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nion with our God, occupy the chief place in our estimation ? and hence do we, as we have opportunity, worship God in his sanctuary, on the weekly days of supplication and praise ? Admitted into covenant with him by the sacrament of baptism, and having ratified our baptismal engagements in the apostolic ordinance appointed for the purpose, do we continue in the unity of the church by communion with its authorized ministry, and show forth the death of our Lord, commemorate his love towards us, and secure our title to his mercy and grace, in the holy feast of the supper? When we behold the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ symbolically given and shed for us sinners, are our hearts humbled in contrition, and in the impulses of holy gratitude and love, do we offer ourselves, our souls and bodies, a spiritual sacrifice to him who was sacrificed for us?

These, brethren, are most important inquiries : for with the means and ordinances which he hath prescribed—and who shall say unto him, Why dost thou this !-it hath pleased God to connect his mercy and grace : and if the means and pledges of these gifts are neglected, or unworthily received by us, we cannot enjoy the gifts which they convey.

7. Lastly. It should be the subject of our most solicitous inquiry-Whether our hopes of salvation are founded only on the merits and grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

“ There is salvation in no other. There is no other name by which we can be saved."* Th

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the decree of the Being who made us, of the Almighty Sovereign who rules us, and of the eternal Judge whom we have offended, and at whose tribunal we are to receive our doom. Unremitted and faithful as we may and ought to be in struggling with our evil habits, in resisting temptationg and in renouncing every sinful practice; diligent and constant as we ought to be in the use of the means of grace, in adding to our “ faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness, charity;"* yet we must renounce all dependence on our own righteousness as the meritorious cause, and on our own strength as the effectual mean, of our salvation; and acknowledge, that through the mercy of God, and by the merits and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ only, are we justified, sanctified, and saved. We are, at the best, but unprofitable servants. Heaven, in its rewards, is as far above our merits as the attainment of it is above our unassisted strength. “ Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name” be the glory and the praise.

My brethren, as sinners, we are all obnoxious to divine justice ; and our only way of escape, is to turn from our iniquities to the service of the living God. We know these truths; we know also that it is of infinite moment that we act upon them. Why then do we delay? Death may find us thus delaying-(how many has it found thus delaying ?) and then eternity will receive us unprepared. In that eterpity there is no pardon, no mercy, no

• 2 Pet. i. 5-7.

grace. “ Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."* Pardon, mercy, grace, are now offered to us : now then let us secure them.

66 Let us return unto the Lord, and he will be gracious unto us, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon us.”+

* 2 Cor. vi. 2.

*Isa. lv. 7.

SERMON XIV.

THE DELAYS OF REPENTANCE.

Acts xxiv. 25.

Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season,

will call for thee.

DELAY is the fatal rock on which thousands make shipwreck of their everlasting hopes. Infatuated man is active, diligent, anxious in every concern but the one which, from its infinite and everlasting importance, should engross his most vigorous and supreme attention. Mark his conduct in the management of his worldly concerns, and in the pursuit of the objects of wealth, of honour, or of pleasure. You would suppose that these objects were most important and dignified in their nature; that they were unalloyed and exalted in the enjoyment which they afforded; and that, placed above the changes of time, they survived its exterminating ravages. Little would you think that these objects are often worthless and degrading in their nature, and that the highest gratification which they afford is transitory and unsatisfying. Mark, on the contrary, the reluctance which men discover seriously to attend to their spiritual interests, the difficulty with which they are awakened to a sense of the importance and value of religion and virtue, and the readiness with which they permit the most trifling objects to displace from their thoughts and attention the concerns of their souls. You would suppose that these concerns were designed to occupy only a small share of their thoughts, and that they are to be secured by some slight and superficial exertions. Little would you think that they involve every thing dear to our present and our future and eternal

peace, and require the vigorous exertion of all our powers, the devoted attention of our lives.

Sometimes, indeed, conscience, touched by the secret energies of divine grace, or awakened by some alarming or afflictive dispensation of divine Providence, will set before the careless and thoughtless sinner, in just and awful colours, his danger and his guilt, his obligations to the Almighty Author of his being and of all his mercies, and the infinite importance of securing the salvation of his soul. Alas! enchained to sensual objects, and devoted to the gratification of his passions, he dismisses the holy considerations which conscience awakens in his soul, with the same pretext with which Felix, the Roman governor, trembling under the powerful reasoning of St. Paul, dismissed the unpleasant monitor—"Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season, I will send for thee.” Yes -men delay to a future, and as they fondly hope, more convenient season, an attention to their interests, to the salvation of their souls.

But consider the guilt in which, by this delay, they involve themselves, and the dangerous folly of their conduct.

Consider the guilt of this delay.

Conscience admonishes us, and reason confirms the alarming conviction, that we are exposed, by the violations of the laws of our Maker and our Judge, by our numerous and aggravated transgres

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