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devout manner freely eating and drinking before the Lord, who not only requires but accepts this kind of devotion, we are led to view that Being, who is the object of these religious services, as one, who not only designs the best good of his creatures, but as one who employs the wisest means to promote his gracious designs. As often as these religious feasts occurred, the congregation of the commonwealth of Israel were privileged with an opportunity of realizing the goodness of the dispenser of all needful favours, and at the same time of cultivating and improving their acquaintance with each other, by which their social affections were reciprocated and strengthened.

In these solemn and joyful assemblies the twelve tribes would be led to forget any local prejudices, which an absence from each other had permitted to germinate, while the social affections would be called into action by all those natural means by which they are excited. But that which mostly contributed to unite that ancient people, and to render their religious convocations of special interest, was the condescension of the Divine Being in choosing to place his name among them.

In applying this subject to the happy occasion which has invited this solemn and joyful assembly, the following particulars will be briefly noticed.

1. The true doctrine of the divine name, the establishment of which in a certain place consecrates and renders it a proper place for religious assemblies and the solemn exercises of divine worship.

2. The true nature and spirit of devotion: and,

3. The design or object to be promoted by the worship of God.

The true doctrine of the divine name is thus expressed; Exodus 34. “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”.

· It will not be necessary, at this time, and on this occasion, to be particular in setting forth the meaning of the words Lord and God, as it is well known these words signify the possessor and ruler of all things, who alone is worthy of suprenie worship; but what seems to be of special importance is, that we understand the nature of those attributes which are attached to the words, Lord God, and their due agreement. The attribute of mercy is most strongly expressed as follows: “Merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin." Hear this, o sinful man, and let the goodness of God lead thee to repentance! Stronger language could not have been used to express God's fixed, unchangeable favour towards sinners. Here let it be distinctly understood, that the true name of the Lord God can never be separated from that divine mercy which forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin. Any doctrine, therefore, which excludes the sinner from the favour and forgiveness of God is opposed to the name of the Lord, and renders any place unfit for the convocation of those, who would approach their God, thro’ the mediation of Jesus, to obtain the remission of sin. The law dispensation and the temple worship were true figures of the gospel, and that spiritual worship of which the Saviour spake to the woman of Samaria. But the legal covenant made no provision for the worship of a people who had no sin; for they found the way to the sanctum sanctorum of their temple, where the sacred NAME was deposited, through the medium of that blood which made an atonenient for their sins; nor is the spiritual worship of the true tabernacle ever offered until by the blood of the everlasting covenant the conscience is purged from dead works to serve the living God.

But my christian brethren, let us, with a godly jealousy cautiously avoid the awful error; an error which has constituted a leading doctrine of an

apostatized church for ages, the error of supposing, that the atonement which a merciful God designed as a commendation of his love to man, was designed to reconcile himself to the objects of his grace. . This error has defiled the christian sanctuary, polluted the name of the Father of Mercies, converted the God of boundless love into a Moloch, and the christian church into the mother of harlots, drunk with the blood of saints! Let it be kept in mind, that the name of the Lord is established by that doctrine which acknowledges him to be “merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin.”

It is essential to the nature of God to forgive sin, for God is love, and love always forgives. This doctrine is clearly maintained by the commands of the Saviour, in which it is enjoined on us to forgive those who transgress against us; and we know this is the never failing dictate of the spirit of God within ourselves, when we are guided by it; and it should be deemed an egregious error for professed christians to allow themselves to believe that they are more ready to forgive the faults of their fellow sinners, than he is, whose grace hath forgiven them, and whose spirit alone can lead them to forgive others. We must furthermore consider it a fault to be lamented in the conduct of the pious of many denominations, that they fervently pray for the forgiveness of all men, while they pertinaciously maintain a creed that excludes millions of the subjects of their prayers from the mercy for which they ask!

But while we cautiously and gratefully maintain and defend the sacred name, as displayed in the doctrine of divine forgiveness, we must not forget the attribute of retributive justice, which is as strongly expressed in our quotation from Exodus 34th, as is that of mercy and forgiveness. The truly awful words in which this subject is express. ed, are the following :-“And that will by no means clear the guilty.” Hear these words, 0 sinful man,

and tremble! That God, whose all pervading eye beholds our very thoughts, and from whom our most secret designs cannot, for one moment be hid, has declared that it is essential to his very NAME, in no wise to clear the guilty! Nothing less can be meant by these words than that God will, without fail, in all instances, punish the transgressor according to his criminality. My friends, I beseech you to realize this fact, this solemn truth, that the Lord God, who is merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin, will by no means clear the guilty ; but will render to every man according to the fruit of his doing.

This doctrine of retributive justice will enable us to correct another injurious error, which has been imbibed in the christian church, and consists in a belief, that the wicked may spend many years in sin, and finally go clear of punishment, by repenting just before they die. This most injurious and demoralizing error has combined with itself another mistake, which is necessary to its support, which contends that God does not punish the sinner in this mortal state. By setting up and establishing these errors, the wisdom of this world has systematically profaned the name of the Lord. If during this mortal life sin be not punished, nor punished hereafter, if repented of before death, then it is evident that by means of repentance the Lord God clears the guilty ; but he declares that he will by no means clear the guilty.

Another important error of the church, which the true doctrine of God's NAME, as manifested in his retributive justice, will assist us in correcting, is the supposition that Jesus Christ suffered the punishment due to the sins of an elected number of the human race, so that by means of his sufferings these sinners are cleared. Compare this with the divine declaration, “that he will by no means clear the guilty.” According to the doctrine under consideration, none of those things, which have been held up as means by which sinners may be

for God says,

saved from the punishment which they deserve, were ever designed for that purpose ; he will by no means clear the guilty. The mediation of Christ, faith in him, nor the most sincere repentance was ever designed, by our Father in heaven, as means to clear the guilty.

If the opinion of christian doctors, who contend that sin is an infinite evil, and deserves an endless punishment, were true, then it would follow, of course, that God must either clear the guilty, or banish all men from his favour for ever. But this opinion is supported by no other authority than the precepts of men.

Is it asked, how the doctrine of the divine name, as manifested in the forgiveness of iniquity, and transgression, and sin, is reconciled with the manifestation of the same divine name, in the punishing of every transgressor, according to the turpitude of his guilt? God gives the answer—“If his chil. dren forsake my law and walk not in my judg. ments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my conimandments: then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes; nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to failThe Lord will not cast off for ever: but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies; for he doth not af. flict willingly, nor grieve the children of menFools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat, and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of all their distresses--Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy, for thou re erest to every man according to his work.” God punishes the guilty as a father chastiseth his disobedient son, whom he loveth. My friends, the principle for which I am now contending is one on which all wise and good parents practice with their children. The tender

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