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Christ's Agony. CHRISTIANS! what an hour was that, which our Saviour passed in the garden of Gethsemane! In the time of his passion, his torments succeeded one another. He was not at the same time betrayed, mocked, scourged, crowned with thorns, pierced with a spear, extended on a cross, and forsaken by his Father: but here all these torments rose before him at once; all his pains were united together; what he was to endure in succession, now crowded into one moment, and his soul was overcome. At this time, too, the powers of darkness, it should seem, were permitted to work upon his imagination, to disturb his spirit, and make the vale through which he was to pass, appear more dark and gloomy.

Add to this, that our Saviour having now come to the close of his public life, his whole mediatorial undertaking presented itself to his view; his eye ran over the history of that race which he came to save, from the beginning to the end of time. He had a feeling of all the misery, and a sense of all the guilt of men. If he looked back into past times, what did he behold ?—The earth a field of blood, a vale of tears, a theatre of crimes. If he cast his eyes upon that one in which he lived, what did he behold ?- The nation, to whom he was sent, rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, imprecating his blood to be upon them and their children, and bringing upon themselves such a desolation as has not happened to any other people. When he looked forward to succeeding ages, what did he behold ? -He saw, that the wickedness of men was to continue and abound, to erect a Golgotha in every age, and, by obstinate impenitence, to crucify afresh the Son of God;—he saw, that, in his blessed name, and under the banners of his cross, the most atrocious crimes were to be committed, the sword of persecution to be drawn, the best blood of the earth to be shed, and the noblest spirits that ever graced the world to be cut off;—he saw, that, for many of the human race, all the efforts of saving mercy were to be defeated; that his death was to be of no avail, that his blood was to be shed in vain, that his agonies were to be lost, and that it had been happy for them if he had never been born;—he saw, that he was to be wounded in the house of his friends, that his name was to be blasphemed among nis own followers, that he was to be dishonoured by the

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wicked lives of those who called themselves his disciples; that one man was to prefer the gains of iniquity, another the blandishments of pleasure, a third the indulgence of malicious desire, and all of you, at times, the gratification of your favourite passion—to the tender mercies of the God of peace, and the dying love of a crucified Redeemer. While the hour revolved that spread forth all these things before his eyes, we need not wonder that he began to be in agony, and that he sweated, as it were, great drops of blood.


The Deluding Influence of the World. My brethren, the true source of all our delusion, is a false and deceitful security of life. Thousands pass to their account around us, and we are not instructed. Some are struck in our very arms—our parents, our children, our friends—and yet we stand as if we had shot into the earth an eternal root. Even the most sudden transitions from life to dust, produce but a momentary impression on the dust that breathes. No examples, however awful, sink into the heart. Every instant we see health, youth, beauty, titles, reputation, and fortune, disappear like a flash. Still do we pass gaily on, in the broad and flowery way, the same busy, thoughtless, and irreclaimable beings; panting for every pleasure as before, thirsting for riches and preeminence, rushing on the melancholy ruins of one another, intriguing for the employments of those whose ashes are scarce cold; nay, often, I fear, keeping an eye on the very expiring, with the infamous view of seizing the earliest moment to solicit their spoils.

Great God! as if the all-devouring tomb, instead of solemnly pronouncing on the vanity of all human pursuits, on the contrary, emitted sparks to rekindle all our attachment to a perishable world! Let me suppose, my brethren, that the number of man's days were inscribed on his brow! Is it not clear, that an awful certainty of that nature must necessarily beget the most profound and operative reflection? Would it be possible to banish, even for a moment, the fatal term from his thoughts? The nearer he approached it, what an increase of alarm! what an increase of light on the folly of every thing but immortal good! Would all his views and aspirings be confined, as they now are, to the little span that intervenes between


his cradle and his grave; and care, and anxiety, and mis. erable agitation be his lot, merely to die overwhelmea with riches, and blazing with honours ?

No! wedded to this miserable scene of existence, our hopes are afloat to the last. The understanding, clear in every other point, casts not a ray on the nature of our condition, however desperate. Too frequently it happens, that every one around us at that awful moment, conspires to uphold this state of delusion. They shudder for us in their hearts, yet talk to us of recovery with their lips. From a principle of mistaken, or, to give it its proper name, of barbarous lenity, the most important of all truths is withheld, till it is of little use to impart it. The consequence is obvious. We are surprised-fatally surprised. Our eyes are only opened when they are ready to close for ever. Perhaps an instant of reflection to be made the most of; perhaps to be divided between the disposition of worldly affairs, and the business of eternity! An instant of reflection, just God! to bewail an entire life of disorder

—to inspire faith the most lively, hope the most firm, love the most pure! An instant of reflection, perhaps for a sinner whom vice may have infected to the very marrow of his bones, when reason is half eclipsed, and all the faculties palsied by the strong grasp of death! Oh, my brethren, terrible is the fate of those, who are only roused from a long and criminal security, by the sword of his divine justice already gleaming in their eyes! Remember, that if any truth in religion be more repeatedly pressed on us than another, it is this—that as we live, so shall we inevitably die. Few of us, I am sure, but live in the intention of throwing an interval of most serious reflection between the world and the grave. But let me warn you on that point!—It is not given to man to bestow his heart and affection on the present scene, and recall them when he pleases. No; every hour will draw our chains closer. Those obstacles to better practice, which we find insuperable at this moment, will be more insuperable as we go

It is the property of years to give wide and immoveable root to all passions. The deeper the bed of the torrent, the more impossible to change its course. The older and more inveterate a wound, the more painful the remedy, and more desperate the cure.



There is no Peace to the Wicked. In truth, my brethren, there is not a sin, but what one way or another is punished in this life. We often err egregiously by not attending to the distinction between happiness, and the means of happiness. Power, riches, and prosperity—those means of happiness, and sources of enjoyment–in the course of Providence, are sometimes conferred upon

the worst of men. Such persons possess the good things of life, but they do not enjoy them. They have the means of happiness, but they have not happiness itself. A wicked man can never be happy. It is the firm decree of Heaven-eternal and unchangeable as Jehovah himself—that misery must ever attend on guilt; that, when sin enters, happiness takes its departure. There is no such thing in nature, my brethren,—there is no such in nature, as a vicious or unlawful pleasure.

What we generally call such, are pleasures in themselves lawful, procured by wrong means, or enjoyed in a wrong way; procured by injustice, or enjoyed with intemperance;and surely neither injustice nor intemperance have any charm for the mind: and unless we are framed with a very uncommon temper of mind and body, injustice will be hurtful to the one, and intemperance fatal to the other. Unruly desires and bad passions—the gratification of which is sometimes called pleasure—are the source of almost all the miseries in human life. When once indulged, they rage for repeated gratification, and subject us, at all times, to their clamours and importunity. When they are gratified, if they give any joy,- it is the joy of fiends, the joy of the tormented,-a joy which is purchased at the expense of a good conscience, which rises on the ruins of the public peace, and proceeds from the miseries of our fellow-creatures. The forbidden fruit proves to be the apples of Sodom, and the grapes of Gomorrah. One deed of shame is succeeded by years of penitence and pain. A single indulgence of wrath has raised a conflagration, which neither the force of friendship, nor length of time, nor the vehemence of intercession, could mitigate or appease; and which could only be quenched by the effusion of human blood. One drop from the cup of this powerful sorceress has turned living streams of joy into waters of bitterness. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

If a wicked man could be happy, who might have been so happy as Haman,-raised from an inferior station to great riches and power; exalted above his rivals, and above the princes of the empire; favourite and prime minister to the greatest monarch in the world ? But with all these advantages on his side, and under all these smiles of fortune; his happiness was destroyed by the want of a bow, usual to those of his station, from one of the porters of the palace. Enraged with this neglect, this vain great man cried out, in the pang of disappointment, “ All this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai sitting at the king's gate.” This seeming affront sat deep on his mind. He meditated revenge. A single victim could not satisfy his malice. He wanted to have a glutting vengeance. He resolved, for this purpose, to involve thousands in destruction, and to make a whole nation fall a sacrifice to the indulgence of his mean-spirited pride.His wickedness proves his ruin, and he erected the gallows on which he himself was doomed to be hanged!

If we consider man as an individual, we shall see a further confirmation of the truth contained in the text, that “ There is no peace to the wicked.”

In order to strengthen the obligations to virtue, Almighty God hath rendered the practice of sin fatal to our peace as individuals, as well as pernicious to our interests as members of society. From the sinner God withdraws his favour, and the light of his countenance. How dark will that mind be, which no beam from the Father of lights ever visits! How joyless that heart, which the spirit of life never animates! When sin entered into paradise, the angels of God forsook the place. So from the soul that is polluted with guilt,--peace, and joy, and hope, those good angels, vanish and depart. What succeeds to this family of heaven ?—Confusion, shame, remorse, despair.


On the Importance of an Interest in the Divine Favour.

If God be the great Ruler of the world, and governs it without interruption or control, of what infinite importance is his favour!

If an earthly ruler be our friend, we reckon that all our civil interests are secure: but if God doth according to bis pleasure, both in heaven and in earth, in this world and

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