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the pursuits and habits of their former life. The virtuous cares which occupied them on earth follow them into their new abode. Moses and Elias had spent the days of their temporal pilgrimage in promoting among their brethren the knowledge and the worship of the true God. They are still attentive to the same great object; and, enraptured at the prospect of its advancement, they descend on this occasion to animate the labours of Jesus, and to prepare him for his victory over the powers of hell.
What a delightful subject of contemplation does this reflection open to the pious and benevolent mind! what a spring does it give to all the better energies of the heart! Your labours of love, your plans of beneficence, your swellings of satisfaction in the rising reputation of those whose virtues you have cherished, will not, we have reason to hope, be terminated by the stroke of death. No! your spirits will still linger around the objects of their former attachment. They will behold with rapture even the distant effects of those beneficent institutions which they once delighted to rear; they will watch with a pious satisfaction over the growing prosperity of the country which they loved; with a parent's fondness, and a parent's exultation, they will share in the fame of their virtuous posterity; and, by the mission of God, they may descend at times as guardian angels, to shield them from danger, and to conduct them to glory.
Of all the thoughts that can enter the human mind, this is one of the most animating and consolatory. It scatters flowers around the bed of death. It enables us who are left behind, to support with firmness the departure of our best beloved friends; because it teaches us that they are not lost to us for ever. They are still our friends. Though they be now gone to another apartment in our Father's house, they have carried with them the remembrance and the feeling of their former attachments. Though invisible to us, they bend from their dwelling on high to cheer us in our pilgrimage of duty, to rejoice with us in our prosperity, and, in the
hour of virtuous exertion, to shed through our souls the blessedness of heaven. Finlayson.
15.-The Death of Christ.
THE hour in which our Saviour fell was an hour of terror, as well as an hour of love. Offended by iniquity, the Most High had risen on his throne: his right hand, red with vengeance, was lifted up to strike; and when the sword descended on the head of his beloved Son, all nature trembled in dismay. "There was darkness over the land, the rocks were rent, the veil of the temple was divided in the midst, the earth quaked, the people smote upon their breasts and returned." These were the awful signs of wrath, and though that wrath be averted in mercy from the penitent, it is still reserved in all its horrors for the hardened worker of iniquity. For him there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and of fiery indignation to devour the adversaries." Let the prospect of this indignation operate on our minds, and mingle its influence with the gentler and more attractive influence of love, that we may abstain from all iniquity, and "perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord."
16.-On Continuance in well-doing.
In the path to glory, Christians, you are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses, who are at once the spectators and the examples of your virtue. Look back to the saints recorded in the page of Scripture, and behold their patience in suffering, their steadfastness in the cause of God, and of their country, and their triumphant opposition to all the powers of iniquity. "Time would fail me to tell of all the patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, out of weakness were made strong, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens." Look to the glorious
band of martyrs, and to the innumerable multitudes who, in every succeeding age, have held fast their integrity, and, amid all the corruptions of the times, have been witnesses for virtue and for God. Contemplate the ardour of their zeal, the warmth of their beneficence, the firmness of their resolution, and their invincible attachment to their duty; and you will feel a portion of their spirit rising in your bosom. For why should we despair of attaining the perfection which they have reached before us? We endure no trials to which they were not exposed, and we possess the same means of resistance and of victory. They trembled, like us, in the days of their pilgrimage: like us, they maintained a double conflict with the powers of sin: they advanced to the combat in much weakness and fear: but they resolved to conquer, and have marked with their footsteps the path in which we are called to struggle and overcome. Behold them now, all their labours past, in quiet possession of the prize, with crowns of glory on their heads, and palms of victory in their hands, singing hallelujahs to him who sitteth on the throne, and to the lamb for ever. Animated by this glorious prospect "lift up the hands which hang down;" meet with courage the difficulties of your trial; resolve to reach the perfection you contemplate; and let nothing seduce you from your steadfastness. Finlayson.
17.-On the General Fast, 1803, when the Expectation of Invasion was universal.
IN the mighty designs of Providence, the same valour which is called to defend our land, is the great means by which we can relieve the sufferings of the world around us. Amid that wreck which we have witnessed of social welfare amid the dethronement of kings, and the subjugation of kingdoms,-amid the trembling neutrality of some, and the silent servility of others,-this country alone hath remained independent and undismayed,-and it is upon the valour of our arms, that Europe now reposes its last hope of returning liberty, and restored honour. Among the nations which surround us, whom
either the force of the enemy has subdued, or their power intimidated, there is not one virtuous bosom that does not throb for our success,-the prayers of millions will follow our banners into the field, and the arm of the soldier will be blessed by innumerable voices, which can never reach his ear. If we fail,-if the ancient prowess and intrepidity of our people is gone, there is then a long close to all the hopes and all the honours of humanity; over the fairest portion of the civilized earth, the tide of military despotism will roll, and bury, in its sanguinary flood, alike the monuments of former greatness, and the promises of future glory. But,-if we prevail; if the hearts of our people are exalted to the sublimity of the contest; the mighty spell which has enthralled the world will be broken,-the spirit of nature and of liberty will rekindle;—and the same blow which prostrates the enemy of our land, will burst the fetters of nations, and set free the energies of an injured world.
The historian of future times, when he meditates on the affairs of men, will select for his fairest theme the record of our country; and he will say,-Such is the glory of nations, when it is founded on virtue, when they scorn the vulgar" devices of the human heart," and follow only the "counsel of the Lord;" when they act from the high ambition of being the ministers of that "Ancient of Days," whose "judgment is set" in nature, and before whom the "books of the universe are open.'
There is yet, in such hours, a greater consideration. If there be something inexpressibly animating in seeing our country as the instrument of Heaven in the restoration of happiness to mankind; if to us be given the sublime charge, of at once defending our own land, and guiding the destinies of human nature, there is something also equally solemn in the remembrance of the duties which so high a commission involves. And there is an instinct which must teach all, that of our conduct in these trying hours we are finally to render an account. It is this exalted prospect which ought ever to be present to us, in the seasons of difficulty and alarm. It is now, in the midst of wars, and the desolation of nations, that we ought to fortify our hearts at the shrine of religion.
It is now that we are to weigh the duties which are demanded of us by Heaven and earth; and to consider whether, in that last day, we are to appear as cowards to our country and our faith, and as purchasing an inglorious safety, by the sacrifice of every duty, and every honour of man, or as the friends of order, of liberty, and of religion, and allied to those glorious spirits who have been the servants of God, and the benefactors of mankind. Over the conflict which is to ensue, let it never be forgotten, that greater eyes than those of man will be present; and let every man that draws the sword of defence remember, that he is not only defending the liberties of his country, but the laws of his God.
Let, then, the young and the brave of our people go forth, with hearts inaccessible to fear, and undoubting of their cause. Let them look back into time, and see the shades of their ancestors rising before them, and exhorting them to the combat. Let them look around them, and see a subjugated world the witnesses of their contest, and the partners in their success. Let them look forward into futurity, and see posterity prostrated before them, and all the honours and happiness of man dependent upon the firmness of their hearts, and the vigour of their arms. Yes! let them go forth, and pour around our isle a living barrier to injustice and ambition: and, when that tide of anarchy which has overflowed the world rolls its last waves to our shores, let them shew to the foe as impenetrable a front, as the rocks of our land to the storms of the ocean.
18.-The Promises of Religion to the Young.
In every part of Scripture, it is remarkable with what singular tenderness the season of youth is always mentioned, and what hopes are afforded to the devotion of the young. It was at that age that God appeared unto Moses when he fed his flock in the desert, and called him to the command of his own people.-It was at that age he visited the infant Samuel, while he ministered in the temple of the Lord," in days when the word of the Lord was precious, and when there was no open vision."