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SERMON V.

Isaiah 55-6.

SEEK YE THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND, CALL YE

UPON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR.

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The blessings, which were to be conferred on Man by the promulgation of the Gospel, had been the subject of the Prophet's vision, and he endeavours, in strains of surpassing beauty and sublimity, to express the noble acts of the Lord, and to tell the people what things he hath done for his fallen guilty creatures. In the animated and figurative language of the Prophet, the Almighty lays the stones of his Church with fair colours, and her foundations with sapphires, he makes her windows of agates and her gates of carbuncles; and finally promises that all her children shall be taught of the Lord, and that great shall be the peace of her children. It is not, however, to dazzle the eye, or to

ness.

amuse the fancy, that the Prophet presents these splendid pictures. Far different his object, far higher his aim, even to awaken the slumbering faith of his countrymen, to rouse the voice of conscience, and to lead them to repentance. He calls upon them to incline their ear and come unto him, for that he can offer to their acceptance a fountain of living waters, a fountain where he that thirsteth can buy wine and milk without money and without price, where his soul may delight itself in fat

The Prophet then proceeds to point out to the believer in these promises, that his must not be a dead faith; that it must bring forth fruit, the fruit of repentance and amendment. The wicked must forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts--Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Call ye upon him while he is near.

Since this admonition was addressed to the people of God, thousands of years have elapsed, the visions of the Prophet have been realized ; the prospects which were seen but imperfectly through the gloom of distance, have burst in full glory upon our senses—and yet the minister of God, the ambassador of Christ feels the exhortation as necessary now to his listless languid flockyes, my brethren, to his listless languid flock

for listless indifference and languid apathy are the characteristic marks of our congregations at the present day. Does the minister of God address the voice of exhortation ? Does he insist upon the necessity of repentance and amendment? These are considered as the mere periodic effusions of professional duty, as the thread-bare cant of priestcraft. Does he unfold the word of God; does he from its sacred volume select the admonitions, the warnings, the threatenings of vengeance which it contains ? These are considered but as the metaphorical language of Eastern poetry, as incapable of being understood literally, as calculated for the dull and carnally-minded people of Israel. To consider the Jewish people as dull, carnally-minded, obstinate, perverse, wilfully blind, has been the hereditary tenet of professing Christians; we read the promises of spiritual blessings, of spiritual redemption contained in the Prophets, with but one feeling of astonishment at the errors of the people, who did not understand them, or did not accept them. We read the denunciations of divine vengeance for their disobedience, with an unmixed sentiment of applause for the justice which threatened it; and we follow the devastating sword of the Assyrian without one pang of regret for the vanquished, without one thought that their crimes are not unparalleled. Never by the sacred page, is the voice of conscience roused to address us in the awful words, Thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest those which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

:: To the Jew the blessings of the Gospel were only depicted in the visions of futurity; to the Jew the spiritual service of the Messiah's kingdom was only the substance of things hoped for; to us all the treasures of divine wisdom and goodness are displayed; to us all the promises of God's word are daily exhibited; to us is it given to dwell in the days of the Son of man. The Son of God has taken our nature upon him, has made the atoning offering for our transgressions, has burst the bonds of death, and opened unto us the gates of everlasting life. With such advantages, what do we more than they? Oh! my brethren, but impartially weigh the subject, and you will perceive how much less you do, and how much fewer excuses can be alleged to palliate an omission of your bounden duty and service. He that despised the law of Moses died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment think ye shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, hath counted the

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