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assiduous industry ; and the armour of God must be sought to aid the contest and insure the victory.,
It is not a transient consideration, or superficial impression, either of the “ exceeding sinfulness of sin,” or of the celestial beauty of holiness, which impels us to “ flee for refuge and lay hold on the hope set before us.”
This consideration must be habitual, and this impression must be profound. Transgressors, who “ remember this; show themselves men ; and bring it again to mind,” aided by that grace which is sufficient for them, and supported by that strength, which is made perfect in weakness, will persevere in their endeavours ; turn their feet unto the testimonies, of the Lord; and make haste and delay not to keep his commandments.”
In this state of mind, such are their views of the character and government of God; of the mildness and benevolence of all his exactions; and of the vile ingratitude, as well as unspeakable danger of “ living without him in the world,” that they dread above a!l things, a relapse into their former insensibility; and take the most earnest heed lest they should again be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Far from contenting themselves with the vague
sition of future obedience, it is their first
extemplified in the conversion of David : and
a sobrang this subject, we are led,
1. To reiect on the mischiefs of incon. sideration. This is the prolifick parent of no inconsiderable part of that indifference and arersion to religion which prevails in the world.
Zo the best of men, much more to the disso. kite and vicious, the purity and extent of the divuselur exhibit a humiliating contrast to their eum imperfections and faults. Apprehensive Eis e ks shrink from the comparison;
and although they would shudder at the thought of rejecting the gospel, and appearing under the banners of infidelity, they “ come not to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.” Avoiding all self application of the. scriptures, they satisfy themselves with such general and indefinite conceptions of their contents, as neither disturb their repose, nor im. pel them to amendment. In this heedless frame it is easy to foresee, that their inordi. nate affections and lusts will gain irresistible strength, and “lead them captive of the de. ceiver at his "will.” Without feeling that remorse and fear, which, for a time at least, are the inseparable attendants of open apostacy from the faith, they are insensibly decoyed into many, if not all the excesses of absolute unbelief. Exposed, without defence, to every temptation, in countless instances they transgress, without“ considering that they do evil,”s Conscience uninformed of their criminality, sounds not the alarm; and “they bless themselves and say, we shall have peace, though we walk in the imagination of our hearts."
“Nothing,” says a late elegant writer, * “nothing can be more wavering and disjoint,
ed, than-- the behaviour of those, who have never been accustomed to commune with themselves. Dissipation is a more frequent cause of their ruin, than determined impiety. It is not so much because they have adopted bad principles, as because they have never attended to principles of any kind, that their lives are so full of incoherence and disorder.". Let it not, however, be supposed, that no atrocious guilt is attached to this heedless course, or that the ignorance and insensibility which mark its progress, can furnish an apology for, vice and irreligion. God has endowed us with reason, and by his word, providence, and grace, perpetually invites and urges its exercise : nor can any solid plea be made in exçuse for its neglect, or perversion. 6 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth ; for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up: children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; but Israel doth not know, my people, doth not consider !”
2. We infer the duty, necessity and ad. vantage of religious consideration. Were you admonished by a friend, of whose sagacity and affection you could have no doubt, that the manner of life in which you had engaged, was detrimental to your interest, and must ultimately involve you in embarrassment and suffering; would you not pay so much regard to the kind admonition, as to re-examine your arrangements, and endeavour to ascertain whether you had reason to apprehend the predicted evil? The bare possibility that you might have adopted measures hostile to your own happiness, would induce you to take this necessary precaution to foresée and avert the impending disaster. “ Now God, who knows the 'end from the beginning,” and who has « commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," has assured us, that to continue in a state of alienation from him, is to walk in “ the way that leadeth to destruction ;" that unless we embrace and obey the gospel of his Son, “ indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” must be our final portion. Coincident with the declarations of his word, his various allotments, in the government of human affairs, are calculated to engage our attention to the “ things which belong to our peace.” Mercies' and afflictions proceed from the same source, and originate in the same motive. Both are benevolently designed, and both natu