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the rule, and the only rule, of his conduct. He doth whatsoever appears right to him in the mean time, and leaves the issue with God. He is neither discouraged by the small number of the godly, nor intimidated by the multitude of transgressors ; but in all cases, where he hath a call, and opportunity to act, publicly avows the master whom he ferves ; and under the banner of his Almighty Saviour, he valiantly contends with earth and hell, being assured of a triumphant victory at last. If this render him vile in the eyes of others, like David, he is willing to become yet more, vile ; and, with Moses, the man of God, he bravely prefers the reproach of Christ to all the fading riches, and honours, and pleasures, of a present world,
A GREAT variety of uses might be made of this subject ; but I shall conclude with addressing a few words to three different classes of hearers, which may be supposed to comprehend the whole of this assembly.
I shall begin with those who think that there is no great cause to complain of the
world at present; and consequently, that the duty I have been recommending is neither so necessary, nor so seasonable, as many others that might have been chosen. If you are very young, I partly excuse you ; bụt if you are advanced in life, I am unable to devise any colour of apology for you, but must necessarily charge you, either with amazing inattention, or more amazing perverfeness ; for it is notorious, that not the power only, but even the form of gadliness, is under à
lamentable decay, and hath been so for many - years past: witness the general neglect of
family-worship, the gross profanation of the Christian Sabbath, and sundry kinds of immorality, which were scarcely known in our country half a century ago. These illboding symptoms make it too evident, that we are a degenerate and backsliding people, who are fast filling up the measure of our iniquity; and it is an additional cause of grief, that so few among us observe and are affected with it.
I shall next speak to those who make a mock of fin, who are obstinate and hardhearted, and, instead of lamenting, glory in their wickedness. — You perhaps sufpect that I am going to address you with sharpness and severity; but you are really mistaken. God knows that I pity you, and have no other aim but to make you pity yourselves.—You have long been deaf to warnings and reproofs :-0 let the sweet voice of mercy at length prevail! God hath sworn, that he taketh no pleasure in your death ; and this is his call to you after all your provocations, Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ? Nay, he hath paved the way for your return to him with the blood of his own Son, “ who suffered, the “ just for the unjust, that he might bring “ the chief of finners to God.” It is impossible you can prevail against him, or disappoint him of his glory: the weapons of your rebellion can only hurt yourselves ; and ere long, the proudest of his enemies shall bow down before him, and lick the very duft. — Even you, my friends, must either bend to the sceptre of his grace, or be dashed in pieces with his rod of iron : those haughty looks shall shortly be humbied, either in mercy or in judgement;
and if once his wrath begin to burn, there
riches of divine grace, which took hold of themselves when ready to perish, and advanced them to be heirs of everlasting fal- ' vation. “Wherefore come out from among “ the wicked, and be ye separate, faith the “ Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; ” and I will receive you, and I will be a
father unto you, and ye shall be my
sons and daughters, faith the Lord Al1 * mighty,”
I now turn with pleasure to the mournsers in Zion, who are deeply affected with their own lins, and with the sins of those among whom they live. And I would say for your encouragement, that this becoming temper affords undoubted evidence of a work of grace upon your own hearts. Hereby it appears that you are the children of God, seeing the honour of your heavenly Father is so precious in your esteem. And know for your comfort, that none of these filial tears can be loft: God puts them into his bottle, as the Psalınist expresseth it; and whatever be the fate of those on whose. account they were shed, you shall at last receive joy for mourning,