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patient. It is, therefore, an awfully impressive work, in which we are, at this moment, engaged: and not to be made by it, more thoughtful, more conscientious, more disposed to obtain that “peace of God, which passeth all understanding," would bespeak an insensibility, not rashly to be imputed. Let us, then, remember death : and let us well weigh that solemn admonition of the prophet,“ Break off thy sins, by righteousness; and thine iniquity, by showing mercy to the poor.” Such acts, may tend to avert the calamity which they relieve : they are appointed by our Lord, as the means of averting malediction from what we possess, “ Give alms of thy goods, and behold all things are clean unto you.” Finally, my brethren, such acts will not indeed, take us to heaven, because they do not fit for it: but they may, and they do, tend to bring down that grace of God, which does fit for heaven. For the inference is undeniably plain, from the words of our divine Redeemer, that, “ if we are faithful in the unrighteous mammon, we shall be intrusted with the true riches ;" if we are faithful in the distribution of that wealth, which is only committed to our keeping as a trust, we shall, in the end, be gifted with those holy and happy dispositions, which, to all eternity, shall be immutably our own.

214

DISCOURSE XI. *

PSALM lxxviii. 5-8.

HE MADE A COVENANT WITH JACOB, AND GAVE ISRAEL A

LAW : WHICH HE COMMANDED OUR FOREFATHERS TO TEACH THEIR CHILDREN : THAT THEIR POSTERITY MIGHT KNOW IT, AND THE CHILDREN THAT WERE YET UNBORN : TO THE INTENT, THAT, WHEN THEY CAME UP, THEY MIGHT SHOW THEIR CHILDREN THE SAME : THAT THEY MIGHT PUT THEIR TRUST IN GOD; AND NOT TO FORGET THE WORKS OF GOD;

BUT TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.

From the very beginning, it hath pleased Almighty God, to give his creatures full proof and assurance of a revealed religion. This proof and assurance having been afforded, let us suppose, that man had been left to discover, for himself, the best manner of communicating this religion to posterity; and, under these circumstances, we may

* Preached for the Philanthropic Society, London, 1824.

imagine, that he would anxiously revolve in his mind, questions such as these : • The will of God has been made known to me; it is intrusted with me as a deposit, for the benefit of others : how shall I impart it to them, not as matter of mere speculative belief, but as the great principle of life and action? How shall I communicate this knowledge, in such a manner, that it shall be instilled, most deeply, into the hearts of individuals, and diffused, most widely, through society at large? How shall I convey to generations yet unborn, all that respects the being, the nature, the providence, the grace of God, with any thing approaching to assurance, that these great truths shall be established, enduringly and for ever, among all the kindreds of the earth ?

To such inquiries, human sagacity, it must be apprehended, could return no very satisfactory reply, But God himself has cleared up all doubts of this kind; and has communicated his own gracious plan, for the accomplishment of these great designs. Religion, in order that it may become lasting and effectual, is ordained, by the Divine appointment, to be hereditary and transmissive. And if parents, from the beginning, had contributed their part, the world would, at this time, present a very different religious aspect, from that which unhappily prevails. Thạt pa

rents shall teach their children, and that the children so taught, shall, in their turn, become teachers of the next generation, from age to age, to the end of the world,—this is the Divine plan. An ordinance delivered from the earliest times; and renewed, in every succeeding stage, in every fresh modification of God's revealed will.

Thus, in the choice of an individual, fitted to become the father of the faithful, the founder of the Patriarchal system, we discover this to be the leading principle: “For I know him," said the Almighty, speaking of his servant Abraham, “ that he will command his children and his household after him; and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment."

Again, after the delivery of the written law, when oral and traditional instruction might seem to have been, in a great measure, superseded, the same principle of hereditary and transmissive religion is yet more fully developed, and incorporated, in the Jewish dispensation : “ What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous, as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only, take heed unto thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they départ from thine heart, all the days of thy life; but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children; and shalt talk of them, when thou sittest in the house, and when thou' walkest by the way: and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.” And, at a more advanced period of the Jewish history, in that most instructive Psalm of Asaph, itself a recapitulation of God's providential dealings with his people, we find the full developement of this wise and profound appointment, in the words of our text: “ He made a covenant with Jacob, and gave Israel a law; which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children; that their posterity might know it, and the children that were yet unborn; to the intent, that when they came up, they might show their children the same; that they might put their trust in God; and not to forget the works of God; but to keep his commandments.” Such was the ordinance of God: and the fruits of this ordinance are to be seen, in the writings of some, and in the lives of more, of the Old Testament worthies. The fact is, that, in various instances, Judaism appears to have produced specimens of spiritual excellence, quite beyond the power of the Jewish system. And in subordination to the grace of God, the existence of these specimens can be

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