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God to inspire you with that charity, that condescension, that affability, which sinks the master in the father! May it please God to inspire you with that humility, that self-abasement, which engage Christian magistrates to deposit all their power at the feet of God, and to consider it as their highest glory to render unto him a faithful account of their administration! This account is a solemn one.
You are, to a certain degree, responsible, not only for the temporal, but for the eternal happiness of this people. The eternal happiness of a nation frequently depends on the measures adopted by their governors, on the care which they employ to curb licentiousness, to suppress scandalous publications, to procure respect for the ordinances of religion, and to supply the church with enlightened, zealous, and faithful pastors. But magistrates who propose to themselves views of such extensive utility and importance, are warranted to expect from God, all the aid necessary to the accomplishment of them. And this aid, great God, we presume to implore, in behalf of these illustrious personages ! May our voice pierce the heavens, may our prayers be crowned with an answer of peace !
Pasturs, my dear companions in the great plan of salvation, ye successors of apostolic men in the edifying of the body of Christ, and in the work of the ministry! Gud has set very narrow bounds to what is called, in the language of the world, our advancement, and our fortune. The religion which we profess, permits us not to aspire after those proud titles, those posts of distinction, those splendid retinues, which confound the ministers of temporal princes with the ministers of that Jesus whose kingdom is not of this world. But whatever we lose with respect to those advantages which dazzle the senses, is amply compensated to us in real and solid blessings ; at least if we ourselves understand that religion which we make known to others, and if we have a due sense of that high vocation with which we are honored of God. May that God, who has conferred this honor upon us, vouchsafe to endow us with that illumination, and with those virtues, without which it is impossible for us to discharge the duties of it in a becoming manner! May he vouchsafe to bestow upon us that courage, that intrepidity, which are necessary to our effectually resisting the enemies of our holy reforination, nay those too, who, under the name of reformed, do their utmost to thwart and to undermine it! May he vouchsafe to support us amidst the incessant difficulties and opposition which we have to encounter through the course of our ministry, and to animate us by the idea of those supereminent degrees of glory, which await those who, after having turned many to righteousness, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever !
Merchants, ye who are the support of this Republic, and who maintain in the midst of us prosperity and abundance, may God vouchsafe to continue his blessing upon your commerce! May God cause the winds and the waves, nature and the elements, to unite their influence in your favor! But above all, may God vouchsafe to teach you the great art of placing your heart there where your treasure is ; to make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness': to sanctify your prosperity by your charities, especially on a day like this, on which every one ought to prescribe to himself the law of paying an homage of charity to God who is love, and whose love has spared us to behold the light of this day!
Fathers and mothers, with whom it is so delicious for me to blend myself, under an address so deeply interesting, may God enable us to view our children, not as beings limited to a present world, but as beings endowed with an immortal soul, and formed for eternity! May it please God to impress infinitely more upon your hearts the desire of, one day, beholding them among the blessed in the kingdom of heaven, than going on and prospering on the earth! May God grant us the possession of objects so endeared, to the very close of life, objects so necessary to the enjoyment of life! May God vouchsafe, if he be pleased to take them away from us, to grant us that submission to his will, which enables us to support a calamity so severe !
My dearly beloved brethren, this reflection chokes my utterance. May God vouchsafe to hear all the wishes and prayers which my heart has conceived, and which my lips have uttered, and all those which I am constrained to suppress, and which are more in number than the tongue is able to declare ! Amen.
THE TRUE GLORY OF THE CHRISTIAN.
GALATIANS vi. 14.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
HE solemnity which, in a few days, we are
going to celebrate, I mean the Asscension of Jesus Christ, displays the triumph of the cross. The Saviour of the world ascending in a cloud, received up into heaven, amidst the acclamations of the church triumphant, removes the offence given by the Saviour of the world hanging on a tree. The period of the crucifixion, I acknowledge, was precisely that in which he carried magnanimity to its most exalted pitch. Never did he appear so truly great as when descending into the lower parts of the earth : Eph. iv. 9: humbled, made of no reputation, obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ; Phil. ii. 7, 8: he accomplished what was most repulsive to nature, in the plan of redemption. But how difficult is it to recognize heroism, when the hero terminates his career upon a scaffold !