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which they can inhabit only for a few years ; where the moth consumes, and the thief steals away ; but, how they may gain the everlasting possessions of a future state of being, where no rust corrupts, no moth consumes, and no robber plünders; and where there is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. It does not tell them of the punishments of this life, which at most are soon over, and can only affect the body ; but it tells them of torments that are to last for ever ; of him who can “slay both body < and soul in hell ;" of that dreadful state of horror and woe, where the worm dieth

not, and the fire is not quenched."

But the word of God does not confine its information to matters of futurity alone; it brings you “ glad tidings" even about the present life, and of the method by which

you may secure its best possessions-health of body, peace of mind, and a quiet conscience. It tells you, that “godliness is profitable " for all things, both for the life that now “ is, and for that which is to come.” It gives you rules of behaviour, by observing which you will be satisfied in your own minds, and respected by your fellow-crea, tures. It shews you how to preserve health of body, even by temperance, soberness, and chastity ; by avoiding all those vices

which sooner or later bring on disease, and end in death. It points out to you how to acquire esteem and credit; by doing to others as you would wish others to do to you; by being upright in your dealings, honest in your actions, industrious in your callings, and “ useful” (as far as your ability extends) “in your generation ;” and it instructs you in what manner you may gain the possession of that treasure, which is the greatest that a man can have in this world, compared with which, riches, rank, and learning are but as chaff,—even a quiet conscience; but doing your duty, as far as your knowledge extends, and your power goes, both to GOD

Such, my friends, is the word of God; the message which his ministers bear, the tidings which they preach unto you ; which, if Heaven is to be hoped for, and hell is to be feared, are entitled to be heard with the most awful reverence, to be treasured up carefully in the heart, and to be manifested constantly in the conduct. If such, then, be the value of the message ; the bearers of it, the ministers of the word, may certainly claim attention and respect, , from those to whom they deliver it.

It was St. Paul's direction to the Thessalonians, that they should know them that “ laboured among them, and were over

and man.

“ them, in the LORD, and admonished " them; and should esteem them very highly " in love for their work's sake;" because he was aware, that unless the hearers re. spected the preacher, it was impossible that they should receive any benefit from what he said. The same rule should be attended to by christians of the present day : they also should esteem those who labour among them, if not for their own, at least for their work's sake. It will not be speaking in a way unbecoming this place, my friends, because it is speaking the truth, to say, that the Clergy of the church to which you belong, deserve (for the greater part) this regard at your hands. They have been qualified by education to understand the scriptures, and to preach them to you in simplicity and truth. They are (at least the great majority of them). men of grave and sober. character; of decent and respectable manners; of exemplary life and conversation ; who consider their duty as a matter of conscience, and exercise their ministry, as those that must give account of it. It is true, indeed, and melancholy is the truth, that some few máy be found among them, who, when weighed in this balance, will be found wanting; for human nature, at best, is only

imperfect, and the ministers of religion are but men like unto yourselves. But, even if this unhappily be the case; if here and there a clergyman be found, who, insensible of the high duties of his calling, disgraces it by a vicious example; still " the ministry" itself cannot be generally" blamed,” or disrespected, for the faults of a few; much less the church deserted, or the word disregarded, for such an insufficient reason, The service of your church is so solemn and affecting, that if your hearts be engaged in it, as well as your ears, it must make an impression upon you, whatever the person may be, who performs that service; and one cannot imagine that any serinon delivered in a church can fail to afford some good instructions to the hearer, if he be prepared to receive it, how deficient soever the preacher may be in that righteousness which he enjoins others to practise. The fact is, that the faults of men can reflect no disgrace on religion ; nor the unworthiness of the minister lessen, in the least degree, the efficacy of that form of prayer, and those portions of scripture which are read, and of those discourses which are delivered in your church ; a very comfortable truth, which one of our Articles of religion has thus sensibly and properly explained.

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“ Although in the visible Church the “ evil be ever mingled with the good, and “ sometimes the evil have chief authority in “ the ministration of the Word and Sacra“ ments; yet forasmuch as they do not " the same in their own name, but in “ Christ's, and do minister by his com“ mission and authority, we may use their “ ministry, both in hearing the word of “ God, and in receiving of the sacraments. * Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance « take away by their wickedness, nor the

grace of God's gifts diminishical from “ such, as by faith and rightly do receive « the Sacraments ministered unto them; “ which be effectual, because of Christ's “ institution and promise, although they be “ ministered by evil men.".

It appears, therefore, my friends, that no justifiable excuse for not attending your church, or for deserting it for other places of worship, can be founded on the unworthi. ness of a preacher, nor, in like manner, can any excuse be offered for improper behaviour while you are in the church, or for any impertinent observations on the manner in which the minister performs the services of it. The church is a place where JESUS CHRIST more especially is present; “ where two or " three are gathered together in my name,"

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