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of our Father, who is in heaven Alas, my friends, it is to be feared that the memories of too many amongst us will present them with a far different picture. Many have so little trust in the providence of God, that the slightest appearance of danger, even though it be altogether imaginary, often proves sufficient to intimidate them. Others, again, are disconcerted and discouraged by the most trivial difficulties. Some, even when surrounded by the means of happiness, are perpetually repining, and seem as though they were labouring, by the help of imagination, to supply themselves with that food for discontent which they had vainly endeavoured to glean from the world of realities. Many seem as if they considered religion as altogether unsuited to a season of calamity. They part with the best friend of man at the very

hour when her assistance is most valuable. Their confidence in God, like that of the disciples in the power of their Master, disappears at the approach of danger. Their reliance upon the Divine attributes lasts no longer than their own prosperity. No sooner does calamity approach than their self-possession forsakes them, and casting away the armour which, had they understood its nature and been acquainted with its use, might have afforded them a sure protection, they fall naked and defenceless into the power of the enemy. Are we sure, my fellow Christians, that we could never be betrayed into similar conduct by the pressure of calamity? Are we sure that our confidence in the Divine perfections has struck its roots so deeply as to stand secure even amidst the raging of the tempest? Are we sure that religion is not to us merely a summer friend, but that she is one on whose fidelity we may rely, under all circumstances ; to whom, in the deepest affliction, we can but feel inclined to cling more closely, and from whom, even amidst the pangs of dissolving nature, we may hope to derive the sweetest consolation, and the firmest support, and the most glorious assurance ? these questions, my brethren, to you and to ourselves, under a solemn conviction of their unspeakable moment; and we beseech Almighty God to open the hearts of all such as are unable to answer them in the affirmative with complete satisfaction, to a sense of the obligation under which they are placed to search patiently after the causes of the weakness of their faith, and to labour diligently to remove them. If our religion be not such as to support us under the calamities of life, it may be pronounced almost worthless. If our reliance upon the attributes of God be not such as to enable us to meet misfortunes with firmness, and submit to

We put his will with patience and resignation, it is a mere deception. Let us, then, examine a little into the nature of the deception. Let us attempt to ascertain whether there be any solid foundation for confidence in God, and if so, what it is ; and whether we ourselves have hitherto been building on it. This, perhaps, may likewise discover to us on what sandy foundations the supposed faith of man is frequently erected, and teach us to avoid them.

Confidence in God, my friends, supposes a firm belief in his existence and perfections, and cannot be felt without it. If we do not believe that there is a God, we cannot trust in him. This is self-evident. Nor is it much less so, that a rational and steady confidence in him can only arise from a conviction that he is possessed of power, wisdom and goodness in an infinite degree. Now there seem to be but two ways of arriving at such a conviction. The first is a diligent contemplation of the works of nature, and the second a candid attention to the testimony of revelation. It is true, that many may be persuaded to believe that God exists, and is possessed of certain attributes, as well as other truths of less importance, at second hand, upon the testimony of others; but it is cvident that the works of nature, and the volume of revelation, are the only original and immediate sources of information upon the subject. The testimony

of each of these is strengthened by that of the other. Had we no revelation, to say nothing of the extreme difficulty, not to say impossibility of a whole race emerging from a state of corruption, into which they had once fallen, we might find it hard to reconcile the total absence of direct and sensible interference in the affairs of men, on the part of the Deity, notwithstanding the wide departures from his worship and service into which they had been betrayed, with very enlarged or cheering conceptions of his goodness; whilst, on the other hand, it is of unspeakable moment to us, that the works of nature, which are constantly presenting themselves to.our notice, and attract so much of our attention, so strongly confirm, and so strikingly and beautifully illustrate, the representations of the Divine character which revelation contains. Nature and revelation, then, are the pillars upon which a rational belief in the being, perfections and providence of God rests; and such a belief is the only sure basis of confidence. Were the belief, so commonly professed amongst Christians, firm and genuine; were it always really derived from the two great sources to which we have referred, and were the reasons which they supply for it as frequently called to mind, and as constantly kept in view, as they ought to be, we should have much less reason than we now have to be ashamed of our own practical infidelity, and disturbed at that of others; and the virtues of trust in God, perseverance in surmounting difficulties, courage in the hour of danger, and patience and fortitude under affliction, would be much more generally displayed, as well as more diligently cultivated. Let a man once convince himself, by meditating on the objects around him, that they and he must have had a maker, and that that maker must have been powerful, wise and good, far beyond his highest conceptions; and let him further satisfy himself thoroughly of the truth of revelation, and particularly of the Christian revelation, and impress his mind deeply with the interesting representations there given of the Divine character and dispensations; and let him frequently review and confirm, by further examination and reflection, the evidence upon which his religious convictions are founded, and there can be little doubt of their becoming in time so strong and lively, as to give rise to that degree of confidence in God of which no dispensations of Pro. vidence, however unaccountable or discouraging, can ever deprive him. Here, however, it may be objected, and not without some appear

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