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but heaven-its gorgeous mansions, its illustrious inhabitants, and its ineffable delights-these, enduring in themselves, and guarded by Omnipotence, will remain for ever proof against all the tear and wear of time, uninfluenced by the convulsive heavings of external revolutions, and endangered by no species of annoyance or attack from any quarter of the uni

verse.

for ever.

Such, my brethren, is “ the Word of the Lord which by the Gospel is preached unto you ;” such is its abiding character. In its original form, as at first revealed ; in its power of sufferance, or proof against all efforts to destroy it; in its exhaustless efficiency as the means of salvation, and in the immortal glories which it secures for those who cordially embrace it—in one and all of these, we have seen, it endureth

It now only remains that I base upon the doctrine thus explained and illustrated, one or two practical observations.

The first observation I would make is the following :- If such be the enduring nature of the Gospel, if it be thus imperishable, either through the influence of decay or the force of violence, then, how groundless is all fear as to its stability and success ?

There seems, indeed, a natural and easy tendency in many to give way to doubt and alarm on this subject.

66 The church is in danger," is a cry which has been frequently raised; it is one which has in every age been more or less prevalent, and wbich at present resounds throughout the length and breadth of the land. But it is, as it has ever been, the cry, in most instances, more of sectarian zealotry than of sincere concern for the interests of religion ; and wherever it

may be the latter, it must spring either from ignorance of the true nature of the Messiah's kingdom, or distrust of the promises which God has made regarding it. If by the church, indeed, is meant a civil Establishment of Christianity—if it be averred that its safety consists in the continuance of tithes,

and the reception of fresh parliamentary endowments-if with these its existence and healthful operation be identified, in this case, it is admitted it not only may be, but is in danger. But these, however thousands may seem to imagine otherwise, are evidently no part of the church, nor is its progperity at all dependant on their aid. Christianity, it is well

. known, existed and prospered ere ever it was united to the nations of this world, or its ministers were supported by compulsory taxation; and it would exist and prosper still, we believe, not only as much as now it does, but to far greater degree, if again deprived of all such unscriptural auxiliaries. Nothing is plainer than that “the word of the Lord,” the true religion of Jesus, will not only keep its ground, but advance, amid every change of circumstance, and despite of every obstacle.

God has promised that it will; and all fears of the opposite, therefore, are not only groundless, they are preposterous and fraught with impiety.

These, my friends, are doubtless the days of strife in which we live; there is presently at work a mighty struggle of principle-a war of moral elements; ay, and he sees but dimly who perceives not “ signs in the sun, and signs in the moon, and signs in the stars,” which betoken a yet fiercer contest, and one more decisive in its issue. Well, let the tide of battle roll ; let the conflict now. being fought become more general-let it increase in ardour and assume a darker

aspect -let it rise even till it reach the highest point-the moment of decision, of triumph or defeat: he whose cause is truth, and whose weapons of warfare are drawn from the armoury of heaven, needs fear nothing; for, come the final struggle when it

may, it will terminate in the overthrow, not of what is true, but what is false ; not of what is right, but what is wrong ; not of Christianity, but of its corruptions, its unscriptural appurtenances, and its avowed opponents. Christianity itself is ever safe, happen whatever may, within the impregnable fortress of its own inherent strength and immor

tality; its walls of defence are composed of the valid arguments of reason, and the omnipotence of Heaven; and so long as the laws of nature remain unchanged, and the Almighty God continues to occupy the throne of universal empire, no conspiracy of scepticism, however ingeniously devised, nor political convulsion, however severe its shock, nor alteration in the temporal affairs of any section of the church, however great, will ever either materially affect the extent of its operations, or permanently retard the wheels of its predicted triumph.

There is no fear then, I repeat, of the continuance of the Gospel-no fear of the stability of the church, properly so called : it will exist and prosper in spite of every occurrence. A host of evils may, no doubt, beset it and threaten its ruin; but no danger of it. “ It is founded on a rock, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Nay, it will be, as it has hitherto been, that its very extreme depression will be the signal of its revival ; that when reduced to the lowest ebb of life, and apparently expiring, it will suddenly give symptoms of returning health, burst forth in all the freshness of renewed vigour, and advance on its career in power and triumph. “Rejoice not against me,”-it is accordingly represented by the Prophet Micah as exclaiming—“O, mine enemy: when I fall, I shall rise ; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Then she that is mine

enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me Where is the Lord thy God ? mine eyes

shall behold ber; now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.”

As a second practical observation, I remark, that if the final issue of the Gospel be, as we have seen it is, eternalif the future beatitude it secures be not only unspeakably

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glorious, but also perpetually endurable, how great, then, must be the treasure of those who receive it ! and how urgent its claims upon our immediate and cordial acceptance !

The Gospel, as has already been observed, is by no means confined to the future in the benefits which it confers. Far from it. It has, on the contrary, the most felicitous bearing on the immediate condition of man--the directest tendency to mitigate his sorrows and heighten bis joys. What else, for instance, can calm his awakened conscience, support his drooping spirit, ennoble his character, and inspire his soul with equanimity and confidence under every variety of fortune? Were it, in fact, but for the present good of which the Gospel is the parent, it would stand superior to every other system of religion under heaven, yea, to every other means of earthly happiness whatever, and would thus, even in this minor point of view, press itself upon our reception, no less by the force of interest than of duty. Yet the good which it produces here, great as it may be, is small compared with what it promises hereafter : its present blessings form merely the earnest of those which it reserves--the germ of that matured happiness which will ripen forth in heaven in all the exuberance of “ glory, honour, immortality, eternal life.”

Of the future, indeed, we know but little; unaided reason is totally blind regarding its impenetrable secrecies, and even revelation withdraws but very partially the veil which hides them from our view. Enough, however, has been told us of the mansions of bliss beyond the grave—of the stainless purity, the unruffled peace, the dazzling splendour, and the enrapturing delight which there abound, to fill us with amazement at the love of God in preparing such a place for guilty men, and to lead us at once to congratulate those already revelling in the enjoyment of its pleasures, and wish ourselves to be at length among the number. But the highest excellence, the crowning property of this inheritance, is its

eternal perpetuity--the fact, that over it immortality reigns in absolute control, and imprints on all which it contains the lovely image of unwithering youth.

Now, my brethren, how worthy is such a glorious imperishable abode, of your steady contemplation and most ardent desires. You plod, it may be, you toil, and submit to danger and privation, that you may acquire wealth, attain to power, and encircle yourselves with magnificence and honour; but in doing so, you' labour only for that which satisfieth not, and which has no abiding. For all sublunary acquisitions, be they ever so valuable, are at best short-lived and uncertain-evanescent as “ the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven.” But here, in the provisions of the Gospel, you are presented with a nobler object of ambition, with one more commensurate with the dignity of your nature and the extent of your desires ; here there is placed before your view a wealth, a happiness, an honour, of inconceivable greatness, it is true, but, what is more, of unlimited duration—a “ weight of glory," in short, proportionate in existence with eternity itself. It is this which “ the word of the Lord” reveals, which it proffers you on terms suited to your circumstances, and which it urges you, by the most solemn considerations, to appreciate and receive.

Well, will you appreciate and receive the permanent, the ever-enduring blessings which the Gospel thus holds out for your acceptance ? Many of you, I trust, have already done so, and feel, in the hopes you cherish, as well as in the peace which you enjoy, a happiness more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold.” 'But more of you,

it is to be feared, have as yet acted a very different part. Wrapped, it may be, in ignorance, despite of all the light by which you are surrounded, you remain in need of being taught " what be the first principles of the oracles of God;" or, buried, perhaps, in the pursuits and pleasures of the

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