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in the most splendid age of his country, in being the friend and contemporary of all those who have enlightened or adorned it, and in sharing with them in the applause and admiration of mankind :Happy in an old age, in which “ his eyes waxed 6 not dim," nor his “natural strength decayed," and in a death, which, after no long suffering, removed him from the service of the “sanctuary be“ low,” to that of the sanctuary above :—but happier far than all, in having devoted the great powers with which he was entrusted, to the sole ends of religion and virtue; in being the minister of salvation to ages yet unborn; and in having established a name, before which all the future generations of man will rise up and call it blessed ! It is with this illustrious example before us,
that we enter upon a new age; upon that age, my brethren, in which we are all to live and all to die. May He, who liveth for ever and ever, be our Protector and Friend ! May He dwell in all our hearts, and strengthen all our resolutions, and listen to all our prayers. And whatever be the scenes that lie before us, may we so advance, under his guidance, upon the road of mortal life, that in the “ last day, 6 when the Saviour of the world shull come again “in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick " and the dead, we may all rise to the life immortal, “through Him who reigneth with the Father, and “the Holy Spirit, now, henceforth, and for ever!"
JOB XLII. 5.
“ I have heard of Theo by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye
THESE are the words with which Job concludes the interesting account of his sufferings and his doubts. After a speculative and fruitless conversation with his friends, to discover the cause of those afflictions with which the providence of God had visited him, he is represented as at last raising his eyes from himself and his own concerns, towards the Government of Nature: And the Al. mighty is brought forward as speaking to him from amid the whirlwind of his power, and pointing out to him, amid his despondence, some of the most striking instances in which His greatness and wisdom are manifested in the world that surrounds him. Then Job answered, in the sublime and memorable words of the text, “I have heard of “ Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine “ eye seeth Thee."
The words, my brethren, are still applicable to as. Even now, the greatest and most important
part of our religious knowledge, our knowledge of the nature and attributes of “ Him that made “ us,” is acquired solely by the hearing of the “ ear.” The early instruction of the parent; the occasional hours of reading and meditation; and the publick exhortations of the pulpit,-constitute all that the generality of men know upon the most momentous subject of human information. There are few who have been taught in infancy to raise their minds to the contemplation of His works ; who love to kindle their adoration at the altar of nature, or to lose themselves in astonishment amid the immensity of the universe ; and who thus “ see
ing Him with their eyes,” learn to associate the truths of religion with all the most valued emotions of their hearts. It is the natural consequence of these partial views of the Deity, to narrow our conceptions of his being; to chill the native sensibility of our minds to devotion ; and to render religion rather the gloomy companion of the church and the closet, than the animating friend of our ordinary hours.
Reflections of this kind, my brethren, seem very naturally to arise to us from the season we experience, and the scenes we at present behold. In the beautiful language of the wise man,“ the win66 ter is now over and gone; the flowers appear “on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is
come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our “ land.”—In these moments, we are the witnesses
of the most beautiful and most astonishing spectacle that nature ever presents to our view. The earth, by an annual miracle, rises again, as from her grave, into life and beauty. A new creation peoples the wintry đesert; and the voice of joy and gladness is heard among those scenes which but of late lay in silence and desolation. The sun comès forth, 6 like a bridegroom from his cham“ber," to diffuse light and life over every thing he beholds; and the breath of Heaven seems to brood with maternal love over that infant creation it has so lately awakened into being. In such hours, there is a natural impulse which leads us to meditation and praise. We love to go out amid the scenery of nature, to mark its progressive beauty, and to partake in the new joy of every thing that lives ;--and we almost involuntarily lift our eyes to that Heaven from whence cometh the hope of man, “ which openeth its hand, and filleth all 5 things with plenteousness.” Even upon the most uncultivated minds, these seasons have their influence ; and wherever, over the face of the earth, the spring is now returning, even amid nations uncheered by the light of the Gospel, the poor inhabitant is yet every where preparing some rude solemnity, to express the renewal of his joy, and the return of his praise. In obedience to this pleasing instinct of religion, I shall endeavour, at present, to lay before you some of the reflections which seem most fitted for this season, and which
may be most useful for the ends of piety and virtue.
I.-1. The first reflection which the return of spring presents to us, is with regard to the unchangeableness of the power of the Almighty. We learn from reason, and from scripture, that “God “ is unchangeable, as He is eternal : that to his
years there is no end ; that he was, and is, and “ is to come." All this is the “ hearing of the ear.” In the present hours “our eyes may see it.” It is but a little time, when the earth around us, like the chaos from which it sprung, was without form and void, and when darkness dwelt over the face of the deep. It is now, as in the astonishing hour of creation, lighted up into life and order. The great word of EXISTENCE has again gone forth ; -every breeze that blows appears to call some new species of being from the dark womb of nature ;-and every returning sun seems to glory, with increasing splendour, over that progressive beauty which his rays have awakened. While we are witnessing this scene of wonder, can we forget, my brethren, that it is but the yearly workmanship of God! In the
that have passed since the beginning of time, the same season has annually been renewed ; and the eyes of our fathers, and the old time before them, have regularly witnessed those displays of Omnipotence in which we now rejoice. They all are gone, they and the generations which were before them,