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consumed. Bless the Lord, then, O my foul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name ; bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities. He will not always chide, neither will be keep bis anger for ever : he hath not dealt with us after our fins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities; for as the Heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him : as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions fran us. Bless the Lord, O my soul,
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I
am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find reft unto your souls,
IN the primitive ages of Christianity, there could be no inducement for any one to assume the character of a Christian, but his being persuaded of the truth of the gospel, and of its efficacy to procure salvation to those who obeyed its precepts. Men at that time very rarely engaged in any of the external exercises of religion, but from a sense of the obligation they lay under to purity and integrity, the ultimate ends of all religion. But now the case seems to be much altered for the worse. While the pious frequent religious assemblies out of devotion, regard the name of Christian as the most honourable appellation, and confess that their profession of faith
S Ε R Μ ο Ν ΧΙΙ1. an Jesus lays them under the strongest obli. gation to obey his laws; a very considerable number assemble with these from very diffeTent motives, consider the name of Christian only as a proper badge in a Christian land, and profess themselves believers only through cuítom, or to obtain some temporal advantages with which the profession is attended, or to avoid some inconyeniencies which renouncing it altogether might occasion.Though they join in the forms of religion, they never consider this as laying them under an obligation to comply with the precepts of it, or seem to apprehend that they are guilty of hypocrisy, or what the scripture calls a mocking of God, for the pretence which they make of honouring him outwardly, when they feel no reverence for his perfections, and no regard for his will.
There is, however, one institution of religion, a participation in which is still confidered, in this country at least, as a folemn avowal of the obligation to observe the laws of Christianity; an institution from which the abandoned generally abstain, and in which while he rafhly engages, the heart of the hypocrite will scarcely fail to smite him. As
rou, therefore, of this congregation have it fo nearly in view, to celebrate this sacred institution of the Lord's fupper, the participation in which is considered as an acknowledgment that we are bound to receive the yoke of Christ, I have made choice of the words now read, as a proper foundation for the prefent discourse.
In the 27th verse of this chapter, our Saviour had asserted his divine commission, his authority and power, and his intimate knowledge of his father, and near relation to him. All things are delivered to me of my father : and no man knoweth the son but the father, neither knoweth any man the father, Save the fon, and he to whomfoever the fon will reveal bim. Then he who lo well knew how to unite the characters of just dignity, and winning condescension, immediately subjoins one of the most affectionate invitations, which he ever addressed to mankind. Of this my text is a part. Corne unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
. The yoke of Christ is a metaphor to fignify his laws and commandments; and the taking of this yoke upon us denotes a submiffion to these. To learn of Christ, comprehends a general attention to the doctrines he teaches, as well as to the precepts he enjoins, and has also a reference to the example he exhibits. The two following clauses, For I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your fouls, may be considered as motives to engage our compliance with the exhortation in the preceding part of the verse. Our Saviour takes notice of his being meek and lowly in heart; both for the tendency which these dispositions would have to conciliate affection and confidence, and for distinguishing him from the Jewish doctors, who affected a disgusting pride and superiority ; qualities which, to say the truth, human learning, when it is not conducted with a spirit of sober inquiry, and made subfervient to the purposes of virtue and religion, is apt to inspire. By the rest of the foul, is meant that state of quiet composure and serenity, which ought to be the chief pursuit of a wise man: and this expression must have been easily understood by those who heard our Sa