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Thirdly, There is confolation in approaching to God. Alas! in this world, afflictions fo abound, that confolation is often our greatest good. In how few days of this mortal life do we not feel the want of a comforter? Ever fince the introduction of fin into the earth, human life hath been a fcene of mifery. Man is born to trouble, and fore is the travel which is appointed to him under the fun. We come into the world the most forlorn of all beings; the voice of forrow is heard from the birth; man fighs on through every path of future life; and the grave is the only place of refuge, where the weary are at reft. Sometimes, indeed, a gleam of joy intervenes, an interval of happiness takes place. Fond man indulges the favourable hour. Then we promise to ourselves the scenes of paradise; perpetual funshine, and days without a cloud. But the brightness only fhines to difappear; the cloud comes again, and we awake to our wonted anxiety and forrow.


Not limited to our own perfonal woes, doomed to fuffer for forrows not our own. not unconcerned fpectators of human life. interested in every event that befals our fellow men. Sympathy makes us feel the diftreffes of others, and the best affections of the heart become the fources of How many deaths do we fuffer in mourning over the friends that we have loft! While we lament their unhappy or untimely fate, we cut fhort the thread of our own days. The cords of love are broken, one after another; ftring after string is fevered from the heart, till all our early attachments are diffolved, till our fad eyes have wept over every friend laid in the duft, and till we become lonely and wretched as we at firft began.

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Under these afflictions, and from thefe forrows, devotion opens a retreat; the altar of God prefents a place of refuge; the ear of the Eternal is open to thy cry; the arm of the Almighty is ftretched out to relieve thee. There is a fanctuary where no evil can approach; there is an afylum where no enemy can enter. In the pavilion of his prefence, God will hide thee in the time of trouble; in the fecret of his tabernacle, he will cover thee in the day of danger. There the prisoners rest in peace, and hear not the voice of the oppreffor. There are the small and the great, and the fervant is free from his master. There the wicked ceafe from troubling, and the weary are at rest.

It is fome confolation, it is fome relief, to open our hearts to men, and tell our forrows to a friend, who can give us no relief, but by mingling his tears with ours. What confolation, what relief will it then give to open our hearts, and tell our forrows to that Friend above, who is ever gracious to hear, and ever mighty to fave! To that Friend who never fails; who is afflicted in all our afflictions, and who keeps us as the apple of his eye! Art thou therefore oppreffed with the calamities of life; is thy head bowed down with affliction, or thy heart broken with forrow? approach to the altar, go to God, prefent to him the prayer of thy heart, and he will fend thee help from his holy hill.

Lastly, In approaching to God, there is preparation for heaven. The objects among which we are converfant, have a wonderful power over the mind, External things make fuch an impreffion within, that the character is often formed from the fituation.


The foul is affimilated to furrounding objects, and proportions itself to the sphere in which it moves. When employed in little and in low things, it is contracted; when occupied in earthly matters, it is debased; but acquires enlargement and elevation in the presence of what is grand and fublime. By daily converse with the world, and familiarity with material things, the foul is alienated from the life of God, and man, fetting his affections on things below, becomes of the earth, earthy. But when we engage in the exercises of devotion, we counterwork the charm of material objects, we retire from the world and its temptations, and fhut the door of the heart against every intruding gueft that would difturb us in approaching to God. Standing upon holy ground, we put off unhallowed affections, and impure defires. From the presence of the Lord every finful thought flies away. Our attention is turned from those things that would raise guilty paffions in the mind. Pure and fpiritual ideas are prefented to view, and the perfections of Almighty God are fet before our eyes. When these are before us, our admiration of them will increase, our love to them will be kindled, and we will endeavor to resemble them in our own life. Thus, by approaching to God, we become like God. By devotion on earth, we anticipate the work of heaven. We join ourselves, beforehand, to the fociety of angels and bleffed fpirits above; we already enter on the delightful employment of eternity, and begin the fong which is heard for ever around the throne of God.

Such, Chriftians! are the advantages of approaching to God, and encompaffing the altar. And if,

with pious affections, and a pure heart, we draw nigh unto God, God will draw nigh unto us. To the wide extent of his creation, to the great temple of heaven and earth, JEHOVAH prefers the heart of the pure and the pious. There he takes up his abode; there he delighteth to dwell. In the divine discourse which our Lord delivered to his difciples, the fame night in which he was betrayed, there is a promise rich in confolation. "If a man love me, he will "keep my words: and my Father will love him, " and we will come and make our abode with him." While this promise founds in your ears, I hope that your hearts correspond to the strain, and that you recal thofe precious hours, when God manifefted himself to you, fo as he does not unto the world. When on former occafions, he fent his light and his truth; when the fountain of living waters has been opened, and the voice came to your ears, "Drink, and live for ever;" Did you not feel emotions which came from no created fource, and taste a joy which confeffed its origin from heaven? Who can describe the bleffedness of that time, when a prefent. Deity is felt? It is the joy of heaven upon earth; the happiness of eternity in the moments of time.



LUKE ii. 10.

-Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.

THE coming of the Messiah is always

foretold in fcripture as a period of joy and triumph. The Patriarchs rejoiced when they saw his day afar off. All the Prophets take fire at this great occafion, and rife into strains of rapture when they describe the glory of the latter days, and the happiness of the Meffiah's reign. In the most beautiful colours they paint its arrival as a new æra of happy time, and as a general jubilee to the world. They reprefent it as accompanied with univerfal peace and profperity; as effecting a renovation of nature, the return of innocence to earth, and the defcent of God to dwell with men." In those days the wilderness " and the folitary place fhall be glad; the desert shall " rejoice and bloffom like the rose. They fhall blof"fom abundantly and rejoice with joy and with finging. The glory of Lebanon shall be given "unto it; the excellency of Carmel and of Sharon. "The parched ground fhall become a pool, and the "dry land fprings of water. In the wilderness shall "waters break out, and streams in the defert.-The "light of the moon fhall be as the light of the fun, " and the light of the fun shall be sevenfold." When the heavens and the earth at firft arofe in beauty


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