« السابقةمتابعة »
To discover these motives, you need only to recollect and realize the interesting truths, that have been dispensed. You have seen that the practice recommended is a matter of duty. Its obligation results from the condition and relations of our being, and is founded in the reason and nature of things. The God, from whom we derived our existence, to whom we are indebted for all our blessings, and at whose dread tribunal we must give an account for all our conduct, “ requires this at our hands,” not barely as a token of homage and reverence to him; but as a mean of bring‘ing us to a resemblance of his moral image and law, and to a meetness for his eternal kingdom. .
Were we sinless as angels, it would still be incumbent upon us, unitedly to “ praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonder. ful works to the children of men.” Far, however, from this is our real character. We are frail, imperfect, guilty creatures. We all need repeated instruction, admonition, and encitement, relative to “ the things which belong to our peace ;” and whoever imagines himself an exception from the rest of mankind, and capable of maintaining “a conscience void of offence,” independent of those
external aids, which are required in the vok ume of inspiration, “ deceives his own heart." No man is either so well informed, or so vir: tuously disposed, but he may derive additional improvement from the publick offices of religion. How great and extensive soever may be his attainments without them; with them, these attainments would be yet more distinguished. Though he be literally wiser “ than all his teachers,” his mind may, notwithstanding, be " stirred up by way of remembrance,” and directed to important, practical subjects, which might otherwise escape his notice, and. fail of their proper fruits in his life and conversation. Meanwhile, he may both receive and communicate a more fervent piety and zeal, by associating with others in the solemn acts of devotion and worship. This being the design and tendency of the institution, in proportion to his rank and influence in society, he may, and he is bound in duty to give a sanction to the things that are excellent, at the same time that he promotes and accelerates his personal growth in grace.
If, therefore, you would not incur the im. putation of inexcusable ingratitude to the glorious author and benefactor of your lives ; if you would not betray a criminal indifference
to the dignity, perfection, and happiness, for which you were formed ; if you would avoid the aggravated guilt and condemnation of slighting offered mercy, and “ rejecting the counsel of God against yourselves ;” if you would not become abettors and “ partakers of other men's sins," you lack no inducement to an habitual, sincere, and exemplary obedience in this particular.
You all wish to secure and enjoy the bene. fits of redemption. There is none, but, in the hour of retirement and reflection, is constrain.ed, with Balaam of old, to exclaim, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” Learn, then, to prize and improve the means, which, for this purpose, is a faithful creator” has ordained. Recollect, that, in the diligent use of these means, the virtues and graces of the christian character, and a consequent title to “ inheritance among them that are sanctified,” are to be sought and obtained. Whilst you rejoice in that divine and animating proclamation, “ If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasure, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God," guard against a faulty negligence and sloth, by taking into serious and frequent considera
- tion the advantage of improving, and the dan.
ger of neglecting seasons consecrated to the special service of God, and favourable to the choice and pursuit of “ that good part which can never be taken away from you.”
When indisposed to the publick exercises of religion, and tempted to refrain your foot from the courts of the Lord, pause first, and let meditations of the following import take possession of your heart : "I am on probation
for an endless eternity ; in which, “ accord‘ing to the deeds done in the body," ineffable 'joy, or inconceivable wo must be my por..
'tion ! and, “behold now is the acceptable is time, behold now is the day of salvation.”
This may be the last sabbath I shall ever spone enjoy. Before the arrival of another, my Oltch 'fate may be unalterably fixed in the region Sy of unbodied spirits ; and I may wish in vain racking cos to see one of the days of the son of man." mo But if not, who knows but a word in seahtu 'son is now prepared ; of the saving benefit die of which an unecessary absence might forseekor ever deprive me? And hot. O how could I Or endure the august scene of the final judgle lament, should it then appear, that when no Gol.insurmountable obstacle made it impracticaislom :: 1 2
ble, or even difficult, by refusing to seek • the Lord, while he might be found,” and to 666 call upon him while he was near,” I had . perversely forfeited an unfading crown of
righteousness, and subjected myself to the 6 awful destiny of “hypocrites and unbe* lievers ??,, ,,
Under these impressions, how absurd and guilty would the usual pleas for delinquency be found ! Were they duly contemplated and cherished, neither idleness nor amusement; neither business nor pleasure, would seduce you from the worship and ordinances of the gospel. Instead of forming excuses, or ex. claiming, “ What a weariness is it ?” you, would“ be glad when they said unto you, let us go into the house of the Lord;” and, " more ready to hear than to offer the sacrifice of fools,” you would “ go from strength to strength,” till by the services of the earthly, you should be qualified for the sublimer occupations and enjoyments of the heavenly Zion.
“ Consider what has been said, and the Lord give youthunderstanding in all things and make you perfect in every good work to do his will : working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."