« السابقةمتابعة »
Saviour, who walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks, inay behold us with approbation, and that he may be in all things glorified by us. , · Let us, in the fear and love of God, cultivate that spirit of brotherly love, of peace and harmony, which should ever distinguish a christian society, meeting in the same house of the Lord, waiting upon bim in the same religious exercises, enjoying the same gospel privi. leges, and cherishing the pleasing, animating hope of sharing the same incorruptible, uodefiled, unfading inheritance in the kingdom of glory. Such a temper and conduct will contribute most certainly and remarkably, to the strength, and the growth of this branch of the church-of this department of that holy family, of wbich Christ our Lord is the glorious bead.
Thus, united as members of the household of faith ; thus by love serving one another; and thus with one mind and one mouth glorifying God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and honoring the Son, even as we honor our Father, we may rest assured, that the God of love and peace will be with us, and by an abundant communication of the spirit of grace, will fill this house with glory.
Beholding this glory of the Lord in his sanctuary below, we shall be changed unto the same inage from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord' ; and thus will our preparation and meetness be advanced for that bright and blessed world, where the redeemed are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple ; and be that sitteth on the throne, shall dwell among them, and they, beholding his glory, shall be satisfied with his likeness, triumph in his high praises, and be filled with the joy of their lord forever. AMIN.
i It is with peculiar satisfaction, my worthy friends, that I have witnessed the recent establishment, and the promising progress, of this society; and that I now meet you here for the purpose of uniting with you in those interesting religious services, which form the leading objects for whicb it was instituted.
Cherishing the hope that you are already joined to the Lord in a perpetual covenant not to be forgotten ; or feeling a solicitous concern that you may be found among the genuine disciples and followers of Christ; and at the same time conscious of your own weaknesses and necessities, and aware of the advantages to be derived from your associating frequently together for religious worship and improvement, you have wisely and well, resolved, to meet together statedly, at least on one evening in the course of every week, for these important purposes."
And in what way could an hour or two, at such times, be employed, that would be better adapted to promote the spirit of piety in your own souls, and to encourage each other's hearts, and strengthen each other's bands, in the great duties, and under the various trial», of the christian life?
Nor are your views of advantage limited merely to yourselves ; as you cheerfully welcome your neighbours around you to join with you in your social wor. ship, and your already considerable and gradually increasing collection of religious books are designed, not merely to be read for the common benefit in the meetings of your society, and for your individual improvement in your retired hours ; but to be loaned also, under proper regulations, to your friends, who may be desirous of perusing them ; while in your united prayers, it is your purpose and your practice, to remember and to plead for the church of Christ generally, and those branches of it especially with which you are more immediately connected; for the nation also, to which you belong, and in whose safety, peace, and prosperity, the most valuable privileges of men, civil and religious, and many of your dearest worldly comforts and enjoyments are deeply involved; in a word, for the temporal happiness and eternal salvation and felicity of your brethren of the great family of man, throughout the world.
Such are your worthy views, and such the important objects contemplated in the formation of this so. ciety; the design is certainly in itself laudable ; and if, in pursuing it, you continue to be actuated by pure and upright principles and motives, and carry it on with a spirit of becoming union, harmony and zeal,
you need not doubt, but that the Lord your God and Saviour, whom you thus attempt to serve and honor, and who has promised his special presence “ wherever two or three are met together in his name," for such purposes “ will be with you,” and will favour you with his acceptance and blessing, and crown you with the honor by which all his saints are distinguished. “ Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord bearkened and beard, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon bis name : and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels."* The circumstances of your situation in the world, added to the necessities of your souls, having originally suggested the expediency of such a religious association, will, I trust, still recommend and urge your unremitted attendance on its meetings, and its exercises, as constituting at once the most profitable and the most agreeable employment to which the evening could be devot.
You need not be informed,—you must be well aware and sensibly feel, how much you need all the aid, which you can by any means afford to each other in the all important concerns of religion. Surrounded with the multitude of the careless and the profane, who live without God in the world, and in the neglect and contempt of the gospel of Christ, and of the salvation of their own souls, and who pursue the perishing interests, and the destructive pleasures of the world, as the only objects of their warm regard ; are you not liable to feel the unhappy influence of their conversation and con
* Malachi ji. 16, 17,
duct, in abating the life and fervor of religion in your hearts, and assimilating you too much in your practice to the fashion and the course of this evil world ?
To persevere stedfast and unmoved in the narrow way of holiness, which leads to life, in opposition to the yastly greater pumbers, who are travelling in the broad way of sin, through scenes of present unrestrained indulgence, down to the regions of eternal death ; while the corrupt propensities of your fallen, depraved nature, powerfully impel you “ to follow a multitude to do evil,” is like sailing against an unfavourable wind and tide combined. And it requires no small degree of watchfulness and resolution, of fervor in prayer, and activity in labour, in such circumstances, to hold fast your own integrity, to keep a conscience void of wilful offence, and to guard against the danger of declension and backsliding, and much more so, “ to grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Saviour," and to advance from strength to strength in your christian course. • Who is sufficient for these things ?” of yourselves, you know, you are not. Under the conviction of this, it is then undoubtedly your wisdom, to avail yourselves of all the desirable help which you can obtain. And while you look chiefly by faith and prayer, to your God and Saviour, that he may 6 perfect his strength in your weakness, and make his grace sufficient for you," it behoves you, at the same time to study how you may become, in the most effectual manner, "helpers of each other's faith and joy," and spiritual improvement. For this purpose no means, subordinate to the ordinances of the sanctuary and the devotions of the closet, could bare a more favourable tendency, or promise a better result, than those which you are pur