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a state, in which, if it pleased God to call us away, we could not lift a voice to pray for mercy. Thus day and night all warn us of the time when we must lie down in the dust. .

To what purpose, my brethren, is this given, if these warnings cry to us as we hear distant music, without knowing the intelligent words that accompany it if we hear it as the followers of our Lord heard his parables, when they received the words and“ understood not" the signification? Shall we be indifferent, when God makes that world from which our dangers are to come thus sensibly to preach unto us? Shall we see, without turning to our edification, the still more solemn and affectionate appeals, under which our hearts are often saddened, though our lives are not changed; the strong inan suddenly bowed down; the enterprising called off from his complex machinations; and the pride of the young heart falls in the bloom of youthful hope, withered by the breath of the angel of death!

O brethren, let not these warnings be in vain; but let them keep up in our minds the thought of that solemn hour, which will cause all the hopes of this world to be eclipsed and lose its enchantments ; and will make us seek, more and more earnestly, that hope, which can render life pure, and death tranquil. Without that hope, when the final hour approaches, when friendship cau no longer soothe us, and vanity can no more be flattered, and the world will not continue its delusions, what is the hope, what is the state of the afflicted and dying man-one who looks back upon a misspent life, and deploringly acknowledges before God, that there is not one good deed to which he can cling, for that all is marked by disobedience towards God, and black ingratitude towards his Redeemer? That is the hour when no chequered deeds of mingling good and evil can satisfy the awakened spirit: that is the hour when all human dependance melts away, and nothing endureth but the faith which has been builded upon the Rock of Ages ; the hope which relies not upon the merits of


the inercies of the Saviour. But to him whose life has been familiar with this purifying hope, the hour of death is not an hour of bitterness. Many a time have surviving friends been assured of the witness of its presence, and have seen the departing Christian go to his repose with exultation-go as one departeth, when the voice of his blessed Lord calleth him. O what a death is this! In that fearful hour, when life is mingling with eternity, and in the dread commotion mortal hearts are sinking; when the whole head is sick, and the heart faint, and life is rushing into eternity—think what a consolation it is, to be sustained by that sure and steadfast anchor which is cast within the veil: to hear, through the terrors of the storm, the voice of the Redeemer, “ Be not afraid; be of good cheer; it is I;" to know that he is not to go alone in his own insufficiency, before a God whom he has offended; but that the Saviour, whom he has confessed in life, will confess him before his Father, who is in heaven, and be his Mediator at the judgment-seat.

May God, in his great mercy, grant that this shall be our portion, that we shall feel our trust in Christ's mercy, in that hour when all other trust 19 found vain; and when we have entered into that region, where flesh and vlood enter not, may our hopes be found certain, and inay we hear the good

man, but

assurance given, that our warfare is accomplished, and that our iniquity is pardoned.

I will not longer detain you. You will have to go and perform that work by which the ministration of the church is kept up, and by which the Gospel is to be preached to the poor. I shall simply say to you, that as you love the Gospel, you will be giad to distribute of your abundance for its support.





" For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but

watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.-ISAIAH, lv, 10, 11.


Now, my brethren, the literal description which is contained in this passage, is again partly fulfilled and partly fulfilling. The winter is past; the clouds pour down their treasures, and the grateful soil is teeming with the promises of loveliness and fertility; and every rural walk is beginning to remind us of the language of David's fine ode on the spring : “ He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field : the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the service of cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth ; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart."

In this case two things should follow. First, we should adore that God who never leaves himself without a witness, in that he is continually doing us good, and sending us rains and fruitful seasons, and filling our hearts with food and gladness. For why are we thus indulged? Have we abandoned our sins as a people? Have we returned with weeping and supplication unto Him from whom we have so deeply revolted ? Have we duly improved any of his former loving-kindnesses ? Yea, have we not in numberless instances converted them into weapons of rebellion against our infinite Benefactor ? “ Not unto us, o Lord;" “ It 18 of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.” And O that his goodness may lead us to repentance, and that while again “ the earth shall yield her increase, God, even our own God shall bless us."

And the second is, to derive religious instruction from it. There are very few persons who are really lovers of nature. The greater part of mankind are carried away by something artificial, and they are much more struck with the works of man than the works of God. But as Cowper says,

“ God made the country, and man made the town." The excellent Mr. Dodd, when pressed by his

Anniversary Sermor for the Wesleyan Missionary Society.

companions to see a fine mansion, sat still, surveying a flower that had arrested "I see more in this flower than in all the mansions I have ever 'Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' "'

his eye, and said, seen, or can see.

"So it is when the mind is imbued

With a well-judging taste from above;
Then whether embellished or rude,
'Tis nature alone that we love.

The achievements of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite;

But groves, hills, and valleys diffuse
A lasting and sacred delight."

And yet we have met with persons who have a real taste for nature as nature: but then they have never regarded it as the handmaiden of grace-never made it the representative and the remembrancer of better things. Yet there is a striking analogy between the works of nature and the works of grace. It is very true that God has magnified his word above all his name. "Behold,' says he, "I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." The blessings of the Scripture are infinitely superior to the blessings of the field: yet the one furnishes illustrations of the other, and was designed to furnish them; and by a holy chemistry we may extract heaven from earth; by a holy mechanism we may make the creature a ladder by which to ascend to the Creator; by spiritual-mindedness and meditation, we may render every place a house of God, every avenue the gate of heaven, every object a preacher. The rising sun may tell us of the Sun of Righteousness rising with healing under his wings. The refreshing dew may remind us of the doctrine of divine grace. And says Isaiah, "As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

But it appears to me, after reflection, that Isaiah, in these words, means to trace a resemblance between these natural and spiritual influences: first, in their divine origin; secondly, in the importance of their produce; thirdly, in their mode of operation; and, fourthly, in their success. Consider what we say; and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

We apprehend, Isaiah means to trace the resemblance between these natural and spiritual influences, first IN THEIR DIVINE ORIGIN. They have one and the same Author. "The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven;" so does the Gospel. "My word," says God, "which proceedeth out of my mouth." "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." There are some who imagine the Apostle James here means to establish a distinction between these gifts-between the good gifts and the perfect gifts; applying the good gifts to earthly, and the perfect gifts to the spiritual benefits. This is perhaps too curious for the text itself: but it is true that there is such a difference between them and it is equally true that they all descend from above; that they all come down from the God of all grace. This is unquestioned with regard to the snow and the rain. Every one knows that if God were to with


holl these, ro creature could obtain a fall of the one, or a shower of the other. “Can any among the vanities,” asks Jeremiah, “ of the Gentiles, give rain ?" And what is the inference now to be derived from this? If God gives the less, who gives the greater? Is light from him, and is spiritual illumination from ourselves ? “No," says the Apostle, “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." Does the life of an insect or of a plant come from God, and is the life which is emphatically called the life of God-is this self-derived? “ No," says the Apostle, “ you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Does the verdure of the meadows, and the fertility of the fields and the gardens, praise God; and do our duties, and good works, and grace, praise ourselves? “ No," says the Apostle, “if we are filled with all the fruits of righteousness, it is by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." “ This people," says God,“ have I formed for myself: they shall show forth iny praise."

And this brings us to a particular reflection ; for you cannot suppose that we are going to dwell at large, this morning, upon the evidences of the divine original of the Gospel-evidences which successively engage your attention froin time to time; evidences derived from prophecy, from miracles, and from the character of the Saviour; and from the establishment and the spread of Christianity, and from various other proofs--proofs so convincing, that the man who does not perceive the force of them, must surely either have closed his eyes himself, or have compelled God to do it for him. But our design now, is

tonly to what analogy supplies. It is commonly, and it is justly, supposed, that the works of nature lead to God as their Author; that there are upon them impression of Deity; that such is the immensity of some, and the minuteness of others, and the perfection of the whole, so far transcend all human endeavours to imitate them, that we are constrained to say,

" The hand that made them is divine."

“ This is the finger of God.” So it is with the Gospel. To me, I confess,

1 the internal evidences of revelation are more powerful than the external. Not that we give up the external, not that we undervalue them; yea, we consider them unanswerable: if not, why have they not been answered? Why, to this hour, has no masterly infidel undertaken to refute Grotius, or Lardner, or Leslie, or Doddridge, or Paley, or Watson, instead of just repeating a few cavils and objections, which have been solved a thousand times over? But the Bible is full of God. I take up this book and read; and I there find an infinite adaptation to my state as a sinner. Jf I am a wanderer, here is a guide: if I am enslaved, here is redemption: if I am all guilt and weakness, here is righteousness and strength. I take up the book and read, and I immediately perceive that it must have been written by a Being who knew me, and knew me perfectly; and by a Being who was concerned, and perfectly concerned for my welfare; that is the Blessed God. I take up the book and read, and I say, Such heavenly benevolence, and such pure morality, could not flow but from the fountain of all purity and benevolence. I take up the book and read, “ Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; and the greatest of


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