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PUBLIC LIBRARY
201370

ASTOR, LENOX AND
BILDEN

ATIONS.
1903

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by

WILLIAM PEIRCE,

In the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachuestts.

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INTRODUCTION.

It is a remarkable characteristic of our Savior's discourses, as indeed it is of the whole Bible, that they leave the hearer amidst corresponding lessons in the open temple of the earth. They admit no vacancy when the preacher's lips are silent, or the book is closed, because the same lessons are urged and applied by Nature and Providence at every turn of life. After we have heard Him, “ who spake as never man spake :" after we have read the Bible, the earth with all its scenes and occasions utters no longer a mere Natural Theology, but the full and glorious gospel. What folly, after Christianity has shed its light around us, to read the book of nature and Providence, in the mere moon-light the Pagan world! The gospel, no doubt, discovers what could never have been known without it ; but when its light is shed abroad, it is reflccted in full beauty and glory from the world on which it falls : and the whole scene is no longer a dim revelation of nature, but a bright communication from heaven. To us, Natural Theology declares, not merely that “ God is,” but that “ He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

But as our title intimates, we not only call attention to the lesson, but commend the place and circumstances in which He who gives it, urges it on our notice.

The lesson meets us beside our common path:-- amidst our occasions of anxiety as to food and raiment:

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amidst the necessities and blessings of every day. The lesson is given where man craves and claims it, and where he has every conceivable opportunity to learn it. The earth was not constructed to produce presumption and decpondency ; — was not cast out un hedged as the wilderness of base passions and conduct, from which all the heirs of holiness must be separate.

It is a school for beaven, where the lessons of faith and hope are learned :— where holiness is attained by contact with its proper occasions. Christianity, not only gives its reflection from the whole earthly scene, but casts the light upon the whole path of human life. This world, is not a prison to the soul of man : from which his only desire and effort should be to escape : but the temple for the transforming prayer, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

The beautiiul portion of our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, which we have taken as our guide, is the finest conceivable illustration of these remarks. How near the lesson to the paths of life !

The fowls of the air and the lilies of the field are with us repeating and reflecting the lessons of the word, from Sabbath to Sabbath, and from the morning dawn unto the shades of the evening ; amidst all the wants and cares of our earthly state. And birds of the night sing us to sleep, after fatigue and anxiety, in His arms who “ only maketh us to dwell in safety ;” — and the crowing cock wakes us, amidst new plans and toils of life, to behold the day dawn, and the day-star arise in our hearts.

If the pulpit and the religious press would render their proper service in the production and nurture of faith, it must be not so much by the power of their own immediate lessons, and of their own peculiar opportunity ; as by directing attention to the lessons which remain : by which God gives line upon line, precept upon precept, beside the common path of life. And on the other hand, must they be in fault, in so far as they adopt principles, or employ methods which divert attention from the various appeals which God is con

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