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Then it is, that their souls will be ashamed and confounded at what they have delighted in. Then it is, that conscience will be roused into action; and scourge them with whips and scorpions. They see, and know, that they are going so be separated for ever from all those evil ways, which, till now, had occupied all their thoughts, and engaged all their affections. They see, and know, that all which they had fixed their hearts on, here below, can render them no further service; nor afford them any more satisfaction. They now find, that the world and its sinful
prac. rices have only been false friends, both unable and unwilling to save them ; deserting them in the time of need ; and giving them up, when they most want their assistance, to receive the due reward of their deeds. They send for the Minister, perhaps, to pray with, and comfort, them; but he can give them no consolation, for their heart is not smitten with true penitence, but only distracted with guilty fear. As the last moment approaches, their horror increases; and when death gives his fatal stroke, their soul quits its wretched companion in sin, the lifeless body, with the fearful expectation of the fiery indignation of God, through a horrible eternity.
“ Be wise, thererefore," oh! my brethrer “ Be prudent,” ye who have still time and
opportunity to repent!“ Kiss the Son, lest “ he be angry, and so ye perish from the
Behold, now is the ac“ cepted time! Behold, now is the day. of “ salvation !" · Break off your sins by re“ pentance;" and do the work of righteousness, “before the night cometh, when no man can work,"
* Walk honestly as in in the day ; not in rioting and drunkenness; not in chambering and wantonness;
not in strife and envying: but put ye on ss the LORD Jesus Christ; and make not - provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts but thereof.".
(For the Eighth Sunday after Trinity.]
MATTHEW vii. 21.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
ERE our judgment of men's religion to be formed on
the which they make of it, and their outward observance of its ceremonies, we might be inclined to suppose, that the gospel had a very great influence upon the hearts of the generality of those who call themselves christians : but, when we look more narrowly into the effects which it produces on men's lives and conversation ; we shall incline to believe, that many, who profess the religion of Jesus, satisfy themselves with the name of christian; or in the words of the gospel for the day, from which the text is taken, are content with saying,
LORD, LORD;" whilst they neglect to do the “ will of their Father who is in “ Heaven.”
It is a melancholy and dangerous mistake, which men of all religions and professions are apt to fall into,—that of believing, if they conform to the outward parts of religious worship, they do all that is required ; without considering, what we are expressly told that the strictest observation of such duties will avail us no:hing in the sight of God, unless they are means of bringing us to lead a sober and religious life.
“This oughtye to have done, and not have “ left ihe other undone,” said our Saviour 10 those, who laid great stress on their exactness in s tithing mint and cummin,' whilst they “neglected the weightier matters " of the law.” So also may the christian pastor say to those, who, if they go regularly to church on a Sunday, and attend the sacrae: ment at every opportunity, persuade them. selves they are good christians, although their hearts remain unchanged, and they continue to pass the rest of the week in the anxious pursuits of worldly gain, foolish amusement, or wicked pleasures.
My friends! public worship, and all the ordinances of religion, are an acceptable way of honouring God; of obtaining his grace and blessing; and a powerful means of forwarding our salvation. But still they are only the means, and intended to lead us to, and enable us to perform, the duties which we owe to God, our neighbour, and ourselves; that is, to live soberly and picusly in this present life; never forgetting, that it is given us as a passage only to a better, which is to come, and into which none can enter but those faithful servants, who do the will of their Father who is « in heaven."
Outward ordinances, I repeat, are a powerful means, through the grace of God, of bringing us to salvation; for, if it were not for the ordained observance of one day in seven, many persons, it is to be feared, would soon forget the God who made, and the Saviour who redeemed, them. If we did not go to church, to hear God's word, we should be ignorant of his will. Were we not frequently to pray to God for his blessing upon ourselves, and our labours, we should forget that we depend upon Him for life, and breath, and all things ; in short, we should live without God in the world, and be miserable. On the contrary,