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choke the word and render it unfruitful: by them the minds of men are distracted, led in captivity, and eventually made miserable, so that it becomes indispensably necessary to rouse them from their stupor, to call them in from their wanderings, that they may consider their latter end and prepare to meet God. The preaching of the Gospel is the appointed means for effecting this important object: and we are told in the volume of inspiration, that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Rom. x. 17. This weapon, so insignificant in the estimation of the world, is mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, 2 Cor. x. 4; and has been found effectual in bringing liberty to the captive, and comfort to the mourning soul; but like every other blessing, it is abused by the depraved, unthankful mind of man; and as he can with perfect unconcern behold the sun which shines upon him every day, and prevents the earth from being a dreary waste : so he can hear with still greater unconcern of the bright rising of the sun of righteousness, who alone is able to chase away mental darkness, and to make the “ desert rejoice and blossom as the rose.” Human events are ordered in a wise subservience to the accomplishment of God's purposes; and they are often employed as

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Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is set in them to do evil-Eccles. viii. 11. There is no more general subject of conversation than the seasons of the year and surely, there is not one which affords a greater proof of the unbelief which exists in the hearts of men: they would sometimes lead us to entertain the opinion, that God had altogether given up the government of the world, which owes its existence to his creative power; and at others, that he is unable to overrule events for the furtherance of his own great purposes of love and mercy.

If such persons think that God deals hardly or unjustly with them, when he either withholds his rain altogether, leaving their fields to be parched with thirst, or sends it down in torrents so as to deluge them for a moment; what will be their feelings when they stand before his bar to be judged, and find to their unspeakable sorrow and dismay,

that however they might have wrapped themselves


in the cloak of their own righteousness, and whispered peace to their souls, they must now not only give an account of the deeds done in the body, but receive the eternal punishment which is due to them? Severe visitations may doubtless oppress one people, while they are withheld from another;

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