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present occasion. Suffice it in general to observe, that whatever blessings we enjoy, whether pertaining to life or to godliness, are ultimately derived from this To this we owe our deliverance from condemnation, and our restoration to happiness; it is this that frees us from the fetters of ignorance, and from the shameful bondage of corruption,—that gives us boldness in our approaches to God, and liberty in pouring out our hearts before him. ""Tis this that sweet
ens all our enjoyments, and supports "us under all the trials and afflictions of "life,”—that relieves under pain, comforts under loss of friends, and sanctifies the various crosses and disappointments incident to our present condition ;-and, finally, it is this alone that disarms death of its terrors, and renders the prospect of dissolution easy and delightful.
But, my brethren, it is eternity, and eternity alone, that can fully disclose the wonders of redeeming love. When dislodged from these tabernacles of clay, which at present confine our nobler spirits when freed from the remainders of
ignorance, sin, and corruption, "under "which we labour and groan, being bur"dened," we shall be better able to judge of the perfection and extent of divine love.-Love, Christians, is the exercise and the happiness of heaven. There love will be perfected; and perfect love casteth out fear. New and surprising discoveries of the love of God will be made to the saints through the countless ages of eternity. New emanations of bliss will continually flow from this boundless source, to render happy, and to augment the enjoyment of those who are the objects of redeeming love. And still this love will remain undiminished, still this love will continue an unfathomable and inexhaustible ocean, after millions of millions of happy creatures have through as many ages been drinking of its life-giving streams. The innumerable company of the ransomed of the Lord, gathered out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, shall at last be made perfect in one, in one body, under one head; and experiencing the full effects of redeeming mercy, shall all, without one jarring note, unite
in celebrating the wonders of redeeming love, in singing eternal songs of praise to Him who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb that was slain.
From what has been said, learn to entertain just and honourable thoughts of God. Receive your notions of his character and perfections, not from the erring and uncertain opinions of men,—not from your own presumptuous hopes or desponding fears, but from his infallible declarations. Above all, contemplate the character of God as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in which he appears clothed with all the authority and majesty of a righteous Judge, and at the same time wearing the mild and graceful aspect of a loving and gracious Father. Beware, however, of despising the riches of his goodness, or of abusing his grace by turning it into lasciviousness, and thence of taking encouragement to go on in a course of wilful sin and disobedience. Do you dare foolishly to imagine that God will not punish sinners, and that he has uttered threatenings
which he never purposes to execute? O trust not to such a deceitful, such a presumptuous thought. Remember that God is just and holy as well as merciful; and that if" because sentence against their “evil works be not executed speedily, "therefore the heart of the sons of men ❝is the more fully set in them to do evil;" if they are not led by the Lord's goodness to repentance, the certain consequence will be, that judgment will at length overtake them, and at a time when they are not aware.
Was it not thus with the people before the flood? God granted them a reprieve for the space of one hundred and twenty years; but when at the end of that period they still continued impenitent, the flood came and destroyed them all. Was it not thus with Israel in the wilderness? The Lord bore with them for a season, but at length, in the day of provocation, he sware in his wrath that they should never enter into his rest. See that ye refuse not the offers of a God of love; for if the word spoken by "angels was stedfast, and every trans