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forgetfulness of all spiritual duties and interests, and never raise one thought beyond the gratification of “ the members which are upon the earth ;" there are others, who, if visited by occasional impression, and if apparently aroused to a sense of their high obligations, yet fall back again to perverted habits as the natural element of life. One judgment is to be pronounced of our whole race—“ there is none that seeketh after God."

It is to the class of transgressors last mentioned in the enumeration just made, that the present ministerial address is to be directed. To such as these, the prophet Hosea uttered the language of God himself, in the words of the text. The persons whose conduct was thus illustrated and condemned, were the twelve tribes of Israel ; “ Ephraim,” being a name for the ten tribes who revolted from the house of David in the days of Jeroboam, and “ Judah,” being a name for the two tribes who continued to adhere to it. A variation has been proposed to the translation of the passage, which would altogether change its meaning, but it seems clear to us that Jehovah was speaking of his people according to the usually recognized import of the terms. Probably, in this congregation, there are not a few whose history admits the same accusation : on that supposition we proceed; and if, in the minds of any, impressions of religion which have now ceased to operate, be

recovered, refined, strengthened, and carried forward to the acquisition of permanent beneficial influence, to this service will be communicated a character which must ever be remembered with thankfulness and pleasure.



—“ Your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.

The images here employed, you will at once recognize as the emblems of brevity and evanescence. The morning cloud is soon dispersed, and the early dew soon evaporates before the sun-beam; transitory is the shadow of the one, and the glittering of the other, and in a few moments of time none can tell where they have been. It is intended to affirm, of the persons whose case was portrayed by these interesting figures, that they had been the subjects of certain emotions towards God and his will, which appeared to be right and good, and gave fair promise that the principles and conduct of future life would be correct and holy, but which were yet transitory and unsubstantial, and soon gave way altogether to returning habits of transgression and rebellion. The people of Israel frequently expressed, under different exciting causes, deep repentance and humiliation on account of sin, uttered determinations to live in obedience to the divine law, and affirmed anxious

and pre-eminent desire to be preserved in the enjoyment of his favour; but again speedily revolted, and plunged once more into the perpetration of foul and malignant crime. In the possession of this character Israel has not stood alone ; it has been exemplified in numberless instances besides, performing its mournful process ; nor can we look over the past history, or present state of multitudes under the government and dispensations of the eternal Lawgiver, without having to charge on them habits thus beautifully represented—“ Your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.”

That the “ goodness” now brought before us is separate from vital godliness, and, however powerful or promising in its first operations, is not in any case to be confounded with the change of heart produced by the Spirit of God, ought to be carefully remembered. There may often be the plausible semblance of regeneration, without the vivifying reality. There may often be expressions and signs of feeling which seem to comprehend all that real religion can excite and require, while its genuine and substantial principles have no existence whatever. This important and distressing fact unequivocally applies now. True godliness, infused by the operation of divine grace, is not exposed to such an ultimate fate as is recorded in the text ; it does not depart with a momentary ebullition,



but continues with an enduring power; it possesses a permanent influence over the habits and desires; it brings forth fruits corresponding with its nature, fruits of righteousness and true holiness; and although susceptible of minor variations, from the remaining imperfection of the beings among whom it dwells, it is a gift that cannot be recalled, a seed that cannot perish, a life that cannot die, a good work" that must be " performed until the day of Jesus Christ." But here is a disposition which effects no mental renovation, and takes no established hold, a mere inflamed excitement, subject at once to removal on the rise of new suggestions, and the presence of new scenes, preserved and fed by no lasting aliment, sinking and expiring with the impulse of the moment, agitating and subsiding, promising and disappointing, springing and withering. The distinction surely is palpable and decided; and you at once perceive, that the Almighty did not speak of the failure and annihilation of his own gracious bestowment, but of that which was only a temporary similitude of it, fair indeed for a season, but powerless and unavailing.-We shall mention more fully some of the circumstances under which this inadequate "goodness" has arisen, and is most likely to arise; and O, that He who knows the secrets, and can master the powers of the heart, may inspire in all whose case may be depicted, the godliness that is effectual to salvation!

1. This disposition may be observed as excited by remarkable interferences of the providence of God. Public and national providences, either in the bestowment of mercy, or in the infliction of judgment, have given rise not seldom, to what has thus appeared as the spirit of religion. The history of the Jews, signalized by many wonderful interferences of Heaven, affords several striking examples of the“ goodness,” and its end. When they had been led out from Egypt, and seen the sudden destruction of their foes, and heard the divine promise of preservation and blessing, they solemnly vowed obedience to him who gave it; and yet, in sight of the mount where the covenant was ratified amidst signs and wonders, every pledge was forgotten, and they defiled themselves with the rites and practices of an infamous idolatry. There is a remarkable record of the same conduct at a subsequent period, when the mercy of God interposed to relieve them from the national distresses produced by their national sins. • The Lord raised up judges which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass when the judge was dead, that they returned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, by following

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