, do we take the divine testimonies for our daily counsellors, and, in all our enterprizes and pursuits, make them “ a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path ?"
“ Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord."
JOB xxi. 15.
What profit should we have, if we pray unto him
“ MUCH every way;" for all the exercises of mind and habits of life, which the divine law imposes, are obviously adapted to our advantage ; obviously conducive and necessary to our improvement and happiness. Than this truth, few positions can be named, which are more intelligible and evident to all capacities. “ If we be righteous, what do we give unto God, or what receiveth he at our hands?” For our sake, most assuredly, has he condescended to give us existence, to take on himself the direction of our affairs, and to prescribe rules for the government of our hearts and manners. The possibility of every other motive is excluded. Yet strange to