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the law of Moses.” “ We have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” On this glorious foundation I have long rested all my hopes of eternal life; nor can I act a more faithful, friendly part, than by setting before you,
your present prospect of speedy dissolution, the same ground of hope.
But what will it avail either you or me, to hear of a complete redemption, or an all-sufficient atonement, if we are not interested in it, or have no part in the matter? Remember what is written, “ all who believe are justified :" “ He who believeth shall be saved; but he who believeth not shall be damned.” No person can derive real peace from the doctrine of atonement, but the believer ; nor shall any but such enter into the kingdom of heaven. And no sooner is a sinner brought to see his guilt, and to believe in Jesus, than he will repent and abhor himself in dust and ashes; for faith and repentance are inseparably connected. Such is the well-ordered plan of salvation, that all who are made partakers of the Redeemer's benefits, are the subjects of that faith which is the gift of God, and of his operation, and of that repentance which never shall be repented of. Of how much consequence is it then, that you inquire how matters stand between God and your soul ? Whether you have ever believed in the Lord Jesus, and have had that repentance which is unto life? If you have, the truth has come with power, and the Holy Ghost, and much assurance ; you have been convinced of its reality and glory, and entered into the spirit of it. Christ has appeared the only way,
the truth and the life ; and from a full view of your infinite unworthiness and guilt, you have been enabled to cast yourself at his feet, and to trust your all in his hands; knowing that you can be saved only upon the plan of free forgive
And if you are a real believer, you are made to hate sin, heart sin as well as the sins of your life, because hateful in the sight of God; and to long that God would make you holy as he is holy. Some things like these you have de. clared to me, and to others in your confinement, as the exercises of your mind. May God forbid that you should deceive yourself! May he manifest himself unto you, as a God pardoning in. iquity; yea, your iniquity; then will you tri, umph over death, the last enemy. Into his hands I commit you, wishing you an abundant entrance into the kingdom of glory. And as I expect to address you no more in this public manner, I bid you a most affectionate farewel!
THE CHARACTER OF A FOOLISH SON.
PROVERBS, xvii. 25. A foolish fon is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her
who bare bim.
SOLOMON's universal acquaintance with men and things was one of his great accomplish. ments, by which he was fitted to write those maxims, which have been found of unspeakable advantage in life. He had sustained the different relations of son, parent, and prince; the duties which belonged to each he well understood, and carefully discharged; nor could any man paint vice, with its consequences, so much to the life
All who read his writings find in them the dangers of a course of sin, and the secret methods by which the thoughtless are ensnared. The hazards which surround the path of youth are pointed out, and they are called upon to avoid them, lest they fall. The tender connexions which we form in this state, and the pleasure and pain which attend them from a diversity of circumstances, he was thoroughly acquainted with. As a son, he knew the feelings of filial affection ; as a father, the yearnings of a parent's
* Preached the Lord's day after the execution of LEVI AVES..
heart. Consequently he was qualified to de scribe the grief of a parent, when his children justly merit the character mentioned in the text : “ A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bare him.” This declaration implies,
1. Parental affection.
II. In consequence of which, parents in a peculiar sense are interested in every part of the conduct of their children; from whence arises either pleasure or pain : the latter always, when they deserve the character of foolish sons.
III. The import of which character I shall consider, and pass on to some suitable reflections.
1. Let us animadvert a little on the nature and necessity of parental affection.
The great Author of all things hath endowed the human mind with the most important and delicate passions, such as love, fear, pity, hope, &c. which, when duly governed by reason and religion, prove not only a private but a public blessing. Excited by these, we seek not only our own good, but the good of others.
By love and sympathy, which are public affections, we become interested in the sufferings of others, and are strongly urged to fly to their re
; and never fail of receiving a heart-felt pleasure, when, by acts of kindness, we have reduced that load of misery, under which a friend, a relative, yea, a stranger groaned. For as we became partakers of his infelicity, so we share in the satisfaction which arises from his relief.
Suppose we should meet with a person of an amiable character, who had been reduced by the frowns of Providence, from affluent or competent circumstances, to penury; whose modesty and fear of troubling his friends had inclined him to hide his suffering condition ; in this case, every man who possesses the social affections would, the instant he became ascertained of the above object of distress, hasten to relieve him.
Nor would I confine these passions in their exercise, to amiable characters; for it is a matter of experience and of fact, that they who possess them in the greatest degree of delicacy, have the most painful sense of the miseries, which mankind by imprudence or wickedness bring upon themselves. This remark has been abundantly exemplified, in the late conduct of many serious and respectable characters in this town, towards the unhappy youth who was executed on Thursday last; who, while they detested his horrid and repeated acts of iniquity, which brought him to disgrace and death, heartily pitied him; and by various methods discovered a strong inclination to make his few days as easy as possible.*
The passions are distinguished by writers on this subject into public and private; by the former are meant those, which lead us to seek the public good; by the latter, such as principally respect personal happiness : among these we find the strong affections of a parent's heart.
* I should lay myself under a disagreeable restraint, were I not to take public notice of the remarkable tenderness, with which the criminal was treated, from the time of his condemnation to his death, by the gentleman, who, by the nature of his office, was obliged to see the law executed ; together with the many kindnesses he received from the particular family in whose more immediate custody he was, of which I was an eye and ear witness.