yet we remain in the land of faith, of hope, of mercy, and of prayer. But "the time is short;" "the end "of all things is at hand."-A little moment, as it were, will terminate our season of probation and preparation for eternity; the continuance of our earthly comforts or trials, and our opportunities of doing good to men, and glorifying God in this world of sin and misery.

Have none of you then entered on this new year, destitute of vital godliness, strangers to repentance and works meet for repentance, and unacquainted with a life of faith in the Son of God, and communion with the Father through him? Are none of you still loitering and procrastinating, loath to part with worldly idols, and averse to diligent piety? Or are you not trying to persuade yourselves, that so much strictness is unnecessary, that by attention to decent forms and moral duties, or an assent to certain doctrines, you may reconcile religion with your worldly spirit and pursuits, and thus serve God and Mammon? You have indeed been spared to enter on another year, and have great cause, though little heart, for thankfulness: but what assurance have you that you shall live to the close of it? Several who joined with us last year in the service of the day, are now entered on an eternal state; and probably many of us will join them before this year shall terminate. And how terrible will this be to those, who by a perverse abuse of the Lord's abundant mercies, have increased their own condemnation! Still "the Holy Ghost says, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."-" Seek ye the


"LORD while he may be found; call ye upon him, "while he is near." And we intreat you, join your prayer for yourselves to our supplications in your behalf, that in the present year you may be "turned "from darkness to light, and from the power of Sa"tan unto God.”


Perhaps some are blessing God, that this has been their happy case, during the preceding year; and are now saying within themselves, Had I died before 'the year 1795, I should have perished in my sins, 'without Christ, and without hope. But the Lord ' who spared me when others were cut off, and rescu'ed me from numberless dangers seen and unseen, when I habitually trampled on his commandments, ' and neglected his salvation, hath at length, in bound'less mercy, "granted me repentance," enabled me to 'believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and taught me 'by his grace to walk in newness of life.' "Bless the 'LORD, O my soul; and forget not all his benefits ; 'who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy "diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction, "and crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender "mercy. "How memorable with you, my brethren, even to eternal ages, will be this "acceptable year of the LORD," which to many hath doubtless been "the


day of vengeance of our God!" Oh, endeavour to 'shew forth his praises, not only with your lips, but

in your lives, by giving up yourselves to his ser'vice, and by walking before him in holiness and ' righteousness all your days.' Then many will glorify God on your behalf, and you will be in some degree instrumental in bringing others to seek the same

blessings. Abide in Christ; keep close to the means of grace; watch against temptation; "be not high"minded, but fear," for your enemies are many, and your hearts deceitful; yet" be sober, and hope unto "the end:" "For greater is he that is in you, than "he that is in the world." Wait on the Lord continually, that he may renew your strength: and take heed, lest an increase of knowledge and maturity of judgment should be attended by an abatement in the fervour of your affections. Be not contented with the low attainments of this lukewarm age; but follow those, who have most closely followed Christ. And now approach with us to his table, to avow your acceptance of his salvation, and surrender of yourselves to his service; that, as "bought with a price, you may glorify God with your bodies and spirits which "are his."



Some perhaps to this very day, may stand in doubt to what class or company they belong. May the Lord enable such persons, to begin this new year, with "giving all diligence to make their calling and "election sure!" Enquire, my friends, with impartial strictness, into the reasons of your uncertainty and darkness: cast away every idol, break off every entangling pursuit or engagement, return from your backslidings, and seek the Lord with all your hearts that should this year terminate your lives; your setting sun may break forth with cheering beams, and gild the dark valley through which you must pass: or should you be spared; that your walk may be henceforth more close with God, more honourable

and comfortable, and more edifying and encouraging to those around you.

My Christian brethren! let us enter on this new year, by seriously reviewing the one that we have finished that we may be humbled for the sins, into which we have been betrayed, and rendered more simply dependant and watchful: and that we may be more thankful for the special mercies, personal, social, and publick, with which we have been favoured. Let us earnestly beg a blessing from God on every attempt we have made to sow the seed of truth, to speak a word in season, and to recommend the gospel: beseeching him also to prevent the bad effect of our mistakes and inconsistencies. We should likewise remember that time is short: that we may learn patience in tribulation, joyfulness in hope, indifference about things present, and diligence in our proper work. "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with

thy might for there is no work, nor device, nor “knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest. *" "Let your loins then be girded, and your lamps burning;" and be habitually expecting the coming of the Lord. Endeavour to recollect what designs of usefulness you had formed, and intended to have executed during the last foryear, or in any mer period; and set about them without delay: persevere in every good work, and Christian course, on which you have entered; and aim to press forward, to grow in grace, and abound more and more in all the fruits of righteousness. Then should this be

* Eccles. ix. 10.

your last year, as it possibly may, and as some have probable reason to expect; death will be your gain: and while the survivors among us may meet together at the return of this season to set up another Ebenezer to our merciful God; others will have joined the company before the throne, and be triumphantly rejoicing and blessing the Lord, that he hath helped them quite through, made them more than conquerors, and placed them for ever out of the reach of dangers and enemies.-May we all, as in succession called out of this world, thus join the heavenly worshippers; till at length,

When all the chosen race

• Shall meet before the throne,
To bless the conduct of his grace,
• And make his wonders known;'

[ocr errors]

we may be found of that happy number, and meet once more to set up an Eben-ezer in the world above, and to join in eternal adorations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the one God of our salvation, to whom be praise and glory for evermore. Amen.

« VorigeDoorgaan »