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the only means of reconciliation with his Maker, as affording to man the best instructions for the conduct of life, and as offering to the inhabitants of this region of infirmity and sorrow, the most powerful motives to virtue and contentment, and the most enlivening prospects of immortality. -As a philanthrophist, therefore, he will feel interested for the safety of the church, that house of mercy, in which the penitent may find forgiveness, and the dying be cheered with soothing consolations, and animating hopes. -As a patriot he will devoutly wish that the altars of his country may never be destitute of ministers, nor its temples of worshippers and friends.-As a Christian, when philosophy comes forth, armed with darts, which she has winged with wit, and dipped in poison, he will be fearful that they may wound the lambs of the Redeemer's fold, though by his more experienced followers, they will be avoided. And when the professors of the faith, apostatize or neglect the ordinances of the church, or relapse from the zeal, the holiness, the purity, the circumspection, which the gospel requires, he will ponder the solemn and memorable enquiry of Christ,
(which the evangelist hath recorded,) “ when the son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?” and exercise a more than common vigilance, for the preservation of the “ faith once delivered to the saints.”
Not injudicious and intemperate will his concern for the ark of God be, but sincere and deep, like that of Eli; whose story is well adapted to this subject, and which (wheresoever the gospel is. preached throughout the world) is worthy to be told as a memorial of him. he sat by the way side, one came from Aphek—what is there done,” says he, “my son ?" With inimitable tenderness, the messenger replies, “Israel is filed before the Philistines, and there hath been a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons, also, Hophni and Phinehas are dead, and the ark of God is taken ;'-at the mention of the capture of the ark of his God, the good old man swocned, fell backward from his seat, and expired. He could hear of the flight of Israel with humble acquiescence,-he could hear of the slaughter of the people, with silent sorrow---He could
hear of the death of his children, with chastised regret,—but when the ark of God was taken, when the delight of his heart, the hope of his country, the glory of Israel, was gone, overpowered with sorrow, his spirit failed him, he fell, and died.
Long, thou venerable seer, long as the scriptures shall endure, shall piety turn with fondness to thy story; and animated by thy example, may every friend of virtue, who cannot behold the happiness or misery of his fellow creatures, with cold insensibility, esteem religion as the guardian of his race; and consider all attacks upon her ministers and services, as arrows aimed at the shades of his ancestors, and the dearest interests of the world.
ON THE FAITH AND DOCTRINES OF THE
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath
one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him, in the last day. John xii. 48.
The religion of nature, is the law of God, speaking by the voice of reason. The religion of the gospel, is the law of God, speaking by the revelation of Jesus. Each of these laws might be deservedly called a great salvation, the former as the basis of all true religion, the latter as the consummation of all God's religious dispensations to mankind.
The world abounds with commentaries on the law of nature, and on the law of christianity ; but the misfortune is, that most men regard the study of these laws, rather as an exercise of the mind, in the way of curious speculation, than as an interesting pursuit, which concerns both their opinions, and their practice; which is just the same folly, as would be charged on those, who should spend their lives, in studying the municipal laws of their country, with a total unconcern about the observance of them, in their own per
Indeed the penal sanctions which attend the violation of these laws, would presently reclaim the student from this folly, and remind him of the end, to which his skill and knowledge in them, should be principally directed--and if, in the study of general morals, or of revealed religion, he neglect to refer his speculation to practice, it is only because their penalties are less instant, or less constraining ; and not that either the law of nature, or the law of the gospel, is without its proper and suitable sanctions.
These sanctions, as to the law of nature, as little as they are sometimes considered, are easily pointed out. For who, that grossly offends against that law, but is punished with self-contempt, with an anxious dread of that