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fhip with the unfruitful works of darkness, but will rather reprove them."
We have seen what it is, to cleave to that which is good. We will dose the subject with some ar. guments to confirm our resolutions in well doing.
“ Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ?”. This will always be safe. There can be no real danger attending it? Whatever dangers you may apprehend, they are but imaginary. They are the suggestions of luft, not of wisdom. Can there be danger in daily prayer to God, in a pious regard to his providence, and in a reverence of his name? Can there be danger in righteousness, benevolence and integrity toward men ? Can there be danger in fobriety, temperance, purity and meeknefs? Do these virtues expofe you to any mischiefs, from which the contrary vices would fecure you?
The wicked man is often perplexed, what course to pursue, and what turns and shifts to make, that he may fhun the evils which threaten him ; and, after all his artifice, he runs into the very mischief which he aims to avoid, or plunges himself into a greater by declining a lefs. The upright man needs no artifice. The way of fafety lies plain be. fore him. It is only to follow that which is good. “ He who walks uprightly walks surely ; his integrity will preserve him."
“ Great peace have they who love God's law, and nothing hall offend them.” Whatever af. flictions befall them, they have joy in the reftection, that their steady aim has been to approve themselves to God.
“ Jefus," the great pattern of virtue, “ went about doing good. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from finners." No dangers ever diverted him from the work which God
to do. The more conftantly we cleave to that which is good, the nearer we approach to his character.
The way of goodness leads to happiness. The pleasure which the good man finds in religion here, is an earnest of superior happiness hereaf, ter. By experience he daily learns the tendency of virtue, and is perfuaded that there awaits him, in God's presence, fulness of joy. Amidst the changes of this mortal state, he looks up to God with cheerful hope and confidence, that under the direction of perfect wisdom, all things are working for his good ; that, in the hands of in, finite power, his future felicity is secure ; and that these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will prepare him for a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Conscious that he has cleaved to that which is good, he contemplates, with a serene and cheerful mind, the gloomy change of death, viewing it as the happy period of all his painful labours, and his introduc. tion to a world, where he shall receive an abundant reward.
That we may cleave to that which is good, let us make it our full and deliberate choice. Let us seek the spiritual renovation of the heart, á mind enlightened to the clear discernment of truth, and a temper moulded into a conformity to the character of God. Let us ever guard against the first departure from goodness ; for one devious step leads to another. When we begin to wander, we can prescribe no bounds to transgression. Let us entertain no sentiments, which contradict moral rectitude. Such sentiments, whatever arguments may be urged in their support, must be false. Nothing can be true, which is contrary to moral goodness. Great familiarity with ourselves is necessary to conftancy in religion. It is by the examination of our hearts, and the review of our actions, that we learn whether they are conformed to the will of God. It is thus that we make a seasonable discovery of our errors, and correct them before we are led dangerously, astray. Remembering our dependence on God, we muft repair often to his throne for light to guide us, and grace to preserve us in the way of goodness and truth.
Happy is the man who with the Pfalmift can say, “ I have chosen the way of truth, thy judgments I have laid before me, I have stuck unto thy testimonies. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
Moral Reflections on Floods.
A Sermon delivered February 22, 1807.
AMOS ix. 5.
The Lord of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that
dwell therein shall mour, and it shall rise up wholly like a flood, and shall be drowned as by the flood of Egypt.
GREAT and important events are, in the facred writings, often described by allusions to the sudden rise and extensive spread of waters. This metaphor is sometimes used to express happy events; but more frequently those which
are calamitous. To the latter it is applied in our text.
The prophet foretels a desolation soon to come on the land of Israel by the invasion of their en. emies. The sudden manner and irresistible force of the invasion, and the clean riddance which it should make of people and property he illustrates by a flood ; particularly by a flood of Egypt, VOL. V
when the river Nile, overflowing the lower coustry, compelled the inhabitants to retire with their fubstance to the higher grounds. “The Lord toucheth the land, and it ihall melt;" fhall seem to be at once diffolved into water. " It shall rise up wholly as a flood, and shall be drowned as by the food of Egypt.”
Floods of water naturally suggest to us many useful meditations, some of which may properly employ our minds this afternoon.
The winter hitherto has been most remarkable. A long courfe of intense cold has covered the streams with prodigious masses of the firmest ice. The streams, thus bridged over, have, thrice within three weeks, been suddenly swelled by copious rains to such a height, as to sweep off by the force of water and weight of ice, a great part of the inills, and most of the bridges, which stood upon theni.
By reason of the increafe of people, wealth, business and travelling, works of this kind have been greatly multiplied within a few years ; the loss sustained therefore by individuals and by communities has been incalculable ; and the embarraflments, to which many travellers and some families are fubjected, in consequence of these de. vastations, is inconceivable.
These foods, though disastrous to property, may be conducive to the promotion of piety. With this view we will now contemplate them.
1. They lead us to realize the majesty and supremacy of God.
Grand and striking is the descriptive language of the prophet in our text. “The Lord of hosts is he, that toucheth the earth, and it shall melt.” The touch of his finger covers the earth with a flood, as suddenly, as if the folid ground were melt