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able: and hampered by scruples and uncertainty as to the measures to be pursued. Would you determine wisely? Would you see the path of duty distinctly? Would you maintain peace of mind and a tranquil conscience ? Resolve with deliberation. Ponder all your plans, fix all your purposes, with a cautious regard to the commandments of God: and bind not yourself to any step of importance, until you have reverently and impartially examined, according to the degree of attention required by the nature of the case, whether you arc not plunging yourself into temptation or entangling yourself in transgression.
Fourthly, mark the heinousness of fearing man rather than God. What sin is more general? What sin is more conspicuously arrayed in the attributes of folly? How frequently do men knowingly deviate from the line of sincerity, or parties pate in some deed of wickedness, lest they should give offence to a person from whom they have expectations. How often do they yield to intemperance, to extravagance, to dissipation, to fashionable follies or fashionable crimes, lest they should be ridiculed by their companions, or lose in the opinion of the neighbourhood, some 13 por
portion of modish repute! Dull of hearing to the voice of their God, with how quick an ear do they catch the rumour of contempt! Purblind to the injunctions of their Saviour, with how suspicious an eye do they look around for the glance of derision! How often do they remain silent, when they ought to bear their testimony against unrighteousness I How often, when religion is sneered at or misrepresented, do they shrink through false shame and carnal fear from speaking the truth in its vindication! Remember the guilt of Saul: tremble to imitate it. Who art thou that art afraid of a man that shall die, and of the Son of man -which shall be made as grafs: and forgettejl the Lord thy Maker? Let the Lord be your fear j let Him be your dread. Fear Him who can cast both body and foul into hell. Fear Him who has declared that, unless you confess Him upon earth, He will not confess you at the day of judgement. Fear Him who has forewarned you that, unless you are stedfastly willing to renounce and comparatively to hate all things for his fake; you cannot be his disciple, you cannot be washed in his atoning blood.
Lastly: let the example of Saul admonish you to frequent meditation on the consequences of disobeying God. Thou shalt know, like that unhappy king, that in every respect thou hast done foolishly, 'whenever thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord. Thy worldly projects which thou hopest to forward by transgressing the rule of duty, shall by that very step be defeated. Or if for a time they appear to have been promoted by thy sin; ere long thou shalt find that they have been promoted to thy sorrow and confusion. In disappointment and in success thou shalt equally reap thy punishment. But are these the heaviest effects of obstinacy in transgression? Prepare thyself for severer judgements. Prepare thyself for the most dreadful of the tokens of divine indignation. Prepare thyself for the departure of the Holy Spirit of God. Shall the heart harden itself against Jehovah; and shall he not abandon it to itself? When the Pharisees refused to listen to the Son of God ; he directed his instruction to the publicans. When his countrymen at Nazareth persisted in unbelief; he no longer wasted his miracles upon them. When the Jews at Antioch rejected the preaching of St. Paul; the Apostle turned, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, to the Gentiles. Behold in these examples, the established course of the divine counsels. Grace, neglected and abused, is withdrawn. If God shall withdraw his grace from thee j thou shalt become, like Saul, the servant of another master. An evil spirit, that evil spirit who is the author of fin and misery, shall seize thee as his prey. Then who shall break thy chains? Enslaved to Satan, thou shalt perform his pleasure here: thou shalt fulfil his work, adding iniquity to iniquity: and into his kingdom shall death remove thee, there with him to be tormented for ever and ever.
My brethren; knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. Reflect and be persuaded. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. Forget not the blessings of redemption. Glorious as was the earthly dominion to which Saul was exalted; how faintly does it shadow out the kingdom which the Lord of glory has purchased for you! Be faithful unto deaths that he may give you the crown of life*
Isaiah, xl. i.
Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, faith your God.
TT is thus that the prophet Isaiah announces the Gospel to the people of Israel. To his evangelical eye, enlightened by the spirit of Jehovah, futurity becomes present. Through the obscurity of remote ages he beholds the fun of righteousness glowing with unclouded beams. What he beholds he reveals. He avers to the twelve tribes that the word of their God stands fast for ever j that at the appointed hour, however distant, God will establish the covenant made with their forefathers j that He will fend the promised Redeemer, who shall feed his flock as a shepherd, preach