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arguments by which they are supported are formidable in themselves : but whether men believe the principles or not, it is a certain truth, that the general practice doth unhappily correspond with them. One thing is obvious, that few consider a reformation of manners as any means of national prosperity ; whereas, had we a just impression of our dependence upon God, that would readily occur to us, not only as one, but as the best, nay the only effectual means, for securing the safety, and advancing the real honour and interest of our country.
To all these I must add the Luxury and Sensuality which have been growing upon us for several years past, and have now fpread their roots and branches so wide, that they may truly be said to fill the whole land. Pleasure is at length become a laborious study; and with many, I am afraid, it is their only study: for it leaves them no room to pursue any other. What new scenes of amusement are daily invented ? How artfully are they ranged, so as to stand clear of each other, without Jeaving any vacant space between them? It is trifling to plead, that they are not criminal in their own nature, and may therefore be consistent with the service of God: I must call this a mean, disingenuous evasion, till they who plead it shall be pleased to inform us, what portions of time are left unoccupied, wherein they can find leisure to serve God if they would. The truth is, the present system of pleasure and fashionable politeness, appears ab solutely incompatible with piety and deyotion; an artful contrivance to banish reflection altogether, and to put it out of the power of finful dying creatures to think of God and an eternal world. This unhappy distemper of the times in which we live, doth at present carry in its face some of the most alarming fymptoms of danger, Instead of yielding to the most probable means of cure, it rather becomes more stubborn and infectious. Might it not have been expected, that the distress which hath prevailed in our nation for some months past, would at least have checked the growth of luxury? yet it seems to have produced the very opposite effect *. While the poor are starving, while many who are willing to labour can find no employment, and not a few have abandoned their native country to seek that sustenance in foreign parts which they could not earn at home; ftill is pleasure pursued with increasing ardour, and no price is deemed extravagant that can purchase an addition to it. In short, men appear to be striving against God with their eyes open, and to have studied the design of his Providence on purpose to defeat it; for such an exact plan of contradiction discovers art and contrivance, and could hardly have been stumbled upon by mere accident.
Judge then, upon the whole, whether there be not cause more than sufficient, to figh and to cry for the abominations that are done in the miast of our land. It still remains, in the
* Preached in January 1773, when, in the city of Edinburgh, distress and difcipation were both in the cx. treme.
Tbird place, That I lay before you a few of the genuine symptoms, and proper effects, of the gracious temper I mean to recommend. And,
ift, We can never be assured, that our grief for the fins of others is pure, and of the right kind, unless our hearts be duly affected with grief and forrow for our own transgressions. It is this that distinguisheth the true mourners in Zion from cenforious and ill-natured hypocrites, who are quick in discerning the smallest mote in their brother's eye, while they pay no attention at all to the great beam in their own. Godly sorrow is just and impartial; it always begins at home, and makes few visits abroad, till domestic fins are first bewailed. Many, like the Japwing, are continually fluttering about, and, with artful O screams, lament the vices of all around them, merely to draw off their attention from their own cage of unclean birds. Such pretended mourners are hateful to God; and every counterfeit tear becomes a drop of oil, which shall only serve to inflame the everlasting burnings; whereas Vol. II.
the true mourner is more fevere against himself than against any other person in the world, the vilest not excepted; yea, he never fees nor hears of the wickedness of others, but conscience immediately stirs within, him, and he is ready to say with Pharaoh's butler, , “ I remember my own “ fault this day.” He considers the worst of men as exhibiting a true picture of his own natural condition, and humbly acknowledgeth, that it was God only who made him to differ, and that he hath nothing but what he received from his bounciful hand.
2dly, Our grief is of the right kind, when it leads us to pray for transgreffors : and when it hath not this effect, we have not only cause to suspect, but may conclude, without hesitation, that it is fpurious and counterfeit. If, instead of the closet, it carry us abroad into company, to divulge our neighbours faults, under the pretext of bewailing them; in that case we may afsure ourselves, that our hearts are strangers to that godly forrow whereof my text speaks. The true mourner desires, above all things,
i ji is the