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has said, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people;" that I could now execute my commission; O that I had the tongue of the learned, and could speak a word in season to him that is weary; O that I could remove all your groundless fears and distressing jealousies; O that I could place the promises within your view, and within your reach. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are "they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after "righteousness, for they shall be filled." "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Remember "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a “broken and a contrite heart, God will not despise." Remember the dawn is the pledge and the beginning of day. Remember your desires are an evidence of something good, and an "assurance of something bet "ter." "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and "God even our Father, which hath loved us, and "hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope "through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish €6 you in every good word and work." AMEN.
ON PROGRESS IN RELIGION.
JOSHUA xiii. 1.
-THERE REMAINETH YET VERY MUCH LAND TO BE POSSESSED
-SUCH was the address of God to Josh na; nor was it vain. It stirred "up his pure mind "by way of remembrance;" and having "assembled "the whole congregation of the children of Israel together at Shiloh," he said unto them, “How long "are ye slack to go to possess the land which the Lord "God of your fathers hath given you?" They should have marched forward, advancing their arms to the extremities of the promised possession. It was all their own by divine grant; and they had only to seize it. When they entered, they burned with zeal; every day was distinguished by some fresh triumph; they went "from conquering to conquer." But their fervour soon cooled, their courage soon failed; and satisfied with an imperfect acquisition, they laid down their arms, and resumed them only when they became necessary for defence.
And this, my brethren, reminds us of a two-fold reproach, which attaches to christians. When our
Saviour had received “all power in heaven and in “ earth,” for the purpose of spiritual empire; he said to his disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach ç the gospel to every creature;" “ go ye, and teach “all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Fa.
ther, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and, lo! “I am with you always even to the end of the world.” Thus clear, and thus extensive was their commission. They were to subdụé a rebellious globe “ to the obedi“ence of faith.” This alone was to circumscribe, and to terminate their exertions. They began well. The company of the publishers flew like angels, having the everlasting gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the earth. From Jerusalem they proceeded in all directions, like the lines of a circle from the centre. Commencing in Judea, they soon spread over all Palestine, entered the contiguous countries in Asia, visited the isles, reached Europe. And successively the banners of the cross were displayed, in province beyond prov. ince, and in clime beyond clime. But instead of continuing their glorious career, after a while they looked back, and were satisfied with their progress ; they preferred ease to acquisition ; they began to divide the spoil they had gained ; they often turned their arms against each other, while the enemy pressing upon them, frequently obliged them to contract their limits, and to change their position. Since then, their cause has not prospered; and many a judgment has been inflicted, to awaken them to a sense of their sin, and a conviction of their duty. Many a voice has been raised in vain ; calling upon them to arise and go forward; reminding them that is was all purchased and promise
ed country; that the heathen" was destined to be "their inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the "earth" were to become "their possession." May. we hope, that at length the voice of God is beginning to be heard? and that his messengers, spreading abroad to the east, and to the west, to the north, and to the south, his "glory shall be revealed, and all flesh shall "see it together?" May the Lord hasten it in his time.
And to draw nearer the design of this discourse, christians, God has assigned you a glorious portion. "The lines are fallen to" you "in pleasant places; "yea," you "have a goodly heritage." Opening before you the discoveries of revelation, He said, Make all this your own; advance; leave nothing unpossessed. At first you were filled with spiritual ardour. You laid "aside every weight." You were seen on the full stretch to reach "the end of your faith, even the sal"vation of your souls." Had you then heard a prediction, of what has since taken place in your dispositions and pursuits, it would have appeared like "an "idle tale." But, alas! you have become these incredible characters. Your love has waxed cold. You have sat down long before you have obtained a complete victory; long before you have finished your course; long before you have realized all the invaluable blessings of your inheritance; and I am come this evening to remind you, I. THAT THERE REMAINETH YET VERY MUCH LAND TO BE POSSESSED. II. To CALL UPON YOU TO ARISE, AND MAKE FRESH AND CONTINUED PROGRESS. III. TO GIVE YOU SOME ADVICE WITH REGARD ΤΟ YOUR FUTURE EXERTIONS.
PART I. Yes, christians, THERE REMAINETH YET VERY MUCH LAND TO BE POSSESSED; many cities and strong holds, many fine plains, and "springs of "water," many beautiful valleys, and very "fruitful "hills" or, to speak less in figure, much of your religion is unattained, unoccupied, unenjoyed; you are far from its boundaries. Very little of it indeed do some of you poffess; you command only a small, inconsiderable corner, scarcely affording you a subfiftence. But I make no diftinctions; I addrefs myself even to those of you, who have made the greatest progress in the divine life. And surely it is not difficult to make you senfible of your remaining deficiencies.Draw near those illustrious characters, whose history is recorded in the Scriptures of truth. Compare yourselves with those finished likenesses of christians, which an infallible pencil has given us in the gospel. Observe well the sublime intention of the gracious dispensation under which you live, and which is nothing less than to make you " partakers of the divine nature,” to enable you to live "the life of God," and to ren der you perfect, even as your Father which is in "heaven is perfect."
Take a survey of your religion; I would examine you with regard to three articles, which have a dependence on each other, and in each of which you will be found "to come" woefully "short."
First, Consider your KNOWLEDGE. While you are men in years, are you not "children in understand"ing ?" You have been liberally favoured with the means of information. Do you possess all you SHOULD have known; and all you could have known? After