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SERM. ever overspread the whole field. The

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x^J^j nature of the weeds that spring up may vary, according to the nature of the soil. Different modes of iniquity may distinguish different ages of the world; while the sum of corruption is nearly the fame. Let not our judgments of men, and of the times in which we live, be hasty and . presumptuous. Let us trust in the grace of God j and hope the best of mankind.

In the fourth and last place, let us keep our eyes ever fixed on that important peT riod, which is alluded to in the text, as the conclusion of all. Let both grow together until the harvest. The great spiritual year is to be closed by a harvejl, when the householder is to gather the wheat into his barn; when, at the end of the world, the final distinction of men and characters is to take place. Theconfused mixtureof good and evil, whichnowpreT vails, is only a temporary dispensation of Providence, accommodated to man's falT len andimperfect state. Let it nottempt

us

us for a moment to distrust the reality SERM. of the divine government; or to entertain the remotest suspicion that moral good and evil are to be on the same terms for ever. The frailties of our nature fitted us for no more at present than the enjoyment of a very mixed and imperfect society. But when our nature purified and refined, shall become ripe for higher advancement, then shall the spirits of the just, disengaged from any polluted mixture, undisturbed by sin or by sinners, be united in one divine assembly, and rejoice for ever in the presence of him who made them. Looking forward to this glorious issue with stedfast faith, let no cross appearances ever discomfit our hopes, or lead us to suspect that we have been serving God in vain. If we continue faithful to the death, we may rest assured, that in due time we shall receive the crown of life.

SERMON

SERMON V.

On the Relief which the Gospel affords to the Distressed.

Preached at the Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Matth. xi. 28.

Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft.

SER M.npHE life of man on earth is doomt^^j JL ed to be clouded with various evils. Throughout all ranks, the afflicted form a considerable proportion of the human race; and even they who have a title to be called prosperous, are always, in some periods of their life, obliged to drink from the

cup

cup of bitterness. The Christian reli- s E gion is particularly entitled to our regard, by accommodating itself with great tenderness to this distressed condition of mankind. It is not to be considered as merely an authoritative system of precepts. Important precepts it indeed delivers for the wife and proper regulation of life. But the fame voice which enjoins our duty, utters the words of consolation. The gospel deserves to be held a dispensation of relief to mankind under both the temporal and spiritual distresses of their state.

This amiable and compassionate spirit os our religion conspicuoufly appears in the character of its great Author. It shone1 in all his actions while he lived on earth. It breathed in all his discharges; and, in the words of the text, is expressed with much energy. In the preceding verse, he had given a high account of his own person and dignity. All things are delivered unto me of my Fatherand no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoiaeth any man the Father, save

the

SERM. the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Bui lest any of his hearers should be discouraged by thismysterious representation of his greatness, he instantly tempers it with the most gracious benignity; declaring, in the text, the merciful intention of his mission to the world, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rejl.

The first thing which claims our attention in these words is, what we are to understand by coming unto Chriji. This is a phrase which has often given occasion to controversy. By theological writers it has been involved in much needless mystery, while the meaning is in it-* self plain and easy. The very metaphor that is here used serves to explain it. In the ancient world, disciples flocked round their different teachers, and attended them wherever they went} in order both to testify their attachment, and to imbibe more fully the doctrine of their masters. Coming unto Chri/l,

therefore.

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