Page images

In particular, accompany reading with humble prayer to God, that he would open your understanding to give you the knowledge of himself; that you may see the wonderful things of his law-and the precious truths of his gospel; that so you may become wise unto salvation.


Lastly; Be directed to repent and believe the gospel. This will save you from the threatening in the text. This will put you beyond the reach of fatal erThen will "your heart be established with grace." Then will the word of God be to you a never failing source of entertainment and delight. When you yield a cordial obedience to the divine will, “you shall know the doctrine whether it be of God.” Then every truth will contribute its portion to prepare you more and more for the great and glorious, and solemn scenes, which death and judgment will soon open to your view.

But while you remain impenitent, your danger is great; for should you escape every errour in speculation, and clearly understand every doctrine of the gospel, you hold the truth in unrighteousness; you will perish. The greatest knowledge which is merely speculation, accompanied with the fairest profession, will avail you nothing, in point of acceptance, without a broken, contrite heart; and an unfeigned love of the truth. "With the heart man believeth unto right"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." This is the only way to escape the dreadful doom of those who despise the word of God-of those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of our


[ocr errors]

Lord Jesus Christ." Have then your eye open to read-your ear to hear, and your heart to receive the word of God. To this join fervent prayer, that you may know and practise your duty. When you shall find that the gospel is indeed a privilege-a blessinga Savour of life unto life to your souls, you will find that the "merchandize of wisdom is better than the merchandize of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold." "That her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths peace." "And happy is every one that retaineth her." Therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding.”



HEBREWS, x. 3.

But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

In these words the Apostle has reference to the Jew


ish sacrifices, especially on the great day of atonement. Their sacrifices were repeated yearly, as the text informs us; on which day, Aaron the high priest remembered and confessed over the head of the victim, the sins of the people, for the past year, which confession implied a resolution to amend their ways, and avoid the like crimes for the future. This was a reasonable, and indeed an essential part of their duty; for what good purpose would it answer to them, or any other people to recollect past sins, unless with a view to repentance and reformation? Though the external actions prescribed in these sacrifices were of a ceremonial nature, and therefore ceased with that dispensation, yet the temper of heart implied is the same as * January 1, 1794.

[ocr errors]

the gospel now requires. Therefore the text may naturally point out the duty of mankind under the more elear dispensation of gospel grace.

We are this day entering upon a new year, and I can sincerely wish, that it may prove a happy year to you all. But this fond wish, in the way it is commonly understood, can hardly be indulged in a world designed for a state of trial, and when the dispensations of providence are accommodated to answer this important purpose, and improve the mortal state of fallen man. We know nothing of what lies under the awful veil, which covers futurity, any further than God has lifted it by prophecy, declaration and promise. Any thing more is uncertain, and merely conjectural. The final state of the righteous and wicked, can be clearly seen through the medium of divine revelation.

But whether the year, we have now entered upon, will prove to us a season of prosperity or adversity—a scene of sickness or health-or a mixture of bothwhether we and our friends will live until another new year, or die before it arrives, are particular events with a thousand others, which time alone will disclose. These are events which may happen, or may not. With respect to these, it will be yet as God is pleased to ordain. However great the uncertainty is, as to these events, yet this truth is clear, and established by the whole current of revelation, with respect to every individual present, that he will be in heaven or hell, or more ripe for these states, before another year. We may die this year-some doubtless will. This has

been the event with respect to some of our neighbours and acquaintance, ever since we have lived. And we have no reason to expect, that all of us shall be exempted from death another year. And all who shall die this year will ascend to heaven or sink to hell. And each individual of those who shall live, will be either better than he now is, or worse. More prepared for heaven, or for hell. For there is no person living, but is in the road to the one or the other-travelling to a fixed and final abode; and as he advances to this state, he is ripening for it.

The christian is growing in grace, and in divine knowledge, becoming more and more "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. They who wait on the Lord, renew their strength; and they who have clean hands, wax stronger and stronger.


But the wicked are daily adding sin to sin, and accumulating a load of guilt; and when their iniquities are full, "their feet will slide," and they will fall into hell.

This will doubtless be the dreadful case with some sinners this year. And is it not to be feared, that this will be the awful portion-the miserable condition of some in this place in this assembly? You have often been informed from the authority of God, that this will be the certain consequence of a life spent in sin; and you are now warned of it, with the painful expectation, that the warning will be disregarded.

The reason why this has been the case and will probably continue to be the case, is owing doubtles to a combination of criminal causes. And as we are now

« PreviousContinue »