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tion, bring your souls to final destruction. We adjure, we warn, and admonish you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, trust not to another year. You may not live through this. Amuse not yourselves with false calculations of long life. Old age is the lot of few, of very few indeed—not of one in a thousand who addict themselves to these things-to vice and unlawful
You suppose you shall be alive at the beginning of next year. You will have the same work to do as at this. You will have less ability, less inclination, more confirmed habits, more tyrannical propensities to conquer. To repent to any purpose you will have greater difficulty, greater pain, greater struggles. What ground is there to expect that if your resolutions yield now, they should be able to stand stedfast then ?
In the second place, let me address a word to such as have spent the last year, and their past life, in a total neglect and forgetfulness of all religious concerns; who may be truly said to sleep in darkness and insensibility. Consider the time. Another Another year is gone: a sixth or
a a seventh part of the whole, you can reckon your lives worth, is just departed. Open your eyes to the light. Awaken to a sense of your situation—to a knowledge of what you are, and whither you are going. It is your own affair—your own interest. Your own welfare and salvation are at stake. Things, you find, do come
The silent but irresistible progress of time brings events home, which you have been accustomed to regard as at a vast distance. Perhaps one, certainly a few, of such years as that which is gone, will bring you to death and to judgement, whether you have thought of these things or not.
The exhortation to other Christians I would found upon the principle, that the true Christian's life is a state of continual progressa constant growing in grace; a gradual amendment of ourselves, either by shaking off bad qualities or acquiring good ones, or most commonly and most naturally by both together. Now in this view, what has the last year done for us? What virtues have we planted in our hearts? What vices have we exterminated? Have we gone backwards or forwards? Is our moral character better or worse? Have we fought a good fight? Have we practised a steady opposition to the enemies of our salvation, to the allurements of the world, the flesh, and the devil? If we have gained one point, if we have advanced one step, if we perceive the smallest improvement in our principles and conduct, it is a high encouragement to quicken our speed, to redouble our endeavours. The hill which we climb is steepest at the bottom. The first advances in the way of virtue are most slow and most laborious. Let us not faint or desist. We shall soon add virtue to virtue-cut down one vice after another. We shall, ere long, begin to taste and to relish the satisfaction, the joys, the hopes of religion
On the other hand, if we find that we are sinking more and more under temptation-our good principles daily giving way our old sins grown more confirmed and irresistible, and new ones making their appearance in us, it is time to take the alarm. Another such year may ruin us for everlasting. Our case will bear no delay. We must set about it immediately, if we intend it at all, with firmness-with resolution with perseLet us then search out our condition to the bottom. Have we the last year managed our earthly
affairs with scrupulous honesty, and truth, and fair dealing, or have we, in any instance, for the sake of any advantage to ourselves, taken in, overreached, or gone beyond any man? Have our transgressions and trespasses, as to sobriety and purity, been more or less frequent this last year than heretofore? Are we growing better in this respect, or worse? How shall we better withstand temptation for the future?-or what course shall we take to avoid it? Do we feel, more or less frequently, fits of anger, rage, and passion? Have we striven against them? Have we striven to any purpose? what degree have we conquered or corrected them; or how shall we set about to do it? Are peevishness, envy, discontent, strife, malice, hatred, covetousness, more or less rife and strong in our hearts of late than they used to be? What evil actions, what evil speakings have they of late put us upon? what quarrels, what contentions have they drawn us into? Have we endeavoured to get the better of these evil passions? Have our endeavours been successful? Have they been sincere and continued? Do we feel peace, and quietness, and humility, and good-nature, and good-will? Have any impressive and lively lessons been spreading and gaining ground on our hearts? In a word, has the past year been distinguished by any virtuous acts and virtuous endeavours-any bad habits broken and got the better of-any good rule of living begun?
I trust, and I believe, that many of us will find, in the review of the past, enough to comfort and encourage us. Many, no doubt, will find much to mortify, much to abase, much to humble them; but we shall all find enough to be done for the future.
Let us then awake out of sleep. Let us set about
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2 CHRONICLES xx. 13.
And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little
ones, their wives, and their children.
In a great and solemn act of national devotion, which was held during the pious reign of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, upon the occasion of a public danger which then threatened their country, we read that Judah gathered themselves together to ask help of the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord.
Had we read no more than that Judah was gathered together, we should have been led perhaps to conclude that the assembly was made up of the king, the magistrates, and the priesthood; the heads of tribes, the masters of families, the principal persons, the aged, or at the lowest, the adult, inhabitants of the country. But the words of the text which have been read to you convey a more circumstantial, and, I think, very observable account of this great religious concourse. By them we are distinctly told, that not only those whom we have before enumerated formed the congregation which stood before the Lord, but that, together with the great body of the Jewish nation, were present also their little ones, their wives, and their children. This is a direct and decisive example for the proof of + following points ; namely, the propriety and the