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could see so much excellence in him, as to induce me to give up my present enjoyments.” I will not now stay to expose the folly of your conduct, because I hope to address you again before I conclude: but this I will say, that you will assuredly repent of it; and that the day will come when you would give all the world for one smile of the Conso. lation of Israel.

From what has been said, we should, in the first place, be led to bless God for this unspeakable gift. Darkness covered the earth, and thick darkness the people: and we had all perished, if God had not caused the sun of righteousness to arise upon us with healing in his wings. When we lost our innocence, we forfeited our happiness; and this world must instantly have become a vale of tears, where nothing but the voice of lamentation is heard, if God had not, to the astonishment of angels and men, raised up his son Jesus, and sent him to bless us. Acknowledge him, therefore, as the author of all consolation ; and let every instance of the grace of Christ resting upon you, and every favour which you receive from him, whether it be for assistance, support under affliction, relief in temptation, or immediate manifestation of his mercy, engage your gratitude; and induce you to say, “ Thanks be to God for his upspeak- .


able gift.”

We may also hence see, what enemies they are to themselves, who are enemies to Christ. Enemies to Christ! Is it possible that the meek and lowly, the humble, condescending, and amiable Jesus, should have

any enemies ?-among the children of men, any enemies to Jesus? Did he lay aside the glory which


he had with the Father before the creation of the world, that he might be a merciful and faithful HighPriest; was he content to be a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, to be scourged, buffeted, and crucified, in order to redeem sinners from hell and everlasting destruction ; and yet is he despised and rejected of men, who owe their hopes of salvation to what he endured ? For the credit of human nature, we would wish to deny it. If such a thing were suggested of any other race of beings, we should pronounce it impossible. We should presume that Jesus Christ would be adored as their deliverer, and that every individual, so strangely redeemed, would ever retain a grateful sense of the obligation. We should think that there would be a general emula tion among them, who should testify their gratitude by the warmest affection, and most vigorous and uniform obedience. How unnatural then is the conduct of those who slight and lightly esteem the rock of their salvation! What enemies are they to themselves! In rejecting the consolation of Israel, they are depriving themselves of all real happiness.“ There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked.” Gaiety and noisy mirth there may be; but no peace arising from sober reflection, and the self-approving tes. timony of a well regulated mind. Sinners owe what little happiness they have to a want of consideration. Their highest pleasures are not better than the reveries of a delirium; which instead of envying, we always look upon with pity. But if the commission of sin be now pleasant, where is the sinner who will maintain the consolations of it at death? uncommon thing to hear men in their last hours con

It is no

demning themselves, and bitterly lamenting their folly and wickedness. They will promise, that if God would spare them a little longer, they would live very differently; and that Christ should be all their consolation, and all their desire. But, alas! often those repenting Esaus find no place for repentance. The master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door; and though they stand without, crying, “Lord, Lord, open to us,” it avails them nothing. They are driven away in their wickedness, while the righteous have hope in their death.

If there be such consolation in Christ, we also see how greatly they mistake who represent religion as gloomy.

Those, indeed, who are strangers to it, and judge from appearances only, are ready enough to bring the accusation. They, perhaps, see the Christian, walking at a distance, pensive and thoughtful. When they come nearer, they see his tears and hear him complain, () wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? and hence they conclude that his religion is the burden with which he seems to be oppressed. But, instead of this, it is the depravity of his heart which gives him so much disturbance; though, I might add, that this very distress is attended with more solidjoy than all the noise and mirth of the wicked. When the Christian, overwhelmed with the kindness of his heavenly Father, and vexed with himself for his baseness towards the greatest and best of Beings, dissolves in filial sorrow, he feels a pleasure which sinners cannot conceive. Tears have comfort in them, and grief itself is an entertainment. Those who have experienced it, can tell you, that their joys

have been greatest when they have been most retired . from the world, and considered and represented by others as melancholy. Though religion insists so strongly upon self-denial, and sacrificing our dearest enjoyments for the sake of Christ and his gospel ; though we are so often commanded to strive, to watch, to endure to the end; I say, though these are essential parts of religion, yet they imply not that it is unpleasant'and grievous.' If the joy of the Lord be our strength, we shall find every duty easy: and, like the Apostle, we shall glory in the greatest tribulation. The consolation of Christ will turn our grief into pleasure, and bestow a happiness which surpasses all worldly enjoyments. Come then, my hearers, and seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near. Here are life and salvation with him ; but at a distance from him, are guilt, misery, and everlasting destruction.

Fourthly, if there be so much consolation in Christ, let your lives declare it. If you have enjoyed some of the richest blessings of the gospel, and have the promise of more, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? Let joy and gladness sparkle in your countenances, and enliven every service. If difficult du- . ties, or heavy afflictions, fall to your lot, let the world see that the consolations of Christ are not words without meaning. Convince them of their reality and influence by a Christian fortitude, and a calm serenity. When the most furious storms are laying your comforts waste, let them see, that your consolation is too deeply rooted to be affected by their utmost violence. What must they think, if all the boasted pleasures of religion should not be sufficient to support you under worldly disappointments ? If the withering of a gourd should make you murmur against God, or if you sink in the day of adversity, would they not have reason to ask you,

- Where is your God ?" In the day of prosperity also, rejoice as if you rejoiced not. Let it appear that


chief consolations have a heavenly original. Be thankful and cheerful in the enjoyment of the comforts of life. But let your moderation be known to all men ; and live as those who have set their affections on things above. If Christ were an austere master, reaping where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not strewed ; if he suffered you to be tried above what you are able to bear, and required hard services of you, while he denied you assistance or comfort ; then it would be more excusable, if you should be slothful in business. But when his yoke is easy, and his burden is light; when his grace is sufficient for you, and he himself has promised to be with you always, even to the end; when he has engaged to as. sist and reward you with such helps and encouragements ; you ought to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. You should lay aside every weight, and the sin which most easily besets you; and run with patience, the race that is set before you ; and you should think, that you can never do enough for him, who, at the expense of his own life, redeemed your soul from destruction.

To conclude ; if there be so much consolation in Christ now, what must heaven be, where we shall behold, and partake of his glory? Here our consolations are neither few nor small; though they are

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