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blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace.
When the Almighty calls upon you, you do not indeed answer with the Jews of old, that you prefer the gods of the Heathen, you do not say we have loved strangers, and after them will we go—but you do say to the Almighty, you do say to the blessed Son of God himself, who calls you to him, that you might have life, we will not come, we have loved the world, and after it we will go. You do not like the Jews revel in the execrable impurities and barbarous cruelties of idolatrous worship, but you
do offer up yourselves, your souls and bodies at the shrine of the prince of this world.
From such delusions it is now high time to awaken—it is now time to attend to the solemn call of our Creator and our Judge; to-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts. There was a time when this day would have impressed such truths upon your mindsYes, my brethren, there was a time when this solemn season was observed with due respect; this season which for ages, has been set apart by the wisdom of our Church, as a yearly call to seriousness and reflection, but which now only serves to shew in more glaring colours
our utter disregard for all the ordinances of our religion, our contempt for everything which reminds us of our duty. Far be from me the attempt to introduce pharisaical observances for true religion ; far be from me, the wish to substitute the externals of devotion for its spirit ; but while our soul is chained to this earth, while thè corruption of our nature possesses an influence over our spiritual part, some external aids are necessary to enliven our faith, and awaken our devotion. For this purpose, stated times of withdrawing from the world, its pleasures and its cares, are admirably adapted—and have accordingly been appointed by our Church, “ wisely foreseeing that should the sinner be permitted to reserve to himself the choice of a convenient season, wherein to turn from sin to righteousness, that convenient season would never come; and the specious plea of keeping every day holy alike would often be found to cover a design of keeping none holy at all.”* To further this design the services of our liturgy are well calculated, they lead us irresistibly to examine our conduct, to look well if there be any way of wickedness in us, to implore the pardon of our Almighty Father, and to seek the assistance
of his heavenly spirit, to aid our resolutions of amendment.
If we wish then to profit by the opportunity, if we will not with desperate levity drive from us every serious thought, every pious impression--let us commence this work of amendment. But where shall we begin? Even with the Almighty Ruler of the universe, let us seek the Lord, let us call upon his holy name-vain would be the expectation that slighter obligations should be observed, if the highest were violated; vain the expectation that inferior duties should be fulfilled by him, who neglected the greatest, his duty to his Creator. To seek the Almighty Ruler of the universe, we are drawn by every tie that can bind the human heart; gratitude, veneration, love, fear, all unite to impress the obligation upon our minds. Shall not fear lead us to seek the favour of the everlasting King, at whose wrath the earth trembles, and who doeth according to his will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or say unto him, what doest thou? Shall not love and veneration guide our steps to the Lord, who, though so high yet hath respect to the lowly; who humbleth himself to behold the things that are on earth, and from the height of his sanctuary regards the prayer of the destitute, rideth upon the heavens in their help, and in his excellency upon the sky. Shall not gratitude bend every thought of the heart, every wish of the soul in submission to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies and the God of comfort, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, who hath performed the mercy promised to our fathers, and hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Such is the Being whom the Prophet exhorts us to seek, to call upon-no unreasonable service, but our bounden duty, a duty to which even the light of nature would have directed usFor it is the fool only who hath said in his heart, there is no God.
Here I shall be told that I am addressing a Christian congregation—that there is not one within these sacred walls, who does not acknowledge the existence of a great first cause, who does not profess his obedience to the God of the spirits of all flesh–I trust there is not-I trust the step of the scorner does not pollute the courts of the Lord's house. In these days, open avowed infidelity is not the besetting sin, which threatens most visibly to subvert every principle of Christianity; is not
the prevailing vice which calls most loudly for the admonitions of the Minister of God—so far the assertion of the Prophet applies to us, when the judgments of the Lord are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
We have seen the dreadful effects of professed Atheism ; we have seen it dissolve all the ties of private virtue, and all the obligations of social duty; we have seen it sap
fabric of society, and prostrate in one undistinguised mass all that was great, all that was venerable among the sons of men—and we have somewhat profited by this tremendous example. Although a band of prostitute sophists and boasting infidels still raise among us their impious front, to dare the offended majesty of Heaven-yet we regard their attempt with horror, and shrink from the imputation of unbelief; we should consider ourselves criminal if we did not profess our attachment to the faith of our fathers—but here our sense of duty ceaseswe forget that the obligation of a Christian is not discharged by a speculative belief in the existence of God, or by a speculative belief in any other truth of religion—we forget that the belief of a Christian must be a practical belief, a vital principle, powerful in opera