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iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. And from inspiration we are taught, That all are estranged from their birth. The scriptures no where teach us, that mankind by nature are holy, but sinful. But are all who die in infancy, through the grace of God and the atonement, to be saved? Whether the word of God is sufficiently full and decided on this point as to furnish a positive answer, I cannot tell. But suppose it is not? What is that to thee? They very fully teach parents their personal duties, and those which they owe their tender offspring, which is all that immediately and deeply concerns them. But how foolish and inconsistent to hear parents engage in warm disputes and bitter contentions respecting the condition of infants, who, instead of teaching their children of understanding, the ways of godliness, by their examples, are leading them in the ways of ungodliness and perdition. Such are more concerned for queries and disputes, than for the dearest interests of their children. Their inquiries are into those things in which they are not immediately concerned, rather than into those in which they and their offspring are most deeply interested.
6th. The inquiry is frequently made, whether the greater part of the human race will be saved or lost? A certain one asked the Saviour, Are there few that be saved? And he said, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. The man does not appear to have had any ill design, although he proposed a curious question. Our Lord, therefore, did not give him a direct answer; but took occasion to inculcate this important exhortation, that mankind should not be solicitous to know how many will be saved, but to secure their own salvation. In the thousand years of the millennium, doubtless the chief part will be saved. But in that period, a far greater number will people the globe, than all who shall have existed before. The consequence must be, that a far greater
number of human beings will finally be saved than
7th. Another inquiry is often made, in what part of the universe are heaven and hell? Some conjecture, that one of the planets or fixed stars is the place of the blessed; others, that it is far beyond the starry heavens, and that this earth will be the final abode of the wicked. But to every query of such a nature, the proper answer is, What is that to thee? The Lord has not revealed this, and we are not immediately concerned to know, where is the place of final destiny either for the righteous or wicked. doctrine of future rewards and punishments is fully made known, and we are deeply interested in these solemn truths. Then our serious inquiry should be, to know how we may avoid the second death, and inherit eternal life. It is of the utmost importance for us, to be delivered from the bondage of sin and death, and to obtain that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. To follow Christ is both our duty and our immortal interest. There is such a place as heaven, and also a hell. To be an inhabitant of the former, will be infinite gain; but of the latter, infinite loss. Where these places are, availeth not; but to know what manner of spirit we possess, is to foresee our eternal doom. In the word of God we may behold, as in a glass, our own character as saints or sinners; and discover our future glorious recompense, or dread inheritance. He that hath ears to hear; let him hear, from the several views which we have taken of this subject, What is that to thee? follow thou me.
Ist. From this subject we may conclude, discourses of a novel nature are calculated to please some, although they may not feel deeply interested. A spirit for novelty is in some degree common to all men; and to some, peculiarly so. Such, like the Athenians, would spend
their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing. And should such be gratified, their imaginations would be entertained, but their understandings would not be edified with the most. solemn and important truths. To grow in knowledge, seems to be natural to the mind of man. But he should be careful not to indulge a vain curiosity for mere novelty; but to add to his stock of knowledge, by treasuring up new ideas from the many varied and interesting truths, which relate to present usefulness, and future felicity. The field is so vast from the works, the word, and providence of God, that we may ever be improving in the knowledge of those things, which are suited to the dignity of rational and immortal beings. New and interesting scenes and events will ever be before us, and we shall never be circumscribed for the want of proper objects to excite our wonder and admiration. Then may a taste for novelty be in subordination, and the queries of a lively imagination in subjection to the nobler powers of reason and understanding, that our inquiries and improvements may be suited to the dignity of our nature and high responsibility.
2d. Then may we search the scriptures, and grow in the knowledge of those things, which the Lord has abundantly and clearly revealed. Whilst in the pursuit of any other knowledge to the neglect of this, we are only catching at shadows, but loose the substance. We are not made merely to amuse ourselves, but to grow wise for eternity. Every doctrine or truth, contained in the sacred pages, and which is peculiar to revelation, is new. None of the human race could ever have discovered them, had they not been blessed with a divine revelation. The particular account of creation and the fall of man, the work of redemption and way of salvation through Jesus Christ, are peculiarities of revelation. Hidden beauties, new and rising wonders, are concealed from the view of many of the curious between the lids
of the Bible, because they do not make the word of life the man of their counsel. How various and interesting are the subjects of divine revelation of things both new and old, of those which are past, and which are yet to come. The account of the conduct, condition, and designs of those invisible spirits, the holy and sinning angels, should most seriously affect us; for like them, and even with them, we are deeply interested. O the wonders, the beauties, and glories of the person, character, and offices of the Redeemer, the only Mediator between God and man! How sublime, and amazingly momentous the description of the general resurrection and great judgement day. In the word of God we have au interest vast as eternity; and to have a saving knowledge of its sacred truths, is to be an heir of immortal glory. Amen
ZION'S TRIALS AND PROSPECTS.
Psalm xlviii. 12.
Walk about Zion, and go round about her; tell the towers thereof.
To hear of glorious achievements and important events, interests the mind of a human being. Many of the concerns pertaining to the human race, are in themselves of vast magnitude; and others become momentously interesting by their connexion with other beings, and their bearing on another world. Ancient and modern history is worthy the study and attention of man; both as it respects the rise and fall of nations, and individuals. The account of worthy heroes and interesting kingdoms, is calculated to please and elevate the human mind. Let us take a glance of two persons of rank, and notice some of the changes which they experienced.
In the year 1774, in which the Marquis de La Fayette was married, his estates are said to have been so great that his annual income amounted to ten thousand one hundred dollars. In the year 1776, he espoused the cause of America; as his mind, naturally elevated, was ever devoted to the cause of liberty. Though France little expected that the American colonies could maintain their declaration of Independence, he was willing to purchase and fit out a vessel at his own expense. He soon landed at Charleston, South-Carolina, where he presented General Moultrie with clothing, arms, and accoutrements for one hundred of his men, who were miserably clad. Being appointed by Congress to the rank and commission