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contain, and from the exhaustless source of his allsufficiency, can cause the streams of his mercy to flow upon us. With such a protector and friend, what will be wanting to our felicity? He can give us all temporal blessings which are best for us, avert from us every evil, direct us in all our perplexities, sustain us in all our sorrows; he can give us every spiritual favour, every supernatural grace; he can comfort us in the midst of all our trials, lighten their weight, and abridge their duration; he can give peace and hope to our afflicted hearts and wounded consciences. In every agony that can befall us in life, in our last contest with death, he can communicate to us such joys, that our full, our overflowing hearts, will have no other regret left to them, except their inability properly to express their gratitude.
The world is impotent; the Saviour is almighty: this is the second point of contrast.
3. The peace which the world gives is limited in its duration. Inconstant and variable, men frequently change their sentiments and opinions: the same persons who now say to us with affection, Peace be unto you, in a little time may become our bitterest enemies. Frequently the slightest circumstances prevent a repetition of those good wishes and tender sentiments which had been indulged for years. We can never be assured of the invariable continuance of the peace which the world gives us. It is otherwise with that which Jesus gives to his followers; he has engaged never to withdraw his favour, and "to love those to the end whom he has once loved." He changes not, and "his gifts and calling are without repentance."
But even supposing, my brethren, that those who have desired that we might enjoy peace and happi
ness, preserved these sentiments while they live; yet the tenderest friendship continues but for a time. The moment must come, in which we must bid a last adieu to those who were interested in our happiness, and to whom our souls were bound; to those who were the dearest part of ourselves, and whose society constituted our joy. You must be wrested from us, tender and faithful friends, and nothing be left to our desolate hearts, but afflictive regrets and a bitter remembrance of having once possessed you. With will be entombed the peace which you you gave, the felicity which you conferred. But for us, what will there remain? What, my brethren? Jesus, our Redeemer, who gives not his peace as the world does; Jesus, who can abundantly replace those whom we weep; Jesus, in whose communion we can find infinitely more than we have lost; Jesus, on whom time and death have no power, since, though "he was dead, he is alive again, and liveth for ever and ever;" Jesus, who, when the hour of our dissolution arrives, will receive our disembodied spirits, will at last raise our bodies from the dust, will in heaven make us experience his tenderness, and cause us through eternity to enjoy the perfection of peace.
Blessed Jesus! when we anticipate this celestial felicity, we acknowledge that thou didst truly say, "Not as the world giveth, give I unto you."
Such, Christians, is your religion; the parent of peace, a support to the weakness of human nature, a bulwark against external distresses. Cherish it, love it, practise it more faithfully, that you may enjoy more of its consolations.
Such, sinners, is the religion which we invite you to embrace. Do we require too much of you; are we austere, morose, enemies to your happiness, when we entreat you to secure for yourselves these unfading joys?
Such, infidels, is the religion which you oppose. If you have not its consolations, we pity you from our hearts; but if you attempt to wrest them from others, what do you not deserve? A firm belief in it has supported, still supports thousands of your afflicted fellow-creatures. Stripped of all earthly enjoyments, exposed to penury, contempt, and bereavement, they have been rendered contented and happy by the gospel of Jesus? Will you strive to pluck from them this, their last, and only solace? Are you not satisfied with seeing them already sinking under temporal calamities, unless you can tear from them their spiritual joys, and deprive them of the hope of immortality? Oh! how often when I have witnessed the last hours of the saints, and seen them departing in triumph, upheld by that peace which their Saviour conferred on them, have I wished that you, unbelievers, might behold these scenes with me. I would then point you to the departing Christian. I would I would say to you, See this believer, convulsed and racked with pain, straining his dim eyes for the last time upon the objects dearest to his heart, about to be separated from all earthly enjoyments, and to descend to the lonely grave. Yet he is still tranquil, nay, triumphant. The peace of Jesus dwells in his heart, and the religion of Jesus enlightens before him the "valley of the shadow of death." Come now, tear from him these hopes which solace him; teach him that the joys which he
anticipates are unreal; tell him that, instead of going to his Redeemer, he is entering into a dark, a dismal, an uncertain future, or sinking into gloomy annihilation. Come, root from his heart those sentiments which fill him with exultation; come, and force him to resign his breath, shivering, doubtful, and appalled.
You would shudder at such a proposal. You would think yourself a monster, a demon, if you complied with it. Yet this cruel effect is produced by the propagation of your sentiments. If then you have not this peace yourself, be not so barbarous, so brutal, as to strive to tear it from others!
THE CHRISTIAN'S VICTORY OVER THE WORLD.
1 JOHN V. 4.
Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world.
WHILST We remain below in a state of probation, we are surrounded by numberless and powerful spiritual enemies. The adversary of souls attempts to delude us; our corrupt inclinations estrange us from God; and the world spreads before us a thousand snares and temptations. These enemies we are unable to vanquish whilst we continue in our natural state; but when we are "born of God;" that is, when a new and divine principle is implanted within us, when we are regenerated by the Holy Ghost, we can then triumph over them. My text confines me to an examination of the believer's conquest over one of these enemies, the world; and in illustrating it, we shall,
I. Consider the manner in which the world assails the Christian; and,
II. The mode in which he repels these assaults.
I. The world assails the Christian by its evil example, by its false maxims, by its pleasures and caresses, and by its persecutions and frowns.