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Perhaps some are blessing God that this has been their happy case, during the preceding year ; and are now saying within themselves, ‘Had I
died before the year 1795, I should have perished ' in my sins, without Christ and without hope. * But the Lord who spared me when others were ' cut off, and rescued me from numberless dangers
seen and unseen, when I habitually trampled on • his commandments, and neglected his salvation; “ hath at length, in boundless mercy, “granted me
repentance,” enabled me to believe in the Lord * Jesus Christ, and taught me by his grace to walk 'in newness of life. “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, “ and forget not all his benefits ; who forgiveth all “thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases ; “who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and “ crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender
mercy.”—How memorable with you my brethren, even to eternal ages, will be this “acceptable
year of the Lord,” which to many hath doubtless been “ the day of vengeance of our God !" Oh, endeavour to 'shew forth his praises, not only with ' your lips, but in your lives, by giving up your* selves to his service, and by walking before him ‘in holiness and righteousness all your days.' Then many will glorify God on your behalf, and you will be in some degree instrumental in bringing, others to seek the same blessings. Abide in Christ; keep close to the means of grace; watch against temptation ; “be not high-minded, but fear,” for your enemies are many and your hearts deceitful; yet “be sober and hope unto the end :" “ for
greater is he that is in you, than he that is in
“ the world.” Wait on the Lord continually, that
“ renew your strength :” and take heed lest an increase of knowledge and maturity of judgment should be attended by an abatement in the fervour of your affections. Be not contented with the low attainments of this lukewarm age; but follow those who have most closely followed Christ. And now approach with us to his table, to avow your acceptance of his salvation, and surrender of yourselves to his service; that, as “ bought with a price, you may glorify God with your bodies and spirits which are his.”
Some perhaps to this very day, may stand in doubt to what class or company they belong. May the Lord enable such persons to begin this new year with “ giving all diligence to make their
calling and election sure!” Inquire, my friends, with impartial strictness, into the reasons of your uncertainty and darkness : cast away every idol, break off every entangling pursuit or engagement, return from your backslidings and seek the Lord with all your hearts: that, should this year terminate your lives, your setting sun may break forth with cheering beams, and gild the dark valley through which you must pass : or, should you
be spared, that your walk may be henceforth more close with God, more honourable and comfortable, and more edifying and encouraging to those around you.
My Christian brethren ! let us enter on this new year by seriously reviewing the one that we have finished: that we may be humbled for the sins, into which we have been betrayed, and rendered
more simply dependent and watchful: and that we may be more thankful for the special mercies, personal, social, and public, with which we have been favoured. Let us earnestly beg a blessing from God on every attempt which we have made to sow the sced of truth, to speak a word in season, and to recommend the gospel : beseeching him also to prevent the bad effect of our mistakes and inconsistencies. We should likewise remember that “ time is short :” that we may learn“ patience in “ tribulation, joyfulness in hope,” indifference about things present, and diligence in our proper work. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do “it with thy might: for there is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave “ whither thou goest." “Let your loins then be “ girded, and your lamps burning ;” and be habitually expecting the coming of the Lord. Endeavour to recollect what designs of usefulness you had formed, and intended to have executed during the last year, or in any former period ; and set about them without delay : persevere in every good work, and Christian course, on which you have entered ; and aim to press forward, “ to grow “ in grace," and abound more and more in all the fruits of righteousness. Then should this be your last year, as it possibly may, and as some have probable reason to expect, death will be your gain : and while the survivors among us may meet together at the return of this season to set up another Eben-ezer to our merciful God; others
! Eccles. ix, 10.
will have joined the company before the throne, and be triumphantly rejoicing and blessing the Lord, that he hath' helped them quite through, made them “more than conquerors,” and placed them for ever out of the reach of dangers and enemies.—May we all, as in succession called out of this world, thus join the heavenly worshippers ; till at length,
When all the chosen race
* Shall meet before the throne,
we may be found of that happy number, and meet once more to set up an Eben-ezer in the world above, and to join in eternal adorations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the one God of our salvation, to whom be praise and glory for evermore! Amen.
JOHN I. 29.
Behold the Lamb of God which taketh
the sin of the world!
John the Baptist, the predicted forerunner of the Messiah, was doubtless well informed of his person, offices, and kingdom. He “prepared the
way of the Lord,” by preaching repentance as indispensably necessary to a participation of the blessings about to be communicated ; and, while he baptized the people with water, as an outward emblem of their souls being washed from sin ; he declared that the Redeemer would “baptize them “ with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” He bare witness to the Saviour as the Son of God, the Bridegroom of the Church, and “the Lamb of “ God which taketh away the sin of the world.” He cried, saying, “ This was hé of whom I spake, He “ that cometh after me is preferred before me; “ for he was before me: and of his fulness have “ we all received." He added on another occasion, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath
given all things into his hand. He that be“ lieveth on the Son hath everlasting life; and “ he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: “ but the wrath of God abideth on him.”2
Preached on Good-friday, 1796.
? John iii. 35, 36.