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for us the blessings of the life to come. Think not, that by observing them your pleasures will be diminished, they will be increased to a very large degree. Religion does not tend to cast a melancholy over the soul; oh, no, that soul which is without the divine consolations of the Spirit, is under the dominion and the thraldom of sin, but his gifts can remove the hardness of the human heart, and can present it spotless unto the Lord. Go forth then, my younger brethren, into the world, not in your own strength, but in the power of God; go forth with the arms of Christian warfare, and while you confess yourselves to be Christ's disciples, while upon yourselves your own responsibilities, resolve, that you will walk worthy of the vocation, whereunto you are called. And may the blessings of God for ever rest upon you may your honest endeavours be blessed in this life, and may they be crowned with everlasting joy in the life to come through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, world without end !
GENESIS ii. 18.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet foi him.”
From the text we have chosen, you will already have inferred, that the office now intended to be dwelt upon, is that of MARRIAGE. You are all probably aware, that a legislative enactment has come into operation, which authorizes those who dissent from us, to exercise their own discretion, with respect to their mode of celebrating this momentous engagement. A religious form is no longer obligatory, and the bless
· This and the following Sermon have been published in a separate form, but are here introduced to connect the subject in its several parts.
ing of God may be dispensed with in the making of man and woman one flesh, if the consciences of the contracting parties, can be induced to acquiesce in so sad, and startling a deficiency.
In preaching upon this subject we wish it to be distinctly understood, that we do not stand forward in the spirit of controversy. If we should appear upon this occasion more than ordinarily sanguine, we would have you set it down to our love and veneration, for those forms and ceremonies, in which we have delighted and taken counsel from our childhood up; and to our having at heart the desire, that you should, in like manner, appreciate the offices of the Church, and, as a necessary consequence, adhere to them upon all occasions, through good report and evil report. It is not for the ministers of Jesus Christ to oppose the laws enacted by those in power, for the Scriptures enjoin that we are to obey them; but when we find those laws, instead of being based upon God's holy word, palpably opposed to its sense and spirit,—when we find his divine appointments converted
into human forms, it then becomes our duty to explain and to defend the former. If we are to preach the Gospel, let it be the whole of the Gospel ; if we are to deliver to you the words of eternal truth, and would avoid
WOE” denounced against those who preach but a part of the Gospel, let us in ungarnished terms endeavour to revive that sacred principle, which prompted man to acknowledge marriage as a divine institution. It is, indeed, upon every ground, absolutely incumbent upon us to do so, disregarding the consequences, would promote the prosperity of the country-if we would enlarge the borders of happiness--and if we would secure to the female part of the community their noble and honourable position in society.
if we would promote the prosperity of the country: for we maintain that the tendency of marriage, regarded as a religious ordinance, is to augment the prosperity of a people; because we have observed, that wherever marriage may have been reduced to a civil contract, (which allowed the parties to break the covenant
as easily as it was made,) all virtue seemed to have taken leave of the hearts of men, and sin drew along with it, as a necessary consequence, the infliction of national misfortune. We say, if we would enlarge the borders of happiness; because we have observed, that when the tie of marriage became weak, as the merely civil tie will, the slightest cause, and sometimes only caprice, separated those, whom God would otherwise have joined together; this opened the flood-gates of sin and immorality, which are sure in the long run to entail calamity upon a nation. We say, if we would secure to the female part of community their noble and honourable position in society; because we have observed, that whenever that religious obligation was reduced to a civil contract, it invariably brought degradation upon the female, a general corruption of manners, and the reckless abandonment and misery of offspring. But this position in society was improved by Christianity: under its influence alone were the principles of love and virtue called into effective action: by it alone was the divine