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dencies, perhaps wilful sins appear against us! Many things have we done, that we ought to have left undone; many things have we left undone, that we ought to have done. We have sinned; “ and the wrath of heaven is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men'.” What then shall we say unto thee, O thou preserver and judge of men! Let us acknowledge our iniquity; let us be sorry for our sin-let us turn from our evil ways; and do thou, O God, turn from the fierceness of thine anger.
Let us, with these dispositions and resolutions, brethren, commence the year at which we are now arrived. To “fear God and to keep his commandments,” is “the whole duty of mank.” The whole of his happiness, as well as the whole of his duty. All objects but these will deceive and disappoint us. It is only the service of God, who is the fountain of goodness and happiness, which can afford us full and permanent felicity. “All flesh is grass, and the glory thereof as the flower of grass withereth, the flower fadeth. The word of God alone endureth for ever!."
If, then, we have hitherto been solely occupied with objects, which, however they may for a moment interest us, will soon perish, and be no more seen; if, instead of using this world as not abusing it; instead of making all its pursuits and all its
Rom. i. 18.
* Ecclesiastes xii. 13.
"1 Pet, i, 24, 25.
enjoyments subordinate to the supreme obligations which we owe to God, and to the infinitely important business of salvation; we have devoted to them all our affections, and all our exertions; if we have not yet made our peace with God by confessing our sins, and supplicating his mercy, through Jesus Christ; let us awake from this delusion. Let us awake to righteousness, and implore the mercy and the grace of that God whom we have offended. Now, brethren, when the commencement of a new year places you in a situation the most favourable to serious reflection and holy resolutions; when you are to determine whether a perishing world, or the Being who made and is to judge you, shall engage your affections; resolve to devote yourselves to God, and him only to serve. Delay, remember, may deprive you of the invaluable privileges which you now enjoy. You may not receive another offer of mercy;
; one generation passeth away, and another cometh.” Before the revolution of another year, some of us, brethren, will be gathered to the house of silence; will be summoned to their dread account. Who may abide in the judgment. Let us “ watch then, for we know not when the Son of man cometh "." Let us employ all the advantages we possess, the gifts of wealth, of talents, and of station, as those that must give an
account. Let us “stand with our loins girt, and our lamps burning,” that when “the bridegroom cometh,” we may be ready to “go out to meet him",” and to celebrate with him the everlasting festival of joy.
At this holy season, the Church, calling us to contemplate the great mysteries of redemption, reminds us, that amidst our congratulations for temporal enjoyments, divine and spiritual objects should also engage our affections. She has celebrated the incarnation of the Son of God; the birth of a Saviour, who came to disperse all doubt, sorrow, and sin from a fallen world, and to dispense to our guilty race the light of peace and immortality. This day she commemorates his becoming subject to the law, that he might endure its penalties, and rescue us from its condemning sentence. . From the eternal - Word made flesh dwelling among us, we derive the divine light, which illumines our understanding; the promises of
mercy, which console our spirits; the hope of immortality, which exalts us above the world. What guilt do they incur, who reject this great salvation! Of “what punishment shall they be thought worthy who trample under foot the Son of Godo!”
If, then, any of you have disregarded these blessings, and neglected this Saviour; the sentence of
condemnation has gone forth. Turn to God by repentance and faith, lest his wrath be executed upon you. Make him your friend who will never leave you, nor forsake you. You will then be prepared to encounter those changes and trials to which, in this uncertain world, you are exposed. “ The Lord of Hosts will be with you; the God of Jacob will be your refuge.” And, persevering in the faith and service of him who hath brought life and immortality to light, when you leave the transitory joys of time, you shall enter on the unchanging glories of eternity. Send forth thy light and thy truth, Oh our God, to conduct us through the manifold changes of this mortal pilgrimage. Cause us to rejoice in thy favour and mercy; and bring us at last to that eternal state, in which, alloyed by no sin nor sorrow, there is perfection of virtue, and fulness of joy.
P Ps. xlvi. 7.
THE TRUE ESTIMATE OF THE PRESENT LIFE.
[SECOND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS.]
PSALM Xc. 12.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our
hearts unto wisdom.
There is no subject on which men more frequently mistake, than in their estimate of human life. By the generality of mankind, the world, the stage of their present existence, is considered as their home. Not a day, indeed, passes, in which some corroding care, some pang of sickness, some stroke of disappointment or adversity, some instance of mortality, does not remind them, that the world is incapable of affording full and permanent felicity; and that all its joys, uncertain and alloyed, terminate in the gloom and silence of the grave. Still men find, in the objects which surround and solicit them, the means of gratifying their senses, their imagination, and their pas