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The essential difference between saints and sinners lies not in their external appearance and conduct, but in their internal views and exercises. Though they appear more alike, yet they feel less alike in harvest than in any other season of the year. For while sinners are laboring for themselves, saints are laboring for God. While sinners rejoice in themselves, saints rejoice in God. While sinners regard the gifts of Providence more than the Giver, saints regard the Giver more than the gifts. While sinners feel less and less obligations to love and trust in God, the more and greater favors he bestows upon them; saints feel greater and greater obligations to love God, and confide in his goodness and faithfulness, the more and richer blossings he bestows upon them. These are widely and essentially different effects, which harvest excites in the breasts of saints and sinners; by which both may and ought to judge whether their hearts are right or wrong in the sight of God, and of course, whether they are his friends or enemies, and preparing for future blessedness, or endless misery.

4. If it be altogether criminal and inexcusable for those who have eyes and ears, understandings and consciences, to overlook and disregard the goodness of God in causing the constant and regular succession of the seasons; then sinners increase in guilt extremely fast, and to a great degree. They constantly shut their eyes, and stop their ears, lest “they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted.” They know that if they do but open their eyes, they must see God; and if they do but

open

their ears, they must hear his voice, and receive a painful conviction of the corruption of their hearts, the criminality of their conduct, and their indispensable and immediate duty to repent and believe the gospel, and renounce the world and the things of the world, in which they place all their present hopes and happiness. They therefore resolve to pursue their present course, and risk the awful consequences. And by pursuing their present course, they disregard God every day and in everything. By overlooking his hand in every blessing they enjoy, they abuse every blessing they enjoy. The blessings which God bestows upon them from day to day, from season to season, from year to year, and for a series of years, are more than can be reckoned

up, and greater than can be described. The consequence is plain and irresistible, that they increase in guilt as fast as days, and seasons, and years can roll; and to as great a degree as their circumstances and capacities can admit

. They do evil things, and as many evil things as it is morally possible for them to do. God has bestowed as

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many and as great favors upon them in childhood, in youth, in manhood, and in every past period of their lives, as it was morally possible for him to bestow; and they have perverted and abused them all. Have they not reason to say as other

. sinners have said and felt, “ It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not?" Hence,

5. This world is exactly suited to save, or destroy the souls of men. God is constantly exhibiting himself to their eyes, to their ears, to their consciences, and to their hearts. If they only open their eyes and their ears, all the works of God, and all the dispensations of his providence in every season of the year, are directly suited to make good men grow in knowledge and grace. And they do actually produce this desirable effect. In this light, Christ represents the influence of divine cultivations upon the children of the kingdom. He says, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth the fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." And the Psalmist says,

The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree : he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon—they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing." They see and enjoy God in the blessings of harvest; in the blessings of providence, and in all the blessings of the gospel. They say in their hearts, let us fear the Lord our God, under all the tokens of his favor. All the manifestations of God serve to enliven and invigorate their graces, and ripen them for the kingdom of glory. But the world is suited to produce directly opposite effects in the hearts of sinners. All the beauties of nature, all the productions of the earth, all the varieties in the seasons, and all the profusions of divine bounties, directly tend to captivate their hearts, stupify their consciences, and allure them along in the smooth and broad road to destruction. It is just such a world as they love, as they wish to enjoy, and never to leave. The more God does for them, and the louder he speaks to them, the blinder and the deafer they grow. The more winters, and summers, and harvests, he gives them, and the longer he waits upon them to be gracious, the more they cling to the world, and the more averse they are to comply with the terms of salvation. All that God does to cause Christians to grow

in

grace and activity, serves to make sinners grow more stupid, thoughtless, and obstinate în sin, and to ripen them faster and faster to be cut down as cumberers of the ground.

It follows,

6. That it is easy for sinners to destroy themselves, notwithstanding all human means and efforts to prevent it. It is only for them to persist in shutting their eyes to all the manifestations of God before them, and to stop their ears against the voice of God and man, and they will certainly maintain their stu. pidity, and stupidity alone will effectually destroy them. Stupidity is continually growing easier and easier. It is easier for the old than for the young to be stupid. The longer sinners resist truth, despise reproof, and violate the dictates of reason and conscience, the easier it is to maintain their habits of sin and sinful stupidity. This is the representation of the prophet, who demands : “ Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil ?"

But though sinners maintain their stupidity, yet they cannot obstruct or retard the wheels of time. The seasons will roll on according to God's appointment, and put a speedy end to their sinful lives. There is no room to doubt that the interval between this and the next harvest, will prove fatal to some, who are in God's view ripe to be cut down, and gathered into his garner, or blown away as chaff, and burnt up with unquenchable fire.

SERMON XVIII.

CHANGES AND REVOLUTIONS, WISELY ADAPTED TO

OUR PRESENT STATE.

"THE fashion of this world passeth away."-1 Cor. vii. 31.

This we perceive to be true, every day, and everywhere. There is not a single object with which we are connected, or with which we are acquainted, that is, for a single moment, at perfect rest. All things are in motion.

The world is perpetually changing.

To illustrate the truth and reason of this, is the object of the ensuing discourse.

The world here may be taken in its utmost latitude, as comprehending the material, animal, and moral world.

1. The material world is perpetually changing. The earth, the sea, the moon and the stars, are constantly moving, and some of them with a velocity beyond conception. The motions of these material bodies, however, would be of little consequence, did not their motions change the face of nature, and produce the interesting revolutions of day and night, summer and winter, seed-time and harvest. A succession of these seasons, we find, is essential to our living, and answering the ends of living, in this world. Accordingly God has promised an uninterrupted succession of these to the end of time.

2. The animal world is perpetually changing. The power of motion is a property of all the animal tribes. And they are generally in actual motion. Some exchange elements, and others exchange climates. They all gradually rise, come to maturity, and return to the earth, from whence they came. Particular tribes of animals, at particular places, increase, diminish, and become totally extinct. This has always been observed in newly-settled countries. We have observed and regretted, the removal and extinction of some very valuable animals, in this part of the world. And doubtless, we shall have reason to regret the loss of others, in time to come. For the animal world is perpetually changing.

3. The moral world is perpetually changing. Under this phrase, we comprise individuals, families, societies, nations, kingdoms, and empires, together with the various orders, ranks, and conditions of men. All these belong to the moral world, and require a distinct consideration.

There has been a constant succession of rising and falling empires, from Nimrod, to Lewis the Sixteenth. This succession has sometimes been more, and sometimes less rapid. Some nations have sprung from a smaller, and some from a larger stock. Some have made a slower, and some a swifter progress in arts and in arms. Some have flourished a longer, and some a shorter time. Some have been slow, others rapid in rising and in falling. Some have gained a larger, and some a smaller dominion. Some have risen higher, and fallen lower than others. Some have left marks of their existence, and monuments of their greatness. Others have sunk into total oblivion. In many instances, the succession has been absolute, so that the marks of succession are obliterated. The fashion : of this world is so changed, that the places of ancient kings, the bounds of ancient empires, and the walls of ancient cities, are totally lost. Where was the garden of Eden? Where was the tower of Babel ? Where were the walls of Babylon and Nineveh? What were the arts of Egypt and Chaldea ? What were the arms and dress, of the Greeks and Romans ? The revolution of ages and empires has concealed these things from our knowledge. We cannot ascertain the origin of the present nations of the earth, or determine from which branch of Noah's family they descended. Such changes have passed over the kingdoms and nations of the world in times past; and such are still passing over them. The political world is still in convulsions. Nations are struggling with each other, for the power of dominion. One nation is falling into the hands of another. Large kingdoms are crumbling to pieces. Great and ancient nations are in the last stages of declension, and upon the verge

of ruin. And similar changes will, in all probability, pass over younger and smaller empires, which are rising to flourish and to fall.

Kingdoms comprise smaller societies and communities, which are subject to change, not only by national revolutions, but by fortunate and unfortunate events peculiar to themselves. Societies civil, religious, and literary, are subject to continual changes. No charters, compacts, or agreements, are sufficient

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