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the children of this world are rational self-love, and of that wise in theis generation. They prudence, wbich leads a man to grudge not the attention that is choose, according to their rela necessary to form their schemes, tive importance, the objects of to balance interfering interests, his pursuit. and to choose the means that But what are the specific advan. seem best adapted to accomplish tages which christianity sets be. the object of their wishes. This fore us ? To men, guilty and conprudent foresight is generally re. demned, it holds out the promise warded with success in life, and of forgiveness of sins and peace with the applause of the world; with God? To men, depraved, for "men shall praise thee when polluted, and enslaved by sin, thou doest well for thyself,” it tenders that renewing grace
, Whereas the imprudent thought. by which they may be raised to less man, who pays no attention all the purity, and dignity, and to bis affairs, but allows them liberty of his children. To men through his own negligence, to whose connexion with the world ruu into confusion, is regarded is soon to be dissolved, and who as a contemptible character, and are advancing apace to an eter. suters, un pitied, the consequen. nal state, it gives the assurance ces of his folly. Why then of deliverance from the wrath to should not the same principle in. come, and opens to them the duce men to attend to the ever. hope of heavenly blessedness and Jasting gospel; and to attend to glory. Are benefits such as it with an earnestuess, suited to these, to be despised ? Are they the incomparable value of the so obviously insignificant, that blessings which it brings ? Is it it is not worth while to employ consistent with prudence to re one hour in seriously weighing gard only inferior interests, and their value and importance ? Or to neglect those of superior im. is it possible to conceive bless. portance? Are the objects which ings more adapted to the situathe generality of men pursue tion and necessities of those to with so much ardor, at all to be whom they are proposed ? Precompared with those which the tend not any more, inconsider. gospel presents. Is it wise, to ate sinner, to wisdom and pru. care only for the body, which is dence. Thy way is folly in the
to return to its kindred sight of God. It is folly alto. dust; to seek the enjoyments of gether unparalleled. The apa. this world, the fashion whereof thy of brutes, unqualified by (a. passeth quickly away; or to ture to apprehend religious truth provide for the flesh in order to bears no resemblance to it. The fulfil its baser lusts; and at the case of the maniac is pitiable so. same time to despise altogether deed; but it is unaccompanied the welfare of the soul ;-the with moral blame.
Criminal soul which was originally form and absurd, it undoubtedly is in ed after the image of God, which a high degree, to reject christianis still capable of alliance with ity without inquiry; but it is him, and which is destined to a gradation of guilt and absurd. live for ever? Can this conduct ity beyond this, to admit its truth be justified on the principles of and yet to undervalue its bless.
ings; to profess the faith of the thereby naturally suggested ; gospel, and yet never to reflect and finally, the Holy Spirit, on its design; to call Christ concurring with any of these Lord, and yet neither to do the circumstances, separately things which he says, nor even to combined, or without any such desire to share in his great salva. medium, may bring to remem, tion.
brance the word of truth, and by Inconsideration can scarcely his gentle, or awful applications continue to the end of life ; or, to the conscience, lead the most if it should, it will certainly ter- obdurate sinner to serious re. minate in the loss of the soul. flection, and anxious concern Were it possible for men to about the welfare of his soul. avoid reflection through every On a bed of sickness, especially, period of their existence, and to the ear is open to discipline. suffer no loss from doing so, the And a bed of sickness may soon necessity or propriety of press. become a dying bed. The lan, ing on their attention the truths guage, the looks, and solicitudo of religion, it must be admit. of surrounding friends betray ted, would be greatly dimin, their apprehensions ; and the ished, But experience shews, sensible decline of all the vital that, though the habit of incon.
powers, compels the man, how, sideration may have been long ever unwilling, to admit the indulged, it is not always possi. probability of approaching disble for men to persevere in it to solution. Wilt thou then, O. the end of life. Conscience, man, who now livest despising though overborne, is not destroy the gospel and neglecting so ed. It only sleeps for a while; great salvation, wilt thou be but many circumstances may yet able to shut out those recollec, rouse it from its slumber; and tions, which shall, like a mighty then it will speak to the sinner torrent, rush upon thy soul; with an authority which he will recollections of multiplied trans. be able to disregard no more. gressions, un pardoned and un. Seasons of leisure and retirement, forsaken; of precious opportu. in which unwelcome recollec. nities misimproved; of days of tions and prospects may obtrude salvation past, never to return ? upon the mind, frequently occur Wilt thou still be fascinated by a to the busiest and gayest of men, world, whose vanity thou must The prosperous, but especially now feel, and which is receding the adverse vicissitudes of life; swiftly from thy view ? Wilt the counsels of pious friends; thou be able to repress all the occasional perusal of the alarm, when the throne of judg. Scriptures, or other serious ment, before which thou art writings; the earnest expostula. about to stand, is opening to thy tions of the ministers of the gos, sight?-Yes : All this may happel ; the exemplary life, and pen. The man, forsaken of God, the comfortable death of sincere given over to a reprobate mind, and lively Christians; the death blinded by Satan, and hardened of wicked men, and the visible through the deceitfulness of sin, judgments of God; advancing may die as he lived ; may go years, and the aitticipations down to the grave with a lie in
INCONSISTENCIES OF PROFESSED
his right hand. But no farther what is the result? Wilt thou than this can the refuge of lies throw them aside with disdain, avail him. His soul quits the and return with greater ardor body, and is alive at once to all to the accustomed round of busi. the realities and horrors of his ness or pleasure?- No;' let condition. He feels how (fear some hitherto thoughtless soul ful a thing it is to fall into the be induced to say ; 'I have been hands of the living God.” He too long inconsiderate and fool. looks with dismay to the once ish; I will be so
no more. compassionate, neglected Savior, What must I do to be saved ? but now the righteous and inex. The salvation of my soul shall orable Judge. The period of henceforth be the great concern inconsideration is for ever past.
of my life. I will take no rest But reflection has come too late. till I find it in Him who is able The gnawings are already felt, of to save to the uttermost; who the worm that never dies; and that has declared that he will cast remorse has commenced, which out none who come to him; and is to last throughout eternity. who will keep what I now com.
one say, that this is mit to Him, till that great deci. the language of enthusiasm and
Rel. Mon. rant, that these scenes mere creature of fancy, the over. colored picture of a heated imagination. Many, who at the commencement of the preceding year, would have laughed to scorn the officious monitor, who Very frequently hare the ri. presumed to interrupt their olent and ungovernable tempers pleasure, by drawing their at. manifested by some professors tention to prospects so gloomy of religion been made the sub. and terrific, have, before its con. jects of animadversion, and their clusion, found them awfully re. inconsistency with the meek, alized. This year also is doubt. lowly, and peaceable spirit of less pregnant with the fate of the gospel been ably pointed out. thousands. To the humble, The frequency of such com. watchful, diligent Christian, the plaints, however, only proves intimation will give no alarm. the wide extent of the evil : and “Amen,” will he say,
indeed this is pretty apparent. come Lord Jesus.” But there No one who looks with any de. are some, perhaps many, who gree of attention upon the body have indulged without restraint of those who aspire to be thought in the festivities of the season, religious, can deny that the mawho before its return, shall be jority of its members are much numbered with the dead.
more taken up with the specula. that they were wise, that they tive part of religion, than jo understood this, that they would bringing their tempers to a con. consider their latter end.” Some formity with the standard of the individual, who has been led to gospel, or aiming at that exalted look over these pages, may be degree of holiness which the gos. included in the number. And pel requires,
Now for an effect so generally only one which by some is at prevalent, there must be an ade. all attended to. Thegreat duties quate cause; and I am afraid of self-examination, watchfol. that this is to be found in the ness over our own hearts, jealousy conduct of some popular preach. of ourselves, &c. &c. are seldom
The principal object of made the prominent features of their fear seems to be self-right a sermon. Practical subjects cousness, and therefore their are rarely brought forward, and principal aim is to guard against when they are it is often in such it. For this purpose they are a manner as prevents, in a great continually bringing forward measure, their good effect. the great doctrines of the gospel; The bad consequences flowing and upon these they perpetually from all this are evident. The enlarge almost to the utter exclu. hearers of sermons not being sion of practical topics. By sufficiently warned of the danthis conduct, I fear, that they gers to which they are exposed, have, in a considerable degree, nor sufficiently stirred up to been at least accessary to that diligence and exertion, grow decline in practical religion careless and lax in their walk which we must acknowledge to and conversation. They are led have taken place. Here I would to think that right doctrinal not be misunderstood. I am sentiments are every thing in reso far from wishing to exclude ligion, and that, these once ob. doctrinal subjects from the pul. tained, sanctification must fol. pit, that I think a clear and lu. low of course. They seem en. minous display of them of the tirely to forget that the truth is most indispensable importance. often received in unrighteous. Withont it the heart will for ev. ness, and that we never can as. ar remain unaffected and suredly know that we are inter. changed, and consequently there ested in the benefits which the can be no radical reform in the gospel conveys, but as we are character. But however essen. conformed to the image of Jesus tially necessary the doctrines of Christ, and as we endeavor, un. christianity may be, they should der the influence of the Holy y no means be dwelt upon to Spirit to adorn the doctrine of he exclusion of other topics. God our Savior in all things, Would any sober builder con and to live worthy of God, who ent himself with only laying a has called us to his kingdom and oundation ? Having finished glory. Heaven is not for those Chis, will he not proceed to the who sit still. It suffereth vio. superstructure ? In like manner lence, and the violent take it by loctrines should be urged to force. It is a prize worthy of heir proper improvement, and all our endeavors, and which de. he practical lessons which flow mands and must have them. “If rom them should be properly any man will come after me," educed. Scripture is profita. says our Lord and Savior, “let le, not only for doctrine, but him deny himself, and take up or reproof, for correction, and his cross and follow me.” We or instruction in righteousness. are to cut off a right hand, to But of these, doctrine seems the pluck out a right eye, yea, to
hate our own lives also, or we ters fix the attention of their cannot be his disciples. But to hearers more upon those practi. all this the attention of profes- cal subjects which have been so sing Christians of the present much neglected. While they do day is little directed.
not cease to testify repentance From that mode of instruc- towards God, and faith towards tion, which I have ventured to our Lord Jesus Christ, let them condemn, there results a course likewise carefully exhort their of conduct perfectly analogous. hearers to bring forth fruits Let any one look round upon meet for repentance, and to walk professed Christians in general, worthy of the vocation where. and say what tokens he perceives with they are called. Let them among them of separation from call their attention more to the the present evil world. Is their's enemies of whom they are in dan. the spirit and temper of those ger. Let them point out the who feel themselves strangers and necessary and certain fruits of
f pilgrims here; who are seeking the doctrines of the gospel, w bere a better country, that is an heave received in the love of them, and enly: and do they act and live declare that, when unaccompa. as those who have here no con. nied by such conduct, they are tinuing city ? Are their affec. only a savor of death unto death. tions chiefly set npon their heav. Let them not so much show how enly inheritance ?' Are they tem. far a man may go in sin and yet perate in all things ? Are they be a saint, as how far he way go <3 striving to keep under the body in profession and yet be a sinner. and to bring it into subjection ? Let them not be so much em. 19 Are they employed in repressing ployed in searching out and and subduing every improper dwelling upon the lowest attain. To temper? And is it their aim ments of grace, as in exhorting to attain conformity to him who their hearers to press forward to was meek and lowly in heart; the highest. who when he was reviled, revil. When this conduct is general. ed not again; and who, when ly adopted, we may hope that he suffered, threatened not ? Is amendment will take place; and it their chief concern to glorify that hearers, instead of disputing i him who has bought them with upon the mysteries of religion, his blood ? And are they there. will turn their attention more to fore endeavoring, by the con. what it requires of them. And sistency of their lives with their finding how short their practice professed belief, to recommend falls of the requisitions of religion to all around them, and the gospel, they will aim to convince and silence the gain. to bring up their lives to its sayers ? Let their conduct an. standard. By a course of life,
suited to their high profession, But it is of very little use to they will obviate the scandal and point out evils without propos. reproach which they have in. ing an adequate remedy. And curred, and convince the world undoubtedly this must be sought that there is a reality in religion. in the removal of the source from whence they ilow. Let minis.