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victims. Nay, some souls, it child, from the embrace of the may be presumed, without the fond reluctant parent; cutting least previous warning, escaping down by a stroke the more ad. almost the sensation of dying, vanced offspring, the promised may suddenly, in a moment, drop staff and solace of parental age ; their mortal bodies, and launch or, by taking away its natural into eternity, whilst engaged in head and protector, constraining their ordinary occupations or du- the bereaved family to say, “We ties, in the market or in the are orphans and fatherless ; cur field, in their own house, or in mothers are as widows !” Such the house of God. Whatever scenes as these exbibit, in the the designs of Providence to most affecting form, the vanity such individuals may be, their of human comforts, and strongly example sounds aloud to survi enforce the apostle's admonition, vors the momentous admonition, “But this I say, brethren, the " Whatsoever thy hand findeth time is short; it remaineth, that to do, do it with thy might. Be both they that have wives, be as ye therefore ready also, for the though they had none ; and they Son of Man cometh at an hour that weep, as though they wept when ye think not."
not; and they that rejoice, as tho Youth and Beauty, whilst re- they rejoiced not; and they that joicing in the days of youth, in buy, as tho’ they possessed not ; the days of the gladness and gai- and they that use this world, as ety of their heart, intent only on not abusing it ; for the fashion present joy, may receive the un. of this world passeth away.” welcome call to go down to the Amidst all the vicissitudes of dark and silent grave, and to ap- time, “the word of the Lord pear before God in judgment. abideth forever.” And the re
The man of business, in the vig. lation which individuals bear to our of age, careful and cumbered the dispensation of mercy, discovabout many things, unmindful ers farther, and deeply interest. that one thing is needful, anx. ing prospects, in consequence of ious to advance his fortune, and the changes that may be expectlay up a provision for old age; ed, in the course of the year that who has no time to think of his is now begun. soul, and to prepare for eternity ; “Do the prophets live forev. may yet, ia the course of this er ?” The gospel of Christ is year, find leisure to die, and give justly denominated, The Everaccount of himself to God. jasting Gospel; but those, who
This year too, as in every for- preach it, “ are not suffered to mer year, is there not reason to continue by reason of death.” apprehend, that Death, by unwel. To many invested with the sacome visits, may destroy, in many cred office, the great Lord will ere cases, the happiness of domestic long say, “ Give an account of society? disjoining, by a heart thy stewardship, for thou mayrending stroke, the strongest est be no longer steward.” and most endearing ties by which the unfaithful servant, how trehuman hearts can be united ; . mendous the summons ! Blessed snatching the smiling, prattling is that minister, who, having
studied through life to approve and perhaps avow an approba. himself to God, and to commend tion of them ; but they perceive himself to the consciences of not their intrinsic glory, nor feel men, is able, in such a prospect, the importance of them to their to say with Paul, “I am now own happiness. They pass their ready to be offered, and the time days in security, and expect that of my departure is at hand; I all shall be well with them at have fought the good fight; I last. But“ wo to them that are have finished my course ; I at ease in Zion !" To many of have kept the faith. Henceforth this description the last year of there is laid up for me the crown life is arrived. The day of salof righteousness."
vation shall quickly go down ; The gospel is appointed to be all opportunities of improvement preached “to every creature,” shall soon be past ; and to a long but multitudes of wretched mor- eternity they shall bewail their tals refuse to hear it. They folly, because “ the things that make light of the gospel, and belong to their peace are hid
despise its ordinances; they for from their eyes” forever. . • sake the Christian assemblies, It is the glory of the gospel, and profane the day of God. Enthat it reveals a method of divine slaved by vice, they are forced to acceptance, at once honourable to take refuge in infidelity; and God, and safe for sinful men ; joining the tribe of scoffers, they “For therein is the righteousmutually harden one another, ness of God revealed from faith and make strong the bands of to faith.” “ Christ is the end wickedness. How many such of the law for righteousness, to shall, in the course of this year, every one that believeth.” Much be arrested in the career of im- is it to be lamented, that many piety! Yes, proud and haughty“ being ignorant of the rightscorner, know that the day is at eousness of God," or too proud hand, when thou shalt appear to submit to it, “ go about to esbefore the despised Saviour, pro- tablish their own righteousness." voked by thine impenitence and They expect eternal life as the hardness of heart to act as the reward of some good thing done righteous Judge, and pronounce by themselves : or, if they adthe irreversible sentence, “ But mit (as who can refuse to adthose mine enemies, which mit ?) that they are chargeable would not that I should reign with some imperfections, they over them, bring hither, and slay will be indebted to Jesus for that them before me.”
portion of righteousness, which | How difficult is it to convince is necessary to supply their own many, who profess the gospel, of deficiency; and are willing, at the reality of eternal things, and most, to divide with the Saviour to engage their attention to the of sinners the glory of their salgreat concerns of salvation ! vation. Thus they fatally stum: Though their character be re- ble at that very stone whicb God mote from infidelity or profliga. has laid in Zion, as the only cy, they are strangers to the " sure foundation, and chief cor. power of vital godliness. They ner stone." No description of hear the truths of the gospel, human characters is more inac
cessible than this to the truth ple for himself, who know his and grace of the gospel. If to name, and have tasted his love ; any such self-righteoris, self-de- who“ live by the faith of the Son ceiving souls, this shall prove a of God," and " walk in holiness dying year, they shall, alas ! too and righteousness before him, late discover, that they are in all the days of their life. To the deed “ wretched, and miserable, friends of Jesus, the prospect of and poor, and blind, and naked.” dying this year, ought to give no
How awful the thought, that dismay. They have reason rathamongst the professors of Chris- er to expect it with joyful hope. tianity, some assume that sacred Many " old disciples" shall this name with no other view than to year arrive at their Father's “make a gain of godliness!” Tho' house. Many who “ groan beconscious of the insincerity of ing burdened in this earthly tabtheir heartsy, they call Jesus, ernacle,” shall soon obtain the Lord, and join themselves to the long desired release, and enter number of his disciples, only into rest. And, O thou afflicted that they may acquire reputation soul, “ tossed with tempest, and among men, or in some other not comforted," by reason of way promote their worldly inter- perplexing doubts and fears, and est. But « let the sinners in the tedious painful conflict with Zion be afraid ; let fearfulness temptation and sin, rejoice, and surprise the hypocrites ;" the “lift up thy head, for the day of year of vengeance may now be thy redemption" draweth nigh. come. This year, 0 false pro- Soon shall “ the days of thy fessor, in some fatal hour, death mourning be ended.” “ Thy may place thee before the Judge warfare shall be accomplished," of all. Though thou shouldst and thou thyself be a more than succeed in deceiving thy fellow a conqueror through him that mortals to the end of life, “ God loved us." Are any cut down in will not be mocked.” Thy se- the midst of their days, and in cret hypocrisy shall at last be un- the midst of useful service to the veiled; " the hidden things of church and to the world? Those dishonesty shall be brought to who survive may have cause to light ;” and “ what is the hope regret the loss, but the servant
he gained, “ in the day that God tensive sphere of service ; to subtaketh away his soul ?”
limer enjoyments; to a purer How vast the nuinber of indi- and nobler society above. In viduals, belonging to these vari- every possible case, “ blessed ous classes of ungodly or unbe- are the dead who die in the Lord; lieving men, to whom the year they rest from their labours and which hath now commenced is their works do follow them.” pregnant with everlasting de- Happy art thou, O Christian, if struction !
the commencement of this year But" though all men have not beholds thee “ abounding in the faith,” yet there are some who be work of the Lord," and " waitlieve and obey the goefici. Amidst ing for his salvation.” But it all the degeneracy of the times, shall indeed be the happiest of the Lord has still reserved a pec- all the years thou hast ever seen,
medium of the word, he truly effects in themselves, God, as he and in good earnest calls and in- sees fit, justly deserts them: vites to faith and conversion. these we pronounce deserted * 4. Those, whom God thus in, through their own fault, remain, fluenceth, he doth not desert, noring hardened in the same, and cease to move onward in the true unconverted. way to conversion, until they desert him by their voluntary Concerning conversion, as it imneglect, or repulse of this ini, plies the immediate work of God tial grace.
regenerating man. 5. These preceding effects, . The minds of the elect excited produced in the minds of men by the aforesaid acts of grace, by the word and Spirit of God, and being prepared by a certain may be and often are, by the fault inward and marvellous operation, of rebellious will, suffocated and God regenerates, and as it were entirely extinguished; so that creates anew, by infusing a some, on whose minds, by the quickening spirit, by furnishing power of God's word and Spirit, all the faculties of the soul with was impressed some knowledge new qualities. of divine truth, some grief for . 2. To this work of regenera their sins, some desire and ear- tion man holds himself passive, nestness to be set free, are evi- neither is it in the will of man to dently changed to the contrary, hinder God thus regenerating. reject and hate the truth, give themselves up to their lusts, be Concerning conversion, as it decome hardened, and die in them, notes the action of man, turning without any anxiety. . himself to God by faith and sav.
6. The elect themselves do ing repentance. never, in these acts preceding. Thesis !. Our actual conver: regeneration, so conduct them- sion follows that above stated, selves, but that, on account of wbile God draws forth from the their neglect and resistance, they renewed will the act of believing might justly be deserted and and turning, which will, being wholly given up of God : but acted upon by God, itself acts by there is such special mercy of turning itself to God, and by be: God towards them, that, although lieving, i. e. by drawing forth at they may for a considerable time the same time its own vita! repel or stifle exciting and illu- act. minating grace, God urges them ?. This divine act does not inagain and again, nor ceases to in- jure the liberty of the will, but fluence them, until he has ef strengthens it: neither does it fectually subjected them to his totally extirpate the vicious pow. grace, and placed them in the er of resisting; but efficaciously state of regenerate children. " and sweetly communicates
7. As to the non-elect when man, a firm will to obey.. they resist the divine grace and 3. God does not, at all times Spirit, in these acts preceding so influence a converted and be regeneration, and, through the lieving man to subsequent good corruptness of their own free actions, as to take away the will will, extinguish the same initial to resist ; but sometimes permits