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And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.
ANOTHER year has made its eternal record concerning us. The first feeling of the heart, at this hour, is gratitude to God for his preserving care, continual bounty and spiritual gifts. The second is deep contrition, in remembering our neglects, unfaithfulness and sin. The closing hours of the year may be hallowed, by our performing deliberately and honestly the great duty of self-examination. With the candle of the Lord, let us enter the inmost recesses of our souls; and before the tribunal of conscience, let us strictly scrutinize every motive, disposition and principle. Sin is the dislocation of the moral frame; let us, then, detect every disorder.-I. Let us ask,-if we have enjoyed the gifts and pleasures of life with christian moderation? Have we referred our bounties to the great Giver? Have we been duly thankful for the continued use of our minds; for the comforts of friends; for the sweets of domestic bliss; for the exhilarating joys of life, and for the unspeakable blessings of religion ?—— II. Have we borne afflictions with submissive trust in God? Have earthly disappointments clouded our heavenly expectations? Have sufferings appeared inflictions of displeasure, rather than occasions of improvement? Have we felt that God is as wise in what he takes, as he is kind in what he gives? Have we, then, worn our trials, as an angel wears his wings, to elevate and glorify?-III. Have we transacted our affairs with prompt uprightness, and fulfilled our duties with conscientious fidelity? Has our usefulness been increased or diminished? Can our neighbour or friend blame us for any avarice, inhospitality, or slander?-IV. What faults have we committed, and how shall we guard against them in future? Has passion betrayed us into excess; ambition led us to folly, or pride seduced us to corruption? Have we omitted our duty to our families, to the poor, to the young? Have we neglected religious exercises, and done despite to the spirit of grace?-V. What progress have we made in christian wisdom and holiness? Is the empire of reason over sense more confirmed? Do we more relish what is beautiful and good, what is heavenly and divine? Do we love God more, and imitate Christ better? Are we prepared for death, if this year is our last ?-VI. What should the closing year teach us, with reference to the future? What use should experience be in regulating life? Wherein does the past warn or encourage us? How can we connect the present with that which is gone, the past with futurity, and earth with heaven?
Here, then, on the confines of another year, let us erect three pillars-one, dedicated to the past, on which, let us inscribe, gratitude to God-one, dedicated to the present, on which let us write the history of our souls-one, dedicated to the future, on which let us engrave the christian principles by which we will be governed.
And now hear the conclusion of the whole matter-Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.—True religion is a course of education for immortality. It presents sublime views. It inspires a godlike temper. It is composed of the two most delightful of our affections, love and hope; and its object is the glorious consummation of eternal blessedness. Yes, it is the actual commencement of this blessedness; for it fills the soul with that peace of God which passeth understanding. Nor was it designed
merely to brighten the prospects and to elevate the character of individual man; but to unite and harmonize mankind. This seems to be a crowning point in the ineffable and infinite benevolence of God; to make each being, not only happy, but the instrument and organ of happiness to all the rest.
And now, brethren, I commend you to the grace of God; beseeching him to enlighten and sanctify your minds; to pour into your hearts his most excellent gift of charity, and replenish them with all christian virtues; and finally render you meet for the blessed inberitance of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ERRATA.- page 98-19th line from top, for shew as to in, read she was to win p. 152-22d line from bottom, for on read or. p. 197--top line for Society read History. p. 249--8th line from top, for faiths read faith.