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admonished to be more earnest on the look out, assured as we are, that "we are they upon whom the ends of the world are come!"

With these preliminary observations in view, I beg, in my new year's token of affection to the church of Christ, to salute the Lord's people, taking for my motto the well known words in the prophetical writings of Isaiah," Watchman! what of the night?" To the lovers of biblical study they will not need being told, that the words themselves form a part of what is contained in the burden of Dumah! Dumah, according to the ancient statements in geography, is said to have been in Arabia, Gen. xxv. 14; but, I rather think that in all the scriptures where the sacred writers are speaking of the burden of one and of another, (and there are many of the like kind; Isa. xv. 1. xvii. 1. xix. 1. &c.) that the prophet rather speaks of persons than of places; and if so, he connects in one and the same subject the whole carnal descendants of the patriarchs, not interested in the election of grace. The prophet saith, "the burden of Dumah;" but he immediately connects with it one that calleth to him out of Seir, when he saith, "Watchman! what of the night ?" So that, while we know that Ishmael was the father of Dumah, Gen. xxv. 14; and that Esau was the son of Isaac, who with his descendants" dwelt in Mount Seir, for Esau is Edom," Gen. xxxvi. 8; it becomes no violence to scripture, but rather according to the analogy of divine truth to suppose, that by Dumah and Mount Seir the prophet intended to represent" the children of the bondwoman," in all ages of the church, as distinguished from "the children of the free," see Gal. iv. 22. to the end.

By the term, burden, we are taught, and that in various scriptures, is meant somewhat to follow in the discourse of the prophet that is exceedingly weighty and important. The prophets frequently used the expression, but always with a marked discrimination

between that which is from the Lord, and that which belongs to man; for what is a burden and a weariness to the ungodly, is light and life to the Lord's people, Zech. ix. 1 to 4. Mal. i. 1 to 5. The one from Mount Seir is evidently the cry of the ungodly, "Watchman! what of the night ?" And as one panic struck at some more than ordinary events, which at the time he probably beheld in the world, full of portentous signs and apprehensions of impending judgment, the Edomite repeats his question, "Watchman! what of the night? Watchman! what of the night?"

I detain the reader at this part of the subject to make a short application. It is impossible to figure to the human mind (for the utmost grasp of the imagination cannot pourtray them) the horrors of a guilty conscience in the trembling prospects of the divine judgments: sacred scripture gives the only finished representation; and that, though in the strongest colouring of words, yet, cannot but fall infinitely short of the reality. Under the era of the sixth vial, the inspired writer saith, "And I beheld, when he had opened the sixth seal; and lo! there was a great earthquake: and the sun became black, as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood: and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind: and the heaven departed as a scroll, when it is rolled together; and every mountain, and island, were moved out of their places: and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. vi. 12 to 17. And no wonder,

when the forebodings arise as they sometimes will arise, when storms, or hurricanes, or lightnings, or depserate sickness beset the sinner like another Felix before Paul, while the apprehension of the judgment to come is in full view, that he anxiously puts the trembling enquiry to any one and to every one that he thinks can answer the question, "Watchman! what of the night? Watchman! what of the night ?"

But what I particularly admire and desire to bless my God for, is to observe upon the occasion of any alarm by which infidels are roused to a sense of impending danger, how the Lord of all lords extorts from the very hearts of those that have before scoffed at his sovereignty, (saying with those of old, "where is the promise of his coming?" 2 Pet. iii. 3, 4.) the acknowledgment of their fright in their fearful looking for of God's wrath. In the history of Persia, we have a notable instance of the Lord's harrowing up the guilty conscience of atheistical men in their hour of danger, and compelling them to acknowledge the divine government which in their profanity they had denied. One of their writers, Æschyles, gives this statement:" When the Grecian army were full in pursuit of us, (said he) and we had no escape, but over the great river Strymon, which was then frozen; and when had it thawed every soul must have perished; many a one (said the historian) did I see with my eyes, and hear with my hears, which before had denied the being of God, now crying to him for mercy, that the ice might hold until they were gotten over." And the case of those infidels in those days is not without parallel in our's. Were the Lord to come forth by some national visitation of an earthquake or pestilence, or sword, Oh! how many of the Christ-despisers would then tremble to the very centre of their souls, and turn into paleness and horror in the apprehension of divine judgment! And none more so than those, who in the full blaze of gospel truths,

"deny the Lord that bought them!" He, who by whose upholding power "hears up the earth!" Ps. lxxv. 3. The prophet hath described such, in lively but alarming characters. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites! Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Isa. xxxiii. 14.

I shall here drop the subject, as in reference to Dumah, or the man out of Seir, in order to consider the question as it may be rendered profitable to the present day and generation of the church. The Holy Ghost hath taught us by Peter, "that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation; for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. In all the predictions of the Lord, though apparently speaking of Dumah, or Seir, or Moab, or Babylon, it is to the church and for the church, as so many modes of instruction, the gracious subject is directed. And if, as the Lord here most blessedly states, this (as well as all other prophecies) is of no private interpretation, but is given for the edification and comfort of the church; and cannot be interpreted, as other books of man's wisdom may, by man; but the Lord that gives it, is the same Lord only that can explain it; I shall be led to hope, the same Almighty God which moved holy men of old to write, will direct our spiritual understanding to apprehend as we read, "that we may know the things which are freely given to us of God," 1 Cor. ii. 12.

I begin the subject with observing, that the enquiry, "Watchman! what of the night?" becomes abundantly interesting upon numberless occasions, in the common intercourse of society, man with man; and if from the lesser circumstances of the present life we rise in the investigation to the greater and more momentous, in

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which are involved all the infinite interests of another, the subject increaseth in magnitude as we advance, and the mind, if taught of God, becomes most solemnly impressed in the contemplation. I have often found a train of reflections awakened within, when at any time the silence of the night hath been interrupted by the watchman's call without, all is well! Yes, I have said, all is well indeed if we are at peace with God and at peace with man. But is all well where sin and Satan reign? The watchmen which go about the city consider all to be well, as long as no fires from within or robbers from without disturb the peace of the inhabitants: but what, if every species of sensual depravity is at the midnight hour going on; and in the aggregate of human apostacy, millions of transgressions, noiseless and inaudible, are coming up before God? Shall the unconscious watchman's proclamation, "all's well, alter the very nature of things where all is so ill? Is all well in the prison which the watchman passeth, from whence perhaps the morrow brings forth the felon or the murderer for execution? Is all well in the countless hospitals and dying chambers throughout the world, where deep groans and inexpressible agonies, agonies of body and mind speak louder than a thousand voices, that the whole earth is but as one great lazarhouse, into which "sin hath entered, and death by sin; and so death passeth upon all men, for that all have sinned," Rom. xv. 12.

If we pass on from hence to the more open transactions in life, and especially as connected with the great principles of religion, the question meets us in more awakened language, "Watchman! what of the night!" And if the answer was to be given by the mere professor of christianity, who is ignorant in himself of any change of heart by regeneration, and consequently ignorant of the necessity of it in others for the possession of vital godliness, like the watchman of the city,

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