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heinousness of their own sins, as this great and good man! By thus humbling himself, how highly is he exalted in the view of every person present. How greatly would pride and self-righteousness have lowered him in our estimation? How exact a counterpart is he of that first of all men, that greatest of the Apostles, who, after being endued with wonderful inspiration, after being caught up to the third heaven, after having converted half the known world, could say, " Unto me, who am the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

Imitate, then, I beseech you, these glorious examples. Make it your business, not to applaud, but to know, not to flatter, but to amend, yourselves. Open your eyes daily on your errors, and your sins; and labour earnestly, not to justify, but to renounce them. Remember always, that God will hereafter judge both you, and your fellow-men; and that "his judgment" will be " according to truth." Ask yourselves, day by day, how you will appear in his eye, and what sentence he will pronounce upon your conduct in this life; and remember, that you cannot obtain his favour, nor be received into his kingdom, unless you essentially resemble that glorious Redeemer, who, although " the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person," has declared his own character in these remarkable words, "I am meek, and lowly of heart."



JEREMIAH viii. 20.

The harvest is past, the summer is ended; and we are not saved.

To understand the import of these words, it will be useful to consider the state of the people, in whose name they were uttered by the prophet. The Jews were at this period, on the eve of destruction. Their temporal prosperity was, from the first, suspended on their obedience to GOD. Secular good was more frequently promised, as a reward to their obedience, than that which is eternal; and secular evil more frequently threatened, as a penalty for their disobedience. Every corrupted nation may be justly considered, as hastening to its fall in the natural progress of things. But the nation of the Jews, of which GoD was the Sovereign, was taught to expect this fall as an immediate judgment from heaven; as the punishment denounced against rebellion in the constitution of their government. Their sins were known, overt acts of treason against their Supreme Ruler; and as such, were to be punished with peculiar severity.

A short time previous to the period when the text was written, Josiah was on the throne of Judah. The reformation, begun by him, was the last before the final ruin of the kingdom. At this time, the prophet clearly saw every hope drawing fast to a close. They had been intreated, warned, and threatened, by every prophet from Moses to Jeremiah. But all, as the great founder of their Empire had predicted, was in vain.

Infidelity and irreligion had taken entire possession of the nation. Their kings, their nobles, their priests and their citizens,

with one universal declension, had finally turned their backs on JEHOVAH; and yielded themselves up to the abominations of the heathen. Truth, justice, and benevolence, had fallen in the streets; and falsehood, injustice, and cruelty, rioted without control. The gold was become dim, and the most fine gold changed into dross.

The government itself, as in every case of this nature, was unhinged. The King* had become a mere cipher; and was afraid to do a plain act of justice to the prophet Jeremiah, or even to have it known that he had consented to receive a message from GOD. A sensual and brutal nobility had weakened every social bond; and the people, encouraged by their example and actuated by their influence, had reached the verge of anarchy, and of all the evils which that last curse of mankind so plentifully produces. Accordingly, they were finally rejected by GoD, and given over to cursing.

What a melancholy prospect is here presented to our view! A nation fast declining, through its sins, from the summit of human virtue and glory, into the depths of corruption, disgrace and ruin : without friends abroad; without harmony at home: their enjoyments vanishing, their hopes setting in darkness: peace and prosperity offered to them a thousand times; urged upon them by GoD with the most affectionate solicitude, on the most desirable of all conditions, that of returning to their duty; but despised, rejected, and lost forever. The very time allotted for their reformation, the day of grace and hope, now hiding behind the mountains; and leaving the world to a long night of misery and despair.

They and their children, destined to captivity and to the sword, were still gay, sensual, impure, avaricious, false, fraudulent, cruel and impious. Not a symptom of reformation appeared, to gladden the anxious eye with a hope of recovery. The political body was infected with the plague; and was fast changing into a mass of putrefaction and death. They had been often reproved,

* Jeremiah xxxviii.

but had steadily hardened their necks; and were now to be suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy.

All these were immortal beings. Of course their ruin reached beyond the grave. Their present destruction was only the beginning of another, which was to endure throughout eternity.


In what circumstances could the prophet, with more propriety, have taken up the affecting lamentation in the text, harvest is past, the summer is ended; and we are not saved?" The time of harvest in Judea was the time, when the inhabitants and the nations, by which that country was surrounded, usually went out to war. At this time their faithless allies the Egyptians, in whose aid they chose to trust rather than in that of God, and who almost of course deceived their fond hopes of succour, were expected to bring them assistance against the king of Babylon. But the harvest came; and no Egyptian friends appeared. The summer also was ended; but these auxiliaries never came. last hope therefore vanished, and left the wretched expectants in the gloom of despair.


There are, my brethren, many situations in the life of man, to which this lamentation may be applied with the utmost propriety and force. Wherever great blessing have been enjoyed and abused, or hopes have been cherished and lost; where GoD has been long indulgent, and has finally withdrawn; all those, who are especially concerned, may very properly adopt this afflicting exclamation. These, however, are not the only situations to which it is applicable. Nor can the consideration, which it expresses with so much energy, be of any use to the persons here intended. A state of absolute despair, a state of remediless ruin, admits of no alleviation. Those, who look on, may indeed derive from a subject so awful and distressing lessons of the greatest utility. The warning may arouse the ear of sloth, and sound an alarm to the heart of stupidity; where all considerations of inferiour magnitude would be unheeded and lost.

But there are circumstances, in which the mind of man is of ten placed, of such a nature as to invite this solemn reflection; and to render it hopefully and highly profitable to the man him

self. When our own case has become seriously alarming; when we have enjoyed many and great privileges, without any profit to ourselves; when the mercies of GOD have hitherto been lost upon us, and we have taken occasion from them only to harden ourselves in sin and security; a just sense of the import of this text would not improbably awaken the most useful emotions in our hearts, and produce the happiest effects on our conduct.

Among the cases, to which the words of the text may be properly applied by mankind, I shall select the following.

1st. Every person who still remains in sin, may, at the close of a year, usefully adopt this lamentation.

Every year removes every sinner further from eternal life. Mankind are never stationary in their moral condition, any more than in their being. He, who does not advance, always recedes. He, who does not become better, of course becomes worse.

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Nor is this all. The declension is more rapid than we ever imagine. Blindness, as you well know, is a common name for sin in the Scriptures; and is strongly descriptive of one important part of its nature. Nor is it blindness to divine things only, to God and Christ, to its duty and to its salvation; but it is also blindness with respect to itself. The mind knows not, that itself is thus blind; and asks triumphantly with the Pharisees of old, am I blind also ?" In its own view no one is possessed of eyes equally good and discerning; and it usually pities all who differ from it, as unable to see. No deception is so flattering and incurable as this. The views of such a mind concerning itself are false; and of course are more supporting and encouraging than truth would warrant. The soul of the unawakened sinner is invariably more sinful, and his life more deformed, than either appears to be in his own eyes. Yet, with a most unhappy self-deception, he confides in his own decisions wholly; and on those of others, of the Bible, and of God, he places no reliance.

Hence his state is in every respect more dangerous, than he does or will believe; and his declension more rapid, than with these views he can possibly imagine. This is true of every year of his life. Of consequence, the loss of a year is a greater loss

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