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has fucceeded another in every age, and that true religion has been generally, as it is still, in a struggling or perfecuted state, we ought to be humbled for the fin of our nature, and the fhare which each of us has contributed to the general guilt. Inftead of finding fault with Providence for the permiffion of fin, we ought to be filled with a holy indignation against ourselves and others, for the perpetration of it. We ought to admire that wisdom and power by which the King of kings fets reftraining bounds to the violence of men. Neither ought we to omit adoring his holiness in the awful vifitations with which he fometimes overtakes and overwhelms the wicked in their wickedness. When he fends out his fore judgements of war, famine, and pestilence; or when he looks to the earth, and it trembles, as unable to bear all the guilt that is laid upon it; when thunder, lightning, and tempeft, feem to threaten the immediate diffolution of the whole fabric; we ought to confider all these as the juft punishment of fin, and look forward with fear to that time, when he fhall render to every man according to his works, and deserved vengeance shall not be partial, but univerfal; when it fhall not be occafional and temporary, but final, unchangeable, and eternal.
3. You may learn, from what has been faid, the ftate and danger of those who are charge
able with fins of a heinous and aggravated nature. If all without exception are "under fin; if every mouth must be stopped," &c. what fhall be the condition of those who have the fhameful pre-eminence of being finners of the firft order, who have done more than others to provoke the Lord to anger ! If those who have lived to themfelves, and not to God, fhall not be able to ftand in the judgement; what fhall become of thofe who' have fold themselves to work iniquity, and' whofe abominable practices are a reproach to reafon, as well as a fcandal to religion? I may even say further, in the words of the apostle Peter, "If the righteous fearcely be faved, "where fhall the ungodly and the finner ap-
pear?" Pet. iv. 18. I do the rather beg your attention to this, that we always find loofe livers the warmeft advocates for Hibertine principles. It is the drunkard, the swearer, the impure fornicator, who are so ready to produce in converfation their pretended arguments against the corruption of human nature. I speak to all fuch within hearing. What benefit will you reap by denying original corruption, when you are justly chargeable with fo many actual tranfgreffions? If there are, or ever were, any perfons in the world without fin, furely you cannot pretend that you are fo yourfelves. You are afhamed to reveal your hidden fcenes to your fellow-finners, but how fhall
conceal them from the fearcher of all hearts? If you cannot bear to be told your faults by your fellow-creatures, with what fpeechlefs confufion fhall you ftand at last before the judgement-feat of Chrift! Let me : therefore addrefs you in the words of your maker by the pfalmift, Pfal. 1. 21. 22. "These things thou haft done, and I kept filence thou thoughteft that I was altoge"ther fuch a one as thyfelf: but I will re
prove thee, and fet them in order before "thine eyes. Now confider this, ye that "forget God, left I tear you in pieces, and "there be none to deliver." May it please God effectually to convince you of your fin and danger, and to lead you to his mercy, as revealed in the gofpel, for your forgiveness. Iconclude with the advice of the pfalmist, Pfal. ii. 12. "Kiss the Son left he be angry, and ye "perifh from the way, when his wrath is kin"dled but a little: bleffed are all they that put their trust in him.”
The finner without excufe before God..
PSALM CXXX. 3
If thou, Lord, Shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord,, who fball ftand?
Uftice and mercy are the perfections of the
divine nature, in which we as finners have a peculiar concern. Our world is the great theatre, and the human race the great, or, fo far as we know, the only objects of their u nited exercife. Clear and juft apprehenfions,, therefore, of those attributes, muft lie at the foundation of all religion. It is easy to fee, that a discovery, both of juftice and mercy, is neceffary to bring the finner to repent-ance. He muft fee the guilt and mifery in which he is involved, and the way by which he may certainly, and by which he can only obtain a recovery. The fame views are equal- ly neceffary to every Christian, during his continuance in this imperfect ftate. They are > neceffary to that self-denial which ought to be his habitual character, and to that humiliation andi
and penitence which ought to be his frequent employment.
I muft, however, obferve, that though there are few of the attributes of God more frequently spoken of, perhaps there are few lefs diftin&tly understood. Men have either an imperfect knowledge, or weak perfuafion of the justice of God, and thence despise his mercy. On the other hand, they are apt to take prefumptuous views of his general mercy, and thence despise his justice and severity. This is not peculiar to thofe, who, upon the whole, are under the dominion of fin. Even the children of God themfelves are ready, either to lofe their views of the majesty and holiness of God, which fhould incline them 10 ferve him with reverence and godly fear; or, on the other hand, by neglecting his mercy, to fall into that ftate of flavish bondage and illiberal fear, which is equally injurious to the honour of God, and hurtful to their own peace.
On these accounts I have chofen to infift a little on this paffage of the pfalmift David, in which we have an united view of divine juftice and mercy; "If thou, "mark iniquities, O Lord, "But there is forgiveness "thou mayst be feared." fome, that this pfalm was compofed in that memorable period of his life, when he was
Lord, shouldft who shall stand? with thee; that It is thought by