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ed God, on whom you depend for every breath that you draw, for every moment that you continue in existence? I have often thought, that it was one of the greatest evidences of the depravity of human nature, that an abundant and opulent state on earth should fo generally lead to neglect of God.
What is this, when interpreted, if I may speak so, but that the greater our Maker's goodness is to us, commonly the less is our gratitude to him?
But I would speak to those whose consciences are more, enlightened, and who have not wholly forgotten the Lord. Are not you also chargeable with manifold omissions ! What sense of gratitude have you retained, and expressed, for innumerable mercies, spiritual and temporal, to yourselves, and to your families? How unequal the payment of gratitude to the debt of obligation! What use have you made of them in God's service ? What advantage have you reaped, for your own fanctification, from the bounty of Providence, from the strokes of Providence, from the ordinances of divine institution, from the truths of the everlasting gospel, from seasons of instruction, and opportunities of worship, from edifying examples, from faithful admonitions ? What have you done for the good of others? How often have you relieved the necefsitous, comforted the distressed, instructed the ignorant, admonished the negligent, punished or restrained the profane? I hope I speak to many who have not been wholly negligent in improving their time and talents; yet surely there is just ground of humiliation to the best, that even under a conviction of duty, they have so imperfectly discharged it; and probably the very persons who have done most, will be most sincerely grieved that they have not done inore.
Alas! my brethren, it is a great mistake to think lightly of sins of omission. How much do I pity the condition of those thoughtless persons, who, forgetting that they were made to serve God, seem to live for no other purpose than to enjoy themselves! And oh the miserable delusion of those sinners who set their minds at ease by the filly ex. cuse, That they do harm to none but themselves ! Let them hear and treinble at the tenor of the sentence in the great day, Matth. xxv. 30. “Cast ye the unprofitable
“ servant into outer darkness : tliere shall be weeping and “ gnashing of teeth.” It is the first duty of natural religi. on, “ Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name ;” and it is the sum of all the duties of the gospel, 1 Cor. vi.
“ Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
2. Consider in how many instances you have been guilty of express transgressions of the law of God, his laiv written upon your hearts, and repeated in his own word. If you know any thing at all of the law of God in its spirituality and extent, you must be deeply convinced of your innumerable tranfgressions, in thought, in word, and in deed. (1.) How many are the fins of your thoughts? Sin is feated in the heart: it hath its throne and doinini. on there. Every enormity in the life takes its rise from the impurity of the heart. None will think light of fins of the heart, who have any acquaintance with the word of God. Let them but reflect upon the account given of the guilt of the old world, Gen. vi. 5. “And God faw " that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and " that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was “only evil continually.” Let them reflect upon the faying of the wise man, Prov. iv. 23. “ Keep thy heart with “all diligence ; for out of it are the issues of life;" or on the distinguishing character of God, Jer. xvii. 10. “I the
Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give eve'ry man according to his ways, and according to the “ fruit of his doings.”
How many thoughts are there in your hearts admitted and entertained, dishonorable to God, unthankful for his mercies, impatient under his providence ? How many thoughts envious, malicious, spiteful, towards your neighbor? How many wanton, lascivious thoughts, and irregular desires ? How many covetous, worldly, vain, ambitious thoughts? Let me beseech you also to consider, that these are not sins that we fall into feldoni, or by occasional teinptation, but multitudes break in upon us every day, and in a manner every hour. What an infinite number, then, must we be chargeable with in twenty, thirty, forty,
or fifty years! If so many are the sins of a single day, what must be the guilt of a whole life? What reason to cry out, with the prophet to Jerusalem, “ How long shall vain
tloughts lodge within us?
(2.) Let me beseech you to consider the fins of the tongue. Here I shall not insist much on the grosser fins of the tongue, lying, slandering, backbiting; of these, though few will be sensible they are guilty theinfelves, all are abundantly ready to complain, as reigning in the world in general. Neither shall I insist on impure conversation, filthy and lascivious expressions, or allusions to obscenity; though I am afraid many here present are far from being innocent of the charge. But besides these, the sins of the tongue are so many, that the most watchful Christian cannot say he is guiltless. Even the meek Moses was provoked to fpeak“ unadvisedly with his lips.” The apostle James has given us a very strong description, both of the general prevalence, and mischievous influence, of the fins of the tongue, James iii. 2.-8. “ For in many things
we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same " is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Beliold, we put bits in the horses mouths, that they may - obey, us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold “ also the thips, which though they be so great, and are “ driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a “ very small helm, withersoever the governor listeth.
Even so the ton que is a little member, and boasteth
great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire * kincileth. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity : • fo is the tongue amongst our members, that it defileth
the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; " and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, " and of birds, and of serpents, and things in the sea, is “tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind : but the tongue
can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly “ poison.” And that none may presume, after all, to think these fins of the tongue inconsiderable, let us remember what our Saviour tells us, Matth. xii. 36, 37. “ But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall
speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of “ judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and
by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
(3.) Now, to these fins of heart and conversation, let us add the confideration of all the fins of our actions, by which we either offend God, ourselves, or are the means, by a doubtful or suspicious example, of inducing others to offend him: all the acts of infobriety and intemperance with regard to ourselves; of injustice, treachery, or oppreffion, with regard to others. Let us consider those fins to which we are led by our respective callings and employ. ments, or by our respective ages or tempers, or by our situation, and the society with which we stand connected. The lightness and frothiness of some, the fourness and moroseness of others, the inconfiderateness and folly of youth, the plotting and ambitious projects of riper years, the peevishness and covetousness of old age, and the vanity and selfishness we carry with us through the several stages and periods of life. These things are most, if not all of them, fins in themselves, and do infallibly betray us into a great number of others. If we consider all this with any measure of attention, can we refuse to adopt the language of the holy scripture, that oursins are more in number than the hairs upon our heads, or than the sand that is upon the fea-Thore? In fine, if we consider the fins we are guilty of, according to our conditions and relations in the world, as husbands and wives, parents and children, mallers and servants, magistrates and subjects, ministers and people, we shall find the account so prodigiously swelled, that we fhall have more than reason to cry out with the Pfalmilt, “ Lord, if thou shouldlt mark iniquities, O Lord, who 6 shall stand ?"
3. Consider the fins that cleave to your religious duties, and every thing you do in obedience to the will of God. The purest worshipper on earth must ask forgive. nels for the fins even of his holy things. I am not here to infilt upon the hypocritical performances of many profet. fing Christians, done merely, or chiefly, to be seen of men, or spread, as a covering, over their hidden and fliameful deeds; nor am I to mention that religious zeal which arises from strife, contention, and vain-glory, and which VOL. I.
chiefly aims at the support of party names; because these are directly and eminently sinful : they are an abomination in the fight of God. But, my brethren, even in those performances which you go about with some measure of sincerity, how many defects are to be found ? Oh ! how much negligence, coldness, and formality, in worship! how many wandering, vain, idle, and worldly thoughts, in your hearts, when your bodies are in the house of God! Consider only the infinite glory and majesty of God, in whose fight the heavens themselves are not clean, and who charges his angels with folly; and say whether you have ever prayed at all with becoming reverence of spirit. Consider only the unspeakable condescension of that God to his creatures, and the unsearchable riches of his grace to the finner; and say, whether your hearts have ever been suitably affected with his love.
It is our duty, my brethren, to consider, how far we have been from preaching the word of God with proper impressions of the majesty of him in whose name we speak; how far we have done it with fimplicity and dignity, neither fearing the censure, nor courting the applause, of our fellow-finners; how far we have done it with that tenderness and affection, with that holy fervor and importunity, which the value of those precious souls to whom we speak manifestly demands. And is it not your business to confider, how feldom you hear with that attention, reverence, humility, and love, with which the sacred and important truths of the everlasting gospel ought to be received; how many hear much more as judges than as learners, as critics rather than as finners; and content themselves with marking the weakness of an indifferent, or praising the abilities of an animated speaker ? And how many run with itching ears from one congregation to another, or even from one party or profeffion to another, not that they may be edified, but that curiosity and fancy may be gratified? How many loft ordinances, how many mifpent fabbaths, have we to lament before God?
When we come to the second table of the law, how many sinful notives mix their influence in the duties we perforın to our neighbors ? how many acts of justice owe