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This is the SERMON

vanishing from among men.
language sometimes of the serious; often
of the hypocritical, or of the narrow-minded.
But true religion gives no sanction to such
severe censures, or such gloomy views.
Though the tares must be at all times.
springing up, there is no reason for be-
lieving that they shall ever overspread the
whole field. The nature of the weeds that
spring up may vary, according to the nature
of the soil. Different modes of iniquity may
distinguish different ages of the world;
while the sum of corruption is nearly the
same. Let not our judgments of men,
and of the times in which we live, be
hasty and presumptuous. Let us trust in
the grace of God, and hope the best of


In the fourth and last place, let us keep our eyes ever fixed on that important period, which is allud to in the Text, as the conclusion of all. Let both grow together until the harvest. The great spiritual year is to be closed by a larvest, when the householder is to gather the wheat into his barn; when, at the end of the



SERMON world, the final distinction of men and


characters is to take place. The confused mixture of good and evil, which now prevails, is only a temporary dispensation of Providence, accommodated to man's fallen and imperfect state. Let it not tempt us for a moment to distrust the reality of the Divine government; or to entertain the remotest suspicion that moral good and evil are to be on the same terms for ever. The frailties of our nature fitted us for no more at present than the enjoyment of a very mixed and imperfect society. But when our nature, purified and refined, shall become ripe for higher advancement, then shall the spirits of the just, disengaged from any polluted mixture, undisturbed by sin or by sinners, be united in one divine assembly, and rejoice for ever in the presence of him who made them. Looking forward to this glorious issue with stedfast faith, let no cross appearances ever discomfit our hopes, or lead us to suspect that we have been serving God in vain. If we continue faithful to the death, we may rest assured, that in due time we shall receive the crown of life.


On the RELIEF which the GOSPEL affords to the DISTRESSED.

[Preached at the Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.]

MATTH. xi. 28.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

HE life of man on earth is doomed SERMON.


to be clouded with various evils. Throughout all ranks the afflicted form


considerable portion of the human race; and even they who have a title to be called prosperous, are always, in some periods of their life, obliged to drink from the cup of bitterness. The Christian religion is particularly entitled to our regard, by accommodating VOL. IV.



itself with



SERMON great tenderness to this distressed condiV. tion of mankind. It is not to be considered as merely an authoritative system of precepts. Important precepts it indeed delivers for the wise

and proper regula

same voice which

tion of life. But the
enjoins our duty, utters the words of con-
solation. The Gospel deserves to be held
a dispensation of relief to mankind un-
der both the temporal and spiritual dis-
tresses of their state.

This amiable and compassionate spirit
of our religion conspicuously appears in
the character of its great Author. It
shone in all his actions while he lived on
earth. It breathed in all his discourses ;
and, in the words of the text, is expres-
sed with much energy.
In the preceding
verse, he had given a high

own person and dignity.

account of his

All things are

delivered unto me of my Father; and no

man knoweth the Son but the Father ; nei

ther knoweth any

Son, and he to

man the Father, save the

whomsoever the Son will reveal him. But, lest any of his hearers should be discouraged by this mysterious representation of his greatness, he instant



ly tempers it with the most gracious be- SERMON nignity; declaring, in the text, the merciful intention of his mission to the world. Come unto me, all


that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you


THE first thing which claims our at tention in these words is, what we are to understand by coming unto Christ. This is a phrase which has often given occasion to controversy. By theological writers it has been involved in much needless mystery, while the meaning is in itself plain and easy. The very metaphor that is here used serves to explain it. In the ancient world, disciples flocked round their different teachers, and attended them wherever they went; in order both to testify their attachment, and to imbibe more fully the doctrine of their masters. Coming unto Christ, therefore, is the same with resorting to him as our declared Master; acknowledging ourselves his disciples, believers in his doctrine, and followers of his precepts. As Christ is made

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known to us under the character both of

G 2

a Teacher

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