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vourers of evangelical preaching. By your means, "the ways of truth are evil spoken of *." You give occasion to those offences of which it is said, "Wo to "that man by whom the offence cometh." You injure the cause of Christ, stumble the weak in the faith, grieve the hearts of all who love the Lord, and make his enemies rejoice. "Better it would have been for you never to have known the ways of righteousness †," than thus to abuse your knowledge. You are now mingled with his faithful servants, as the chaff is blended with the wheat upon the floor. But, "behold, the judge standeth at the door." His fan is in his hand, he will thoroughly purge his floor; and when he gathers the wheat into his garner, you will be consumed, like stubble, before the flame of his indignation. What distress and remorse will seize your hearts, when you shall see them with whom you have often joined in the same ordinances, that have lived with


you under the same roof, dined at the same table, perhaps slept in the same bed, when you shall see them received into the kingdom, and you yourselves excluded, and thrust into that utter darkness §, where there is weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, for ever?

From this subject we may observe, by way of inference and application,

1. The truth and propriety of that Scripture," We "know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to "them that are under the law; that every mouth may "be stopped, and all the world may become guilty be"fore God" What person in this assembly can

* 2 Pet. ii. 2.; Matth. xviii. 7.
↑ Matth. iii. 12.; James, v. 9.

† 2 Pet. ii. 21. § Luke, xiii. 28.

Rom. iii. 19.

plead guiltless to every part of this charge? not all stand silent and self-condemned?

Must we And if you

are a transgressor, what can you do, either to repair the dishonour you have offered to the Divine Majesty, or to prevent the contagious effects of your own evil example? Nothing can be more false, than a too frequent form of speech amongst us. When a man of some amiable qualifications in social life tramples without fear upon the laws of God, how often is it said, by way of extenuation, he is no one's enemy but his own? when indeed his practice declares him to be an enemy of God, an enemy to his holiness and government ; and he is a most mischievous enemy to all who live under his influence, and within the circle of his acquaintance, `by tempting and encouraging them to sin, to the hazard of their souls. Things standing thus with all men by nature, with what language can we answer the law's demands? Must we not adopt the pathetic confession of the prophet? "For this our heart is faint; "for these things our eyes are dim. The crown is "fallen from our heads: wo unto us that we have "sinned*!"

2. The necessity and value of the Gospel; otherwise how can you escape the penalty, and stand acquitted before the supreme Judge? If you refuse this, "there remaineth no other sacrifice for sin t." But if you humble yourself, and apply to Jesus, there is yet hope. He died for sinners, the chief of sinners, and the greatest of sins. For his sake, all manner of sin and blasphemy is pardonable: "he is able to save to "the uttermost. But he must do the whole, and Believe in his name.. This is the

have all the glory.

first step;



* Lam. v. 16, 17.

derived from him, you can

+ Heb. x. 26.

do nothing. Remember his agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion; and that he is now exalted a Prince and a Saviour, on the behalf of those who are ready to perish. Let this be your plea and encouragement to draw near to a throne of grace. Pray for his Spirit to reveal his righteousness, power, and love to your soul; and as your knowledge of him increases, your repentance will be more spiritual, evangelical, and effectual. Entreat him to enable you to forsake your former evils, to set a guard upon the door of your lips, and to inspire you with an awful veneration of that holy name which you have hitherto profaned. He can teach your polluted lips to show forth his praise.


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And let the redeemed of the Lord, whom he has delivered from the guilt and power of this iniquity, adore the grace and mercy that has saved them. Look back upon your past lives, and rejoice with trembling. How often have you defied his vengeance and power, and perhaps madly uttered horrid imprecations against yourselves? Why have others been cut off in these sins, and you spared? Yes; "such were some of you but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God *.' And now your tongues, which once uttered blasphemies almost with every breath, or, under a form of godliness, pronounced a language foreign to your hearts, delight in extolling the name of Jesus, and celebrating the wonders of redeeming love. Now, when you speak of the great God, your hearts are awed with an apprehension of his majesty, yet comforted with the thought, that this God is your God, your almighty friend, your everlasting portion. Now you feel the influence of the Spirit of adoption, where


* 1 Cor. vi. 11.

Little did you think, in

Abba, Father." Little did

by you cry, "Abba, Father." the days of your ignorance, that the God whom you was presumptuously offending, had, in the counsels of his everlasting love, chosen you to salvation by Jesus Christ*. But he was found of you when you sought him not. He passed by you when you was lying in your blood, and bid you live. This was the secret reason why you could not destroy yourselves. And at length his time of love came, the hour which he had appointed to open your eyes, to show you mercy, to deliver you from the power of darkness, and to translate you into the kingdom of his dear Son. Do not your hearts glow with a sense of your obligations to him who hath loved you, and washed you from your sins in his own blood? Will you not live to him who has saved you from so great a death? Yea, doubtless, you will count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord. You will use all your influence to diffuse the savour of his precious name. You will take shame to yourselves, and ascribe glory to him. You will be zealous for his cause, and have a tender compassion for poor sinners, who know not what they do, remembering, from your past experience, the misery and gall of an unconverted state. Let as many of us as have received mercy be thus minded; let it be our great study to show forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light, till the welcome hour shall arrive, when he will say to all who fear and love him, and long for his appearance, Come, ye blessed of my

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Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from "the foundation of the world †."

* Ephes. i. 4.; Isa. lxv. 1.; 'Ezek. xvi. 6-8.; Col.i. 13.
+ Matth. xxv. 34.

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THE Scripture teaches us to derive profitable lessons

from common occurrences: and since we cannot avoid seeing and hearing the vanities of those who know not God, unless we would go wholly out of the world, we may learn some-instruction from them at a distance. The country of Greece, and especially the neighbour hood of Corinth, was famous for trials of skill in a variety of exercises, such as racing, wrestling, fighting, and the like. And because the children of the world are very wise in their generation, and spare no pains to accomplish the point they have in view, the apostle would stir up believers to diligence from their example; and therefore, in several places, compares the Christian life to one or other of the contests which were managed in the public games, and here particularly to a race. Int hose ancient races much solemnity was observed. The ground or course was exactly marked out; those who were to run went through a strict regimen and exercise before-hand; a vast concourse of people were assembled as spectators; authorized judges were appointed to award the prize, which was a crown of laurel or oak leaves, to the winner: and before they began, a herald publicly proclaimed the rules to be observed by the competitors; which unless strictly com

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