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and unconsciously does honour to its great Author-shall the highest order of intelligent being-shall man pre-eminently gifted by his Maker, be backward to render him a suitable homage? Be our lives from henceforth, the answer to this appeal! If he has blessed us with the good things of this world, let us by receiving them gratefully, using them temperately, and imparting them liberally, make the only return in our power for such signal favour, and advance his glory in the manner most conformable to his revealed will. If he has denied us these transient advantages, let us bow with submission to his undoubted wisdom. Let us bear with resignation the lot which he has appointed to us, and by so doing convert a loss which is but temporal, into a blessing which will be eternal. But of things which pertain only to the body, the acquisition is so uncertain, and the possession so short at the longest, that they can be but an imperfect medium for conveying our devotions to the throne of grace, and an inadequate foundation upon which to establish the glory of God. It is for higher and more permanent endowments-for the light of reason, and for the splendour of Revelation—
for the means of securing felicity here, and immortal bliss hereafter, that a bountiful Providence should be especially adored, and his praises celebrated in every action of our lives.
To this object then let us devote our serious thoughts, and firmest resolutions—but always under the guidance of sound reason and sober discretion, without suffering our religion to deviate into those extravagances, which are unhappily so frequently exhibited by the fanatics of these days. By keeping it constantly in our view, that we are living under the control of a superintending Providence, who may reward or punish us here, but who will infallibly make us accountable hereafter -we may so discipline our minds, that even our most ordinary occupations may be regulated by a regard to the Divine approbationso that, according to the familiar illustration of the text, whether we eat, or whether we drink, or whatsoever we do, we may do all to the glory of God.
But upon more solemn occasions, this sentiment will naturally be impressed upon us with greater force. In the service in which we are about to be engaged, it especially makes the
most powerful appeal to our hearts. In approaching the table of the Lord, the glory of God must be the predominant object of our contemplation. All the stupendous mysteries which the Gospel combines for our redemption and salvation, are, as it were, concentrated in that sublime and sacred office of our Church. We cannot join in it without feeling that spiritual refreshment of our souls, which it is designed to impart. We cannot deliberately and habitually neglect it, without impairing our title to the benefits of the Christian Covenant. Let me earnestly conjure you, therefore, to embrace the present opportunity of partaking in this holy ordinance. If you are conscious that your faith in Christ is firmly fixed, and that your lives are passed in conformity with your faith, gratitude alone for so unspeakable a blessing, must be sufficient to bring you to the altar, in humble acknowledgment of the mercies of your God. But if your faith at any time falls short of that stability and assurance, which it is so desirable to possess, a state of mind from which even the best of men are by no means secure—or if your conduct is not upon all occasions so exactly framed upon Christian principles, as it
might and ought to be-you have still more reason to prostrate yourselves before the Lord, in devout supplication for the assistance of his Holy Spirit, to guide you into the way of truth, to remove the mists of error from your understandings, and to purify your hearts with the love of virtue: so that when the changes and chances of this mortal life are ended, it may be your happy fate, through the merits of your Redeemer, to behold, with unclouded vision, the glory of God.
1 CORINTHIANS xiii. 13.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
SUCH is the emphatical conclusion of this great Apostle's description of the virtue of Christian love or charity: to which he justly assigns the pre-eminence over faith and hope; and indeed over every other particular grace and endowment-for this plain reason, that it includes in itself every thing that constitutes the perfection of the Christian character.— The whole chapter is well worthy of the attention of every one, who is desirous of forming correct ideas of the doctrines of our religion. But especially of those, who may, from any causes have been led to attach an exclusive, or an undue importance to faith, as if by it alone we could either be justified or