« AnteriorContinuar »
viour of the incorrigible sinner; his coming SERM. is big with heavy tidings and bitter fore- XX. bodings to the perverse and headstrong, and no good tidings of great joy can this day, well understood, bring with it to them! But, beloved, I hope ye have not “ so learned
Christ,” but that your dovotions this day may have been so fervid and sincere, your sorrow for past transgressions so contrite and humble, your purposes of future amendment so steady and resolved, your praises so sanctified, your hopes so reasonable, your faith so strong, your charity so warm, that they may be regarded in heaven as memorials before God in your behalf. Let me hope that you will accompany me to his altar, there to commemorate what he came to suffer, and did suffer, for our sins! And may God, of his infinite mercy, who “ gave bis only be' gotten Son to take our nature upon bim, and 66 as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin, grant
we, being regenerated and made 6 his children by adoption and grace, may
daily be renewed by bis Holy Spirit, through “ the same, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
S E R M ON XXI.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE YEAR.
PSALM XIX. 2. S.
2. One day telleth another, and one night cer
tifieth another. 3. There is neither speech nor language, but their voices are beard among
IN the Bible-version it is differently ren- serm. dered : Day unto day uttereth speech, and XXI.
night unto night sheweth knowledge:”
There is no speech nor language where their “ voice is not heard.” The instruction afforded us by a contemplation of the heavenly bodies is two-fold. First, they convey to us the brightest knowledge of God's everlasting power, majesty, and glory : “ The “ heavens declare the glory of God, and the
firmament sheweth bis handy-work.” Secondly, they warn us of the lapse of time,
SERM. our whole life being measured by their seXXI. veral revolutions. But though, in the
manner stated, as long as the world lasts, one day may be held to give us reasonable hope of another to succeed, and one night to certify a second to follow, as far as regards the orderly course of the celestial bodies, yet they cannot be held to certify any individual of such a command of time and opportunity. Every day as it closes may be our last ; every night that comes may turn out to be that in which, through the will of God, our souls shall be required of us; every division of time unquestionably, whether natural or artificial, should be considered by us as uttering speeches of admonition, and inculcating a knowledge most useful and important to us in the regulation of our lives. No moment once passed can be recalled; each day, as it ends, must remain marked for ever as a day of merit or transgression, to be brought to account as such at the general judgment, when times and seasons shall be no more. The interval between any two determinate periods should, therefore, al
ways be considered as a fit opportunity SERM. for reflection, as well to judge of what is XXI. past, as to prepare for what is to come. In this way alone can we expect so to “ number our days, as to apply our hearts to “ real and solid wisdom.”
Since we last met together in this plaec, one of the longest artificial divisions of time hath come to á close, and we are now entered on a new year.
Twelve months more of our lives are passed by and gone
for ever, and we are all advanced by so much the nearer to the termination of our earthly pilgrimage. Such a circumstance cannot be a matter of indifference to any considerate person; on the contrary, it must be big with importance, whether, during the period that has past, , our actions have been good or evil. If good, what an encouragement to proceed must our approving consciences supply ! if evil, how much must remorse admonish us to amend our ways for the future! With some (not Christians) the close of the day even has been known to have been made a se