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النشر الإلكتروني

when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt," Isa. xli. 14.

We have been preaching to you an universal obe dience to the will of God. Hear these symbols; they preach this truth to you in language more forcible than ours. And what exceptions would you make in your obedience to a Saviour, who does for you what you are going to see, to hear, and to experience? What can you refuse to a Saviour, who gave you his blood and his life; to a Saviour, who, on his throne, where he is receiving the adorations of Angels and Seraphims, thinks of your bodies, your souls, your salvation: who still wishes to hold the most tender and intimate communion with you?

My dear brethren, I hope so many exhortations will not be addressed to you in vain. I hope we shall not be ministers of vengeance among you today. You are not going, I trust, by receiving sa cramental bread and wine at our hands to-day, to eat and drink your own condemnation. I hope the windows of heaven will be opened to-day, and benedictions from above poured out on this assembly. The angels, I trust, are waiting to rejoice in your conversion. May Jesus Christ testify his approbation of your love to him by shedding abroad rich effusions of his love among you! May this communion be remembered with pleasure when you come to die, and may the pleasing recollection of it felicitate you through all eternity! O thou mighty one of Israel! O Jesus, our hope and joy, hear and ratify our pray ers! Amen. To him, as to the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory for ever. Amen.

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SERMON VIII.

The Life of Faith.

HABAKKUK ii. 4.

The just shall live by his Faith.

THE words of our text, which open to us a wide field of reflections, may be taken in two senses. The first may be called a moral sense, and the last a theological sense. The first regards the circumstances of the Jews, when the prophet Habakkuk delivered this prophecy; and the last respects that great object, on which believers have fixed their eyes in all ages of the church.

Habakkuk, (for I enter into the matter immediately, in order to have full time to discuss the subject,) began to prophecy before the destruction of Jerusalem by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, and he was raised up to announce the progress of that scourge, or, as another prophet calls him, that hammer of the whole earth, Jer. 1. 23. Habakkuk, astonished, and, in a manner, offended at his own predictions, derives strength from the attributes of God to support himself under this trial, and expresseth himself in this manner; " Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine holy one? We shall not die,

O Lord! thou hast ordained them for judgment, and, O Mighty God! thou hast established them for correction. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil," chap. i. 12, 13.

The prophet goes further. Not content with vague ideas on a subject so interesting, he intreats God to give him some particular knowledge by revelation of the destiny of a tyrant, who boasted of insulting God, pillaging his temple, and carrying his people into captivity, I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me. The Rabbies gives a very singular exposition of the words, I will stand upon my watch, and they translate them, I will confine myself in a circle. The prophet, say they, drew a circle, and made a solemn vow, that he would not go out of it till God had unfolded those dark dispensations to him, which scemed so injurious to his perfections. This was almost like the famous consul, who, being sent by the Roman senate to Antiochus, made a circle round that prince, and said to him, Either you shall accept the conditions of peace which I offer you, before you go out of this circle, or in the name of the Senate I will declare war against you.*

God yielded to the desire of his servant; he informed him of the dreadful vicissitudes which Nebu chadnezzar should experience; and of the return of the Jews into their own country but at the same time he assured him, that these events were at a considerable distance, that no man could rejoice in them

M. Popilius Læna a Antiochus Epiphanes dans Vellei Paere, Hist. Rom. 1.i.

except he looked forward into futurity, but that faith in the accomplishment of these promised blessings would support believers under that deluge of calamities which was coming on the church. "The vision is yet for an appointed time. At the end it shall speak and shall not lie." If the Lord seem to you to defer the accomplishment of his promises too long, wait for it with all that deference, which finite creatures owe to the supreme Intelligence that governs the world. He, you will find, will not tarry beyond his appointed time. The soul, which is lifted up, that is to say, the man who would fix a time for God to crush tyrants, is not upright, but wanders after his own speculations: but the just shall live by his faith.

This is what I call the moral sense of the text, relative to the peculiar circumstances of the Jews in the time of the prophet, and in this sense St. Paul applies my text to the circumstances of the Hebrews, who were called to endure many afflictions in this life, and to defer the enjoyment of their reward till the next. "Ye have need of patience, (says the apostle,) that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith," Heb. x. 36-38.

But these words also have a theological meaning, which regards those great objects on which believers have fixed their eyes in all ages of the church. This is the sense which St. Paul gives the words in his epistle to the Romans.

"The righteousness of God

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