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whose hands are pure, and whose hearts are undefiled. Though the crown of glory be laid up in the heavens, yet it is laid up for those alone, who fight the good fight of faith, and finish their course with a patient continuance in well doing.
Whilst then, with hearts resigned to the divine will, we bow the knee to God; whilst, with hopes full of immortality, we lift the eye of faith to heaven; let us not forget to follow peace on earth, and cultivate good will towards men. Whilst in the day of distress we stretch forth our hands for help to the Father of mercies, let us not deny mercy to our fellow-beings; whilst in the hour of affliction, we implore consolation from the Lord of life, let us not refuse comfort to those who are in misery and the shadow of death.
Thus shall we be indeed followers of those, who have gone before us in the Christian race; thus shall we be a blessing to mankind; thus shall we secure to ourselves a never-failing support here, and at that awful moment, when the springs of life fail, shall be received into the everlasting arms of that God, in whom we have trusted.
LUKE XV. 11, 12, 13.
And he said, A certain man had two sons. the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
ALL scripture," we are told, “is given
by inspiration of God, and is profitable "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for "instruction in righteousness." And perhaps no part of scripture more eminently abounds. with each of these, than the parable now read to you; which, therefore, I have made choice of, as containing useful instruction for the younger part of my audience; that if there
should be any so unfortunate as neither to be awed by precept, nor restrained by advice, they may at least be warned by example, of the fatal and inevitable consequences of youthful vices and early debauchery.
Nor let any one think it strange that I should so frequently address myself to young persons from this place. Experience shews, that those whose minds and manners have long been tainted with vice, are seldom reclaimed, till misfortune, age, or sickness, dispose them to listen to the sober voice of reason. But they, who are either yet wholly untainted with sin, or at least stand trembling on the brink of iniquity, will sometimes feel the force of a well-intended reproof; may sometimes be taught the superior beauty of innocence and integrity; to value the approbation of God more than the applause of a wicked companion; to think it a higher satis'faction to give joy and comfort to the declining years of an anxious parent, than to revel in the scenes of midnight pleasure, or to celebrate the orgies of nocturnal debauchery; in a word, to think it more amiable to be the prop and consolation of age-worn infirmity, than to bring down gray hairs with sorrow to the grave." A certain man had two sons." See here how happiness is ever entwined and chequered with misery!
how blessings and sorrows are inseparable companions, and attend us in every stage and circumstance of life! He had but two sons; and yet from so small a number he found a painful dagger planted in his heart. The one was amiable and obedient: was every thing which a father's fondness could wish: who never transgressed his will at any time. But the other, -painful to say!-was a melancholy reverse of all this: a disobedient and dissolute child, whose early years prognosticated nothing but affliction to his parents, and ruin and infamy to himself: who, unable to brook the necessary restraints of paternal wisdom, breaks out into the hasty and petulant request in the text, Father, give me "the portion of goods that falleth to me!"-Too natural a description of rash and inconsiderate youth; He had no reason to complain of the treatment he met with in his father's house: the good old man, like a kind parent, granted his request without complaining, and received him at his return with tears of joy: he could not therefore be a harsh or churlish father, who drove him by unnecessary severity, or undue restraints, to make this imprudent request. Neither had the unthinking youth himself yet formed any designs of lewdness and debauchery, to lead him to it. He was only weary of living under his father's watchful eye, and tired of the necessary