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be always on your guard. Instead of filling you with gloon and melancholy, this is the true way to prevent them. Having fubdued the last enemy, you have none other to fear. Adopted into the family of God, interested in the merits of Christ, entitled to the glories of immortality, you go forward through life and death, conquering and to conquer. Then all things are yours; death is a passage to a better life, and the gate to immortality.
Much more is it incumbent on you, my aged friends, to consider your latter end. Why stand you here all the day idle? Consider how vain, and foolish, and sinful, it is to be forming schemes of long life, when you are within the threshold of the house of death ? Consider how terrible will be the hour, if you have never thought of death till you come to die ; like Jonah, to be awakened from a sound seep, and to be cast into the ocean. Look into life, be. hold a young generation rising around you, and you yourselves left alone in a new world. Look into the records of mortality, into the repositories of the dead, and hear your equals in age calling to you from the tomb, and warning you to prepare for that fate which is theirs today, and may be yours tomorrow. Embrace, therefore, the opportunities of grace which you now enjoy. Whilst the Prince of Peace extends the golden sceptre, kiss the Son, left he be angry, and ye perish from his presence. Be wise, and confider your end that is so near.
My yoke is easy, and my burden is light..
JESUS hath lately been addressing to you the gracious invitation which here he gives to penitent finners. With his invitation you have testified your compliance. Last Lord's day you con. fessed at these tables, that you were weary and heavy laden with the yoke of the world ; that you came to Jesus in hopes of finding rest to your souls; and that you were resolved to learn of him, and to take his yoke upon you. The good confession, my friends, which you then witnessed, the happy choice which you then made, you will never have cause to repent. The world, indeed, will represent religion to you as a heavy burden and a galling yoke; but I assure you, upon the authority of Jesus Christ, and upon the testimony of all his disciples, that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light; that his commandments are not grievous, and the ways he points out to his followers, are ways of pleasantness and paths of peace.
The ease and pleasure of the christian life, is to be the subject of the present discourse. But, before I enter upon it, I have one observation to make, which is, That in order to taste the joys of religion, we must have been accustomed to its government, and made advances in the divine life. We can never have a taste for any pursuit till we be acquainted with it: we can never enter into the spirit of any science, till that science be familiar to us. To those who have long engaged in a course of wickedness, the duties of religion will at first be grievous and irksome, because they oppose strong prejudices and confirmed habits of vice. But when these bad habits are removed, and good ones are contracted, when a man acquires the temper and enters into the spirit of religion, he then feels the joy which a stranger intermeddles not with. Give a musical instrument to an unskilful person, we hear nothing but harshness and discord from every string : the artist alone makes music and harmony accompany all the motions of his hand. Religion is an art, and like an art is to be learned before it be understood.
In the first place, The Christian life is a life of ease and pleasure, on account of the principle from which the Christian acts.
The Christian is not a slave who obeys from compulsion, nor a servant who works for hire; he is a son who acts from ingenuous affection and filial love. When the christian contemplates the goodness, and tender mercies, and loving-kindness of God, particularly his inexpressible love in the redemption of the world by Christ Jesus, he is constrained to new obedience, by the most powerful of all ties, by the cords of love, and the bands of a man ; thus reasoning, and thus feeling, that if one died for all, then they which are alive ought not to live to themselves, but to him who died for them. Gratitude to a benefactor, affection to a father, love to a friend, all concur to form the principle of evangelical obedience, and to strengthen the cord that is not easily broken. Love, then, is the principle of the Christian life: lovo, the most generous paflion that glows in the breast of man, the most active principle that works in the hu. man frame, the key that unlocks every finer feeling of the heart, the spring that puts in motion every power of the soul. Pleasant are the labours of love. Short is the path and cheerful the journey when the heart goes along. A determined mind, enamoured of the object it pursues, removes mountains, and makes the crooked path straight : the fire cannot extinguish, nor the waters quench its force; it reigns supreme in the heart, and diffuses a gaiety over ev.. ery path of life. By its influence labour is rendered easy, and duty becomes a delight.
In the second place, The ease and pleasure of the Christian life will appear if we consider the assistance we receive from above.
“ Work out your salvation ; for it is God that “ worketh within you every good work and word.” There are difficulties in the Christian life: I have no intention to deceive you, my friends; you will often find it difficult to act the proper part; to main. tain a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man ; to keep your passions within the bounds of reason; to subdue your irregular inclinations to the obedience of faith, and to hold fast your integrity uncorrupted amid the temptations of the world. These and many other difficulties will beset you in running the Christian race. But let me remind you, that one half of the pleasures of human life arise from overcoming difficulties; and to over. come these difficulties which surround us, God bestows the influences of his Holy Spirit. The Lord
is ever nigh to them who call upon him in the fincerity of their heart. To those who wait at the salutary stream, an angel descends to stir the waters. God never said to the feed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain. He never neglected the prayer that came from the heart. He never forsook the man that put his trust in him.
If you were left to climb the arduous ascent, by your own strength alone, then the Christian life would neither be easy nor pleasant; then you might sit down in despair of ever attaining the top. But whatever duties God calls you to, he gives you abil. ities to perform them. According as your days are, he hath promised that your strength shall be. His grace is sufficient for us; his strength is made perfect in our weakness. No, my friends, God hath never withdrawn himself from the world. The Father of fpirits is ever present with his rational offspring; he knows their frame, he helps their infirmities, assists their graces, strengthens their powers, and makes perfect what concerns them. He aflists the feeble, he revives the languishing, he supports the strong. He aids the efforts of the captive, who endeavours to break loose from the fetters that hold hiin; he favours the ascent of the devout mind, that with the confidence of faith rises to himself, and he forwards the pilgrim, journeying to his native country. The good husbandman superintends the vine which his own right hand planted. He waters his vineyard with dews from heaven, and breathes ethereal influ. ence on those trees of righteousness that shall adorn the paradise of God.
Halt thou not felt him, O Christian! restraining