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men whose words are now before us. at the very change which is coming His fall was awful indeed ; but did on us: there are some who are ache indulge in despair? Did he forget tually in the spirit of bondage from that the Lord revealed himself to time to time, through fear of death. Moses as
“ The Lord, the Lord God, Now here is a sweet prayer in prosmerciful and gracious, long suffer- pect of dissolution, and a sweet prayer ing and abundant in goodness and for any such labouring under these truth, keeping mercy for thousands, distressing sensations : “ “ Lord, lift forgiving iniquity, and transgression, thou up the light of thy countenance and sin." No; he was convinced upon us :' and this will dissipate the of his folly, and sought mercy; and fear of death. Speak thou peace to he wrote the Psalm on that occa- my heart, and give me to know that sion, the fisty-first, which is very in- I am one with thee, and have an interesting indeed, and which, with a terest in Jehovah my righteousness, little alteration, may be made to who has been the death of death and suit your hearts at most times; the destruction of the grave; so that and may be used, with a little al- death, come whenever it may, can do teration, as an address to Jehovah in no more harm than a shadow, and our own name, and on our own be- will be but the shadow of death to half: “Cast me not away from thy me.” And they that actually come presence ; and take not thy Holy to the trial, and are actually entering Spirit from me:" that is the first. into the valley of the shadow of death, “ Restore unto me the joy of thy what a sweet prayer would this be: salvation ; and uphold me with thy “ Lord, now I am about to look the free Spirit.” Though it is under a last enemy in the face, 0, sense of his guilt that he prays, and Lift up the light of thy countehis knowledge of sin, and that he did | nance upon me,' and that shall put not deserve the smallest token of joy and gladness into my heart. What mercy and favour, yet he is now a sweet prayer that is! that shall praying the very prayer, in faith, put joy and gladness into my heart! that he is in the text_“Lord lift I will look forward with triumph.” thou up the light of thy countenance The Psalmist himself experienced upon me.' Though I am so ungrate- this; he says —“Though I walk ful, and have done that which might through the valley of the shadow of have cast me out of thy mind for ever, death, I will fear no evil: for thou yet put joy and gladness into my art with me, lifting up the light of heart, more than ever the men of thy countenance upon me; and doing the world experience in their highest this through the instrumentality of prosperity.”
thy word.” “For thou art with me;" Well, then, you see what a pre- meaning the word of God; "thy cious prayer this is, in the prospect rod and thy staff, they comfort me." of the last great trial to which we And you recollect, that when he came are looking forward. If God lifts to the conflict he triumphed in Jeup the light of his countenance upon hovah, as the God of his salvation. us, we shall be ready to meet any This prayer coming from your heart, outward trial and afliction, and it will you may look forward to the glorious be an astonishing support to us under result with delight and satisfaction; the heaviest trials and apprehensions and anticipate the day when all darkthat can occur. But there are some of ness shall be for ever gone; when his people who are fearfully distressed it shall be no more in your power,
by indulging iniquity in your heart, soul's salvation, but know little of the to draw a veil or a cloud between Spirit's witness in the soul. We say you and Him whom you love. You to such, “Be of good courage.” Art will be perfectly out of the reach of thou concerned for thy soul ? Art the great enemy of souls, and you thoų beginning to be concerned ? will have dropped the body of sin Perhaps that may be the case with and death. How sweetly has the some young persons. Jehovah freProphet Isaiah spoken of this—"The quently begins the work of saving sun shall be no more thy light by grace when his people are young. day; neither for brightness shall the Perhaps you are beginning to be conmoon give light unto thee: but the cerned, and say, “Oh what will beLord shall be unto thee an everlast- come of me when I die?" Perhaps ing light.” Thy covenant God, who this thought presses on your mindhas fulfilled his engagement, and “ I cannot enter into these things ; brought thee peace and perfection, I have no testimony from God, to " Thy GoD thy glory. Thy sun shall my salvation;" and so on. Yes; beno more go down; neither shall thy hold the Lamb of God: fly to him moon withdraw itself: for the Lord for refuge: think that you hear him shall be thy everlasting light, and the say to you—“ Come unto me all ye days of thy mourning shall be ended.” that labour, and are heavy laden, and
Now such is the experience of I will-I will, in my best and apevery man. We have spoken again pointed time—I will give you rest ; and again of those who have died; you shall find peace and satisfaction, and we just mention a case of a very which shall fill your heart with joy aged disciple, who died last week and gladness, which shall make you since we met, of whom I had some cleave to him, with all your heart.” little knowledge, who had reached And he says again, “ He that comher ninety-third year, and had re-eth unto me, I will in no wise cast tained her faculties fully and com- out.” Oh, what encouragement! pletely to the very last: and just as Then shall we know the Lord in all she was going off, what were the the fulness with which we can know words she uttered? “I am," said him here on earth; “ Then shall she, to her children about her, “I am we know, if we follow on to know going to glory”—resting upon her the Lord.” But then you say, “My gracious God. Doubtless she had heart is treacherous; and I fear I been pouring out her heart to him, shall not follow on.” Then he says and when she came to the conflict he again, “ He that hath begun the lifted up the light of his countenance good work will perform it until the upon her; and whatever her appre- day of Christ.” If the work is real, hensions, they were all dissipated, and in your hearts, you are not in and she had peace communicated to your own keeping, but in the keepher heart. We can see in the im- | ing of a covenant God: he thought mediate and direct influence of the of you before Adam had transgressed; Holy Spirit as the spirit of Jesus, before Adam was created, and formed that here is the answer to her prayer for you the glorious plan of redeemgiven to her; and here are her words ing justifying grace. May the Lord _"I am going to glory."
enable you to consider these things; Now we may be speaking to some and, as Paul said to Timothy, “ May who know little of these things ; and the Lord give you understanding in who yet are concerned about their all things.”
DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. DALE,
AT ST. MATTHEW'S CHAPEL, DENMARI
HILL, SUNDAY MORNING, APRIL 14, 1833.
John, v. 14.—" Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith unto him, behold,
thou art made whole ; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."
What powers of computation can no spectator of the rising shame but reckon, or what varieties of language ourselves and the all-beholding God can express, the fearful aggregate -who shall even pretend to compute even of temporal and present wretch- and calculate all this? If then to do edness which has been, is, or may be, so in the instance of a single and endured by a congregation of persons limited congregation surpasses the like that wbich I now address? We ability and exhausts the resources of might, perhaps, in imagination tell man's understanding, let us at least up the amount of bodily pain—the demand (for inward and heart-felt experience of actual or the appre-experience will enable us to answer hension of contingent suffering—the this question) what must be the pernear prospect of the great travail and nicious and hateful character of sin, peril—the consciousness of the pro- which, for so many centuries and gressive advances of a lingering through so many generations, hath though mortal malady—the weari- imposed such a load of sorrow on the some nights--the days of vanity—the countless inheritors of the curse—hath couch watered with tears—the toss-converted the primeval paradise of ings to and fro until the dawning of joy into a vale of tears, and transthe day—and the heart meditating formed the garden of the Lord, terror in anticipation of that intel- wherein He once walked visibly with lectual darkness which too frequently man, into one wide waste of misery, overclouds declining age, and steals into one red field of blood ? away the spark of immortality ere I make these observations, breththe body is committed to the friendly ren, because in every evil, private, concealment of the grave—all this, domestic, or social, that is either perhaps, might be summed up; but felt or apprehended, that is either who, in his estimate, shall dive into the inflicted or removed—it is only right, depths of the mind and explore the and becoming, and expedient that recesses of the soul—who shall drag we should refer sorrows and sufferto light that latent bitterness which ings to their real and primary source. the heart alone can know-who shall Acted upon as we are much more portray, in colours adequately deep powerfully through the medium of and strong, the pangs of disappointed the senses than of the understanding; hope, of mortified vanity, of unsuc- our pains and sicknesses, our apprecessful ambition, of unrequited and hensions and alarms, our privations unregarded affection, of insults un- and bereavements should teach us that forgotten, or errors uneffaced, every lesson by facts, which the preached remembrance of which dyes the cheek Gospel too often attempts in vain to afresh with crimson, though there is teach by words. Whenever a friend
or relative is taken from us by the his foolishness, and the self-righteous undiscriminating hand of death—or man detects his sin. But, o let us whenever we observe by the assump- not add this day another to the many tion of the too familiar garb of mourn-existing proofs, that when God's ing, that a similar visitation has been judgments are withdrawn, his mercies ordained to the family of an acquaint- are forgotten among men-that when ance or a neighbour—this and every no longer dismayed and startled by memorial of the grave should lead the lowering cloud, they are heedless our thoughts to that baleful influence of the pillar of fire, the cheering and which has so long enveloped the tomb the guiding sun—that when he hath in darkness, and imparted a sting to ceased to threaten us with the stroke the otherwise pointless dart of death. of his heavy hand, the vows and reEvery funeral pageant-every relic solutions which we made, while fearof the departed, should speak as a fulness and trembling were on us, pass homily to the soul ;-should lead us impotently away, and that immediate to be wise and to consider our latter deliverance not only adds no fresh inend.
centive to diligence in serving God, but It is not, however, by endurance carries away with it even that which only, that this lesson should be taught had been already induced by terror -it is not to be uttered and to be and alarm. Rather may the goodness heard only in sighs, and groans, and of God lead us to repentance ; rather tears;--our God, did He regard our may the remembrance of the evil deserts alone, would, indeed, speak from which we have been preserved, always in such a voice, and by such at least in comparison with other naministers. But, as we prove by tions, far beyond our expectations and happy experience this day, he speaks altogether contrary to our deserts, also in blessings, and teaches also by lead us to follow up the offering of deliverance. And if even now judg- praise and thanksgiving by the acments are tempered by mercies, yea ceptable sacrifice of heart-felt obemercy rejoiceth against judgment; dience. May Jesus find every inhow much more would it be thus, were dividual among us in his temple this not the human heart composed of such day, and leave impressed upon every stubborn and stony materials that heart the salutary and seasonable adusually it requires to be bruised ere monition, “ Behold, thou art made it can be softened-to be subdued and whole ; sin no more, lest a worse thing melted in the furnace of affliction, ere come unto thee!" being malleable and ductile it can In selecting this example for our assume that form, and receive that present consideration, the authorities impression which the master-hand of of our church, who framed this day's Omnipotence, directed by infinite service, with a propriety you must all love, is ever operating to produce. have observed, and a spirituality, I God speaks in his mercies once, yea trust, many of you have felt, have twice, but man regardeth it not; he pointed directly to that cause of our speaks in judgment and every cheek recent visitation, of which mention has becomes pale, and every knee totters, already been made. They have thus and every heart quakes within us for recognised the great principle that fear ;-only bring him into collision God has not one mode of dealing with with death and the strong man feels nations and another with individuals his weakness, the great man knows that, as, in our personal instance, he his littleness, the wise man discovers visits our offences with the rod, and sin with scourges, so, a fruitful land | cause, that the warning implied theremaketh he desolate for the wicked-in was discernible and obvious to all. ness of them that dwell therein—that The proofs of the prevalenee of this drought, famine, war, tumult, and opinion may be collected not only from pestilence are no less the messengers the inquiry of the Apostles in a similar of his wrath to nations, than sickness, case,“ Master, who did sin, this man sorrow, the unforeseen change of cir- or his parents, that he was born cumstances, the unexpected loss of blind ?” but from the fact, that the friends, the sudden alarm of death same was observable in the earlier and judgment, to single and separate stage of the Christian dispensation, 80 transgressors. Be persuaded then, to long as the power of working miracles consider a general thanksgiving as a continued in the church. “For this call for personal gratitude; bring cause, declared St. Paul,"-namely, home to your own hearts and homes, for the gross and criminal perversion to your families and to your persons the of the Lord's Supper into a luxurious visitation that so recently threatened and intemperate carousal,—“For this desolation upon a far more extended cause many are weak and sickly scale. Think, at once, what you have among you, and many sleep;"_while deserved, what you have provoked, that man, whose case we are now conwhat you have escaped ; and think sidering, was a living instance of such also, what heavier judgments you will special judgment, may be in ferred provoke, what aggravated guilt incur, from the emphatic words, “Sin no what accumulated condemnation en- more?” Jesus, who needed none to tail upon yourselves, if you requite testify to him what was in man, knew with ingratitude the forbearing mercy precisely whatoffence had drawn down that has spared you, and pour con- that heavy burden of God's displeasure, tempt on the patient and much-en- by which this victim of his own iniquiduring love which has lengthened out ties had been weighed down through your day of salvation. Rather may the long and dreary period of eight you combine, on this occasion, the and thirty years, and consequently his confession of your conscious trans- allusion would be at once clearly ungressions ; “I do remember my faults derstood, and powerfully felt by the this day,”—with the grateful acknow- conscience of the restored transgresledgment, “He hath not dealt with us That such a connection, howafter our sins, nor requited us after ever, between the offence and the our iniquities," and with the abiding penalty,excepting in special instances, and salutary resolve, “I will walk can be traced at the present time few before the Lord in the land of the will venture to assert; while yet that living. I will offer to thee the sacri- it has altogether ceased to exist, as fice of thanksgiving, and call upon few, probably, would be hardy enough the name of the Lord. Bless the positively to maintain. It certainly Lord, Oh my soul, and all that is is not disproved by the fact that calawithin me, bless his holy name !" mities often fall heavily on the head
It appears to have been a feature of the decided and devoted believer. in God's government of his ancient For who shall say what penalty the people, that particular sins were not sins of his youth may have entailed unfrequently visited by particular dis- on his maturer years? The faith that eases, there being, in such instances, saves the soul does not similarly operso direct and obvious a correspond- ate with regard to the body; and ence between the visitation and its surely the Psalmist bad reference to