Page images

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 a 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 demanded 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 reform 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. Ix. 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 formidable than the best disciplined armies, 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 favor 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 my offer the most noble songs of praise to thy glory! Amen.



Hosta vi. 4.


0. Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning clouds and ai the early dew it goeth away. HE church bath 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, Pharaoh and his in- · solent 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 among his countrymen to these choice favors promises of new and greater blessings yet were added, and God said, ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, 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 peo ple, although 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 where 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 Pharaoh, the passage through the sea, the articles of the covenant; in forty days vows, promises, oaths, all were effaced from the heart and forgotten. Moses was absent, the lightning did not glitter, the thunder claps did not roar, and the Jews made a calf in Horeb, worshipped tha! 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 broughtest 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

o 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 favors than he hath this day? Did we ever approach him with more fervor? 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

« PreviousContinue »