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righteous edict, and intended to keep his creatures ever on their guard. How mad then is the insensibility of those who, regardless of the lofty destinies of an immortal soul, unimpressed by the numberless mementos which surround them, uninfluenced by the exhortations of the pulpit, are still content to remain barren of all

world, and reckless of another. And still the GOD of Heaven forbears to smite, still the flash of vengeance which should blast them, is withheld; still the axe is laid to the root, but the tree is not yet cut down. Year after year rolls on, and the Lord comes seeking fruit, and finding none. Wondrous is the patience and longsuffering which he displays-great is his condescension, and infinite are his mercies.

the fruits of righteousness. I appeal to your own convictions, whether you have availed yourselves of these advantages. I ask you to search your own hearts, and to measure your advances in religion, with the time that has been allotted you. When you take a retrospective view of life, can you reckon up evil habits subdued, unchristian tempers regulated, temp-religious fruit, living wholly for this tations resisted;-can you trace onward from one past year to another, a growing contempt for the world, an increasing love of holiness, a closer approximation to Christ. Do you feel that you are fitter now to die, than when the year that has just retreated was beginning to dawn upon you? If death were to surprise you this night, could you aver that you had fought the good fight, that you had finished your course, that you looked confidently forward to the crown of righteousness as your reward? I trust there are some in this congregation, whose delightful and exalted employment it has been to measure the value of their passing days by their growth in grace, who are ready at any time to die with calmness and resignation. But there must be many whose accounts with GOD have been suffered to run on neglected, and who have therefore a heavy bond to discharge, or a tremendous penalty to suffer. Oh, consider, before it be too late, that there is but one period allowed for preparing yourselves for Heaven. This period is comprized within that little interval which we call our life. There is no repentance beyond the grave. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." Over each of you, as over the courtier recorded in classic story, there hangs a suspended sword, on the point of dropping every instant. It is the decree of our Almighty Judge that not one of us should know how long he has to live. It is a

Thirdly; But in the next place, we are reminded that a time will arrive, when after repeated discoveries of obduracy and impenitence, the alarming sentence will be no longer held in abeyance. Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground. On taking a survey of the years that have rolled past you, cannot you reckon up many acquaintances, neighbours, or friends, who have been summoned to the bar of judgment; some perhaps prepared to meet their judge, others, of whom, alas, it must be said by the commonest observer, that they cumbered the earth by their iniquities and bad example, and were justly cut off from the land of the living. Has not the pestilence which, within the last year, has been ravaging this land, carried off its thousands and tens of thousands? Some will tell you that it was the mere result of natural causes, excluding the Divinity from interference with his creation. But the Christian knows and believes that it was the arm of the Lord revealed in vengeance, sweeping off from the land the

cumberers of our soil-while at the same time some of the excellent ones of the earth, already ripe for Heaven, were wafted to their GoD by the same visitation, snatched from some evil, and safely lodged in the haven of their everlasting repose. We cannot presume to measure the proportion of the sinners and the righteous ones who were thus swept into eternity. Our Saviour checked such vain presumptions, when some communicated to him the story of the slaughtered Galileans, presuming that they were sinners above all their countrymen, because they suffered such things. But he bids them make a practical use of the transaction, and concisely says, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Remember then that thousands have been summoned to another world, because the patience of GOD would wait no longer. And let each ask himself Why then am I still spared? What merit has exempted me from the fate of others? Why is not my body stretched in the cold sepulchre, and my soul consigned to its unchangeable destination? While so many have fallen at my right hand and at my left, here I continue in the enjoyment of life's various comforts; amid the treasures of knowledge, the endearments of friends, the socialities of the domestic circle. Above all, the opportunities of salvation are still within my reach, and Heaven may yet be attained. Transporting privilege! and where must I look for the origin of this invaluable boon?

Fourthly, We are now brought to another division of our subject. We find the dresser of the vineyard kindly remonstrating with the disappointed lord of the property, and accosting him with placid language, "Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and dung it; and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."

Thus, brethren, Jesus Christ has been pleading with the sovereign Lord of Heaven, in behalf of many a sinner. And is it too much to say, that some of those whom I am addressing are at this moment subjects of his experimental mercy? It does not pertain to us to form judgments of each other. We cannot dive into the hearts of those with whom we are concerned. The shafts of the preacher are thrown at random, and we leave the result to the grace of GoD and the consciences of our hearers. But I intreat you in all the simplicity of truth and love to ask your own hearts, whether you think that you were prepared to die, when so many were dropping around you-whether you think that you are now ready for the event, and confident of happiness hereafter. If not, I beseech you to turn your thoughts to that gracious Being, who has proved himself not only able but willing to let you alone for another year. Perhaps even now the mandate has gone forth against one or other of us present, that this shall be our last. Nevertheless you still live and breathe. A throne, a sceptre, a crown of glory, an inheritance undefiled, unfading, is yet within your grasp. And this privilege you derive from the merciful interposition of your Saviour.

Fifthly: I have next to remark, that there is no reply recorded in answer to this gracious expostulation. The word of GOD, whilst it gives every encouragement, yet holds forth no loose and easy promises of acceptance. It everywhere inculcates the danger of delay, and sounds an alarm in the sinner's ear. We know that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; but finite beings, like ourselves, have too little acquaintance with the nature of the Infinite, to be enabled to affirm that the advocacy of the Son is always

effectual with the Father. Intimate as is their union, we cannot say with certainty in what cases stern justice shall be arrested, in what cases the sinner shall be given over to irreprievable condemnation. Enough is revealed to us for the attainment of salvation. All that choose may avail themselves of the opportunity. No sinner is too far gone for recovery whilst life is allotted him. Christ is the gracious intercessor for sins of every colour and complexion. From the earliest times to this very moment, his mediatorial office has been unceasingly in operation. Who was it that pleaded in behalf of the antidiluvian world, until their iniquities made them ripe for destruction, and the Spirit would strive no longer in their favour? Who was it that protracted the desolation of Jerusalem, not for a single year, but for century after century, sending prophets among them, to dig about the fibres of their stubborn hearts, and to manure the meager soil by every fertilizing application. "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Who was it that bore so long with Paul, the persecutor, and, milder measures failing, smote the rebel to the ground, encompassing him with a supernatural flood of light, and accosting him in language of gracious import? The same Jesus who has permitted you to enter upon another year of probationary existence. Oh, who knows what copious fruits of righteousness he contemplates gathering from some of you? Who knows what sounds of joy may ring through the courts of heaven at such a prospect, and pass on by some mysterious transmission to the conscious spirits of those who

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have gone before you, augmenting their peaceful repose, and imparting fresh touches of consolation.

And who can say what accents of fiendish triumph may echo through the cloisters of hell, and diffuse among the damned some momentary gleam of baleful joy at the anticipated sentence awaiting others:-Cut them down, why cumber they the ground. I conclude this discourse with a few suitable admonitions.

Every one has some besetting sin, some grand impediment to his salvation, on which a multitude of subordinate vices are suspended. It requires no great portion of sagacity to discover this. Conscience is a faithful monitor; and I doubt not that there is at this moment rising in every breast, a thought-executed picture of the insiduous monster that so triumphantly controls it.

Summon at once all your energies and powers to grapple with this tyrant of the soul. Like a skilful general, who concentrates all his forces to one point, and thus gains access to the beleaguered town, so let the Christian combatant arrange his attack. Let the voluptuary declare instant war with those degrading passions that are hurrying him to misery and destruction. Let the drunkard break away from the seducements that bind him-let him spurn the inordinate cup, and resolutely resist the accursed temptation. Let the miser awake at once from his delusion-let him dash away the golden image set up in the province of his heart, and scatter about its fragments in deeds of Christian mercy. Let the proud, the deceitful, the selfish, the calumnious, the unforgiving, at once take up arms against the antagonist of their happiness, and determine, with the spirit of martyrs, to ro

(To be continued.)



No. 131.]


(Rev. F. H. Hutton's Sermon concluded.) sist and conquer. Let the glory of the result be set before your eyes. Let no present difficulties impede your firm resolves, no bland persuasions of the foe induce you to falter. Should the sin with which you are called on to wrestle be habitually dearer to you than the light of the eye, or more serviceable to you in your intercourse with a profligate world than the use of the right hand to the labourer for his daily bread, yet remember the uncompromising language of your Saviour, "If thy right hand offend thee cut it off and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."

But resolutions of amendment, in themselves, however strong, are yet of little value, without the co-operating grace of heaven. There is a mighty energy imparted from above, when earnest prayer has ascended from the penitent's lips. Prayer is a powerful engine to bring down the favor of the Almighty. And yet how simple an instrument it is. The sinner examines himself, becomes conscious of his danger, retires to his closet, and there kneels before his Maker in meek petition and earnest acknowledgment. His prayer is granted, his weakness is strengthened, his spirit is encouraged, he resorts


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again and again to this sacred source of power and consolation, and acquires, from such repeated intercourse with his GOD, continual augmentations of ascendency over sin, and of holiness unto salvation.

Having thus resolved to set out on a new career, making heaven the object of all your desires, and Christ the north-star of your eager gazing hopes, the stream of life will run clear, comfort will embrace you on every side, the grave will be disarmed of its terrors, the sting of death will be extracted. As one year succeeds another, and the faded complexion and wrinkling brow bespeak your approach to another world, you will calculate, with joyful anticipation, your prospective exemption from the sorrows of life, from the hazards of relapse into sin, from the assaults of your spiritual enemy. You will think with serenity of the shroud and the coffin, and enter upon your last sleep as calmly and sweetly as the innocent child passes into its nightly slumber. And oh, in that climate of unclouded bliss, in what a new and surpassing character shall we behold the heavenly vine-dresser. The soul embodied in its earthly tenement, speculating upon heaven and hell, can but faintly conceive the excess of holy love, with which the redeemed in Christ shall contemplate Him, who


has gathered them into the possession | us in these realms of probation, ex

of all good, and for ever hidden from their eyes that knowledge of evil, the fatal patrimony inherited from the first Adam.

To Him then be the voice of gratitude uplifted, who hath hitherto spared us, and borne with us, and detained

postulating with the Gop of justice, and making mercy triumphant over the rigour of law-" Lord, let them alone this year also; and if they bear fruit, well; if not, then after that thou shalt cut them down."

A Sermon,



Matthew, vii.12.-" Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

BRETHREN, this precept may indeed be called, with reason, a precept which belongs exclusively to revelation. Man learns it not by the world around him, and learns it not by the teachings of his own heart: man learns it exclusively from the words of Jesus Christ himself. Naturally, the heart of a man is bound up in selfishness. A man of benevolence may, it is true, feel pleasure in relieving poverty; or a man of compassion may experience satisfaction in relieving pain: a man of philanthropy may rejoice in bettering the condition of his destitute and ignorant neighbours; but a benevolent, or a compassionate, or a philanthropic feeling, is not so incompatible with actual selfishness as may appear at first sight to the superficial observer. The tender-hearted man may wipe away the tears of the mourner and yet be selfish: the rich man, out of his abundance, may minister plentifully to the wants of the necessitous and yet be selfish:

the man of letters may diffuse knowledge and promote the cultivation of intellect, and yet there may be within him the close, exclusive, unfeeling principle of selfishness. It is the contribution of the two mites of the poor widow, out of her penury, that marks the inward sentiment. True benevolence, in a word, is self-denial.

Now St. Paul seems to have had a very painful sense of this natural defect in man. He warns his Philippian converts-" My brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, (so, in the extent of his affection he calls them,) look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." He complains that in all the city of Rome,―great, and marvellous, and powerful and celebrated as it was, -he had found no man like minded with himself, who would naturally care for the state of his brother. I know not, my Christian brethren, whether there is one single fact, recorded in all scripture, that more strongly marks

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