Page images

they not all profess to be moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon them the sacred office of the ministry? This is not a novel doctrine, introduced and palmed upon the credulous, by enthusiastic preachers. Our pious reformers thought it necessary; and our rational divines even now profess it at their ordination. We contend not for miraculous gifts. They were necessary in the apostolic age, and they may be necessary in some future age; but they are not necessary now. We contend for the ordinary gifts of the Spirit, which are absolutely necessary at this day. Those sermons which are composed and delivered under the influences of the Holy Ghost, are made the greatest blessing to the people.

The gift of the Spirit demands our warmest gratitude. At this very time we enjoy the blessed effects of that heavenly effusion. Had the Spirit been withheld, the prophecies would have failed, and infant christianity would have perished. The truths which enlighten our dark world would have been buried in oblivion, and every thing that is lovely and excellent amongst men would soon have disappeared.-0 let us bless God for that glorious day; and while we bring it to remembrance, let us devoutly pray for those divine influences which are necessary: to salvation !

The festival of Whitsuntide was observed by the primitive church with peculiar solemnity; and, indeed, it is a season in which we should call to mind not only the absolute necessity of holiness, but the means of acquiring it. All the means which we use to attain a conformity to the divine image, must be accompanied with the influences of the Holy Spirit, or they will prove ineffectual.—May this blessed Spirit abide in our churches, fill our hearts, and direct our steps to the heavenly Jerusalem ! There may we ever adore the supreme Being, whose Son redeemed us from death, and whose Spirit prepares and makes us meet for the mansions of the blessed! Amen.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Psal. xc. 10. The days of our years are threescore years and

ten: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow ; for it is sogn cut off, and we fly away.

IT has been maintained by some that the eract period of human life is absolutely fired; but we cannot reconcile this opinion either with scripture or reason. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” Do we not see many proofs of this? Are there not thousands amongst the dead, who might now have been amongst the living, had they been wise and prudent? Some hasten death by gluttony, drunkenness, and debauchery: others are cut off, by the arm of justice, for their crimes: and others destroy themselves by poison, hemp, and steel. Can we suppose that the exact moment of their death was fixed, without the horrid supposition, that he who fixed the end, fixed also the fatal means ? This supposition' would make God the author of sin. There is, indeed, an appointed time for man upon earth, which is well expressed in our text: “ The days of our years are threescore years and ten:" This is the common period of human life. We may die sooner, or live a little longer. By reason of strength, or a vigorous constitution, we may live fourscore years; but then it is “ labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we dy away.

Here we have two important truths: first, the period of human life is short; and, secondly, if we exceed that period it is labour and sorrow.



Passing over the thousands and millions who die in infancy, in youth, and in the bloom of life, we may say of all who at tain the full age of man, that their life is "a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. It may fitly be compared to a post, a shadow, a flower, a fload, a dream, and a tale that is told.

1. Our life will appear short when com pared with the lives of the antediluvians. They lived many hundred years. “ All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred, sixty and nine years: and he died.” They were but children at threescore years and ten; but, when we attain tậat age, infirmities crowd upon us, and death is close

behind. What an amazing abridgment of human life! Who can account for it upón natural principles? Their longevity might be occasioned by the regularity of the seasons, the fertility of the earth, the strength of their constitutions, or their particular manner of living; but the best way to account for it, is to ascribe it to the will of that God in whom “ we live, and move, and have our being.” He saw fit to prolong their lives, and he has seen fit to cut ours short. In both cases, no doubt, his conduct has been guided by wisdom and goodness. O let us seriously lay it to heart, lest death should cut us oft before the work of life be done !

2. The period of human life appears shorter still when compared with the duration of the roorld. It is near six thousand years since the world was created. What a vast number of generations have passed away since then!

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth.' The generations from Abraham to David were fourteen; from David to the Babylonish captivity were fourteen; and from that period to the coming of Christ, there were fourteen generations. “ When we (says Doddridge) survey such a series of generations, it is obvious to reflect, how like the leaves of a tree, one passeth away, and another

« PreviousContinue »