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be reckoned a breach of good manners to introduce any 'thing that related to their Father in heaven; to his house with many mansions, where they all hoped to dwell or to that precious Redeemer, who hath gone before to prepare a place for them. Might it not rather be expected, that besides pccasional converse upon subjects of fo interesting a nature, they would choose to set apart some portions of time for the fole purpose of comforting themselves toge“ ther, and edifying one another,” according to the early practice of the Christians at Thessalonica, which our Apostle fo highly . commends, 1 Thef v, 11.?
Thus have I given you my cool deliberate sentiments upon the practical influence of the great doctrines of the gospel, and that kind of conversation towards God and man which is best suited to the belief of them, Should any indeed be so perverse as to resist the influence of thefe doctrines, and counteract their native and most obyious tendency, while at the fame time they ackpowledged the evidence of their truth,
it would not at all surprise me, to see them crowding, from day to day, the public theatres, that the regularity and decorum of a fictitious representation might draw their attention away
from that real and ill-conducted medley in which they themselves acted their disgraceful parts. I should not wonder to behold them flying with eagerness to cards and dice, and seeking aid from every engine of diffipation and noise, to conceal the lapse of time, and to bear down the clamours of an accusing conscience. It would not even surprise me, to see them rushing beadlong into the haunts of riot and debauch, that the intoxicating cup might either stupify or madden their reafon; which, if left to its sober exercise, would anticipate the evil day, and torment them before the time.----Such things as these I should expect to fee: but for none of them could I find any place at all in the natural and orderly state of reasonable creațures, whose temper and conduct, as I have all along supposed, were formed and regulated by the doctrines of the gospel. How far my reasoning upon this branch
from that which daily passeth before our eyes, I shall now proceed to consider the LAWS or precepts of our holy religion ; that, from the review of these, we may discover, with still greater certainty, what the convere fation is that may be said to become the gospel of Christ.
But before I descend to particulars upon this extensive subjec:, I must beg your attention to a few remarks I have to make upon the precepts or laws of the gospel in general.
· With regard to their authority, there can be no doubt. He who enacted them hath an unquestionable right to our most perfect obedience; " In the beginning was the « Word, and the Word was with God, and " the Word was God : all things were made
by him, and without him was not any
thing made that was made." therefore his property in the most absolute and unlimited fenfe of that expression. He called us into being when as yet we were not, and every moment he sustains that existence which he gave us; for " in him we
live and move.” Nay, all that we possess is fo necessarily dependent upon him, that with regard to foul, and body, and outward eftate, we have nothing but what we daily receive from his liberal hand. Befides this original and unalienable right to govern us, there is another title, which, as Christians, we profess to acknowledge, and ought always to do it with the warmest and most humble gratitude; I mean, the righs he hath obtained by redemption and purchafe. As his natural fubjects, we are bound to serve him to the utmost extent of the powers he hath given us : and this original obligation, instead of being relaxed or impaired, is rather confirmed and strengthened by the mercy he hath shown us as the objects of his
« We are not our own, we are bought with a price ;" and are therefore bound, by the united ties of gratitude and justice, to glorify our Re
deemer, both with our bodies and spirits, a which are his."
But what I would chiefly lead your attention to, is the nature and properties of
those laws to which our subjection and obem dience are required.
They are “ all holy, just, and good,” resulting from the very frame our Creator hath given us, and from the relation we bear to himself, and to other beings with whom his Providence hath connected us. Hence it follows, that they are equally incapable of repeal or abatement. The laws of men are local, temporary, changeable, and always partake of the imperfection of their authors. Some of them are so obscure, that they need another law to explain them; and it often happens that the commentary is darker than the text. The best of them take their aim from fome temporal evil that is either presently felt, or foreseen in its cause; and the highest end they propose, is to restrain from injuries of the grosser kind: they do not even pretend to be a rule of moral conduct ; they prohibit and denounce vengeance againīt theft, robbery, murder, and the like; but lay no restraint
heart-hatred, covetoufness, and envy. They tell us in what instances injustice or cruelty become excessive