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Upon reviewing what has been now said, the following practical observations naturally occur.
1st. If we wish to be ranked among the number of those who may justly be denominated blessed, we must take delight in the law of the Lord our God. By the prevalence of sin and wickedness, the rational nature of man is thrown into disorder and confusion. As well might the body be at ease under the anguish of a fractured limb or a scorching fever, as the soul enjoy any real peace, when agitated by the violent and discordant pursuits of wickedness. That vice is the fruitful source of human misery, and that virtue is the spring of all pure and permanent joy, the universal experience of mankind, and our own constant observation, abundantly testify. While the drunkard destroys his health and strength; while the idle spendthrift falls into all the distresses of abject poverty; while the unjust man exposes himself to shame, to painful corrections, and perhaps to an untimely death; while all impenitent sinners remain in continual hazard of being overwhelmed by the eternal condemnation of divine justice; they who walk innocently, walk securely; even death itself, the most terrible of all temporal calamities, will be only a friendly introduction to a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
2dly. We here learn the necessity of resisting the first beginnings of evil; of abstaining from all appearance of transgression. The progress of vice is gradual and extremely treacherous. We begin with listening to the counsel of the ungodly; we proceed to stand in the way of sinners as friends and companions; and, at last, we confidently sit down in the seat of the scornful. Many have been the unhappy victims of this fatal
delusion. Some, from treating the name of the Deity with disrespect in common conversation, have proceeded from one stage of irreverence to another, till they have fallen into direct blasphemy and perjury. Some, from slight, and not frequent instances of intoxication, have persisted so long, that a confirmed habit of intemperance has been contracted. And some, in their dealings with their neighbour, from what appeared at first trifling instances of deception and dishonesty, have so far lost a quick sense of right and wrong, that they are now ready to defraud without much compunction, whenever a fair opportunity presents itself. Let us keep the enemy at a distance, if we would be entirely secure: let us defend the outworks, and we know that the citadel is safe.
3dly. It is not sufficient barely to abstain from what is wrong; but, if we wish to grow in grace, we must be occupied in the things that belong to our everlasting salvation. The Psalmist has taught us to consider that man alone is blessed, “whose delight is in the “ law of the Lord, and who meditates therein day and “ night.” By constant and devout attention to the sacred Scriptures, the mind is not only diverted from sinful thoughts, and guarded against the first inroads of temptation; but it is strengthened and confirmed in all goodness; it is filled with more exalted ideas of the nature and perfections of God; it is touched with a stronger abhorrence of sin, and animated with a more ardent love of virtue; all its exertions are quickened, to run with patience and perseverance the race that is set before us. The best mean of improving the stock which we already possess, is to employ it with diligence and discretion. The Christian must never sit down in stupid indolence; the more he exercises himself in performing the duties which are due to God, his neighbour, and himself; the more will he increase in knowledge and in all goodness.
Lastly; let us seriously and frequently meditate upon the last dreadful day of just judgment, when the chaff will be for ever separated from the wheat, when sinners will be banished from the congregation of the righteous. By all the tender ties of relation which connect you together in this life; by your love of happiness and dread of misery; by the mercies, and by the terrors of the Lord; let me entreat you to be so unanimous in your love of God and religion, that you all may be collected, at last, in that place of perfect blessedness, where there will be no more separation SERMON XXX.
On the New Jerusalem.
REVELATION xxi. 2, 3.
I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God
out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
THERE is something wonderfully striking in this passage of sacred Scripture. The heart of that person must be cold and insensible to a great degree, who is not incited, at the repetition of it, earnestly to inquire « Who was that beloved servant of God that was “ favoured with these glorious visions? and what can " the meaning be of this splendid exhibition? In " what sense can it now be asserted, that Jerusalem « cometh down from heaven; that the tabernacle of « God is with men; and that he dwells with them?”
It is the design of the following discourse, to gratify this laudable curiosity: and, a full explication of these words of the holy apostle will naturally lead to several VOL. II.
useful practical observations. Then only has knowledge its due effect, when it prompts to virtuous actions. If we know the great things of the Gospel, we should deem ourselves happy only while we do them.
The person who speaks is the beloved disciple, John. It had long before been intimated to him, that “ he should tarry till his Master came:" that is, till Jesus came in terrible vengeance to destroy the city of Jerusalem, and to disperse dhe nation of the Jews. Agreeably to this prediction of his Lord, he survived all the rest of the apostles; he lived to see his brethren, the inhabitants of Judea, sustaining the punishment which had been denounced against them, for crucifying the Lord of life, and impiously wishing that the guilt of his blood might fall on them and their children; he saw their country desolated, their capital city laid in ruins, and their temple reduced to ashes. But, as a compensation for this melancholy spectacle, he was favoured with many extraordinary revelations from heaven; with glorious prospects of the Redeemer's kingdom. The earthly Jerusalem had fallen; but instead of this, he saw the new Jerusalem, the holy eity coming down from God.
It is scarcely necessary to observe, that in the language of sacred Scripture, under the term Jerusalem, is frequently comprehended the whole Jewish Church. That city contained all that is necessary to constitute a true Church: the assemblies of the saints; the worship of the one living and true God, according to his own appointment; the regular administration of the divine word and ordinances; and the presence of the great object of their adoration residing in his holy