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These are not the ideas of a christian. His honour as not of this world, it depends on the ideas of God, who is a just dispenser of glory. His elevation is not of this world, it depends on thrones and crowns which. God prepares. His riches are not in this world, they depend on treasures in heapen, where thieves do not break through and steal, Matt. vi. 20. It is allowable for a man educated in these great principles, but whose infirmity prevents his thinking on them ; it is indeed allowable for a man, who cannot always bend his mind to reflection, meditation, and elevation above the world; it is indeed allowable for such a man sometimes to unbend his mind, to amuse himself with cultivating a tulip, or embellishing his head with a crown: but that this tulip, that this crown should seriously occupy such a man; that they should take up the principle attention of a christian, who hath such refined ideas and such glorious hopes, this, this is intirely incompatible. . : 3. In fine, we are strangers and pilgrims by necessity of nature as inortal men. If this life were eternal, it would be a question, whether it were more advantageous to man to gratify his passions than to subdue them; whether the tranquillity, the equanimity, the calm of a man perfectly free, and entirely master of himself, would not be preferable to the troubles, conflicts and turbulence of a man in bondage to his passions. Passing this question, we will grant, that were this life eternal, prudence and self-love well understood would require some indulgence of passion. In this case there would be an immense distance between the rich and the poor, and riches should be acquired; there would be an immense distance between the high and the low, and elevation should be sought; there would be an immense distance between him who mortified his senses, and him who gratified them, and sensual pleasures would be requisite.
But death, death renders all these things alike; at least, it makes so little difference between the one and the other that it is hardly discernible. The most sensible motive therefore to abate the passions is death. The tomb is the best course of morality. Study avarice in the coffin of a miser ; this is the man, who accumulated heap upon heap, riches upon richeș, -see, a few boards inclose liim, and a few square inches of earth contain him.. Study ambition in the grave of that enterprizing man; see his noble designs, his extensive projects, his boundless expedients are all shatttered and sunk in this fatal gulf of human projects. Approach the tomb of the
proud man, and there investigate pride; see the mouth that pronounceth lofty expressions condemned to eternal silence, the piercing eyes that convulsed the world with fear, covered with a midnight gloom, the formidable arın, that distributed the destinies of mankind, without motion and life. Go to the tomb of the nobleman, and there study quality; behold his magnificient titles, his royal ancestors, his flattering inscriptions, his learned genealogies are all gone, or going to be lost with himself in the same dust. Study voluptuousness at the grave of the voluptuous; see, his senses are destroyed, his organs broken to pieces, his bones scattered at the grave's mouth, and the whole temple of sensual pleasure subverted from its foundations. Here we finish this discourse. There is a
difference between this and other subjects of discussion. When we treat of a point of doctrine, it is sufficient that you hear it, and remember the consequences drawn from it. When explain a difficult text, it is enough that you understand it, and recollect it. When we press home a particular duty of morality, it is sufficient that you apply it to the particular circumstance to which it belongs. But what regards the passions is of universal and perpetual
We always carry the principles of these passions within us, and we should always have assistance at hand to subdue them. Always surrounded with objects of our passions, we should always be guarded against them. We should remember these things, when we see the benefits of fortune, to free ourselves from immoderate attachment to them; before human grandeur to despise it; before sensual objects to subdue them; before our enemy to forgive him ; before friends, children, and families to hold ourselves disengaged from them. We should always examine in what part of ourselves the passions hold their throne, whether in the mind, the senses, the imagination, or the heart. We should always examine whether they have depraved the heart, defiled the imagination, perverted the senses, or blinded the mind. We should ever remember, that we are strangers upon earth, that to this our condition calls us, our religion invites us, and our nature compels us.
But alas ! it is this, it is this general influence, which these exhortations ought to have over our lives, that makes us fear we have addressed them to you in vain.
When we treat of à point of doctrine, we may persuade ourselves it hath been understood. When we explain a difficult text, we flatter
ourselves we have thrown some light upon it. When we urge a moral duty, we hope the next occasion will bring it to your memory: and yet how often have we deceived ourselves on these articles! How often have our hopes been vain! How often have you sent us empty away, even though we deinanded so little? What will be done to day? Who that knows a little of mankind can flatter himself that a discourse intended, in regard to a great number, to change all, to reformi all, to renew all, will be directed to its true design?
But O God! There yet remains one resource, it is thy grace, it is thine aid, grace that we have a thousand times turned into lasciviousness, and which we have a thousand times rejected: yet after all assisting grace, which we most humbly venture to implore. When we approach the enemy we earnestly beseech thee, teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight! When we did attack a town, we fervently besought thee to render it accessible to us! Our prayers entered heaven, our enemies fled before us, thou didst bring us into the strong city, and didst lead us into Edom, Psal. 1x. 9. The walls of many a Jericho fell at the sound of our trumpets, at the sight of thine ark and the approach of thy priests : but the old man is an enemy far more forinidable than the best disciplined arinies, and it is harder to conquer the passions than to beat down the walls of a city! O help us to subdue this old man, as thou hast assisted us to evercome other enemies ! Enable us to triumph over our passions as thou hast enabled us to succeed in levelling the walls of a city! Stretch out thy holy arm in our favour in this church, as in the field of battle! So be the protector both of the state and the church, crown our efforts with such success that we we may offer the most noble songs of praise to thy glory! Amen.
HOSIA vi. 4.
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? 0 Judah, what
shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
'HE church hath seldom seen happier days than those
described in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus. God had never diffused his benedictions on a people in a richer abundance. Never had a people gratitude more lively, piety more fervent. The red sea had been passed, Pharoah and his insolent court were buried in the waves, access to the land of promise was opened, Moses had been admitted on the holy mountain to derive felicity from God the source, and sent to distribute it anong his countrymen, to these choice favours promises of new and greater blessings yet were added, and God said, ye have seen what I did unto the Egytians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, alihough all the earth be mine, ver. 4, 5. The people were deeply affected with this collection of miracles. Each individual entered into the same views, and seemed animated with the same passion, all hearts were united, and one voice expressed the sense of all the tribes of Israel, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do, ver. 8. But this devotion had one great defect, it lasted only forty days. In forty days the deliverance out of Egypt, the catastrophe of Pharoah, the passage through the sea, the articles of the covenant; in forty days vows, promises, oaths, all were effaced from the heart and
* Preached the first Lord's day of the year 1710. The Lord's supper day.
forgotten. Moses was absent, the lightening did not glitter, the thunder claps did not roar, and the Jews made a calf in Horeb, worshipped that molten image, and changed their glorious God into the similitude of an or that eateth grass, Psal. cxi. 19, 20. It was this that drew upon Moses this cutting reproof from God, Go, said he to Moses, to that Moses always fervent for the salvation of his people, always ready to plead for them, go, get thee down, for thy people, which thou broughest out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them, Exod. xxxii. 7, 8. They have quickly turned aside, this is the great defect of their devotion, this that which renders all devotion incomplete.
Do you know this portrait, my brethren? Hath this history nothing in it like yours? Are any days more solemn than such as we observe in our present circumstances ? Did God ever draw near to us with more favours than he hath this day? Did we ever approach him with more fervour? On the one hand, the beginning of another year recalls to mind the serious and alarming discourses, which the ministers of Jesus Christ addressed to us on the last anniversary, the many strokes given, to whom? To the enemies of God? Alas! To the state and the church! Many cut off in the field of battle, many others carried away in the ordinary and inevitable course of things, many perils in one word, with which we were threatened, but which thy mercy, O God, hath freed us from ! On the other hand, this sacred table, these august symbols, these earnests of our eternal felicity, all these objects, do they not render this day one of the most singular in our lives?
If heaven hath thus heard the earth (we are happy to acknowledge it, my brethren, and we eagerly embrace this opportunity of publishing your praise) the earth hath heard the heaven. To judge by appearance, you have answered our wishes, and exceeded our hopes. You were exhorted to prepare for the Lord's supper, you did prepare for it. You were called to public worship, you
You were exhorted to attend to the word of God, you did attend to it. You were required to form resolutions of a holy life, you made these resolutions. It seemed, while we saw you come with united ardour this morning to the table of Jesus Christ, it seemed as if we heard you say, with the Israelites of old, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.