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then, neither is he that planted any voice. And the Lord hath avouched thing, neither he that watereth; thee this day to be his peculiar peobut God that giveth the increase." ple, as he hath promised thee, that 1 Cor. iii. 5-7. To set up an thou shouldst keep all his commandEben-ezer therefore implies a dis-ments; and to make thee high above position to say, in praise as well as all nations which he hath made, in in prayer, "Not unto us, O Lord, praise, in name, and in honour; and not unto us, but unto thy name give that thou mayest be an holy people the glory, for thy mercy, and for thy unto the Lord thy God, as he hath truth's sake." Psalm cxv. 1. And spoken." Deut. xxvi. Having thus to ascribe all our blessings, to the far experienced the Lord's faithfuleverlasting love of the Father, the ness and mercy, the pleasantness of atonement and mediation of the Son, his ways, and the misery of departand to the sanctification of the Holy ing from them; we thank him for Spirit. the past, and express our purpose It implies also an open acknow- and desire of walking with him all ledgment of our obligations to the the residue of our lives. Our reLord, a confession of our own un- view of the way which we have worthiness; and an endeavour by come invigorates these determinaall proper means, to perpetuate the tions, increases our simplicity of memory of the Lord's great good-dependence on his continued grace, ness towards us, in our families, and and teaches us the necessity of among all with whom we are con- greater vigilance and circumspecnected. An open profession of the tion; that "whether we eat, or truth, with a consistent example whether we drink, or whatever we and conversation; attendance on do, we may do all to the glory of the ordinances of God, diligence in God."
the instruction of children and do- In these respects the Lord's Supmestics, and the improvement of per is a stated method of setting up our several talents to promote true an Eben-ezer. When, with serious religion, constitute such an avowal recollection and self-examination; of our obligations to the Lord. with renewed exercises of repentThese things tend to diffuse the ance, faith, and love; with humble knowledge of his abundant kind-confessions, fervent prayers, and ness, and to preserve the remem-thankful praises, we commemorate brance of it, for the encouragement the sufferings and death of our Reof our brethren, and inducement to deemer: we then join ourselves to sinners to seek the participation of the Lord and his chosen people, we our privileges. avouch him to be our God; we We must not, however, be satis- thank him for the past, and commit fied with thankful acknowledgments ourselves to his keeping for the fuof the past; but when we set up an ture; and we declare our deterEben-ezer, and say, "hitherto hath mined purpose, by his grace, to the Lord helped us ;" we should walk in his holy ways during the renew our dedication of ourselves remainder of our lives. It seems to him in respect of the future. therefore peculiarly proper to begin "Thou hast avouched the Lord this a new year, with this solemn act of day to be thy God, and to walk in adoring praise, this renewed dedihis ways, and to keep his statutes, cation of ourselves to the service of and his commandments, and his our God and Saviour. judgments, and to hearken to his
This review should likewise ex
cite us to be "followers of God, as escape, that we may be able to bear dear children, and to walk in love, it;" yea, "The Lord shall deliver as Christ also hath loved us.' "Our us from every evil work, and will ' conduct towards others ought to be preserve us to his heavenly kinga constant imitation of the long-sui- dom. To whom be glory for ever fering compassion, readiness to for- and ever. Amen." 1 Cor. x. 13. give and relieve, and persevering 2 Tim. iv. 18.
goodness of the Lord towards us; These are some of the encouragethat "we may never be weary of ments and instructions which real well-doing," or be overcome of Christians may receive from the evil;" but that we may "overcome subject before us. But how stand evil with good." matters with our souls? Hitherto Finally, the recollection and thank- the Lord hath prolonged all our ful acknowledgment that "hitherto lives, and we now enter on another hath the Lord helped us," should year; while many of our acquaintencourage our hearts to run with ance or relatives are gone to their patience the remainder of "the long home. We yet remain in the race set before us." The Lord, land of faith, of hope, of mercy, and that delivered me out of the paw of prayer; while numbers have been of the lion, and out of the paw removed to the regions of darkness of the bear, will deliver me out of and despair, and some to the realms the hand of the Philistine." 1 Sam. of endless day.-But the time is xvii. 37. He that hath preserved short.-The end of all things is at and assisted us in so many dan-hand.-A little moment, as it were, gers and difficulties already, will will terminate our season of proba"never leave us nor forsake us. "tion and preparation for eternity; "He fainteth not, neither is weary." the continuance of our earthly comHis understanding is infinite, his forts or trials, and our opportuniresources inexhaustible, his faith- ties of doing good to men, and glorifulness unfailing, and his mercy fying God in this world of sin and everlasting. We should therefore misery.
comfort one another with these con- Have none of you then entered siderations, learn "to cast all our on this new year, destitute of vital care on Him who careth for us," godliness, strangers to repentance and pour out our hearts before him; and works meet for repentance, and we should remember that " our Fa- unacquainted with a life of faith in ther knoweth what things we have the Son of God, and communion need of," and that "no good thing with the Father through him? Are will he withhold from them that walk none of you still loitering and prouprightly." "Clouds and darkness crastinating, loath to part with are about him," and gloomy pros- worldly idols, and averse to dilipects may meet our view; but the gent piety? Or are you not trying perfections and covenant engage- to persuade yourselves, that so much ments of the Lord are unchange- strictness is unnecessary, that by able; and "we know that all things attention to decent forms and moral work together for good to them that duties, or an assent to certain doclove God, to them who are the trines, you may reconcile religion called according to his purpose." with your worldly spirit and pur"He will never suffer us to be tempt- suits, and thus serve God and ed above what we are able; but will mammon?-You have indeed been with the temptation make a way to spared to enter on another year,
and have great cause, though little of vengeance of our God." O enheart, for thankfulness: but what deavour to " show forth his praises assurance have you that you shall not only with your lips, but in your live to the close of it? Several who lives, by giving up yourselves to joined with us last year in the ser- his service, and by walking before vice of the day, are now entered on him in holiness and righteousness an eternal state; and probably many all your days." Then many will of us shall join them before this glorify God on your behalf, and you year shall terminate. And how will be in some degree instrumental terrible will this be to those, who in bringing others to seek the same by a perverse abuse of the Lord's blessings. Abide in Christ; keep abundant mercies, have increased close to the means of grace; watch their own condemnation! Still the against temptation; be not highHoly Ghost says, To-day if ye minded, but fear, for your enemies will hear his voice, harden not your are many, and your hearts are dehearts."-"Seek ye the Lord while ceitful; yet be sober and hope he may be found; call ye upon him unto the end." "For greater is while he is near." And we entreat He that is in you, than he that is you, join your prayer for yourselves in the world." Wait on the Lord to our supplications in your behalf, continually, that he may renew your that in the present year you may be strength: and take heed, lest an "turned from darkness to light, and increase of knowledge and maturity from the power of Satan unto God." of judgment should be attended by Perhaps some are blessing God, an abatement in the fervour of your that this has been their happy case, affections. Be not contented with during the preceding year; and are the low attainments of professors in now saying within themselves,' Had this lukewarm age; but follow those I died before the year 1795, I should who have most closely followed have perished in my sins, without Christ. And now approach with Christ and without hope. But the us to his table, to avow your acceptLord who spared me when others ance of his salvation, and surrender were cut off, and rescued me from of yourselves to his service; that numberless dangers, seen and un- as "bought with a price, you may seen, when I habitually trampled glorify God with your bodies and on his commandments, and neg- spirits which are his." lected his salvation, hath at length, Some perhaps to this very day, in boundless mercy, granted me may stand in doubt to what class or repentance," enabled me to believe company they belong. May the in the Lord Jesus Christ, and taught Lord enable such persons to begin me by his grace to walk in newness this new year with " giving all of life.' Bless the Lord, O my diligence to make their calling and soul, and forget not all his benefits; election sure!" Inquire, my friends, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, with impartial strictness, into the and healeth all thy diseases; who reasons of your uncertainty and redeemeth thy life from destruction, darkness: cast away every idol, and crowneth thee with loving-break off every entangling pursuit kindness and tender mercy." How or engagement; return from your memorable with you, my brethren, backslidings, and seek the Lord even to eternal ages, will be this "ac- with all your hearts: that should ceptable year of the Lord," which to this year terminate your lives, your many hath doubtless been "the day setting sun may break forth with
When all the chosen race
Shall meet before the throne,
cheering beams, and gild the dark reason to expect, death will be your
ON THE PROPER IMPROVEMENT OF
ISAIAH ix. 13.-For the people turn-
bitants of Samaria, that say, in the in the armies of heaven and among pride and stoutness of heart; The the inhabitants of the earth," in bricks are fallen down, but we will fact did nothing, but left the unibuild with hewn stones; the syca- verse to the established laws of mores are cut down, but we will nature, or the uncontrolled devices change them into cedars. There- and machinations of his creatures! fore the Lord shall set up the ad- I would not be supposed, my breversaries of Rezin against him, and thren, to speak against a true phijoin his enemies together. The losophy, the investigation of God's Syrians before, and the Philistines works, and a sober inquiry into the behind, and they shall devour Israel ordinary rules by which he governs with open mouth. For all this his the world: for this conduces to an anger is not turned away, but his intelligent perception of his operahand is stretched out still." After tions, and an admiring sense of his all the calamities which came on wisdom, power, justice, and goodIsrael by these numerous enemies, ness. But sceptical reasonings about still more complicated and tremen- second causes, and an undue attendous miseries awaited the nation, tion to instruments, exceedingly which would be inflicted by the tend to make men overlook the subsequent kings of Assyria, and First Cause, that great Agent "who terminate in their final ruin and worketh all in all."
dispersion. "For the people turn- In this respect as well as others, eth not unto him that smiteth them; we should learn "to speak accordneither do they seek the Lord of ing to the oracles of God:" for in Hosts." The text, thus opened, Scripture his hand is acknowledged suggests the following topics suited to the present emergency.
I. When affliction is experienced, we should remember that the Lord smiteth us.
II. It is our duty and wisdom in this case to turn unto the Lord.
III. As Israel of old did not, so Great Britain at present doth not, properly attend to this duty.
IV. This circumstance may well create most serious alarm concerning the event of our present calamities.
V. The admonitions and instructions which may be deduced from these considerations.
on every occasion. "By Naaman the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria." "I inform you," says the apostle, "of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;" that is their liberality which was the effect of divine grace. "Thanks be to God who put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus." 2 Kings v. 1. 2 Cor. viii. 1-3, 16, 17. The exercise of faith leads us to view the Lord in every object and event; to taste his love in our most common mercies, and to submit to his correction by whatever means it is brought upon us.
The arrogance, blasphemy, rapacity, and ambition of Sennacherib can scarcely be exceeded: yet obI. We observe, that when afflic-serve what the Lord says of him; tion is experienced, we should re-"O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, member that the Lord smiteth us. and the staff in their hand is mine A vain philosophy is at present indignation. I will send him against employed, to resolve all events into an hypocritical nation; and against second causes, and impute them to the people of my wrath will I give men or measures: as if that God, him a charge, to take the spoil, and who "doeth according to his will to take the prey, and to tread them