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It is good for us, therefore, to draw near to God in this solemnity,

I have substantiated the position of the text to the full extent of my design; I have demonstrated the profitableness of devotion, in its most important particulars; and hasten to relieve your attention.

God has commanded you to seek him while he may be found, and to call upon him while he is near. He has, moreover, taught you by his holy apostle that, if you draw nigh to him, he also will draw nigh to you. The present discourse has shewn you that a sense of interest, not less than a sense of duty, demands of you submission to his lessons; obedience to his commandments.

Search the scriptures, therefore. Be not remiss in attendance upon the ministry of the word. Meditate on God's testimonies; on the end and aim of your being; the goodness of him who is your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; and the beatitude of those celestial habitations where dwell the spirits of the just made perfect. Pray without ceasing. Praise the Lord for his mercies, and for his wonderful works. Lift up your hearts unto the Heavens. Unite your voices with the angelick harmonies, and say, great and marvellous are the works of God-worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive the blessings of a ransomed church.

Come to the altar of thank-offering, to the table of communion; and there, with the cross before your eyes, take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord; there, be it said by each of you, "it is good for me to draw near to thee, O God! Unto whom should I go but unto thee? thou hast the words of eternal life. Thou art my soul's portion-thou my inheritance-thou my exceeding joy. Draw me, and I will run after thee. O, that I knew where I might find thee, that I might come even to thy seat!"AMEN!




JOB, XVii. 11.

"My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart."

THESE words were spoken in anticipation of the period of death, which was then, as Job imagined, rapidly approaching. The prospect affected him, as if it had been the present reality. "If I wait," said he, "the grave is my house; I have made my bed in the darkness; I have said to corruption, thou art my father; to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister. And where is now my hope? As for my hope, who shall see it?"* "My breath is corrupt; my days are extinct; the graves are ready for me."+

Man's preeminence in the lower creation exhibits itself in nothing with more conspicuity than in his ability to transport his thoughts into the regions of futurity, and travel back in speculation to the scenes and occupations of former years. There is a species of immensity in the human intellect. Its powers are circumscribed by no narrow limits, unless they be considered relatively, and in contrast with infinitude. Past actions and deportment-past sentiments and inclinations-give abundant employment to the faculty of conscience. Events to come, their circumstances, their characteristicks, their connections, their causes, and their consequences, demand the exercise of human providence.

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Futurity is an object of deep concern to us, my brethren; it can never be improper for us to take thought for to-morrow, or to frame purposes for to-morrow, provided that tomorrow be eternity, for we are immortal beings. The great error of mankind is that they do not extend their meditations and their plans to a point sufficiently distant. They are too apt to contract them within the limited sphere of this system of vanity and shadows. Instead of thinking and resolving with an eye fixed on everlasting objects, they are all anxiety, and perpetually scheming, with reference to what they shall eat and what they shall drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed; with reference to the interests, the satisfactions, and the blandishments of a life that perishes.

Resolutions are sometimes formed which have an aspect towards God and eternal things. But these are too often the produce of necessity; the fruits of an agitated conscience, apprehending the bitter consequences of past sins. It is rarely that we see them prosecuted with perseverance, or performed with fidelity. The wound is soon healed over; fear becomes pacified, and the resolution is forgotten or dismissed. You determine upon amendment of heart and life; you determine to forsake the paths of folly, and to become wise unto salvation. If you define the period when this purpose is to be carried into execution, it is generally either too remote to countenance any thing like the certainty of attaining to it, or so unwisely selected with regard to attending circumstances that any very desirable improvement of it need not be expected. It is either when advanced years shall have destroyed that pliability so necessary to change of habit, or when disease shall have impaired the powers of the soul, and obscured her lights.

How frequently do you hear persons, not altogether blind to the attractions of piety and virtue, express a design to do great things for God and man. They will assist the poor. They will reward the meritorious. They will subscribe bountifully to the establishment or repair of religious and

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charitable institutions. They will exert themselves to extend the interests of that kingdom which is not of this world. But before they act upon these noble designs, they have others, it seems, which more immediately and imperiously demand their attention. They must labour for the meat that perisheth. They must enlarge the curtains of their habitations, and adorn their palaces with new magnificence. They must make up a particular sum to invest in a certain lucrative concern. They must add house to house, and field to field. When the purposes of temporal interest, prosperity, and splendour are served, then, and not before, they will act upon those nobler designs. Foolish calculators! who would extend their operations into another year, while they are ignorant what another day may bring forth; whose meditated "purposes" may be "broken off" by death.

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As it fares with men's purposes, so fares it with "the thoughts of" their "hearts;" their reasonings and their hopes. Their condition, in this particular, is forcibly expressed in the Psalmist's exhibition of the delusive inferences of the rich and powerful sinners of his times. "Their inward thought is that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings."* Not only do mankind generally count upon the perpetuity of their secular establishments. They seem also, unwilling to admit the possibility of any change affecting their persons and their lives. Their mortal nature-the precarious tenure by which they hold their present existence--is not retained with much depth or permanence of impression in their remembrance. They put far off the hour of death as an evil hour. It is particularly difficult to persuade those of early years to view it in any other light, or indeed to admit it at all into their meditations. Go, they will say, to those whom time has covered with his frost, or whom fatigues and cares may

Psalm, lix. 11. 13.

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