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Then would we do with our might what our hands find to do.
This day adds its sanction to the wise man's arguments. It reminds us of the vani
of life, and of the necessity of doing what must be done without delay, as the grave will presently receive us. We are one year nearer to our end; one year nearer to the day of judgment. The past we cannot recall. The future we cannot anticipate. The present is all upon which we can calculate. How idly is the present consumed by many! They live in sin, and therefore live unhappy; for, "though hand join in hand, the "wicked shall not be unpunished." Oh, that they were wise; that they considered their latter end!
In too many respects do believers live as if they had not made their peace with God. The text admonishes them. The season enforces the admonition. The future lies before us, covered with impenetrable obscurity; we may survive this year, or we may not; we may be called to suffer, or we may not: let the issue be as it will, the Lord will do what is right; he will reign
o Prov. xi. 21.
through this year, as through the last. kingdom is everlasting, and his government the source of joy to all holy beings. Our duty and privilege, fellow-christians, are to rejoice in him at all times; to confide, under all circumstances, in his wisdom, justice, and love. Whether he afflict or prosper us, we must be contented, resigned, and diligent in promoting his glory. Thus to feel and thus to act, constitute happiness. It is the only real enjoyment we can possess in this vain world. To this happiness, I desire to direct the attention of you all, on this day.
You who are yet strangers to God-
may he enable you this year to make your peace with him, that you may taste of his graciousness in the acceptance of your works.
You who hope in his mercy, having been made willing in the day of his power-may you this year eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart. May your garments always be white, and your heads lack no ointment. May you who are married live joyfully with the wives whom you love. May you
all do what your hands find to do with all your might. Such is the fondest wish of my heart for you, Brethren; prayer to God in your behalf. hear it in mercy, and answer it through Jesus Christ. AMEN.
May he in peace,
THE INESTIMABLE VALUE OF THE
ROMANS XV. 4.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
In the original constitution of man, we find that intelligence and uprightness were combined. By the fall he lost his uprightness, whilst he retained his intelligent nature. The effect of this loss was, that his understanding became darkened, his will perverse, and his affections polluted. Hence it was necessary for his happiness, that God should reveal to him, in a way adapted to his intelligent nature, the manner in which he might recover his uprightness. This revelation was made at first by God himself in
an audible manner, when he promised him, that "the seed of the woman should bruise "the serpent's head"." In this first promise was contained the substance of all subsequent revelations. God afterward gave clearer and fuller information of the nature, extent, and effects of this promise. revelations, whilst the number of mankind was comparatively small, and the lives of men prolonged to several centuries, were safely handed down from one generation to another through the medium of tradition.
The first command which was given to reduce any of them to writing, was to Moses, the great legislator of the Jews'. From the creation to the time when Moses received this command, was about 2513 years. The following chronological facts will enable you to judge of the perfect safety of tradition, during this interval. Methuselah was 243 years old when Adam died, and Noah 599 when Methuselah died. From the creation to the flood, therefore, a period of 1655 years, but one person was necessary between Adam and Noah to convey the revelations of God down to others. Abraham b Ex. xvii. 14. and xxxiv. 27.
a Gen. iii. 15.