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the grace of his Holy Spirit, that he may always incline to his will, and walk in his way.” For our Parliament, “ that He would be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations to the advancement of his glory, the good of his Church, the safety, honour and welfare of our Sovereign and his dominions ; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundation, that peace and happiness, trụth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations :" For all bishops, priests, and deacons, “that He would illuminate them with true knowledge and understanding of his word, and that both by their preaching and living, they may set it forth, and shew it accordingly.” For the Lords of the Council and all the Nobility, “that He would endue them with grace, wisdom, and understanding." And for the Magistrates, “that He would bless and keep them, giving them grace to execute justice, and to maintain truth." Yes, my dear brethren, let us thus earnestly pray for the Divine blessing on the British Government and Constitution in church and state ; knowing, that as the clay is in the potter's hands, so are nations in the hands of the Lord ; for “at what instant He shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom He has pronounced, turn from their evil ways, He will repent of the evil that He thought to do unto them.” And while we pray for our country, let us pray especially for ourselves, that we may be saved from “sin, which is a disgrace to any people ;” that we may not be satisfied with a nominal profession of religion, while uninfluenced by its principles, and disobedient to its precepts. And while the signs of the times warn us, that the judgments of God are in the earth, even the sword, and the noisome pestilence, let us learn righteousness, and be found watching. Hitherto the Lord has dealt very mercifully with us, and spared us beyond other nations ; let us humble ourselves before Him, and acknowledge His goodness, while we kiss the rod by which we have been so gently corrected ; let us embrace with gratitude the blessed hope that is still set before us in the Gospel of the
grace of God; and “ having this hope let us seek to purify ourselves, even as Christ is pure.” Thus only we can be safe under all trials, and thus only can we be prepared to meet whatever God has prepared for us. His judgments are coming on spiritual Babylon, therefore all who would escape her plagues, must flee out of the midst of her. His judgments are coming on “ the nations that forget God,” that they may be “ turned into hell,” according to his word ; let us therefore remember, and fear Him : His judgments are coming, not only upon
all who oppose, but all who are lukewarm in the cause of Christ, and the advancement of his kingdom ; let us then seek to be found among those who support and uphold his cause ; who hallow his name, and endeavour to “ do his will on earth as it is done in heaven;" so that if in our day, a storm should blow upon the Church, which shall break down every unfruitful branch, and shake off all unsound fruit, driving the wicked like chaff into unquenchable fire, we may be found firmly united to Christ the living vine, and bringing forth fruit that shall remain to his glory; thus shall we be prepared to stand the storm, under the shadow and shelter of the Almighty ruler of the universe.
Lastly, I would remind and exhort you all, that as prayer was made at your baptism, that you might be received into the ark of Christ's church, so you would take heed and see that you are now in it, and that you abide therein ; that, amidst the storms and convulsions which threaten to shake the nations of the earth, you may ride in perfect peace and security, having the anchor of
your hope cast within the vail, so that all the powers of hell shall not be able to shake or remove it.
(Preached September 11th, 1831.)
MATTHEW xii. 45.
“ Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there : and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
The parable to which this Scripture belongs is one which, though very striking, is perhaps not so easily or generally understood. In order fully to comprehend its force and meaning, we should consider to whom it was addressed, and on what occasion. It was addressed more immediately to the Scribes and Pharisees, who, in a spirit of unbelief, sought of our Lord a sign from heaven; on which occasion our blessed Saviour declared to them, “ that an evil and adulterous generation sought after a sign, but that no sign should be given unto them, but the
sign of the Prophet Jonas”—they had had already numerous signs, in the many miracles which Christ had wrought, to prove his divine mission, and to confirm his holy doctrine; and, therefore, there should be but one'sign more vouchsafed to them, namely, that of the Prophet Jonas, who, being three days and three nights in the whale's belly, prefigured Christ, who, after being three days and three nights in the grave, should rise from the dead, and prove himself the true Messiah : but this sign being rejected by the majority of the Jewish people, it should seal their condemnation, so that “ the men of Nineveh should rise up in judgment with that generation, and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas, and, behold, a greater than Jonas had appeared among them”—“ the queen of the south also, should rise up in judgment with that generation, and should condemn it, for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and, behold, a greater than Solomon” had appeared among them : but they would not hear, nor come unto him, that they might have life. He, therefore, proceeds in the parable connected with the text, to shew their awful state, and the deep condemnation to which their obstinate unbelief had justly exposed them.
-“ When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none : then he saith, I will