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to be our God; we thank him for the past, and commit ourselves to his keeping for the future ; and we declare our determined purpose, by his grace, to walk in his holy ways during the remainder of our lives. It seems therefore peculiarly proper to begin a new year with this solemn act of adoring praise, this renewed dedication of ourselves to the service of our God and Saviour.
This review should likewise excite us to be "fol"lowers of God, as dear children, and to walk in "love, as Christ also hath loved us." Our conduct towards others ought to be a constant imitation of the long-suffering, compassion, readiness to forgive and relieve, and persevering goodness, of the Lord towards us; that "we may never be weary of well-doing," or "be overcome of evil;" but that we may "overcome evil with good."
Finally, the recollection, and thankful acknowledgment that "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us," should encourage our hearts to run with patience the remainder of "the race set before us." "The "Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the
lion, and out of the paw of the bear, will deliver
me out of the hand of this Philistine." He, that hath preserved and assisted us in so many dangers and difficulties already, will "never leave us nor "forsake us." "He fainteth not, neither is weary." His understanding is infinite, his resources inexhaustible, his faithfulness unfailing, and his mercy everlasting. We should therefore comfort one another with these considerations; learn "to "cast all our care on him who careth for us ;" and
1 1 Samuel xvii. 37.
pour out our hearts before him: we should remember that "our Father knoweth what things "we have need of," and that "no good thing will "he withhold from them that walk uprightly." "Clouds and darkness are about Him," and gloomy prospects may meet our view: but the perfections and covenant-engagements of the Lord are unchangeable; and "we know that all things work "together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." "He "will never suffer us to be tempted above that we "are able: but will with the temptation make a
way to escape, that we may be able to bear it:" yea, "the Lord shall deliver us from every evil "work, and will preserve us to his heavenly kingdom to whom be glory for ever and ever. "Amen."1
These are some of the encouragements and instructions, which real Christians may receive from the subject before us. But how stand matters with our souls? Hitherto the Lord hath prolonged our lives, and we now enter on another year; while numbers have been removed to the regions of darkness and despair, and some to the realms of endless day. Many of our acquaintance or relatives are gone to their long home; yet we remain in the land of faith, of hope, of mercy, and of prayer. But "the time is short;"" the end of "all things is at hand." A little moment, as it were, will terminate our season of probation and preparation for eternity; the continuance of our
1 Cor. x. 13. 2 Tim. iv. 18.
earthly comforts or trials, and our opportunities of doing good to men, and glorifying God in this world of sin and misery.
Have none of you then entered on this new year destitute of vital godliness, strangers to repentance and works meet for repentance, and unacquainted with a life of faith in the Son of God, and communion with the Father through him? Are none of you still loitering and procrastinating, loath to part with worldly idols, and averse to diligent piety? Or are you not trying to persuade yourselves that so much strictness is unnecessary; that by attention to decent forms and moral duties, or an assent to certain doctrines, you may reconcile religion with your worldly spirit and pursuits, and
thus serve God and Mammon? You have indeed been spared to enter on another year, and have great cause, though little heart, for thankfulness: but what assurance have you that you shall live to the close of it? Several who joined with us last year in the service of the day have now entered on an eternal state; and probably many of us will join them before this year shall terminate. And how terrible will this be to those who, by a perverse abuse of the Lord's abundant mercies, have increased their own condemnation! Still "the
Holy Ghost says, To-day if ye will hear his "voice, harden not your hearts." "Seek ye the "Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him, "while he is near." And we intreat you, join your prayer for yourselves to our supplications in your behalf, that in the present year you may be " turned "from darkness to light, and from the power of "Satan unto God."
Perhaps some are blessing God that this has been their happy case, during the preceding year; and are now saying within themselves, 'Had I 'died before the year 1795, I should have perished in my sins, without Christ and without hope. 'But the Lord who spared me when others were cut off, and rescued me from numberless dangers 'seen and unseen, when I habitually trampled on 'his commandments, and neglected his salvation, ' hath at length, in boundless mercy, “granted me "repentance," enabled me to believe in the Lord 'Jesus Christ, and taught me by his grace to walk ' in newness of life. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, " and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all "thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases; "who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and "crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercy."-How memorable with you my brethren, even to eternal ages, will be this "acceptable year of the Lord," which to many hath doubtless been "the day of vengeance of our God!" Oh, endeavour to shew forth his praises, not only with your lips, but in your lives, by giving up your'selves to his service, and by walking before him
in holiness and righteousness all your days.' Then many will glorify God on your behalf, and you will be in some degree instrumental in bringing, others to seek the same blessings. Abide in Christ; keep close to the means of grace; watch against temptation; "be not high-minded, but fear," for your enemies are many and your hearts deceitful; yet "be sober and hope unto the end:" "for greater is he that is in you, than he that is in
"the world." Wait on the Lord continually, that he may renew your strength :" and take heed lest an increase of knowledge and maturity of judgment should be attended by an abatement in the fervour of your affections. Be not contented with the low attainments of this lukewarm age; but follow those who have most closely followed Christ. And now approach with us to his table, to avow your acceptance of his salvation, and surrender of yourselves to his service; that, as bought with a price, you may glorify God with your bodies and spirits which are his."
Some perhaps to this very day, may stand in doubt to what class or company they belong. May the Lord enable such persons to begin this new year with "giving all diligence to make their calling and election sure!" Inquire, my friends, with impartial strictness, into the reasons of your uncertainty and darkness: cast away every idol, break off every entangling pursuit or engagement, return from your backslidings and seek the Lord with all your hearts that, should this year terminate your lives, your setting sun may break forth with cheering beams, and gild the dark valley through which you must pass: or, should you be spared, that your walk may be henceforth more close with God, more honourable and comfortable, and more edifying and encouraging to those around you.
My Christian brethren! let us enter on this new year by seriously reviewing the one that we have finished: that we may be humbled for the sins, into which we have been betrayed, and rendered