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on

our

common

sand connections founded wants."*

Mutual forgiveness is the encourager as well as the strengthener of our dearest associations ; and when this is banished from our communities, we may

take

up

the beautiful exclamation of the psalmist—"Oh! that I had wings like a dove! for then I would fly away and be at rest. Lo! then I would wander far off and remain in the wilderness : I would hasten my escape from the wintry storm and tempest, for I have seen violence and strife in the city : mischief and sorrow are in the midst of it ; deceit and guile depart not from her streets.” When we remember that he who laid down for us the inestimable price of a life, spotless as perfection could render it, taught forgiveness of injuries as one of the paramount virtues of a righteous man, we may be assured that we cannot evade its practice without in some measure disclaiming him, and thereby perhaps frustrating in ourselves the blessed effects of his meritorious cross and passion.

How eminently did he practice himself the lesson which he so anxiously taught, and this too under circumstances of peculiar difficulty. When hanging convulsed

upon

the cross, reeking with his precious blood, mocked by the

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insulting rabble, who gnashed upon him with their teeth and wagged their heads at him in scorn, he still put up his prayers to the throne of omnipotent mercy in their behalf—“ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." If even in the very agonies of a most tormenting death the blessed Redeemer of mankind could forgive those who accumulated such tortures upon him, what account shall we render of ourselves, when summoned before him at the close of time, if we have taken vengeance for wrongs by which we did not suffer?

The excuse so frequently offered by many for retaining their hatred towards those who have injured them, that it is out of their power to forgive, is both frivolous and false ; since forgiveness is a simple determination of the will, and all its determinations are under the immediate control of our reason, however directed by our passions. We are not impelled to do wrong by an irresistible impulse. If we were, we could be under no responsibility for sin. We are not placed here to conflict with impossibilities. We can as easily pardon as condemn, and a virtuous mind would, I imagine, find the latter much the more difficult task of the two. To maintain then that it is out of our power to forgive, is to tax God with positively commanding us to do what he has rendered impossible to be done; which is manifestly adding impiety to

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disobedience.-As we can at all times forgive if we will, it may not be unimportant for us to consider, that before any one can go out of this world at peace with God he must first be at peace with man; and I cannot express a stronger motive to excite our endeavours to be so, nor conclude therefore better than in the words of our blessed Saviour—" forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

SERMON XIX.

ON CHRIST'S ADVENT.

PHILIPPIANS, CHAP. IV. PART OF VERSE 5.

The Lord is at hand.

We are now rapidly approaching the anniversary of that memorable day to which the evangelical prophet so expressly pointed when he uttered the divine proclamation “ to the daughter of Zion; behold thy salvation cometh.” When“ the day-spring from on high” was to visit the abodes of guilt and misery; when “the fountain of living waters” was to pour its fertilizing streams over this blighted earth, and fructify those plains where sin had spread her desolation. Long had they, especially distinguished with the title of God's peculiar people, been benighted in the darkness of their own lusts; long had they discarded the purity of other days; long braved the punishment of death and hell. Still Heaven forbore its vengeance, and the divine mercy stepped in to save where justice might have condemned.

At the time we are now contemplating, the state of the Jews was sufficiently deplorable, but the “ Lord was at hand,” and they might have gained a spiritual supremacy over the nations, had they not sacrificed their eminent advantages to the wretched ambition of establishing a temporal dominion. Perhaps at no period of the world was the advent of a Saviour so necessary as at the season of his appearance among the sons of men. Rome was, so to speak, the mistress of the world. She had bound“ Kings with chains and Nobles with fetters of iron." Her mighty resources and the talents of her people had secured to her idolatries a dignity and an influence which they had never previously obtained. Paganism, sheltered under her supremacy, softened by the refinements and dignified by the learning of her sons, threatened almost entirely to exclude the knowledge of the true God. Moreover the Jews, a people eminently distinguished by the Deity, and the only people upon earth so distinguished, had much degenerated in religion, character and morals. They were reduced from a free and independent nation to a state of odious vassalage; and, to crown their missortune, one of the most merciless monsters in the records of time reigned

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