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of you may wish you had never seen this day: that some of you may die without a grain of religion, without any preparation at all for another world the man of business, perhaps, surprised in the midst of his speculations, in the midst of his gains, in the midst of his worldly prospects—seized by paralysis, or by apoplexy, and carried away into an awful eternity, when he had no idea he was near it, when he had no conception that he would be called hence in that way. And if that were the case with some of you, where could you go? To heaven? Would to God it were so! No, my brethren; the man vf the world, the unconverted person, however amiable, however respectable, however intelligent, “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” “Ye must be born again." “ Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” These are not my words, or you might neglect them: but they are words of one who spake as never man spake; and, God knows, that never man trifled with these words without repenting it.
But further, the text speaks of their 'TAKING THEIR DEPARTURE. We are all about very soon to bid this year farewell. I was going to say we are hearing this day, the last of the fifty-two prophets of the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four. The first Sabbath in the year came as a messenger from God, bore its testimony, and went its way; the second Sabbath came and bore its testimony also, and went its way: and then some began to fall off, and by and bye others dropped off: and while these fifty-two prophets—if I may be allowed to speak in metaphorical language-were delivering their testimony, some who heard the first, and the second, and the tenth, and the twentieth, have not lived to hear the fifty-second. No, no; they are gone, and we must take our departure; and very soon we shall have done with the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four. I would to God, my dear people, you knew the value of your Sabbaths. Many of you do know their value, and improve them to God's glory, and your own eternal comfort, as you shall find at last. And I rejoice to think that as our Sabbaths roll round, you are ever ready to meet, gladly to ineet, any appeal to Christian charity that is made to you. You often make us feel thankful to God by your Christian liberality; and your conduct last Sunday was such as to excite our thanksgivings to God, and our love to you. But stop : you may give us your gold; you may help others to hear God's holy Word, to keep open this house of prayer; but if you never are made rich with true riches yourselves, though, out of a feeling of benevolence, or of attachment to the church and to the king, you are glad to support constituted authorities, and to uphold the worship of God among us, and to do what you can to promote the service of God, and of his church-I say all that may be done, but you must go further than that, or you will never get to heaven. There must be conversion of the heart; there must be an earnestness in the spirit of your minds; there must be a becoming regenerate and born again.
Now, then, I say, we are all about to take our departure from this yearwe from it, and it from us. But I look around me, and how many smiling, happy, youthful, healthful, intelligent faces, how many children do I see! But I look again from my congregation to my text, and I read of “ wives and children :” “ And they all brought us on our way with wives and children.” Yes, through God's mercy our family blessings are preserved. True it is, death
has in many cases divided families, and laid some of them low. But here
you are this day before God, with the partners of your hearts, and the little ones whom God hath given to you. We rejoice; we bless his holy name, that as to those who have suffered losses, and trials, and bereavements. God knows we have tried to comfort them, and to wipe away the tears of sorrow from their eyes. But how many a happy family is now in the presence of God! And therefore, if we speak of our unworthiness, we have to speak of our mercies too. O how good has God been unto us during the year that is almost gone! Methinks he tries which shall conquer : he has a way of trying with his mercies. Yes ; behold the loving-kindness of God · think of the Lord's goodness to your families. How has he preserved your wives, your children, your friends, your relatives! I demand that he has the glory of them. I do not know anything more delightful than to notice the providences, and to notice the mercy and grace of God : and well does good old Matthew Henry, in his Commentaries, say, “ Those who notice mercies shall never want mercies to notice. O Christian people, think of the abundant goodness and mercy of our God to you in the years that are past, and especially in that which is now almost come to its close.
But my text speaks of these ALL KNBELING DOWN ON THE SHORE,
“ And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way: and they all brought us on our way with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore and prayed." St. Paul was a great traveller. At one time we find him consecrating the waters, as it were, by his prayers, and at another time consecrating the hills and mountains. At one time we find him in the dungeon at Philippi, even at midnight, praying and singing praises to God. And now we see him with his fellow travellers, and a little company that attended him out of the city, anxious to get the last word with him, and to have his parting benediction, attending him some way out of the city; and then by the shore they all kneeled down. My brethren, are we not, so to speak, at the present time, about to embark very soon upon another year—upon the troubled waters, it may be, of another year-or the smooth waters, it may be, of another year? But whether it shall be troubled water, or whether it shall be smooth water, where is the man that can tell me? Who can say what a day shall bring forth? Who can say of this present congregation, how many before the end of the next year shall be sleeping beneath us, or how many shall be spared ?
Can I then prevail on some who have very little knowledge of the comfort of prayer, very little knowledge of the blessedness of prayer, very little knowledge of the solace of prayer to the wounded heart in the day of affliction and trouble --can I prevail upon every one who hears me this morning, solemnly, devoutly, this day to listen to the call of their God? I have many a prayerless person in the church to-day, I have no doubt; O, I should think it one of the happiest days of my life if one, or ten, or twenty, or fifty, who never in their lives prayed to God before, were to begin to-day. Shall I give you reasons for it? I can do that. I could tell some careless fathers, that if they had been praying fathers, their children might have grown up to be like them ; their children might have grown up to be a comfort to them, instead of growing up in some instances
almost to break their hearts. O what an awful thing it is foi a young man to have to think (for filial duty would keep him from saying) as he follows his father to the grave—“0, my father never talked to me about my soul-never prayed to God for me-never taught me to go in the right way!" And is it natural to the human heart to find the right way, and to walk in it? Are we all so predisposed to holiness, and righteousness, and godliness, that the parent has no need to give any instruction ? Ah, my dear hearers, you know the disposition is all the other way. I may perhaps be calling on some father of a family, to begin in good earnest to pray to God, and to seek him, who shall never live to hear the concluding sermon of another year. O that we could but induce you! There is a mighty influence used to prevent men; not merely human influence—there is a stronger influence than that : there is one who watched over you ever since you were born, with no kindly feeling, with no desire for your good, but intending to do all the evil he could. And he has carried the intention into execution : he has watched over you with the desire of inducing you to walk in that prayerless way on earth, which shall lead to eternal misery in another world. Shall he be gratified any longer ? With some he has been gratified long enough.
But there is another that has watched over you ; there is the Father of mercies and the God of grace. He has seen you from your cradle; and what has he seen? Some of you growing up, walking in the way of the world, breaking his laws, profaning his holy Sabbaths, and to this present hour living without ever earnestly praying to him. Now the wonder is that he should ever send you another messenger.
O, hear the fifty-second messenger of the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four; hear the Sabbath of this day. But if you will not hear, what then? Why then we make our appeal to the coming of the Great Judge, who shall come after all his messages have been resisted : then we make our appeal to that day, when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him ; when he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall divide them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats.
One word, and I have done. If you wish to testify your gratitude to Almighty God for his goodness in the year that is past, and if you wish to be prepared for a profitable and truly religious spending of the year that we trust is coming
you, let me recommend you to be much in self-examination. Think of the fifty-one Sabbaths that have preceded this. Have you advanced fifty-one steps in the way to heaven! Are there not some of you who have not taken the first step? Is it so? If it be, the thought is indeed distressing. But, thank God, there are many of you who are walking in the right way. Still, not knowing what shall befal you, about to embark (so to speak) upon the waters of a new year, kneel down upon the shore and pray; commend yourselves to God; bring your little ones around your family altar; tell them of your own youthful days and early mercies ; tell them of your pious parents, perhaps gone to heaven, and of whom they may have known but little. I believe that Christianity has a charia when it comes in connexion with family blessings : it tends to sweeten all, to dignify all, and invite all, by pointing us to another and a better world; by telling us of the Father of mercies and of the God of love. Is that all? No; while it reproves pointedly, sharply, severely, it tells of a Saviour; it points to
the blood of sprinkling. And with that thought I conclude. Come with all the sins of the year: I am trying to take mine there; do you bring yours, and may I bring mine, confessing them all before the great Atoning Sacrifice. May we obtain mercy through the blood of the cross, and then find grace li help in the time of acou.
THR MASSACRE OF THE INNOCRNIS,
REV. H. MELVILL, A.M.
" Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was
there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”—MATTHEW, ii. 17, 18.
On the evening of the last Sabbath, we selected as our subject of discourse, the incredulity of St. Thomas ; assigning as our reason, that the Church had devoted that day to the commemoration of this Apostle. We stated, that it seemed desirable, that the sermon should on such occasions be connected with the service of the day, that the design of the Church in the institution of festivals might not be altogether overlooked. It is this principle which guides us in our present choice of subject, the day being Innocents Day, or that which the Church dedicates to the memory of the innocents massacred by Herod at Bethlehem. We believe, that, however at first sight this occurrence migh seem barren of the material of profitable meditation, there is needed nothing but careful investigation, in order to the extracting such material in no ordinary quantity.
We may suppose you familiar with the occurrence itself, so that we need glance but briefly at the history. There had come wise men froin the East, guided by a star, inquiring in Jerusalem for one born King of the Jews. This inquiry roused the jealousy and alarm of Herod, who then swayed the sceptre of Jerusalem; and he accordingly convened the chief priests and scribes, in order that they might decide on the testimony of prophecy as to the birthplace of Christ. Herod, you observe, supposed that the infant king after whom the Magi inquired, could be none other than the promised Messiah ; and yet, with an infatuation scarcely conceivable, he set himself to plot his destruction. There is no more striking instance on record of open and undisguised opposition to God. Herod believed the prophecies, (for he referred to them in order to decide where the Christ should be born,) and yet he acts as though he supposed it possible to prevent what God had decreed. He literally takes prophecy as his guide, and endeavours to arrest its accomplishment. We say of this, that it is unparalleled as an exhibition of the madness of the human heart, when left by God to its own devices. To receive as the declaration of God, that a King should be born and should reign, and yet to endeavour to prevent such a declaration from taking effect-you will not easily find in all the annals of wickedness so deliberate an act of insolence and rebellion. The chief priests and scribes had no difficulty in answering the question of Herod; the prophet