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world, the service of sin, and approve ourselves true disciples of Jesus Christ, in all good carriage towards God and man." These are two mutual covenants, mutually binding the parties concerned, by one and the same solemn sanction. But do professors in general appear properly to feel their

covenant obligations to discharge their duties to each other? Do they all appear to feel their covenant obligations to meet each other in the house of God, not only on sacramental Sabbaths, but on all other Sabbaths, unless providentially prevented ? Do they realize that their covenant obligation to the church to which they belong forbids their forsaking them, and attending public worship with a church of the same or different denomination to which they do not belong? Do they appear to realize, that their covenant obligation to their brethren forbids them to neglect the public worship of God and all divine ordinances? It is well known, that such covenant-breaking prevails at this day in one place and another, and that churches are sadly dwindling and scattering. The allowed practice of such covenantbreaking anywhere, argues a neglect of the duties, which church members have bound themselves by a solemn mutual covenant to discharge. All covenants lay men under peculiar obligations to fidelity, and especially all religious covenants, which form the strongest moral bonds, that God and man can make. This subject solemnly admonishes professors and nonprofessors, rulers and subjects, and all in every relation in life, to fulfill all their promises, contracts, vows, and covenants. To live in the habitual and allowed violation of such solemn obligations, is to live in habitual and allowed disobedience to the known will of God. Covenant-breakers are placed in the catalogue of the vilest sinners that are particularly mentioned and condemned in the whole Bible.

4. Since all professors of religion lay themselves under covenant obligations to obey all the commands of God perfectly and constantly, all their transgressions are exceedingly criminal. All their deviations from the path of duty are violations of obligations, which non-professors cannot break. Their sins, therefore, are really more heinous in the sight of God and man, than the same sins in others. If they indulge a worldly spirit, or a murmuring spirit, or an unfriendly spirit, or any other selfish spirit, such internal sins are more criminal in them, than in others. If they deceive, defraud, or oppress, they are more criminal than others. If they neglect secret prayer, family prayer, or family government, their neglect is more criminal than the neglect of others. Or if they run into religious error, or vicious practice, their error and practice are more criminal, than the same error and practice in others. All these internal and external sins are aggravated by reason of the strong and peculiar obligations which they violate. God remembers, if they do not, their vows and engagements to walk obediently before him, and is displeased with every instance of their unfaithfulness, and very often severely corrects them for it. He did Miriam, and Moses, and Jacob, and David, and Solomor, and Paul. He has always punished professors of religion more signally for their sins, than those who never laid themselves under the bond of the covenant. He has a peculiar claim upon professors, and expects more from them than from others. He said with respect to his vineyard, “I looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes,” for which he threatened to lay it waste. He said of Israel, “Surely they are my people, children that will not lie." But they did prove false to their covenant, for which he told them, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” It is as criminal now as ever it was, for professors to violate their vows and engagements to fidelity; and they all have reason to fear, as they are all more or less guilty, the marks of the divine displeasure. Yet,

5. All sincere professors of religion shall eventually be saved, notwithstanding all their moral imperfections and short-comings in duty. God has made a mutual covenant with them, and bound himself to be their God, and to conduct them safely to his heavenly kingdom. He said to his true Israel, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the holy One of Israel." Christ says to his sincerely professing friends, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Paul says to sincere Christians at Philippi, “He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” And he says to the Christians in Rome, “ We know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Hence he proceeds to say, "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

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nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus."! But it is the covenant which God has made with all sincere professors of religion, that gives them the highest possible assurance of their final perseverance to eternal life. For it is as impossible that they should fail of salvation, as it is for God to fail of fulfilling his promise, which he has confirmed by the immutability of an oath.

6. It appears from all that has been said in this discourse, that none who have come to years of discretion have any excuse for not entering into covenant with God, and making a public profession of religion. God commanded all Israel to make a religious covenant with him, and engage to keep all his commands constantly and perfectly. After they had heard the covenant read, they all felt bound to give their public consent to the strict terms of it, and bind themselves in the most solemn manner to perform them perfectly. Accordingly they declared with one voice, “ All that the Lord hath said, we will do, and be obedient.” This was publicly taking upon them the bond of the covenant, and giving their hearts and lives to God without reserve. No Israelite durst refuse to enter into covenant with God, for he felt he had no excuse to make for refusing to obey the express command of God. It was in vain to say that he had no heart to love God supremely, and to obey him perfectly. There is reason to believe that thousands of the Israelites at mount Sinai might have said truly, that they had no heart to love God supremely, and to obey all his precepts and commands perfectly and perpetually; but this God knew, and they knew, afforded them no excuse for not loving and obeying him perfectly, or for not sincerely promising to do it. Their mere unwillingness to obey the divine commands could afford them no excuse for disobedience. The case is the same now as it was then. God now commands all men everywhere to repent, and give their hearts and lives to him; and no one who has come to years of maturity has any excuse to make for not obeying this known command. This truth ought to be believed and felt by all the non-professors in this place. They have had no excuse for neglecting to make a public profession of religion for five, or ten, or twenty, or forty years past. It , seems as though many imagine, that the duty of entering into covenant with God and his people had ceased under the gospel ; that it is now a matter of indifference whether they make a public profession of religion or not, and that they are entirely free from all guilt and blame for neglecting it. But this is a false and sinful opinion, which tends to weaken, diminish, and

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SERMON VIII.

TASTING DIVINE GOODNESS.

"O TASTE and see that the Lord is good.”—Psalm xxxiv. 8.

TASTING and seeing are natural senses, by which we gain the most certain and intuitive knowledge of sensible objects. It is by actually seeing the rainbow, that we get the most certain and intuitive knowledge of its various and beautiful colors. And it is by tasting honey that we get the most certain and intuitive knowledge of its sweetness. When the Psalmist, therefore, calls upon men to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” he calls upon them to get the highest and most perfect knowledge of the goodness of God. Tasting and seeing are here used figuratively; for goodness cannot be perceived by any of our bodily senses. We are passive in perceiving the sweetness of honey, and in seeing the colors of the rainbow ; for we cannot help perceiving the colors of the rainbow when we look at it; and we cannot help perceiving the sweetness of honey when we taste it. But seeing and tasting the goodness of God, is a free, voluntary, mental exercise, in which saints are most perfectly active. There is, therefore, the same propriety in David's exhorting them to taste and see that the Lord is good, in the text, as in his saying to them, in the next verse, “O fear the Lord, ye his saints." The text in this connection warrants us to say,

That all real saints taste the goodness of God.
I. I shall inquire what is meant by the goodness of God.

II. What is meant by saints tasting the goodness of God. And,

III. What effects flow from their tasting his goodness.
I. We are to inquire what is meant by the goodness of God.

The goodness of God is something distinct from all his natural attributes, concerning which mankind are generally agreed

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