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its events! With what longing regret wouldst thou look back upon the very miseries of mankind! With what fervency wouldst thou implore for a renewal, were it possible, of probation!" Return me," thou wouldst exclaim, "to earth! Weigh me down with "sickness! Fetter me in dungeons! Encom"pass me with sorrow from the cradle to the "grave! I shrink from no evil! I decline "no suffering! Return me to earth, what"ever anguish may await me there, that "through the riches of grace I may possess even ,** but a possibility of attaining to the humblest "of these glories; of beholding though from "the remotest distance the countenance of "my Redeemer; of contemplating from the "farthest corner and verge of the universe "the presence and majesty of my God!'' The dream of annihilation is dissipated. Thy existence is irrevocably prolonged to eternity. What then are thy groanings, what thine agonies, when thou beholdest the throne of judgement, the book of condemnation, the ministers of vengeance, the gulf of everlasting perdition, the prison of unregenerate men and apostate spirits, the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth of the assembled enemies of Jehovah!
On the Happiness attendant on the Paths of Religion.
Prov. 111. 17.
Her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness; aud all her Paths are Peace.
AMONG the internal demonstrations of the truth of Christianity, the excellence of the appropriate lessons respectively addressed in the sacred writings to different descriptions of men holds a distinguished place. To the wicked the Scripture speaks the language of indignation, tempered with offers of mercy. To the penitent it promises forgiveness. The righteous it animates with triumphant hope. To the ignorant, it holds forth instruction 5 to the unwary, caution; 13 to
to the presumptuous, humility; to the feebleminded, support; to the wavering, perseverance; to the dispirited, encouragement; to the afflicted, consolation. Who but that Power, who discerns every variety of the human disposition, every winding of the human heart; could have been the author of a religion thus provided with a remedy for every corruption, a defence under every weakness? Who but that Power, whose love to fallen man was so immeasurably great, that He gave His own Son to die for all mankind upon the cross; to die that all who believe on Him might be redeemed from the penalty of guilt, and might attain everlasting life: who but that Father of mercies and God of all comfort would have so graciously directed by the superintendence of His Spirk the sacred writers of the Bible, that no individual of the human race, to whom His revealed word shall be faithfully made known, can peristi for want of knowledge; nor can fail of-discovering as the reward of humble and diligent and devout enquiry the doctrine, the admonition, the reproof, the exhortation, the promise, or the counsel, precisely adapted to' the situation in which he stands?
The passage of Scripture, which we now have before us, breathes the voice of the most
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cheering encouragement. In several of the preceding verses Solomon had drawn a description of religion under the appellation of wisdom. Religion is the only true wisdom: and sin is the most flagrant kind of folly. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and to depart from evil is understanding. To the cultivation of that true wisdom the wise king invites his son by the assurance that all things which can be desired are not to be compared unto her; that she is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her; that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace. The invitation, and the motives on which it is grounded, belong to us, even to all men. Tp the paths of religion every man is called. And the solemn decla- . ration, that they are ways of pleasantness and peace, is at once an exhortation to the wicked, to fly to those tracks in which blessedness resides; and to the righteous, to persevere in those courses, in which they have already found rest to their fouls.
I propose in the first place so evince the truth of this declaration; and afterwards to apply it for the instruction and improvement . of those, who have not yet chosen the ways of religion, and of those who are walking in her paths.
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