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IV.

SERMON rising, in due course, to higher honour and

happiness hereafter.

Let us then second the kind intentions of Providence, and act upon the plan which it hath pointed out. Checking our inquisitive solicitude about what the Almighty hath concealed, let us diligently improve what he hath made known. Inhabitants of the earth, we are at the same time candidates for Heaven. Looking upon these as only different views of one consistent character, let us carry on our preparation for Heaven, not by abstracting ourselves from the concerns of this world, but by fulfilling the duties and offices of every station in life. Living soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world, let us look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appear-, ing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Before I conclude, it may be proper to observe, That the reasonings in this discourse give no ground to apprehend any danger of our being too much influenced by the belief of a future state. I have shown the hurtful effects which would follow from too bright and full a discovery of

the

IV.

the glory of that state; and in showing this, SERMON I have justified the decree of Providence, which permits no such discovery. But as our nature is at present constituted, attached by so many strong connexions to the world of sense, and enjoying a communication so feeble and distant with the world of spirits, we need fear no danger from cultivating intercourse with the latter as much as possible. On the contrary, from that intercourse the chief security of our virtue is to be sought. The bias of our nature leans so much towards sense, that from this side the peril is to be dreaded, and on this side the defence is to be provided.

Let us then walk by faith. Let us strengthen this principle of action to the utmost of our power. Let us implore the •Divine grace, to strengthen it within us more and more: That we may thence derive an antidote against that subtle poison, .which incessant commerce with the objects of sense diffuses through our souls ; that we may hence acquire purity and dignity of manners suited to our divine hopes ; and undefiled by the pleasures of the world, un

shaken

IV.

SERMON shaken by its terrours, may preserve to the

end one constant tenour of integrity. Till at last, having, under the conduct of Christian faith, happily finished the period of discipline, we enter on that state, where a far nobler scene shall open ; where eternal objects shall shine in their native splendour ; where, this twilight of mortal life being past, the Sun of righteousness shall rise; and, that which is perfect being come, that which is in part shall be done away.

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[Preached at the Celebration of the Sacrament of the

Lord's Supper.]

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JOHN, xvii. 1.
fesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said,

Father! the hour is come.

V.

THESE were the words of our blessed sermon

Lord on a memorable occasion. The feast of the passover drew nigh, at which he knew that he was to suffer. The night was arrived wherein he was to be delivered into the hands of his enemies. He had spent the evening in conference with his disciples; like a dying father in the midst of his family, mingling consolations with his last instructions. When he had ended his discourse to them, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and, with the words

V.

SERMON which I have now read, began that solemn

prayer of intercession for the church, which closed his ministry. Immediately after, he went forth with his disciples into the garden of Gethsemanè, and surrendered himself to those who came to apprehend him.

Such was the situation of our Lord at the time of his pronouncing these words. He saw his mission on the point of being accomplished. He had the prospect fuil before him, of all that he was about to suffer-Father! the hour is come.--What hour? An hour the most critical, the most pregnant with great events, since hours had begun to be numbered, since time had begun to run. It was the hour in which the Son of God was to terminate the labours of his important life, by a death still more important and illustrious; the hour of atoning, by his sufferings, for the guilt of mankind; the hour of accomplishing prophecies, types, and symbols, which had

which had been carried through a series of ages; the hour of concluding the old, and of introducing to the world the new dispensation of religion ;

the

on

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