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crated by a desire for grace and godliness below; in one word, when, in place of a mere animal or selfish aspiration for the comfort, it becomes a moral and a sacred aspiration for the character of heaven, the prayer to a holy Creator from a creature desirous to be holy-then, in the answer of such a prayer, will the gospel make full vindication of that gracious economy which it announces to the world. The pardon of his sins through the blood of Christ, is as free to him as are the light and air of heaven to the commoners of nature. The Spirit who gives him victory over his sins, and upholds him on his advancing way to all righteousness, is alike free to him—nor does there exist one obstacle in the way of his salvation, who is honestly intent to be as he ought and to do as he ought,

This argument is not wholly inapplicable at a sacramental season, which generally more than usual is a season of devotion. There comes now upon many a spirit a greater than its wonted desirousness about the things of eternity; and there is withal the imagination that what you are to do upon

the morrow, is somehow connected with the furtherance and the security of your everlasting interests. Now the impression which I want to leave upon you is, that your good in a future world can in no conceivable way be promoted by it, but in so far as it subserves your goodness in this world. The literalities of a sacramental observation will of themselves avail you nothing; and there is super

i Preached on the day before a Sacrament.

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stition, at once the most deceitful and degrading superstition, in the thought that your claim for heaven can at all be improved by an act of sacredness which leaves not one habit or one affection of sacredness behind it. This we particularly address to those who make due presentation of themselves on the communion Sabbath, and discharge themselves of all the punctualities of the communion table, and yet the whole year round cleave most tenaciously and with hearts full of secularity to the dust of a perishable world—who in hand and in person intromit with all the forms of the ordinance, but catch not so much as one breath upon their spirits from the air of the upper sanctuary—or, if they do experience among the solemnities of a rare and remarkable occasion some transcient inspiration, all is dissipated, and goes to nought, when they return to their homes and thence lapse again into all the earthliness of their unchanged natures. Be assured that the part you thus take in what may be called the mechanism of a sacrament, without any part in the mind which should animate and pervade it, will leave no other bearing on your immortal state than just to aggravate your condemnation; and therefore to escape the guilt which lies in this mockery of Heaven, and to turn the morrow's service into the real purposes of your salvation, let me entreat you to open your heart to the affecting realities which are couched in the symbols and shadowed forth as it were in the acts of the institution. The bread and the wine which are the memorials of




you, will

atonement should encourage even the guiltiest of you all to draw nigh in faith—for there is no guilt beyond the reach of that atonement.

But remember that you also draw nigh with full purpose

of heart after the new obedience of the gospel. Coming thus, you are warranted to sit down at the table of the sacrament; and the prayers of a heart desirous of a present holiness as of a future heaven, will most surely meet with acceptance, and as surely be answered with power. Your prayer to be saved

. from the punishment of sin, lifted while the emblems of the Redeemer's sacrifice are before

most certainly prevail. Your prayer to be saved from the power of sin, lifted in the presence of Him who is Master of the assembly and to whom the dispensation of the Spirit has been committed, will as certainly prevail; and your joining in this ordinance will contribute to save, just in as far as it contributes to sanctify you.

But I have all along spoken as if this were a direct

prayer for the object of one's own personal salvation. Whereas it is an intercessory prayer, and suggects what we ought to do for the salvation of those who are dear to us. Paul had made many a vain effort for the salvation of his country


every city where he found them, he began with the Jews ere he addressed the overtures of the gospel to the Gentiles. His obligation to them was the first obligation of which he acquitted himself. In the discharge of it he incurred many a hazard; and brought upon himself the hatred of those who

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had been formerly his friends; and made prodigious exertion in the way of travelling, and preaching, and doing all the labours of the apostolical office, in behalf of these his kinsmen according to the flesh; and not till compelled by the hostility of a whole nation either to flee from place to place, or turn him to the Gentiles, did he desist from the strenuousness of his efforts to secure the immortal well-being of those in his own family or in his own land. And even after every effort failed, still he had recourse to prayer. The desire of his heart was not extinguished by the disappointment he met with upon earth; but when baffled and thrown back upon him there, it took an upward direction to heaven—when obstructed on all sides by the resistance of man, it ascended without obstruction to the throne of God. Even in the busiest period of his work and his warfare for the conversion of these obstinate Israelites, he mixed with his activities his prayers—but after that the activities were repressed, the prayers continued to arise. He was forced to desist from the labours of the hand-but the love in his heart still abode unquenched and unquenchable; and when he could do no more, he prayed for them. This survived the longest and the last of all the other expedients; and long after he had found it was vain to labour, he did not think it vain to pray.

This might serve as admonition to those whose hearts are set on the eternity of relatives or friends -to the mother who has watched and laboured for years that the good seed might have fixture in the hearts of her children, but does not find that this precious deposit has yet settled or had occupation there-to the sister whose gentle yet earnest remonstrances have been wholly unable to control a brother's waywardness—to that one member

perhaps of a family whom the grace of the Spirit hath selected, and who now strives and supplicates in the midst of an alienated household, that all may be arrested in their way and turned unto God—to that holy and heaven-born disciple, whom the pollutions of the world have touched not; but who standing alone in a companionship of scorners, mourns over the profaneness and the profligacy that hitherto have marked all his solemn warnings, all his friendly but ineffectual protestations. All these may, like other zealous missionaries, have had but a hard experience. They may have long been in contact and collison with the power of sin and unbelief in the hearts of others, and had mứch to discourage them. Their fidelity may have given offence—their affectionate counsels may have been spurned—their moral earnestness may have been laughed at-all their expedients to impress or to convince may

have vanished into impotency—their very speech may at length become a signal for the attitude of suspicion and of prompt resistance on the part of their fellows -And so theirevery argument might only strengthen, might only confirm, the impenitency which it was meant to soften or do away. In these, and in many other ways, might they receive most palpable intimation that they are doing no good; and even per

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