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no indulgence, but what would cross us in our way heavenwards.
True it is, that by the precepts of this religion, men blest with fortune and abilities to serve their country in its highest offices, are forbidden to waste their prime of life, and talents in scenes of dissipation and folly; they are exhorted to spurn from their bosom and their company, the profane talker, the debauchee, the gamester, the sharper!—But what is all this, except to lead persons, born for worthy actions, to the noblest twofold Saving—a Saving of Time from degrading and unworthy conversation (which might be better employed in the improvement of their own faculties, and in planning for the public weal); and a Saving of expense (which might redeem a virtuous family from distress, and make the widow's heart sing for joy.
To stimulate us, therefore, in such fair and noble pursuits, let us always keep in view the great objects that lie before us—the career of Glory to which we are called as a people! Let us remember that it was not by idle hands, nor by reclining in the lap of Indolence, nor by the pursuit of false pleasure, or vanities unsuited to their condition, that our honourable ancestors subdued a wilderness, and left this goodly heritage to their posterity! nor is it by means like these that we can transmit it safe and flourishing to our children and children's children.
It is always too soon when a people, even arrived at the meridian of their Glory, forget those virtues by which they were raised into importance; but for us who have not yet half-way reached oúr noon; for us whose Sun of Glory has but just raised his head above the cloudy mountains—for us, I say, to relax one jot of our industry and virtue, or to loiter in the morning of our day—What sluggards might we be deemed! Above all let us do away the EVIL THING, and check that growing indifference to religion which is spreading by fatal example, even from many of our high places, to the lowest ranks of our people; and brings us under the reproach of Solomon, when he cries out-“ Wherefore is there a price set in the “ hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no “ heart to it*?” “ If Christ had not come and spoken “ to us, we had not known sin; but now we have no " cloak for sint.”_" and better had it been for us, “never to have known the way of Righteousness, than " after we have known it, to turn from the holy com“ mandment delivered unto ust.” Forbid it, gracious God, that we should ever thus turn ourselves back from the truths made known to us in Christ Jesus! Our sins and ingratitude to thee our great Creator, having been, in many respects like those of the Jews, let us follow their best example, and not only Resolve, but Swear, as they did, in the days of good king Asa, that we will henceforth support the honour of our Christian calling, nor suffer among us those who deny the being of their Creator, who are enemies to the religion of their country, and trample under foot its holy ordinances. Let us swear to amend our lives, to walk for the future in true holiness before God; to venerate and obey his laws, and the laws of our country; to support its constitution, and defend our religious and civil liberties; to seek for health and wealth in honest labour and virtue; to attend to the right education of our children; to encourage and promote those arts and sciences, which tend to rear up good men and good citizens, to disseminate human happiness, and to distinguish the civilized Man from the barbarous Satage, firmly resolving to adorn our station, in all the relations of life, whether as good magistrates, good fathers, good husbands, good brothers, faithful friends, and, in a word, as honest men and useful citizens.
Are you ready to swear to this? Yea, I trust, you have sworn already; and that we may now lift up our voice, in songs of gratitude to God, for our full deliverance from the late calamity, and that, our Prayers, Praises, and Thanksgivings, will be as a sweet incense, holy and acceptable before Him!
" Wherefore, O Lord God, who hath thus “ wounded us for our transgressions, by thy late
heavy Visitation, but now in the midst of Judgment,
remembering Mercy, hast redeemed our souls from “ the jaws of Death, we offer unto thy fatherly good"ness ourselves, our souls and bodies, which thou " hast thus delivered, to be a living sacrifice unto “ Thee; always praising and magnifying Thy mer“ cies in the midst of the Church, through Jesus " Christ, our Lord.” Amen.
FIRST PREACHED DECEMBER 22, 1793.
1 THESS. Chap. IV. Ver. 134-18. But I would not have you ignorant, Brethren, concerning them
which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no Hope.-For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again; even so, them also, which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him, &c.
IN my two foregoing Sermons, (No. IV, V.) from this luminous text; the General Heads, under which it was proposed to manage the sublime subject in a series of discourses, were stated to be Four*.
The first Head, viz. the main Causes of the Fear of Death, was pretty fully discussed, in the two former Sermons. We were there led, in our medi. tations, to the tombs of our departed Friends.-We shed some natural drops to their memory-we weighed, in part, the terrors and the utmost strength of Death-we dared to enter his dark Mansionsnay we entered so far, that we must not now start back, nor cast so much as one “ longing lingering look behind,” to the Sodom of this World; but, setting
• See page 56, anten. VOL. I.
one foot on the Grave, strive to stretch the other for. ward to the very Porch of Heaven; not intimidated to look upwards to the Precincts of everlasting day, notwithstanding the awful Scenes through which we must pass, and what we must expect to behold and to hear on our way-" The world on fire beneath our feet-the Voice of the Archangel and the Trump of God sounding on high, to rouse the Dead from their long, long iron-slumbers—the shaking of the dry bones, coming together, bone to his bone, from the four quarters of the world, from the Earth and from the Sea, at the Summons of the Almighty! But let us not be intimidated, I say! Our text has brought comfort to our view; and, therefore, we will take up our subject again, where our last Sermon, (No. V.) from this text, left us, namely, examining the Four great Causes of the Fear of Death, referred to above,
First, Want of Faith in Christ Jesus, and a more intimate Union of our Souls with Him, through the Grace of his Holy Spirit.
Secondly, An'overweening 'attachment to what we call the Good Things of this world.
Thirdly, Want of consideration and of due reflection, on the Shortness of our time, and the uncertain Tenure, and perishable Nature, of all our enjoy. ments here.
Fourthly, Doubts, real or imaginary, instilled or cherished, by means of a vain and superficial Philosophy, “ wise above what is written,” concerning a future state of existence; and whether the change of our condition, from this world to another, will be for the better or the worse*?
See page 67, antea