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Jul and dutiful to all our lawful superiors, grateful and obedient to God.
If these be our resolutions respecting our future conduct, we may then safely apply to ourselves that sublime benediction with which Solomon dismissed the people, when the great business of the dedication was closed: "May the Lord our God be with "us, as he was with our fathers; let him *' not leave us nor forsake us. That he may "incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all "his ways, and to keep his commandments, "and his statutes, and his judgments, which "he commanded our fathers. And let these "my words, wherewith I have made sup"plication before the Lord, be nigh unto "the Lord our God, day and night, that "he may maintain the cause of his servant, "and the cause of "his people, at all times, "as the matter shall require. That all the "people of the earth may know that the "Lord is God, and that there is none else. "Let your heart therefore be perfect with "the Lord your God, to walk in his sta"tutes, and to keep his commandments, "as at this day."*
* 1 Kings viii. 57—61.
Luke X. 41, 42.
Jesus Answered And Said Unto Her, Martha, Martha, Thou Art Careful And Troubled About Many Things: But One Thing Is Needful, And Mary Hath Chosen That Good Part, Which Shall Not Be Taken Away From Her.
\7CTE are now once more arrived at the commencement of that season*, which the Church of England has set apart for the purpose of enquiring into the state of our account with God, of reviewing our past and present way of thinking and acting with a critical and searching eye; of looking well if there be any way of wickedness in us, of turning from it, if there be, of confessing and lamenting our disobedience and ingratitude to our heavenly Father, of imploring his pardon, of entreating the assistance of his Holy Spirit, and under his guidance forming the most serious resolutions to correct and amend, without delay, whatever we find amiss in our temper, principles, and conduct. This is the true spirit and meaning of the religious solemnity of this day*, and the holy season which follows it; this is the substance and the essence of what is called in Scripture language, and in the epistle we have just heard, "turning to the "Lord with weeping, fasting, and mourn"ing." And what is there in all this, but that sort of solicitude concerning our spiritual condition, and our future prospects, which every man of common sense, if he thinks them worth his notice, must see to be not only highly reasonable, but indispensably necessary? Is there a man who has any important end in view for the advancement of his fame, his fortune, his rank or consequence in life, who does not frequently think and reflect upon it, who does not give up a large share of his time and attention to it, who does not often shut himself up in his closet to consider whether he is in the right road to it, whether he is taking the most efficacious means to accomplish his end? We all know that this, and much more than this, is, and must be done, in such cases. And yet, in a case of infinitely greater moment, we conceive all this care and attention to be perfectly needless. We expect to go to heaven without so much as giving ourselves the trouble to inquire, at proper intervals, whether we possess the qualifications required of all who are allowed to enter there; whether the course of action we are pursuing will lead us to the point we profess to have in view. The church calls upon us to give up a few hours at stated times, for a few weeks, to those great objects which we all acknowledge to be the most important that can engage the attention of a human being. But the world calls us another way: it calls us a thousand different ways; and which call is it that we obey? Look around and see what it is that now occupies, and is likely to occupy, for the next six weeks, the greater part of the inhabitants of this gay and dissipated metropolis. Is it retirement, is it prayer, Vol. ti. z
is it self-examination, is it repentance, is it prostration and humiliation of their souls before God? It is almost preposterous to ask the question. Some, it is true, there are, and, I trust, not a few, that have not yet bowed the knee to Baal; who have not yet fallen down before those idols of sin, of pleasure, of interest, of ambition, which the world has set up to worship; who love God with all their heart, and soul, and mind, and strength ; who dedicate not only this day, and this season, but a large proportion of every day to his service, and pay an uniform and constant obedience to his commands. But great numbers, it cannot be denied, (would to God it could !) pursue a very different course, and think it meanness to adore the God that made them. Far from rending either their hearts or their garments on such occasions as the present, they treat with sovereign contempt every ordinance of the church to which they belong; and this, above all others, they affect not only to despise but to detest. They cannot bear, it seems, they shudder at the very thought, they cannot bear to