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THE BENEFIT OF RELIGIOUS SOCIETY.
It is observable of many houses in a great city, that they have such weak walls, and are of such a slender and slight building, that, were they set alone in the fields, probably they would not stand one hour; which, now rang. ed into streets, receive support in themselves, and mutually return it to others. Such is the danger of solitude, and the great benefit of society, with good and godlycompany. Such as want skill or boldness to begin or set a psalm, may com. petently follow tune in concert with others; and such are the blessed fruits of good society, that a person may not only be preserved from much mischief, but also be strength. ened and confirmed in many spiritual exercises, which he could not perform of himself alone. “Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together."*
SATAN'S CHARGE, AND THE SINNER'S DISCHARGE.
An old author mentions a story of the devil's appearing to a dying man, and shewing him a parchment roll, which was very long, wherein were written on every side the sins of the poor sick man, very many in number. There were written the idle words he had spoken, which made up three quarters of the words he had spoken in his life; together with the false words, the unchaste words and angrywords; afterwards came in rank his vain and ungodly words; and lastly his actions, digested according to the commandments; whereupon satan said, “See here, thy virtues; see here what tby examination must be;" but the poor man an
* Psalm exxii. S.
swered, "It is true, satan, but thou hast not set down all; for thou shouldest have added, and set down here below, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sins;' and this also should not have been forgotten,"That whoso. ever believeth io him,shall not perish, but have everlasting life;" whereupon the devil vanished.
Thus, if the devil should muster up all our sins, and set them in order before us, yet, let but Christ be named in a believing way, and he will yield, and flee from us with the greatest speed. The Captain of salvation overcame the tempter, by saying, “It is thus and thus written;" and his soldiers may still lovercome the accuser of the brethren, by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testi.
THE LOSS OF THE SOUL IRRECOVERABLE.
St.Chrysostome hath well observed with the anatomists, Omnia Deus dedit duplicia, Godhath, in the frame of man's body,given him two eyes,two ears,two hands,two feet, and the like, that the failing of the one might be supplied by the other: Animam verò unam. Yet he hath given him, saith he, but one soul; so that if that be lost, there is no supplyto be had. Nebuchadnezzar may lose his kingdom, and it may be restored. Job, his health and wealth, and they may be recovered. Lazarus, his life, and he may be revived. But, for the loss of the soul,no means cao repair it; no price can redeem it; all the world cannot recompense it; being once lost, it is lost irrecoverably.
WE WOULD SEE JESUS.....A FRAGMENT.
I WOULD see Jesus in prosperity, that her fascinating light may not lead me to a dreadful precipice; but, that his good Spirit may whisper to my heart the noble inducements Christians have to devise liberal things; that I may ever be saying, "What am I, O Lord, that thou shouldest put into my heart to do these things, when the earth is thine and the folness thereof? It is but thine own which I return unto thee."
I would see Jesus in adversity, because he is a friend born for such a state; because, when all the fallacious props of happiness give way, his single oame alone sup. ports the building. I would see Jesus in adversity, that I might order my cause before him, for he has all power in heaven and on earth, and easily can arrange future events, so as to throw lustre on the darkest circumstances.
I would see Jesus in health, that I may turn at his gen. tlest reproof; that I may not be full and forget God, but be devoted, body as well as soul, to his praise.
I would see Jesus in sickness, because he healeth all my diseases; he alone dispenses the balm of Gilead; he alone is the Physician there.
I would seeJesus in ordinances; forwbat are ordinances destitute of him? As the body without the spirit is dead, so are ordinances without Christ. He shows himself through the lattices, he appears in his beauty, he is as the dew unto Israel, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; his people sit under his shade with great delight; his fruit is pleasant to their taste. They say contiuually in ordinances, "Make haste, O my beloved; be thou like a young hart upon the mountains."
I would see Jesus in social intercourse. For what are the charms of friendship? What the refinements of taste? What the pleasures of conversation? Are they not all un. satisfying and delusive, unless sanctified by the grace of this Redeemer?
I would see Jesus in my own heart, as Lord of its af. fections, of its purposes, of its pleasures; as the grand mover of its hopes and fears; the author of its existence and happiness.
I would see Jesus in death, as the Sun of Righteous. ness, whose beams, in the darkest moments, can spread light and healing. I would listen to his voice, saying, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life.” “Fear not, I have the keys of hell and death." Arise, O thou wearied follower of thy crucified Lord, and enter into thy rest.
I would see Jesus in glory; for, what is heaven itself without him? But when we shall see him as he is, then shall we be like him, and be for ever happy in his presence.
Dr. G. lost his eyesight in the pulpit during the prayer before sermon; and was thereby incapacitated from mak. ing use of his notes. After service, as he was led out, bit. terly bewailing his loss, a good old lady overhearing him, cried, "God be praised, your sight is gone! I never heard you preach such a sermon in my
life. I wish the Lord had taken it away twenty years ago!” Thus the Lord often makes the deprivation of our personal comforts advanta. geous to our fellow Christians. ..
Vol. I. 14