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writes, that “ men blasphemed the name of “ God, which hath power over these plagues, “ because of their pains and their sores, and

gnawed their tongues for pain, and repented “ not of their deeds to give Him glory;” (Rev. xvi. 9, 11.) they became, in short, he foresaw, outrageous and desperate, and complainers, under the sufferings which should have broken their stubborn spirits, so as to render them contrite, and humbly penitent before the Most High.

Upon the whole, then, although we know not, nor are able with any precision to conjecture, what the events of the future time shall be, yet the Holy Ghost, speaking by Daniel and all the Prophets, this plainly witnesseth, that there are a variety of fearful occurrences and severe trials in store, which shall surely come to pass in their season, and from which none of us can expect entirely to remain exempt. Doubtless, it may here truly be said, that to look for, and to undergo trials, hath continually, hitherto, been the lot of man beneath the sun; but the prophetic Scriptures decidedly instruct us to apprehend, that as time advances, and “ the restitution of all things” draws nearer, they who profess and call themselves Christians, shall be put more strongly to the proof, and be compelled to shew their real na

ture, or turn of mind. A severer course of discipline, or more alarming and difficult circumstances, are ordained, by means of which the honest and true-hearted shall be wrought to a higher pitch of faith and virtue, and the insincere and unsound at heart be provoked to greater excesses of wickedness. And it should seem not too much to say, that there are to be observed in the present days, some, not uncertain, symptoms of the beginning, at least, of such a dispensation. Undeniably, the men of the existing age have a determination to know more, and to think and observe more, whether discreetly or not, than the men of former years; there is a spirit of restlessness and agitation evidently pervading the great mass of the human race, the result of which, ourselves merely being judges, can hardly fail to be in agreement with the text.

Wherefore, my brethren, let me conclude with exhorting you to remember the obligation, which you are under, as Christians, never to be ashamed of Christ crucified, or to shrink from manfully fighting under His banner against sin, the world, and the Devil. Resolve that you will continue, in the face of those enemies, and in despite of every temptation, His faithful soldiers and servants. Bear in mind the fore. warnings of Holy Scripture, and wonder not

376 The Nature, generally, of Things to come.

should you be called to “endure hardness,” according to much which is therein written. And, chiefly, be sure to watch and pray always, for a spirit of righteousness and godly submission, that you may patiently abide until the end, and “ be not of them who draw back “ unto perdition, but of them who believe unto “ the saving of the soul.”—Endeavour thus to understand with the wise, and to “ be purified, 6 and made white, and tried,” while the wicked, of their natural ignorance and impatience, are falling from one wickedness to another, in time of peril and tribulation. So shall every trial of your faith, though it be tried with an unwonted severity, “ be found unto praise, and “ honour, and glory, in the day of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter i. 7.) So shall your lot finally be with that innumerable multitude of all people, nations, and languages, whom St. John beheld rejoicing before the Divine presence in heaven, “ clothed with white robes, and palms in their “ hands;" and one told him about them, saying, “ These are they which came out of great

tribulation, and have washed their robes, and “ made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 66 Therefore are they before the throne of God, “ and serve Him day and night in His temple: " -and God shall wipe away all tears from “ their eyes.” (Revelation vii. 9, &c.)

SERMON XXV.

Psalm cxlix. 9.

This honour have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord. EVERY one, it may be presumed, has observed, that there are certain days in the Church, which are called after particular Apostles and Evangelists, and have suitable Collects and portions of Scripture assigned to them. This custom is a very ancient one,– far too ancient to be lightly despised, or set aside. It probably arose, in the leading instances, almost from the remote period of the deaths of the holy persons who are still thus commemorated, before the simplicity of Christ's gospel had been much corrupted by the inventions of foolish men; and there are passages in the Epistles of the New Testament, which appear strongly to sanction, or recommend it. That of St. James,

Take, my brethren, the Prophets, who have “ spoken in the name of the Lord, for an ex“ ample of suffering affliction, and of patience;" (James v. 10.) and that of the Apostle to the Hebrews,—“Remember them who have spoken

“ to you the word of God: whose faith follow,

considering the end of their conversation,” (Hebrews xiii. 7.) cannot by any way more probably be obeyed.

It is undeniable, however, that of this, as of most other good practices, many strange abuses have been admitted. Instead of continuing only to remember with a grateful affection the holy men of former days, and to render thanks unto God alone for the abiding benefits of their doctrine and example, Christians (not a few) have proceeded to invoke and worship them, and to esteem them as mediators and intercessors; imagining that by their prayers and merits, (who had been frail, and in no case without sin) they might be delivered from the wrath to come. Forms of supplication to departed saints, or to God and Christ through them, such as it were a shame barely to repeat on this occasion, have been composed, and commonly adopted. Also, besides so plainly unscriptural a proceeding, the persons who introduced or consented to it, added many of unworthy characters to the primitive saints, and procured for them yearly services and days, to the great injury of all pure religion. Wherefore, when a reformation was providentially set on foot, this whole matter had no small need of being reformed. In fact, an absurd and per

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