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occurred to you to refer the origin of them to the forefathers of the unfortunate sufferers. You have looked upon them, on the other hand, with a degree of vague indecision, without for a moment supposing that had the ancestors of these acted differently, the fate of the unfortunate individuals would, in all probability, have been other than what it is. The Scriptures, however, it is to be hoped, have at length opened your eyes to the real state of the case, and you now know, and are fully persuaded, that the natural or temporal difficulties and distresses under which men oftentimes labour, are to be attributed to the indolence and irreligion of those who have gone before them. And I should have no hesitation in stating it as my firm conviction, grounded upon the indubitable warranty of the word of God, that many—very many cases of suffering and distress might have been avoided, had certain persons of the preceding or of some antecedent generation, walked in the paths of religion, instead of in those of ungodliness and impiety. Many a man who now labours under mental anguish or bodily distress, would have been in far different plight had his father or his grandfather pursued the practice of worshipping God in the congregation, and of joining his more sincere fellow Christians in eating of that bread from heaven which is so well calculated to preserve life, and in drinking of that consecrated cup which, like an effective medicine, will purify the whole system, and thoroughly cleanse it of filth and corruption. Now, brethren, I would ask

you

whe

ther, having convinced yourselves of these lamentable truths, you will permit them to escape you almost as soon as they have entered into your thoughts, or whether you will meditate and reflect upon them for the purpose of correcting similar errors of which you may perceive yourselves guilty? Daily and hourly do you witness the visible effects of disobeying the express injunctions of God, in the persons of the children of the original transgressors. Do you wish then, I would ask, that your own children, and then again their children, and their children's children after them, should in a corresponding manner suffer from your transgressions, or do you not wish this? If it be the former, then will you disobey the command of God. If, however, it be the latter that you desire; if you be anxious for your own happiness, and for the happiness of your kindred who are to succeed you, then will you most punctually and most rigidly perform the commands of Him who will save you from the effects of all such calamities as these, on the condition, and only on the condition, of your willing obedience. If, then, on the supposition that. you are anxious for your own happiness, and that of your kindred after you, you are directed to follow the example of Christ in entering into the house of God, and there offering up your praises and adorations to “.

your Father who seeth in secret in order that he may reward you openly;"_if, I say, you are directed to do this—do it: but, having done thus much, do not be content, and fancy that God will therewith be If you

content, and accept it as a species of composition for neglecting any other of his commands equally direct and explicit. You have already seen that such a supposition would be as delusive as it is dangerous.

wish that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, you must remember that all the commands of God must be obeyed; and in the precise manner which He has pointed out, must those outward ordinances be observed which are the means of grace, and by which alone a necessary preparation can be effected for being hereafter received into his presence through Jesus Christ.

SERMON IV.

THE WAYS OF GOD FREQUENTLY

UNINTELLIGIBLE TO MAN.

DEUTERONOMY vii. 22.

And the Lord thy God will put out those nations

before thee by little and little : thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.

It is scarcely possible, I conceive, to read the above words without looking upon them as a sort of moral chart, by which the whole of God's dealings with mankind are explained, and at one and the same moment presented to our view. The iniquities of the different small nations, or rather tribes, who occupied the land of Canaan during the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, are a fact which is strongly and undeniably insisted on in the Mosaic writings, which are corroborated in reference to this point by various allusions contained in other portions of the Inspired Volume. It was for this reason that they were doomed, sooner or later, to be deprived of those territories, of which by these means they had rendered themselves undeserving. And the Israelites were the appointed instruments of God's vengeance on these idolatrous nations. The selection which the Almighty made of this race for the above mentioned purpose, was undoubtedly an honour of great magnitude, and such as had been without precedent in the annals of the world. The distinguished appointment was conferred upon the Israelites, however, not on account of their own righteousness, for it is impossible that a pretension of this kind could be advanced by any nation whatever, much less by that community which had exhibited such repeated instances of ingratitude for favours received. It proceeded, on the other hand, from the pure and perfect love of the Almighty, which he extended to the Israelites in token of the constant attachment which he had received from their venerable forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The motives by which the Almighty was influenced in rescuing the descendants of these, his devoted servants, from the bondage of Egypt, and for putting them in possession of the promised land, were one and the same, according to the explicit declaration of Moses : “Because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” And afterwards he says,

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, for my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth

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