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and the God of love and peace shall be with you."--If, then, the members of a church would enjoy the presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit, they must be attentive and careful to comfort themseives together.


the Lord Jesus Christ for their redemption. Feeling in their own hearts and seeing in their brethren the blessed fruits of the Holy Spirit, they will be comforted in the truth and by the grace of God.-And the earnest and prospect of their future and eternal communion and glory in heaven will fill their hearts with joy and peace. It must be a pleasant sight, indeed, to behold the lovely conduct and the happy condition of a faithful church.

2. If the members of a church are bound to promote their mutual comfort, then it is a great thing to be a member of a church. The members of a church are joined to a very important body. No other society, or communion, that ever exists on earth, is really so important as the society and communion of christian churches.The members of such churches are united by the authority and influence of the adorable Trinity. And they are united for the most important purposes, that can be promoted on earth. To be a member of a church is not a matter of mere form, or name. It is to take a most important station. Every member of a church owes a great service to all the other members. He is bound to be attentive, watch

1. If there be such sources of mutual comfort to christians; and if the members of a church are bound to comfort themselves together; then a faithful church must afford a very pleasant sight. The conduct of such a church will be pleasant. For all its members will possess and manifest a spirit of mutual love, kindness and sympathy. Every member of a faithful church will be tenderly affected towards all the other members, and will desire and labor to promote their comfort. And the whole church will be tenderly affected towards every member, and desire and labor to promote his comfort in the doctrines, duties and blessings of the gospel. The conduct, then, of a faithful church will be very beautiful, lovely, and pleasant. And equally beautiful, lovely and pleasant will be the condition of a faithful church For their condition will agree with their conduct. A faithful church will be in a united, orderly, peaceful and happy condition.--ful and faithful to promote their The members of such a church will comfort themselves together in the eternal purpose of God respecting the redemption of his people. They will also derive comfort from the atoning sufferings of

spiritual comfort. It is then a great thing to be a member of a church on account of the important services, which every member owes to the other members. It is also a great thing, on account

of the important privileges, to which a member of a church is entitled. For he is entitled to the services and consolations, that arise from the friendship and communion of christian brethren. To be a member of a church, then, is not a matter of mere profession and appearance. But it is, indeed, a very great concern.

3. If the members of a church are bound to promote their mutual comfort, then every true christian, who is a member of a church, will by his conduct, afford evidence of his sincerity. A true christian will not be indolent and careless, when he has made a profession of religion. He will be mindful of his covenant with God and with his christian brethren. And it will be his great concern to perform his vows and to discharge his duty.— Such a person, by his conduct, will show that he has not merely a name to live, while he is dead. He will not keep at a distance from the members of the body, to which he belongs. But he will consider and realize, that he and they are one in Christ Jesus.-He will tenderly feel the interests of his brethren. And he will labor to promote their spiritual consolation. By such faithful conduct he will show, that he is a living and active member of the Savior's spiritual body. By such conduct he will maintain and discover evidence of his sincerity in making a profession of religion.

4. If the members of a church are bound to promote their mutu

al comfort, then every consistent christian will desire to be a member of a church. He will desire to be a member from his regard to the church, and from a regard to his own spiritual interests.-His regard to the church will lead a real christian to desire to be admitted to its fellowship. By joining a church a christian can do much more to promote the comfort of other christians, than he can do while he is not a member of a church. Besides a christian, by joining a church, takes the right method to promote his own comfort in the services and privileges of christian communion. Every true christian, then, will be prompted by his own heart to become a member of a christian church by a public profession of religion.

5. In view of what has been said on this subject, it is evident that christians will always be comforted, when they turn to the proper sources of comfort. The proper sources of comfort to christians are pure, perfect and permanent. The living and true God, as he appears in the gospel of his grace and in the redemption of his people, is the comfort of christians. When they turn to him, they turn to the fountain of consolation and happiness. If they turn from God to earthly vanities, or to any created beings; or if they rely on themselves, or on means, they will experience disappointment and vexation. But when they truly turn to God, they

will find in him abundant and everlasting consolation.


The history of Naaman the Syrian is deeply interesting and instructive. An attentive perusal of it naturally suggests to the contemplative mind reflections, on the wisdom of God, and on the character of man, of a highly practical nature. With the outlines of his history, as recorded in the second book of Kings the reader is supposed to be so familiarly acquainted, as to render a particular statement of them in the introduction, unnecessary.

But, what are some of the most important remarks, which the history of Naaman suggests?

could make him. And yet, we may suppose, that with him the basest of his slaves would not have

exchanged conditions. From a consideration of his condition, how natural does the mind recur to the sinful character, and the ruin, ed state, of mankind by nature. No natural object can more strikingly represent the sinful character of all mankind by nature, than a person, who, like Naaman, is deeply affected with the disease of leprosy. In a spiritual sense, the world is full of lepers. The leprosy of sin lies deep within every human heart. Like a subtle virulent poison, it has diffused itself into the most secret recesses of the soul, and has taken entire possession of the whole moral man. In consequence of its poisonous character, there is, by nature, no moral health in him. It excludes the love of God from his heart, and often causes a most furious commotion among the passions of his soul. From his youth up, till he is renewed by the Spirit, it causes 66 every imagination of the thoughts of his heart to be evil, and only evil continually." It not only reigns supreme in his moral affections, but brings him under the condemning sentence of the violated law-exposes, and justly exposes, him to feel the weight of the wrath of God forever. Such is the leprosy of sin in its genuine nature and tendency. It is its genuine nature and tendency to blight all, that is fair and lovely

1. By his history we are naturally reminded of the sinful character, and the ruined state, of mankind by nature. "Naaman was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord hath given deliverance unto Syria he was also a mighty man in valour; but he was a leper." Notwithstanding all his power and honor, and riches, and consequent greatness, he was a leper ;-was afflicted with a loathsome, painful disorder; which, had he lived in Israel, would have excluded him from all society; which must have rendered him a burden to himself, and, when fully seated, was incurable by human skill. Naaman was almost as great, as the world in creation. It aims directly at

the throne of the Eternal; and would not, if unrestrained, stop its mad career, till it should overturn the moral kingdom of Jehovah, and could brood, with malignant pleasure, over the ruins of a desolated universe.

2. By the history of Naaman we are naturally reminded, that divine wisdom alone is adequate to point out to mankind a method of deliverance from their sinful, ruined state.

Previous to his going to Elisha to be cured of his leprosy, Naaman had unquestionably tried the utmost, that physicians could do for him, but all in vain; and for the reason, that such was his disorder, when thoroughly infused into the system, it bid defiance to human skill. A little Jewish damsel directed him to go to Elisha, and Elisha directed him to go and wash seven times in Jordan, and be clean. There was nothing in the method, that Elisha prescribed, which, in itself, was suited to cure the leprosy. If, at any time previous to his going to the prophet, Naaman had dipped himself in Jordan till seventy times seven, there is no reason to suppose, he would thereby have been cured of his leprosy. We must, therefore, conclude, that the method of cure prescribed to him was specially selected by infinite wisdom, for a special occasion, and a special purpose. By the method prescribed, God undoubtedly intended to convince Naaman, that there was, indeed, a God in Israel,

who alone could prescribe to him a method of deliverance from the loathsome disorder, with which he was afflicted. As it was with Naaman in a natural respect, so, we have seen, it is with all mankind in a moral respect. They are all, by nature, thoroughly infected by the leprosy of sin. As nothing less than divine wisdom could prescribe to Naaman a cure for his painful disorder, so nothing less than infinite wisdom is adequate to point out to mankind a method of deliverance from their sinful state. Mankind have, indeed, in all ages, been attempting to ascertain some method of deliverance from apprehended future evil. Hence, all the superstition, and idolatry, and bloody rites and ceremonies of the heathen world. By these they have attempted to appease the anger of the gods, and to secure person. al exemption from expected evil. The most learned heathen philosophers formed various conjectures respecting a future state of existence-respecting the condition of men in that future stateand respecting the method, by which the favour of God might be secured; sometimes fixing on one method, then abandoning it for another, and for others still, in almost endless succession. Respecting all the methods, which human wisdom has devised, for the deliverance of mankind from their fallen state, it may be truly said, that they are absurd, contradictory, and unsatisfactory in the ex


The truth is, the highest finite wisdom has devised, man-
kind are naturally displeased.
With the simple direction of
Elisha-Go, and wash in Jordan

wisdom of men is foolishness with
God; and the world, by wisdom,
knows not God. How may sinful
man be just with God? is, there- seven times"--Naaman was high-
fore a question, which infinite ly displeased. "Are not Abana
wisdom alone can answer. This and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus"
question infinite wisdom has satis he exclaimed, "better than all
factorily answered. Through the the waters of Israel? may I not
medium of his holy word, God has wash in them, and be clean? Be-
informed us, that he has found a hold I thought, he will surely
ransom-that he has laid help on come out to me, and stand, and
one, who is mighty to save--that call upon the name of the Lord
he can now be just, and yet the his God, and strike his hand on
justifier of all penitent believers the place, and recover the leper.
in Jesus, who, by his sufferings So he turned and went away in a
and death has made an atonement rage." He desired to be cured
sufficient for all mankind. Such as a person of consequence. The
is the method of deliverance from method prescribed by the proph-
their sinful state, which infinite et he regarded as too common,
wisdom has prescribed to man- too plain, and too cheap for se
kind; and which nothing less than great a man as he to be cured by--
divine wisdom could have devised. did not believe, that it would ef-
It directs the despairing, dying fect a cure-or, if it would, that
sinner to the Lamb of God, who he might as well be plunged in
takes away the sin of the world. the rivers of Damascus, as in the
It assures him, that a fountain has waters of Israel. "So he turned
been filled with blood, and directs and went away in a rage." His
him to wash in that fountain, and conduct is a striking exemplifica-
be healed. As the dying Israelite tion of the conduct of sinners,
looked up to the brazen serpent, when urged to avail themselves
and was healed of his poisonous of the method of deliverance from
wound, the method of salvation their sinful state, which is pre-
devised by infinite wisdom, and scribed by the gospel. This
into which angels desire to look, method strikes at the root of all
directs the sinner, divested of his their depravity, pride, and boast-
self-righteousness, to look up to ed self-righteousness. It requires
the cross, repent, believe, be them, stripped of all their self-
forgiven and be happy forever. righteousness, and relying solely
on divine grace, to come as poor
beggars--to plead for mercy sole-
ly on account of what their Lord
and Saviour has done and suffered,

3. By the history of Naaman, we are naturally reminded, that, with the method of deliverance from their sinful state, which in

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