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ing in this assembly, behold him once more saying to you, O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as the morning cloud, that goeth away!
There are two great motives, among many others, which chietly urge your conversion to-day : your receiving the Lord's supper this morning, and the uncertainty of living all this year.
This morning you received the Lord's supper, and with it peace of conscience, inward consolation, ineffable pleasure, joy unspeakable and full of glory, if indeed you did feel this
, and if these are not in regard to you sounds without meaning. What ! Shall four days, shall four days efface all these impressions ? What! Shall a worldly society, will a sensual temptation, can a profane raillery bring you to violate all your resolutions, and to be guilty of perjury towards God? Do not fall into the puerility mentioned a little while ago, do not think the great truths you have felt to-day will cease to be, because you cease to think of them. Jesus died for you, Jesus gave himself for you, Jesus demands your heart, Jesus promises you an eternity of happiness; this is true to-day, this will be true to-morrow, and all next week, during all your temptations and pleasures: and what, pray, can the world offer you in lieu of the heaven that came into your conscience, what to supply the place of that Redeemer, who this morning gave himself to you in a manner so affectionate ?
To this first motive add the other, the vanity of life, a vanity described by the renewing of the year. I am aware, how feeble this motive is to many of us.
The past insures us for the future, and because we have never died, it seems to us as if we never should die.
My brethren, you compel us to-day to set before you the most mournful images, which can possibly strike your eyes. You oblige us to open wounds beginning to heal, and to anticipate the sorrows of the present year: but what can be done? If we cannot detach men from the world, we must tear them away by force.
Did we deceive you last year, when we told you, that many, who were present in this place on new year's day, would not live through the year? Hath not the event fully verified the sad prediction ? Answer me, ye disconsolate widows, who saw your husbands, objects of the purest and tenderest love, expire in your arms. Answer me, ye children in mourning, who followed your parents to the grave. How many afflicted Jacobs are weeping for the loss of a mother? How many Davids are saying in the bitterness of their heart, O my son Absalom, O Absolom, my son, my son. Would God I had died for thee! How many Benonis, sons of sorrow, born at the departing of the soul of their parents ? How many Marthas and Marys, bedewing the grave of a brother with their tears, a brother dead four days, and by this time infectious ? How many plaintive voices are heard in Rama? How many Rachels weeping, and refusing to be comforted, because their children are not?
Having considered the last year, turn your attention to this, which we are now beginning. If, instead of such vague discourses as we address to you, God should this moment give us light into futurity, a sight of his book of decrees, a foreknowledge of the destiny of all our hearers, and impel us to inform each of you how this new revolution would interest you, what cries would be heard in this auditory! There, you would see that k aughty man, full blown with vanity confounded in
the same dust with the meanest of mankind. Here, you would see this voluptuous woman, who refuses nothing to her senses, lying on a sick bed, expiring in agony between the pain of a mortal malady, and the just fear of falling into the hands of an angry God. Yonder, you would behold that officer, now crowned with laurels, and about to reap a new harvest of glory in the next campaign, covered with tragical dust, weliering in bis own blood, and finding a grave where his imagination appointed victory to meet him. In all parts of this audiditory, on the right hand, on the left, before, be. hind, by your side, in your own pew, I should shew
you carcases, and probably he, who hears us with the most indifference, and who secretly despises such as tremble at our preaching, would himself serve to prove the truth we are delivering, and
occupy the first place in this fatal list. My brethren, Providence hath not honored us with any new revelations, we have not a spirit of prophecy : but you have eyes, you have a memory, you have reason, and you are certain death will sacrifice many of you in the course of this year. On whom will the tempest fall? Who will first verify our prediction? You cannot tell: and on this ground you brave death; on this you build castles of vanity which attach you to the world.
My brethren, establish your tranquillity and happines on foundations more firm and solid. If you be affected with the motives set before you this day, and now resolve to labor in the work of your salvation, only you fear the weakness of your resolutions, we will give you one more lesson, easy and practicable, that is, that every day of this year you retire one quarter of an hour, and think of death. There put on, in thought, your shroud, lie down in your coffin, light your funeral tapers.
There, observe your family weeping, your physician aghast, your long and melancholy train. There consider your friends, your children, your titles, your treasures removed for ever. There, strike your imagination with the salutary ideas of books opened, thrones prepared, actions weighed in just balances. There, lose yourself in the dark economy of a future state.
Having heard our exhortations, receive our benedictions. First I turn myself toward the walls of that palace, where laws of equity, the glory and felicity of these provinces, are made ; where the important questions wbich influence religion and the state, and shake all Europe, are agitated. Ye protectors of the church, our masters and sovereigns, may God confirm the power, that you pos. sess with so much glory! May God continue in your hands the reins of this republic, which you hold with so much moderation and wisdom ! God grant, you may first share the prosperity and glory, which you diffuse among all this people ! Under your administration God grant religion may flourish, justice and peace flow over the whole world, the Belgic name be respected and the nation victorious, and after you have been elevated to the pinnacle of terrestrial grandeur, may God elevate you to everlasting glory!
I turn myself also to you illustrious personages, who represent in these provinces the chief heads of the christian world, and who in a manner exhibit in this assembly princes, electors, republics, and monarchs, may God open his richest treasures in favor of those sacred persons, who are gods upon earth, and whose august characters you bear, to enable them to support sovereign power with dignity! God grant, they may always have such ministers as you, who understand how to make suzpreme authority both respected and feared! God grant, a confederacy formed for the security of all nations and people may be continued ! A d, that my wishes may be more worthy of the majesty of this place, and the holiness of my ministry, I pray God to unite you not only by the saine temporal interest, but by the same religion; may you have the same God for your Father, the same Jesus for your Redeemer, the same Spirit for your guide, the same glory for your hope ! I own, at the sight of these lords of the universe, to whom I have the honor to address myself, I feel my insignificance, and I had suppressed all these wishes in my heart, had I not known that I speak the sense of all this assembly, the benedictions of all the church, and the congratulations of the state.
You also we bless, Levites holy to the Lord, ambassadors of the King of kings, ministers of the new covenant, who have written on your foreheads holiness to the Lord, and on your breasts the names of the children of Israel: and you, elders and deacons of this church, who are as it were associated with us in the work of the ministry, may
God animate you with the zeal of his house ! God grant, you may always take for your model the chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls ! God grant, after you have preached to others, you may not be cast away! May you turn many to righteousness, and afterward shine as the stars for (ver and ever!
Receive our benediction, fathers and mothers of families, happy to see yourselves born again in the persons of your children, happier still to bring those into the assembly of the first born, whom you have brought into this valley of trouble! God grant, your houses may be sanctuaries, and your children offerings to the Father of spirits, the God of the spirits of all flesh !