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HOPE OF MAN.

The way

in which the Most High destroys human hopes, is not by extinguishing in the mind áll expectation of future good, and pouring into it all the bitterness of despair. He only leaves those hopes to be disappointed. It is in the nature of things, that all hope of coming good apart from God-or in other words, every earthly hope must in this sense be destroyed. It must fail of being realized. It matters not that the good desired, be obtained. It of necessity fails to satisfy. In the possession it becomes something widely different from what it was in the expectation. In the glow of a warm and lively imagination which has felt nothing of the guiding and chastening power of grace, circumstances and things altogether earthly in their nature, assume an importance and value which render them objects of a fervent hope. But such hope, whether deferred or gratified, makes the heart sick. Should it prove otherwise for a season-should this class of objects in their fruition, come up to the full measure of the good expected in them-should there turn out to be no disappointment in the kind and degree of the present gratification they yield-yet that cannot long abide. If the fact of its short-lived character, is not suffered to bring home to the bosom the fearful thought of the nearness and bitterness of its end, there may be something like an exclusive enjoyment of earthly things. The unwelcome thought does, however, intrude. It spoils the present, and blasts the hope of the future. At farthest, the brief period of mortal life, must limit the duration of all happiness derived purely from earth. The hope, indeed, of not a few, no doubt is that worldly gratifications are to terminate in heavenly bliss that such as drink only at the fountain of earthly good, will depart to drink at the river of those pleasures which flow at the right hand of God. How vain and fat such a hope, need not be shown. They who are without a capacity for happiness here, must be só in heaven.

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They, who construct the edifice of their hopes of bliss eternal, of earthly materials, will find that edifice sink in irreparable ruin beneath the sweep of the last tempest. But what especially evinces the vanity of those hopes which are more appropriately earthly, is the uncertainty of the attainment and continuance of the objects, which they exclusively respect. It has been observed that, when attained, the utmost measure of their continuance stretches no farther than the

range

of mortal career. And yet unnumbered objects, though fervently desired and longed for, are never brought home into actual possession ; while as many more after being grasped as enduring substances, are either forced away by the hand of Providence, or fly away as an eagle toward heaven. It must be so. For man is but dust, and all these objects of his worldly expectation are deceitful in their appearance, mutable in their nature, and as short lived as the fading and dying world of vegetation around us. If we will turn our thoughts to that scene of God's recent providential visitation, we may see the emptiness of such hopes written in the awful characters of its ruins. Do we hope in the stability of our mountain ? Behold that mountain which lately pillared the firmament, dissolved and melted away. Have we high hopes in the good coming to us from friends in the various endeared relations of life? See that group, bound together by all the tenderest ties of relationship, hurried apart, to be speedily mingled together in one common ruin. Do our hopes cluster around the wealth that may come from the gainful occupations among men? Look at the devastation which has taken away, in one night of horrors, the fruit of years of laborious enterprise. Go, and read there, the history of worldly hopes. Go, and gaze, until your heart feels how low and empty are all expectations which look not beyond earth and time !

IV. I just observe, finally, that the disastrous event, whose suggestions I have followed in my remarks at this time, will assist us in forming some adequate conceptions of those terrors which will overwhelm the wicked at the last day. Then shall the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains; and shall say to the mountains and the rocks-fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sittteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. This is the account which God himself has given of the deep and unutterable consternation which wicked men will feel, when the great day of his wrath shall have come. No destruction can come upon our mortal part, more indescribably dreadful, than to be buried beneath the congregated ruins of rocks and mountains. A chilling horror has thrilled our whole frame, when we have thought of the lamented family, attempting in vain to escape from the rushing and thundering torrent of a melted descending mountain. But the wicked at the final day will welcome such an appalling interment, as a desirable shelter from the burning vengeance of Almighty wrath. Oh! they will choose rather to plunge amidst such a tremendous weight of ruins, than to feel and hate the holy displeasure of God unmitigated and unending !

In briefly applying this subject, let me say to the children of God, you have nothing to fear. True indeed, your bodies are soon to decay. All the objects amidst which you now reside, are mutable and transitory. Hopes that stretch not beyond this world must prove empty and ruinous.

Horrors unutterable are near to come on the children of the wicked one. have a building of God-an inheritance unchangeablea hope full of immortality—a shelter from every danger and every fear. When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, you shall shout from your hiding place, as your redemption draws nigh.

But what shall I say to the wicked? I can describe your folly. I can evince your unhappiness. I can as

But you

sure you on the authority of the God of truth, that you are in danger. I can exhort you to take the path to duty, to happiness, to safety, to heaven. All this

you have often heard. And will you brave an eternal storm? Will you belong to the class who shall choose to sink beneath falling mountains, rather than endure the presence of God?

SERMON XXVI.

Spring

PSALM CIV. 30.

THOU RENEWEST THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

The more grand and striking exhibitions of power which are witnessed on earth, not unfrequently attract but little notice. Some of the mightiest operations of nature, are those which are least regarded. While the roar of angry torrents, and the impetuous rush of cataracts, awaken the breathless admiration of multitudes, the broad, deep, and silent courses of mighty rivers, pass as unheeded as they are noiseless and irresistible in their flow. Tempests that rage and spread their desolations for only an hour, arrest universal attention, but how few are interested in the view of that matchless power, which unweariedly moves on the wheels of nature, directs the varied round of the seasons, and from a state of decay and barrenness, RENEWS THE FACE OF THE EARTH? No doubt familiarity tends much to create an inattention to the visible display of Jehovah's uniform operations. Events, however splendid, if of frequent occurrence, and scenes the most lovely often surveyed, gradually lose much of their power to attract and interest. But no frequency of repetition can abate the interest which holy beings must ever feel, in surveying whatever serves to develope the

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