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ble would this nothingness appear, if by a happy assemblage of all that the world hath of the beautiful, we could acquire the reality of a life, of whicb it is easy to form to one's self the idea! Could I extract the choicest dignities and fortunes; could I inhabit the most temperate clime, and the most .pleasant country; could I choose the most benevolent hearts, and the wisest minds; could I take the most happy temper, and the most sublime genius ; could I cultivate the sciences, and make the fine arts flourish; could I collect and unite all that could please the passions, and banish all that could give pain. A life formed on this plan, how likely to please us! How is it that God, who hath resolved to render us one day happy, doth not allow us to continue in this world, and content himself with uniting all these happy circumstances in our favor? It is good to be here : 0 that he would allow us here to build our tabernacles, Mat. xvii. 4. Ah! my brethren, a life formed on this plan might indeed answer the ideas of happiness which feeble and finite genuisses form : but such a plan cannot even approach the designs of an infinitę God. A life formed on this plan, might indeed exhaust a terrestial love, but it could never reach the love of an infinite God. No, all the charms of this society, of this fortune, and of this life; no, all the softness of these climates, and of these countries; no, all the benevolence of these hearts, and all the friendship of these minds; no, all the happiness of this temper, and all the sublimity of this genius; no, all the secrets of the sciences, and all the discoveries of the fine arts; all' the attractions of these societies, and all the pleasures of the passions, have nothing, I do not say which exhausts the love of God in Jesus Christ, I do not say which answers, I venture to say which approaches it. To accoin
plish this love there must be another world ; there must be new heavens, and a new earth; there must be objects far more grand.
Finally, the destruction of the universe displays the excellence of piety. O that I could represent the believer amidst fires, flames, winds, tempests, the confusion of all nature, content, peaceable, unalterable! O that I could represent the heavens passing away, the elements dissolving with fervent heat, the earth and the things which are in it burning up, and the believer, that man, that inconsiderable man, little by his nature, but great by the privileges with which piety endows him, without suspicion, rising fearless above all the catastrophes of the universe, and surviving its ruins ! O that I could describe the believer, while all the tribes of the earth mourn and smite their breasts. Matt. xxiv. 30. while the wicked shall be as if they were giring up the ghost, Luke xxi. 26. while their despair exhales in these dreadful howlings, Mountains falt on us, hills cover us from the face of him who sits upon the throne, and from the face of the Lamb ! Rev. vi. 16. O that I could describe the believer assured, triumphant, founded on the rock of ages, hasting unto the coming of the day of God, as our Apostle expresseth it, 2 Pet. iii. 12, aiming with transports of joy which we cannot express, (O may we one day experience these transports !) aiming to approach the presence of Jesus Christ, as his tenderest friend and deliverer, literally proving the truth of this promise, when thou passest through the waters they shall not overtioin thes, when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt, Isa. xliii. 2. O that I could represent him cry. ing, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, Rev. xxii. 20. come, receive a creature once defiled with sin; sometimes even rebellious, yet always having, at . the bottom of his heart, principles of love to thee; but now ravished with transports of joy, because he is entering an economy, in which he shall always be submissive, and always faithful. . .
What shall I say to you, my dear brethren, to incline you to piety, if all these grand motives be without success? If the words of my text, if the voice of an Apostle,—what do I say, the voice of ap Apostle? If the sun darkened, if the moon changed into blood, if the stars fallen from heaven, if the powers of heaven shaken, if the heavens passing away with a great noise, if the elements dissolving with fervent heat, if the earth consumed with all that is therein, if the universal destruction of nature and elements be incapable of loosening and detaching you from the present world.
It is said, that, some days before the destruction of Jerusalem, a voice was heard proceeding from the holy place, and crying, Let us go hence, let us go hence.* My brethren, such a voice addresses you. We ground our exhortations to day, not on the destruction of one people only; we preach (if I may be allowed to say so) in sight of the ruins of this whole universe : Yes, from the centre of the trembling world and crashing elements, a voice sounds, Let us go hence ; let us quit the world; give our hopes more solid bases than enkindled worlds, which will shortly be burnt up. And then, pass away heavens with a great noise, consume elements, burn earth with all thy works, perish universe, perish nature, our felicity is above all such catastrophes, we cleave to the God of ages, to God who is the source of existence and duration, to God before whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years. () Lord, of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the hea
* Josephus de Bell, Jud. lib. vi. cap. 31.
vens are the work of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure ; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment ; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou, thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee, Psal. cii. 26, &c. God grant we may experience these great promises! To him be honor and glory. Amen.
The Dmnipresence of God.
Psalm cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit ? or whither shall I flee
from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me : even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day : the darkness and the light are boih alike to thee.
MOULD I have one wish, to answer my pro
posed end of preaching to-day with efficacy,
assembly. Moses had such an advantage, no man therefore ever spoke with greater success. He gave the law to the people in God the legislator's presence. He could say, This law which I give you proceeds from God: here is his throne, there is his lightning, yonder is his thunder. Accordingly, never were a people more struck with a legislator's voice. Moses had hardly begun to speak, but, at least for that moment, all hearts were united, and all Sinai echoed with one voice, crying, All that thou hast spoken we will do. Exod. xix. 8.
But in vain are our sermons drawn from the sacred sources : in vain do we say to you, Thus saith the Lord : you see only a man ; you hear only a mortal voice in this pulpit; God hath put his trea