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strengthen their hands at this time will not be in vain : and that the brief account I have given you of their design and progress, will render further solicitation needless. To bespeak the benevolence of my stated congregation, when a collection is proposed, I seldom do more than inform them of the occasion, and that it has my good wishes. After the repeated proofs I have had of their generosity, I need do no more. Nor will I sappose that it is necessary to use any further arguments to prevail with you.
There may be some persons present who will kindly assist us in procuring the means of religious knowledge for others, who are hitherto unacquainted with the power and the comforts of religion themselves. May the good Lord now awaken their desires to obtain the one thing needful, the pearl of great price! That knowledge which is necessary for the poor, is equally so for you; whatever your situation in life 'may be. Will you pity others, and not feel a concern for your own case ? You may deserve thanks from us for your ready assistance in this good work, and yet your heart may be in a state of alienation from God; you may have amiable qualifications, which entitle you to the esteem of your fellow-creatures, as you are members of society, and be, at the same time, destitute of the faith and hope of the Gospel. Permit me, before we part, to offer oue consideration to your serious thought. We read that eight persons only were saved in the ark ;* and only four of these, Noah and his three sons, were men. Considering the large dimensions of the ark, I think we may take it for granted that Noah and his sons did not build it without assistance ; and there were no men to assist them in escaping from the flood, but such as afterwards perished in it. What an awful case! To afford their help to build an ark for the preservation of others, and then to remain out of the ark themselves, until the flood came and swept them all away. There is a day of wrath approaching. It will burn like an oven ; it will ravage like a flood. The Gospel points out a refuge. The believer in Jesus Christ, like Noah in the ark, is in perfect safety.
He is already delivered from condemnation, and shall stand before the Lord in humble confidence, when he shall come to judge the world. Your concurrence in this charitable design of distributing Bibles among the poor, that they may be timely warned to flee from the wrath to come, is commendable : thus you assist in preparing an ark for them; the very book or books which your money will purchase, may be blessed to the saving of souls, and consequently you may be the instrument. Can you bear the thought of being instrumental to the salvation of others, and to
* 1 Pet. vi. 20.
lose your own soul, and be yourself a cast-away at last, after all the means and opportunities you have been favoured with ; after all the warnings and calls you have had ; after all the good you may have done as a member of society ?--Alas! is it possible that you can believe there is a flood coming, and that an ark is prepared, and not flee, instantly flee, for refuge, to the hope set before you ? Oh! may the Lord make you truly wise, and effectually win your soul to himself.
Brethren, the wisdom spoken of in my text is very different from the wisdom of this world, which knows not God. But the Scripture cannot be broken ; let us therefore abide by the sure decision of that word which cannot deceive or disappoint us. They are truly wise who are wise to win souls ; and though they may be now obscured by misrepresentations and reproachesthey shall shine, ere long, as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars, for ever and ever.*
* Dan. wi. S.
THE GREAT ADVENT.
PREACRED IN THE
PARISH CHURCH OF ST. MARY WOOLNOTH,
ON APRIL 23, 1789.
THE DAY OF GENERAL THANKSGIVING FOR THE KING'S
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him : I will be with him in trouble : I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.-Psalm xci. 15, 16.
BUCHANAN, Psalm xli.
(FIRST PRINTED IN 1789.]
THE GREAT ADVENT.
1 THESSALONIANS, iv, 16, 17.
For the Lord himself shall descend from hearen with a shout, with the voice
of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first : then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Our beloved King is now on his way, amidst the acclamations of an affectionate people, to St. Paul's Cathedral : there he will, this day, make his public acknowledgment to God, who heard his prayer in the time of trouble. It will be a joyful sight to thousands ; and, perhaps, there is not a person in this assembly who has not felt a desire to be one of the spectators. But I am glad to meet you here. Many of you, I donbt not, earnestly and repeatedly prayed for the recovery of our gracious Sovereign; and you judge with me that the inost proper expression of our gratitude and joy, is to unite in rendering praise to God upon the very spot where we have often presented our united prayers. And I infer, from the largeness of the congregation, that few who statedly worship with us are now absent ; those excepted, who, residing in or near the line of procession, could not attend with propriety, nor perhaps with safety.
1f He, in whose name we are met, shall be pleased (as his word encourages us to hope) to favour us with the influence of bis Holy Spirit, and to enable us, in the exercise of that faith which gives subsistence and evidence to things as yet future and unseen, to realize the subject of my text to our minds ; we shall have no reasou to regret our coming together upon this occasion.
The immediate design of the apostle in these words, is to comfort believers under a trial, which some of you perhaps feel at this hour, and to which any of us may be called sooner thau we are aware, the removal of our Christian friends or relatives, with whom we have often taken sweet counsel, to a better world. Such a stroke, whenever it takes place, will awaken painful sensations, which he who knows our frame does not condemn. The tendency of the Gospel is to moderate and regulate, but not to stifle or eradicate, the feelings of humanity. We may sorrow, but pruvision is made that we should not sorrow like those who