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thy ways." Religion is a burden to you; its privileges give you no joy; you drag its hopes as the galley slave drags his heavy chain. This world is your idol, and could you command its bounty, you would be content to dwell in it for ever. Believe me it is time for you to take the alarm. You are going to your own place, and the graves of the slain are there. Your descent to it is rapid; it is as dark as it is precipitous. A few slanting and oblique beams of the sun may fall upon it, and that sun is going down. Here and there a projecting bough, or tree, scathed by the lightning, which has twisted its roots into the fissures of the rock, may intercept your progress, and break your fall; but your feet shall slide in due time, and to that world below, that bottomless abyss, whence there is no return.

But I would fain believe there are some among you whose hope is as an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. To all such persons, the subject on which we have been dwelling addresses the most delightful encouragement. A Christian seaman has the same high character and the same blessed promise, that belong to those who pursue a less perilous, and more tranquil calling. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, into which the righteous runneth and is safe. You may be in dangers oft," but he that keepeth you shall neither slumber, nor sleep. "Though you take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, there shall his hand lead you, and his right hand shall hold you." No matter where you live, or where, or when you die; your "life is hid with Christ in God, and when he who is your life shall appear, you also shall appear with him in glory." No matter where your mortal body may find its last rest; whether in the

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tranquil grave-yard, and in the place of your fathers' sepulchres, in the deep earth; or in the deeper sea; it is enough that the great Saviour watches over it as his own, and at his voice it shall come forth.

If you are thus "begotten again to a living hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead," let it be seen that yours is a good hope through grace. Cherish such a hope as this, and honor it by your habitual deportment, fearing God and departing from evil. Cast not away this confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Hope is the flower of Paradise, left to scatter its rich perfume over a dreary world. It lives even under lowering skies, and is watered by the spray of the ocean. It enhances your pleasures, and refreshes your toil; it cheers your melancholy and soothes your sorrows; it heals your wounds, and dissipates your fears. Clouds may hang over the lowly vale of your earthly pilgrimage; but the light of hope shall scatter them. Night may shut in and cover the dark passage which leads to immortality; but the light of hope shall stream in full glory there, and clear up the dark valley. "If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men the most to be commiserated." It is not in this life that your hopes centre; you will not be thus miserable, because disappointed. Nor is it an imaginary happines in an imaginary future that you are searching after-grasping at shadows, and rejecting the substance. Hope may be firm that anticipates eternal realities. It is fast anchored, and enters into that which is within the veil, "whither the Forerunner has for us entered." The time is short; be The time is short; be you sober, and "As he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation and

watch unto prayer.

godliness. Be ye sober, I say, and watch unto prayer, lest Satan take advantage of you; lest you grieve the Spirit of God; and lest, after the lusts of your former ignorance, a wound be inflicted on your hopes that may not be healed, though you seek it carefully and with

tears.

SERMON V.

THE CURSE OF ABANDONMENT RELUCTANTLY

EXECUTED.

HOSEA ii. 8. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah, and set thee as Zeboim ?

THERE is no being in the universe to whom men do so much injustice as the God of heaven. Those who most esteem and love him, are far from giving him that place in their esteem and love which he deserves; while those who hate him, look upon him as a very tyrant, and think and speak of him as the cruellest despot in the world.

The Scriptures exhibit him as lovely, as he is great; as amiable, as he is infinite. And what we are more specially concerned to remark, is, they set forth the tenderness of his character, in those very acts in which he appears to men as hard and severe.

I see not how any person of fair and candid mind can read the text without looking upon it as a most amiable-nay, a most touching view of God. Admah and Zeboim were two cities on the western shore of what is now the Dead Sea, that were destroyed by fire from heaven, when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed for their wickedness. Ephraim was the younger son of Joseph, and was reckoned among the sons of Jacob. His descendants constituted a distinct tribe,

which in process of time became numerous and powerful. Upon the revolt of the ten tribes from Judah and Benjamin, Ephraim became the seat of empire for the ten tribes, and the whole ten tribes were called Ephraim. From the time of this separation, the ten tribes became to the last degree degenerate, and God threatened to abandon them to the fate of Sodom and the cities of the plain. All hope of reforming this idolatrous people seemed to have died away, and with it all hope of their salvation. Justice seems to have entered upon the process of destruction; but just as the blow was about to fall, the arm of Omnipotence hesitates, and the sword is returned to its scabbard. It is an irrecoverable blow when once it is struck; once kindled, the flame is one that is never quenched. It were God's strange work thus to abandon the creatures he has made to destruction. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim ?"

I. The first remark suggested by this affecting representation, is, that there are instances in which men are given up of God.

All men who finally perish, wax worse and worse, until the cup of their iniquity is full. We know not where the point is in this descending path, beyond which there is no return; but such a point there is, and when the irrecoverable step is taken, and the sinner is ripe for destruction, it is in vain to persuade him, in vain to pray, or even hope for him.

It is a very common thing for God to deprive such persons of all the ordinary means of salvation. The Bible, the Sabbath, the ministry of reconciliation, the offers of mercy, and all the things which belong to their

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