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their bands asunder, and cast' away their cords from us.”
There are few, I believe, who are so far hardened as to be openly and avowedly enemies to the cross of Christ, and to discourage the advancement of religion in others ;-but, are none of you opposing its entrance into your own hearts? Are you not striving, to the utmost of your power to resist the Holy Ghost, and stifle convictions; to kill Time and Conscience, as if they were your enemies? and do you not hate and avoid those who would interrupt you in the pursuit of vanity and destruction? It is unwise, it is unsafe, it is to the last degree hazardous and fatal; it is making light of matters which are confessedly of the highest moinent' and importance; it is grieving that blessed Spirit, whose friendly operations and assistances you must one day implore and obtain, or be unregenerate and undone for ever ; it is trifling with, and affronting Him, whose snile or frown constitutes and determines your eternal state; it is counteracting the uncontroulable Sovereign of the universe, and daring, with your feeble, slender, moth-like arm, to grapple with Omnipotence. thought is almost blasphemy: wherefore, '“ Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” To which I will only add the prudent, seasonable, heavendirected advice of Gamaliel to the Jews, when they were thirsting for the blood of the apostles: “ Re: frain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nouglit; but if it be of God, ye cannot over
throw it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts v. 38.)
2. We have great reason to be humbled before God, that we have no more zeal in his cause;
That, like Martha, we are so “ careful and troubled about many things, as to have no time to attend to what Jesus is saying and doing ;- that the decay of piety in some places should no more grieve us; that the revival of it in others should no more delight us ;—and especially, that we, who call ourselves disciples, and are bound, by obligations the most solemn that can be, to stand by him at all, events :-) say, that our watchfulness and courage should fail, when there is the greatest call for both; that, like his disciples of old, we should be sleeping, when our Master is in an agony; and in his greatest extremity should forsake him and flee:- These things ill become our cha. racters and circumstances, and loudly call for tears and reformation. I add, therefore,
3. Let us all seriously consider what we can do for the support and advancement of this glorious
When the temple was built, all sorts of persons, throughout the whole congregation of Israel, con. tributed towards it: some in one shape, some in ans other: each one according to his capacity. Some brought gold and si ver; others, brass and wood; all brought something ,- and the widow's mite was not overlooked. So, again, when the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt, the prophet Nehemiah informs us of one, and another, that he repaired over-against his own house; and of one, that he repaired against his chamber. So should we at this time, when God
seems to give us some pleasing hopes that he is about to heal our breaches, and build up the waste places of his Zion : every one should promote it in the character and situation in which Providence has placed him : magistrates and ministers, parents and masters, may repair over-against their houses; and those who have not the government of families, should repair over-against their chambers, and “consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.”---So diligent were they, that they wrought from break of day till the stars appeared, and did not then put off their clothes; and so continually upon their guard, that with one hand they wrought in the work, and with the other beld a weapon. Like them, we see ourselves beset on all sides with innumerable evils, with temptations, and with enemies who will strive to the utmost of their power to seduce or crush us.
But let us remember- let us never forget! that the cause we are engaged in is the cause of God. Let us keep close to the great Captain of our salvation, and we need not be afraid of ten thousand of our foes; for " there is more with us than with them:” with them is an arnı of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us.-- Wherefore, gird up the loins of your minds:" " watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit y like men, be strong;” and," by a patient conti. nuance in well-doing, seek fogory, honour and immortality;” and you shall, ssuredly find themnot in this world : for it is a den of thieves, a vaie of tears, a mere willierness of woe; but in the world to come ;-that region of tranquillity ; that kingdom of love, joy, and peace; where “the nations shall learn war no more;" where 6 swords
shall be beaten into plough-shares, and spears into pruning hooks;" where the prince of this world hath nothing more to do ; where " the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joys upon their heads :" where we shall be all on one side, and our only contention be, who shall sing loudest the praises of the Lamb, through whose blood we overcame; and the triumphs of that wonder-working grace which brought us thither, and, from very beggars, hath raised us to be kings, and priests, and conquerors,
To preach deliverance to the captives. METHINKs I see your countenances brighten at the very mention of these words. “Deliverance! Let the preacher of it be who he will, his message will make him welcome.' We cannot hear these words from the mouth of a common messenger, but our hearts leap for joy; but when we consider that this was the text which Jesus himself chose to preach from, we read it over and over with increasing admiration and pleasure. The whole
passage is worth notice, from the 16th to the 22d verse: " And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read,” &c.
What a glorious Sabbath was that! Happy the synagogue into which Jesus entered! happy the people who sat under the ministry of Jesus, who spake so “as never man spake!" Could we have been present to bave heard how he enlarged on this delightful subject ;-could we have seen how they hung upon his lips, and how they wondered and rejoiced at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth : could we have seen how the