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poverty and affliction, whom the hope of finding comfort for your souls has assembled within these walls; and you, still more unfortunate, who are at this hour lamenting in solitude, detained by sickness far from the house of God, and deprived of the bread of life,—forget your sufferings and your sorrows for a while, to bless the Friend of the miserable, the God whom the Gospel reveals, who remembers you in your sad seclusion: may his comforts find a way into your bosoms on this day of salvation, and cause them to leap with a holy joy! Dry your tears, ye redeemed of the Lord; suppress your sighs; and let no sounds but those of praise and thanksgiving be heard to issue from your lips. Let us all bless Him who has granted to us his merciful and perfect law-that law “ more precious than silver and gold"-that law which "converts the soul," and which "is our delight." Let us bless Him as he desires to be blessedby fervent prayer, by deep repentance, by an efficacious communion, by a Christian life; let us live only to love and praise Him, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God."
"Church of the first-born," who are in heaven! it is thy choicest occupation to bless the Lord: to celebrate with us this joyful day, thy splendours are displayed; thy Confessors and Martyrs prostrate themselves before Him for whose sake they rejoice to have been enabled to die; thy Elders cast their crowns at his feet, and with redoubled acclamations ascribe glory to the Lamb and to Him who sitteth upon the throne. Let us, sons of men, join our voices to those of that invisible and 'glorious Church, into which God will one day graciously introduce us; let Earth, let Heaven, let the whole Universe, bless Him, who "hath comforted his people, and had mercy upon his afflicted." "Praise the Lord, all his angels, praise him, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure; let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord;" and thou, O my soul, praise the Lord, and forget not all his benefits; and let all that is within me bless his holy name," now and for Amen!
JUDGES, Xi. 30, 31.
And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burntoffering.
WE read in the chapter whence these words are taken, that the people of God, a prey to all the horrors of war, were on the point of yielding to the power of their enemies. Already the Ammonites were encamped in Gilead. The scattered remnants of the army of Israel assembled in Mizpeh; but a sense of the sins by which they had offended Jehovah deprived them of all confidence, and no leader could be found to command them. In this extremity, the