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Religious Faith the safeguard and consolation of Man.

exquisite and safe delight. Since death may be now hovering over us, and we shall never see judgement; let us, while existence is ours, make it glad, in the ways of our hearts and the sight of our eyes. Now, if this were the common, or the general, feeling and disposition of the inhabitants of the world; what a scene of lust, rapine, and cruelty, of turbulence and misery would it exhibit? Learning and philosophy may, indeed, put in their pretensions; but they could have no effect on the bulk of mankind; and the utmost which they have ever done to tranquilize or form the mind, I shall, I hope, truly shew on my next occasion of addressing you.

One of the two cases, to which I have now just adverted, must belong to every human being, who has no knowledge of God, as both the first cause and final disposer of all things; the preserver and protector of his creation, who neither slumbers nor sleeps; and the rewarder: of all them that diligently seek Him. And, most earnestly do I wish that a better case could be made out for numbers that belong to the earthly visible Church of Christ. But,

indeed,

Religious Faith the safeguard and consolation of Man.

indeed, we do see Christians, whose lives, dishonouring their holy calling, can afford them nothing but a fearful looking for of judgement in the future world; who, denying their faith, live as if this life were their all, and there were nothing beyond it, either for hope or fear; who are total and abject slaves of the sensual mind, utter strangers to all the pleasures of virtue, and all the consolations of religion; who join house to house, and lay field to field; who rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink, and continue until night, till wine inflame them; and the harp and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine are in their feasts, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. To such persons the divire mercy is yet revealed in vain. While they continue in their ungodliness, we must consider them as the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; who cannot be disciplined, or, ordained to eternal life, because they will not submit their wills to the will of God.

My brethren, this sad condition of humanity is a most awful subject for our contem

plation;

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Religious Faith the safeguard and consolation of Man.

plation; and while we perceive that it proceeds from the unsearchable wisdom of the Almighty, who, in the gift of free will, has granted to the mind of man the liberty of disobeying Him, and of enslaving itself to its own lusts; let us take heed to ourselves that we do not so abuse the sacred endowment. Life and death are before us; the choice depends upon ourselves; but one of the two must be ours. If we pitch upon the course that leads to the latter, and be captivated with the low enjoyments which it affords ; we shall gradually apostatize from God, till he abandon us to destruction. Tracking the course of the former, and looking for our treasure there, assisting grace from Heaven will direct us, so that we shall find abundantly. If we desire to walk in the light of Evangelical truth; the Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith, that it shall keep us in the ways of righteousness, and lead us to salvation. Let us then cultivate, and hold fast, the faith that we have embraced, making it, what it is given to be, our safeguard, consolation, and guide, through the journey of life, to the Heavenly home, whither it directs our hopes and efforts.

Religious Faith the safeguard and consolation of Man.

This, and this only, can fortify us against every peril of the visible and invisible world. If it have full possession of the soul ; we shall - not be afraid for any terrors by night, nor for the arrow, that flieth by day. Although the powers of nature should meet in angry commotion, scattering ruin and desolation, we may look on the conflict calm and undismayed. Though the earth be moved, and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof rage and swell; and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same; we shall not fear; God being our hope and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Our trust being in the good shepherd, who gave his life to preserve his flock from the destroyer, he will feed us in peaceful meads, and green pastures; and through the dark valley of the shadow of death He will conduct us in safety to the realms of everlasting day.

To proceed with the remaining head of my subject at present would detain your attention much longer than is usual. I will, therefore, defer it, till next Sunday.

SERMON IV.

.

SERMON IV.

Religious Faith the safeguard and consolation of Man.

Preached in the Autumn of 1819.

Daniel 3. 24, 25.

Then Nebuchadnezzar, the king, was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto the counsellers, did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, true 0 king. He answered and said, lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no kurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

IN

passage of

IN a former discourse

upon

this sacred Scripture, I called

your attention to some particulars in the history of the three righteous Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and offered a few brief expositions and illustrations founded on this and other pas. sages of Scripture, of the faith, which should

characterize

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