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abiding, was the change which then took place in his heart and in his conduct! From that moment he accounted " all things loss and dung, for the excellency “ of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord*.” Unwearied by labour and hardship, undismayed by opposition and danger, he spent the remainder of his life in the cause of his Master; and, like Cæsar, accounting nothing done while any thing remained to do, bis active and intrepid spirit was continually meditating new services f. And, though he knew that bonds and afflictions awaited him in every place, he was always upon the wing, to publish to his fellow-sinners the grace and glory of him whom he had so long opposed, only because he knew him not. And although the circumstances attending the apostle's case were extraordinary, the case itself, as to the substance, is not singular. I trust many persons in this assembly have been the subjects of a like change. The doctrine which Paul preached, has enlightened your understandings, has inspired you with hopes and desires to which you were once strangers, and given a new direction to the conduct and aims of your life. You were once afar off from God, but you are now brought nigh by the blood of Christ. You once lived to yourselves, but now you feel that you are no longer your own, and have devoted yourselves to himn who died to save you from the present evil world, and from the wrath to come.
3. Misery. If we are guilty in the sight of God, and alienated from him in our hearts, we must be miserable. Guilt entails a burden, and a foreboding of evil upon the conscience. And our alienation from the fountain of living waters I, compels us, (for we are in
Phil. iii. 8.
† Acts xix. 21,
Jer. ii. 13.
sufficient to our own happiness,) to seek our resources from broken cisterns, and pits which will hold no water. Further, sin has filled the world with wo. The whole creation travails and groans; and natural evil is inseparable from moral, as the shadow from the body. Though the earth be filled with tokens of the goodness, patience, and forbearance of God, it likewise abounds with marks of his displeasure. I think we have sufficient reason to attribute earthquakes, hurricanes famine, and pestilence, to sin, as their original and proper
We can hardly conceive, that if mankind had continued in that happy state of love and obedience to God in which our first parents were created, they would have been exposed to such calamities. When God at the beginning surveyed every thing that he had made, “ behold it was very good*.” All was beauty and harmony, till sin introduced disorder and a curse. But far worse than what we suffer immediately from the providence of God, are the evils which we bring upon ourselves and upon each other. The dreadful consequences of war, rapine, discord, hatred, ambition, avarice, and intemperance, furnish part of every page in the mournful history of human life, and are felt in every nation, city, village, and family. Want, cares, and diseases, prey upon individuals. Disappointment, dissatisfaction, vanity, and vexation of spirit, are experienced by persons of every rank, and in every stage of human life. How much more desirable would it be, were it not for the hope of the Gospel, to share with the brute creation, than to bear the name of man in his fallen state! The brutes have few wants; their propensities, and the means of gratifying them, are suited to their natures, adapted to their powers, and conducive to the preservation of the species. They neither regret the past, nor tremble under apprehensions of the future. It is far otherwise with man. His boasted pleasures end with a sting, and often he cannot bear his own reflections on them. He suffers almost as much from imaginary fears, as from real afflictions, The more he possesses, the more are the sources of his anxieties multiplied and enlarged. And after having been long wearied with a train of mortifications, pains, and inquietudes, he must at last, however unwilling, yield to that stroke of death, the thought of which, when strongly realized to his mind, was always sufficient to embitter the happiest hours of his life.
* Gen. i. 31.
But publish the glad tidings from the mountains, and let the joyful sound diffuse over the plain——" Your « God cometh.” MESSIAH establishes a new, a spiritual kingdom upon the earth, and his happy subjects are freed from the misery in which they were involved. They commit all their concerns to him, and he manages for them. Their fears are removed, their irregular desires corrected, and all that is really good for them, is secured to them by his love, promise, and care. Afflictions still await them, but they are sanctified. To them the nature of afflictions is changed. They are appointments graciously designed for their advantage. Their crosses, no less than their comforts, are tokens of God's favour* ; they have thein only because their present situation requires discipline, and they could not be so well without them. They are assured of support under thems, and a final deliverance out of them all, for there is a happy hour approaching, when all their
Heb. xii, 6, 7.
ť 2 Cor. xii, 9.
troubles shall cease, and they shall enter upon a state of eternal, uninterrupted, inconceivable joy*.
For these purposes the Son of God was revealed. The prophets saw his day afar off, and proclaimed his approach—“ Thy God cometh!" Though truly a man, he is truly God. Neither man nor angel could remove our guilt, communicate to us a spiritual life, relieve us from misery, and give us stable peace in a changing world, hope and triumph in death, and eternal life beyond it. But his wisdom and power are infinite, and his purpose unchangeable. He would not have invited the weary and heavy laden to come to him, if he was not able and determined to give them rest. None that seek him are disappointed, or sent empty away: a sufficient proof that his compassion, his bounty, his fulness, are properly divine. Therefore the apostle, speaking of the riches of his grace, uses the epithet, “ Un
searchablet.” His treasury of life and salvation is inexhaustible, like a boundless, shoreless, bottomless ocean ; like the sun, which having cheered the successive generations of mankind with his beams, still shines with undiminished lustre, is still the fountain of light, and has always a sufficiency to fill innumerable millions of eyes in the same instant.
Does the language of my text cause joy to spring up in your hearts ? hearts ? or is it nothing to you? (If
to you? (If you heard the Messiah, you were, perhaps, affected by the music of the passage ; how much are you to be pitied, if you are hitherto unaffected by the sentiment! Yet once more, hear ;-" Thy God cometh !” He did come in the fulness of time, according to the prophecy; and the word of prophecy assures us, that be will come again. "Behold he cometh in the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him*.”-“Prepare to meet thy Godt."
* Isa. Ix. 20,; Rev. xxi. 4.
† Ephes. ii. 8.
THE MORNING LIGHT.
ISATAH Ix. 1-3.
Arise, shine ; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord
is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee: and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the bright
ness of thy rising. ONE strong internal proof that the Bible is a divine revelation, may be drawn froin the subject matter; and particularly that it is the book, and the only book, which teaches us to think highly and honourably of God. I say, the only book; for there is no right knowledge of God where the Bible is not known. What is the Jupiter of Homer, compared with the God of Israel, as he is represented to us by his servants the prophets ? And if the Heathen philosophers, in some detached passages, have sentiments not altogether unworthy of him, history honestly tells them how they obtained them. They travelled, and they are generally said to have travelled into Phænicia or Egypt, to the confines of that people who alone thought rightly of God, because to them only he had made himself known by a revelation. If such a description as we have in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah,
* Rev. i. 7.
+ Amos iv. 12.