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be offered, and the time of his departure was at hand. “ I have fought a good fight, I have finifhed my course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me in that day.” How did Paul obtain this felicity ? « He counted nor his own life dear to himself, that be might finish his work with faithfulness, and his course with joy.” He kept under his body to bring it into subjection, left by any means, when he had preached to others, he himself should be a castaway.” That we may obtain the full afsurance of hope, we must be followers of them, who by faith and patience inherit the promises, and in this course we must give diligence to the end.
Our subject powerfully applies itself to us, who are advanced in age. We begin to feel the de cays of strength, and to perceive the indications of our approaching diffolution. In a few days, we must
the way, whence we shall not return. Soon we shall see man no more with the inhabit. ants of the earth ; but shall be placed in new relations and in a new condition. While we tarry here, our infirmities will probably increase ; our days and nights will become more wearisome ; the pleasures of sense will lose their relish ; the burden of worldly business will be too heavy for our bending shoulders; the implements of our labour will drop out of our palled hands, and we Ihall have no more a portion in any thing that is done under the fun. And it is not improbable, that some of our last months may be spent in helpless confinement of body-ah, and perhaps too in derangement or ftupor of mind.
Looking forward to such a season, let us daily pray, "O God, cast us not off in the time of old age; forsake us not when our strength faileth VOL. V.
Give us kind and patient friends, who will cheerfully minister to our necessities and bear ourinfirmities. Vouchsafe to us rich' fupplies of thy grace, that we may sustain our own infirmities; may enjoy communion with thee; may maintain our heavenly hope, and by a pattern of Christian piety, charity and spirituality, may commend to those who stand around us that Divine Religion, which is our support, our comfort, and our joy. And if, in thy sovereign wisdom, thou shouldst see fit to deny us the privilege of reason, let the prayers which we now offer be graciously remembered and grant us pious and prayerful friends, who will send up petitions to thee in our behalf. And whether we shall then be capable of making a petition to thee, or not, we now humbly ask, That thou wouldst not caft us out of thy presence, nor take thy holy spirit from us, but by thine own wonderful and secret operation make us more and more meet for heaven ; and when our flesh and our heart shall fail us, be thou the strength of our heart, and our portion forever."
My brethren, if we wish to enjoy the comforts of religion at last, we must cultivate the temper, and keep up the exercise of religion now. It will be no easy matter to take up the business then, unless we have been accustomed to it before.
You, my friends, who are in the midst of life, and you who are young, are not uninterested in this subject. You
You all think, that we, aged, need the comforts of religion. God grant, that we may have them. Do you not sometimes think of us in your prayers? We hope you do. But know, if you live to be aged, (and you all desire many days) these comforts will then be as necessary for you, as they are now for us. But how can you be sure of them then, unless you ob
tain an interest in them now ? To have the comforts of religion, you must have religion itself. Embrace it, therefore, in your hearts; cultivate the holy tempers which it requires ; maintain the good works which it enjoins, and ascertain your title to the eternal blessings which it proposes. Thus lay up for yourselves a good foundation against the time, which is to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life.
Dry Bones Restored.
EZEKIEL xxxvii. 3.
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones liye? And i enswered,
O Lord God, thou knoweft.
THE Jews, having been, for many years, captives in Babylon, viewed a return to their own land as an event much to be desired, but utterly to be despaired of. They were urder the power of their enemies, who at that time would not, nor was it thought they ever would, consent to release them from their bondage. The aged people, who felt an attachment to their native coun. try, were dying off, and the youth were coming forward with a predilection for the land of their captivity. Judea was poffefsed by strangers, and surrounded by enemies; its temple, buildings and walls were in ruins ; and how should they ever repossess it; or, if they should return, what enjoyment could they find therc ? Their captivity was a punishment for their fins ; and in this idolatrous country there was little prospect of a reformation. They were losing the religious sentiments and manners, which some had brought with them, and which a few still retained ; and they were sinking deeper into depravity, than when their calamities
began. What hope then could there be of their re-establishment in their ancient country and privi. leges ?
To revive the defponding spirits of the pious people among them, God sends to them the prophet Ezekiel with the relation of a remarkable vi. sion,
The prophet seemed to himself to be placed in the midst of a valley filled with human bones. He passed by them round about ; he viewed them he observed, that they were numerous, but exceed. ingly dry, as if they had lain in the open air for a length of time, and that they were scattered promiscuoudly over the ground, as if they never could be collected and reduced to order. God says to him, “ Son of man, can these bones live?" The prophet answers, “ O Lord God, thou know: eft."' God then commands him, “ Prophesy on these bones, and say, Thusfaiththe Lord, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live." $o he prophesied, as he was commanded ; and “ as he prophesied, there was a noise and a shaking ; and the bones came together, bone to his bone, and linews and desh came upon them, and kin covered them. But there was no breath in them.” God farther directs him, “ Prophesy unto the wind,” or breath, " and say, Thus faith the Lord, Come, breathe on these flain, that they may live. So he prophesied, and the breath came into them,.. and they lived and food on their feet, an exceeding great army,”
This vision is applied to the desponding Jews to console them in their captivity. The Lord says to the prophet, “ These bones are the whole house of Ifrael. They say, Our bones are dried, our hope is loft, we are cut off for our part. Say'unto them, Thus faith the Lord, Behold, O my peo.