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THUS we have feen who are intended by the fearful, and their fad ftate. Influenced by fear which drives them from the Savior; or leads them to explain away God's law; or drive them to duty in order to atone for fin; or too timid to take up the cross and follow Chrift, they have no part in him. They are afraid of misery; and their fear indulged, will bring misery upon them far beyond their fear! For "who knows the power of God's anger."
BEFORE us the door of mercy is yet open. We are invited to Chrift for life. God hath no pleas ure in the death of finners. He is ready to receive the returning prodigal. His arm is not fhortened that it cannot fave. He offers pardon and peace to the chief of finners. The deeper sense we have of fin, the more we abhor ourselves for fin, the more welcome to his grace.
WEARY and heavy laden finners are particularly invited to the Savior. He will not fend them empty away. As the returning prodigal was received by his father, fo is every repenting finner, by his Father in heaven. When the prodigal refolved to return with, a "Father I have finnedthe father faw him a great way off," and all his bowels yearned over him-" he had compaffion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kiffed him"bid him a hearty welcome-lavifhed the richest fa. vors on him, and called all to rejoice at his return. In like manner our heavenly Father receives the returning penitent. This is the spirit of the parable.
FEAR not then, ye who mourn in Zion. Come empty and naked as ye are, and fall down before an offended God, with, "Father I have finnedGod be merciful to me a finner." Come thus to God, and caft yourselves on his grace in Christ, and his grace will be fufficient for you. We are warranted to promise you a kind reception.
LET none think to hide their fins by excuses or palliations. They are all open to the divine eye. "There is no darkness, nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves." Neither let any think to atone for their fins by doings of their own. The blood of Chrift is the on. ly atonement. Our best services are polluted with fin. Let us endeavor to see our fins as they are, renounce them all, and repair to the mercy of God in Chrift. There is a fulness of merit in Chrift, and a fulness of mercy in God. truft and not be ashamed.
There we may
LET none be difcouraged by the difficulties which lie in their way, or faint under the hardfhips of the crofs. If God calls us to trials he will fupport us under them-yea, if we make him our hope, and are not needlessly wanting to ourfelves, he will make us more than conquerors; he will make us triumphers in Chrift. But if we fear to enter the lifts against our spiritual enemies or to endure ought to which we are called in the way of duty, whether it be contempt, fufferings, or lofs, we fhall bring greater forrows on ourselves by fhrinking back in the day of trial, than by preffing forward, and bearing all which duty requires.
Our forrows, if we abide faithful, and are not moved away from the hope of the gofpel, will be only temporary; and under the preffure of them, we shall be supported by Omnipotence; but if we draw back, and refufe to deny ourselves, fainting in the day of trial, our forrows and fufferings will be eternal, and as fuch as Omnipotence can only inflict!
The Ends of Family Institution, with observations on the Importance of Education.
MALACHI ii. 15.
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed.TOWARD the close of the Babylonish captivity, religion revived among the Jews. Several zealous and able reformers were raifed up and advanced to power, whose influence was bleffed to call back that people from their declenfions, and prepare them for mercy. But the effect of their labors was only temporary. When they were gone off the stage, the people again apostatized, neglected the worship and ordinances of God, and became vicious and corrupt. This prophet, who lived feveral ages after their return to Canaan, was fent to reprove their irreligion and the immoralities, which abounded among them, and had infected every order of men.
ONE of the fins then rife in Ifrael, was a family fin. Family contentions, which frequently terminated in divorces, were become common.
DIVORCES were permitted to the Hebrews, "for the hardness of their hearts, but it was not fo from the beginning."
LARGER Communities are all made up of families. Evils therefore which affect the latter, cannot but affect the former. Were all the families which compofe an empire divided and unhappy, the empire would be fo.
It is also worthy of notice, that the first rudiments of character, which render good or bad, and caufe people to be bleffings or curfes in fociety, are commonly begun in those nurseries of our The bias there given, seldom wholly wears off; it is generally carried, in degree, through life. Probably many of the evils which afflicted the Jews in the days of this prophet, had their origin in the cradles of the nation. He was therefore directed to ftrike at the root of evils, and by endeavoring to reform the smaller societies, of which the larger were compofed, to reform the whole. With this view he led back the minds of those among whom he miniftered, to the origin of families, and declared the merciful design of the Most High, in their inftitution-That he might feek a godly feed.
SEEKING a godly feed is not the only defign. It is however a principal defign, and will be chiefly regarded in the following difcourfe.