like the laughter of the maniac, or like the singing of the patient whose brain a fever hath disordered. The broken spirit may lead to that godly sorrow which worketh repentance to salvation, but the audacious mirth of the sinner is most likely to end in weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. In hell sorrow crushes and remorse tortures the heart; and yet the power of an avenging God sustains it, that it may suffer for ever the misery which it chose, and the wrath from which it would not flee. Be af. flicted then, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to sorrow, and your mirth to heaviness. It is thus only that you will feel the need of the Balm of Gilead, and thirst for the water of religious comfort. Come unto me, saith the blessed Jesus, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, toiling in the vain pursuit of happiness, or crushed under the load of guilty fears ; come unto me and I will give you rest.* He will say to you, as you approach him in fear and trembling, “ Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee;" and this will be the sentence with which he will raise you from the dust, and send you away to walk in newness of life, and to rejoice in his mercy

for ever. “ Thy sins are forgiven thee; thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”+

• Matt. xi, 28.

+ Luke vii. 48. 50.

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JEREMIAH viii. 20. The harvest is past, the summer

is ended, and we are not saved.



In this chapter the Prophet describes, in a most powerful and striking manner, the miseries of the Jews, during the siege of their capital by the Chaldeans, and the horrors brought upon his unhappy country by its fall. In the text the people are represented as stating the vain hopes which they had entertained of deliverance. Day after day they had expected some friendly power to appear for their rescue, or some interposition of Heaven in their favour, but no relief had come. Their hearts were now sick through hope deferred, and disappointed, and they saw nothing now before them but captivity or death.

Though the prophet felt the strongest abhorrence of the crimes of his nation, and though he saw that the calamities which had befallen them were the due reward of their deeds, and the fulfilment of the threatenings which he had denounced against them, he deplored, with the bitterest sorrow a patriot can feel, the ruin of his country. It was not in exultation over its fall, but in deep regret, that he poured forth these strains. He had another object in view in doing so, which was worthy of his character as a prophet of the Most High; and it was this.--to warn

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other nations against the sins which had brought Judah so low, and to make that people, who should have been a pattern of piety and obedience to the world, a solemn admonition to it in their fall.

These words may be considered as a fit representation of the feelings of persons in advanced life, whose minds and consciences are awakened to just views of their situation, and to bitter regret for the opportunities of salvation which they have lost through their own presumption and folly. In this light I propose to consider them; and the illustration of this topic may be useful as an admonition to the young, and as a counsel to the aged, who are feeling the anguish of shame and contrition.

In the following discourse I shall call your attention to the import of the lamentation, and then to the circumstances which, in the case of the aged sinner, give to it peculiar bitterness.

I. Let us then consider what is the import of the .amentation.

1. It implies a full conviction that those who use it are not in a state of salvation.

There are many who in age, as well as at other periods of life, flatter themselves with the vain conceit that they are at peace with God. In some of them the opinion arises from the supposed blamelessness or utility of their lives ; in others, from the recollection of some vivid impressions which they once felt of divine things; and in others from the peculiar kindness which God hath showed them in the course of his providence. To every representation of their guilt and danger they


oppose these delusive ideas, and cry peace, peace, when there is no peace.

But the awakened sinner is conscious that he is an utter stranger to the feelings and to the hopes of the saved. His coldness of heart shows him that he is an entire stranger to pious sensibility, his horrors to

of conscience, and his proneness to evil to repentance unto life. He may be regarded by his friends as a man of the most estimable qualities. The world may look on him as one of the pillars of society, and the church may rank him with the saints and faithful in Christ; but his own conscience tells him, “ Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God." He feels that this is the estimate formed of him by the God who searches all hearts, and who understands all the imaginations of the thoughts," I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." The anguish of the man who has been guilty of rebellion against his sovereign, and who, instead of the success which he had expected, finds himself and his associates the objects of public abhorrence and of condign punishment, and who sees not his name included among those in whose favour a pardon has been granted, is an emblem of his distress who feels that he is condemned before God, and that the wrath of God abideth on him. Once the aged sinner imagined his state was safe, that he was rich and increased with goods, and stood in need of nothing ; yet now he sees at he serable, wretched, blind, and naked. How immaterial does it seem to him in such a state of mind what

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he is in a worldly point of he has established an extensive and flourishing business,--that he has formed respectable connexions,-acquired considerable wealth, or attained great eminence in learning,--the sad reflection, I am not saved, makes him cry out, in the bitterness of his spirit,

" Yet all this availeth me nothing.” Salvation could have blessed me without them, but they cannot bless me without it.

2. It implies the recollection of the various opportunities of salvation with which they have been favoured, and their regret for the loss of these. Youth is a most favourable season for religious impressions. The heart is soft and tender, and the melting scenes of Christ's history and grace strongly interest it. The mind is not yet engrossed by the cares of the world, and under the charge of pious parents their lessons distil on them as the dew ; yet the aged sinner has to reflect that its precious hours were wasted in trifles, that its noble energies were devoted to folly,--and that it has left behind it no trace on which the heart can rest. Had I been wise, do they say, its sprightliness would have been improved by religious joy, and its gracefulness heightened by its holy beauties. Oh! that I had devoted my youth to the love of the Redeemer, and to the cultivation of those acquirements which might have qualified me for advancing his cause; that my heart had been captivated by the excellencies of his character; and that I had followed the guidance of his word: then would I now have had it to say, My youth is gone, but it is not lost; and thus would the Almighty have addressed me:“I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, and the

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