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SERMON, the confidence which we can repose on any IV.
earthly protector is extremely imperfect. Man, in his highest glory, is but a reed floating on the stream of time, and forced to follow every new direction of the current. But God is the rock of ages. All time is equally in his hands. Intervening accidents cannot embarrass him ; nor any unforeseen obstacle retard the performance of his most distant promise. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day. There is no vicissitude in the human state in which good men cannot take sanctuary with him as a sure and abiding friend; the safe conductor of their pilgrimage here, as well as the eternal rest of their souls hereafter. All their patrons may desert them, and all their friends may die ; but the Lord still lives, sobo is their rock; and the most bigb God, tubo is their Redeemer. He hath promised that he will not leave them when they are old, nor forsake them when their strength faileth; and that even when their bearts shall faint, and their flesh fail, be will be the strength of their heart, and their portion for ever. His immutability is not only the ground of trust
in him during their own abode on earth, SERMON but gives them the satisfaction of looking iv. forward to the same wise and good administration as continued to the end of time. When departing hence, and bidding adieu to life, with all its changeful scenes, they can with comfort and peace leave their family, their friends, and their dearest concerns, in the hands of that God who reigneth for ever, and whose countenance shall always behold the upright with the same complacency. My days are like a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like the grass. But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever ; and thy remembrance to all generations. The fhildren of thy servants shall continue ; and their seed shall be established before thee*.
Such are the benefits which good men may derive from meditating on God as without variableness or shadow of turning, It inspires them with sentiments of devout, humble, and grateful adoration. It points out to them the unvarying tenour of conduct which they ought to hold; checks their fickleness and inconstancy; and, amidst all * Psalm cii, 11, 12, 28.
SERMON distresses and fears, affords, them comfort.
The immutability of God is the surest basis on which their hopes can be built. It is indeed the pillar on which the whole universe rests.-On such serious and solemn meditations let our thoughts often dwell, in order to correct that folly and levity which are so apt to take possession of the human heart. And if our minds be overawed, and even depressed with so high a view of the divine nature, let them be relieved by the reflection, that to this unchangeable God we are permitted to look up, through a gracious Mediator, who, though possessed of divine perfection, is not unconscious of human distress and frailty.
We have not an high priest which cannot be
touched with the feelings of our infirmities ; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
ne bo W HEN we compare the counsels of SERMON
TV Providence with the plans of men, . we find a like difference obtain, as in the works of nature compared with those of art. The works of art may, at first view, appear the most finished and beautiful; but when the eye is assisted to pry into their contexture, the nicest workmanship is discerned to
SERMON be rough and blemished. Whereas the works
of nature gain by the most accurate examination; and those which on a superficial survey appear defective or rude, the more intimately they are inspected, discover the more exact construction and consummate beauty. In the same manner, the systems of worldly policy, though at first they seem plausible and profound, soon betray in their progress, the narrowness of the human understanding ; while those dispensations of Providence, which appeared to furnish objections either against the goodness or the wisdom of Heaven, have, upon a more extensive view of their consequences, frequently afforded the most striking proofs of both.
God manifested in the flesh, was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness. It contradicted every prepossession
which their confined ideas of religion and • philosophy led them to entertain. If a supe
riour Being was to interpose for the restoration of a degenerate world, they concluded that he would certainly appear in celestial majesty. But the thoughts of God are not as the thoughts of men. The divine wisdom