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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 fo feasonable, 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 godliness, is under a 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 fundry kinds of immorality, which were scarcely known in our country half a century ago.
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 fo 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 lamenţing, glory
ye, why will
in their wickedness. You perhaps surpect 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 re, turn
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 Thall 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 humbled, either in mercy or in judgement;
and if once his wrath begin to burn, there
break the hearts of all that fear God, when, by your conversion, and Alight into the true city of refuge, you might afford cause of great joy both in heaven and on earth? For the Lord's fake, consider your ways, and be wise; “ seek' the Lord “ while he may be found, call upon
him 6 while he is near." The great enemy of your souls will probably suggest to you, that if you comply with this exhortation, your old companions will mock and ridicule
you, in proportion to your former excess in fin; and this fnare, I am afraid, is too fatally successful with many. But let not any suggestion of this kind deter
from doing what you plainly see to be your duty and
your interest. The godly, with whom you join yourselves, will be far from upbraiding you with past offences; they will freely forgive all the injuries you have done to them, and teach you to magnify the
shall be my
riches of divine grace, which took hold of themselves when ready to perish, and advanced them to be heirs of everlasting falvation. u 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,
ye ke fons and daughters, faith the Lord Al
I now turn with pleasure to the mourners 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 lost: 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,