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regain the ground we have lost with little trouble or pain. In many things we offend all, even the

very
best of us;

and it is far more wise and prudent to find out these offences by reflection, and to correct them by suitable resolutions, than to let them accumulate by neglect, till some fatal mischief awake us to a sense of our duty, or the stroke of death render it no longer practicable. This single consideration, the possibility of being called, even the healthiest and the youngest of us, suddenly and unexpectedly called, to give an account of ourselves to God, before we have properly settled that account, is of itself enough to make us reflect on our condition, and to do it also without delay. We see almost every day of our lives the most striking and affecting instances of our precarious condition. We see our friends and neighbours suddenly snatched away from us, at a time when we (perhaps they too) least expected it. We see multitudes of others drop around us, one by one, till we are left almost alone in a wide world, deserted by all those whom we most intimately knew and esteemed. Yet all this seems to make little or no impression upon us. We follow our acquaintances to the grave; we

drop,

drop, perhaps, a few parting, unavailing tears over them, and then return again to the cares, the pleasures, the follies and the vices of the world, with as much eagerness and alacrity as if nothing at all had happened that in the least concerned ourselves; as if there was not the least chance or possibility, that the danger, which we see so near us, should at last come home to us. But, surely, these convincing, these alarming proofs of our mortality, ought to have a little more effect on our hearts. When we see thousands fall beside us, and ten thousands at our right hand, we ought to reflect, that our turn may, perhaps, be next; that, at the very best, we have no time to lose, and that it highly behoves us to call our ways immediately to remembrance; to make haste, (for death will not wait for us) to make haste, and prolong not the time, to keep God's commandments. When, in short, we consider the extreme uncertainty of life, and the absolute certainty of appearing before our Judge in the very same state in which that life is taken away from

US,

with all our sins and all our infirmities to answer for, we can never consent to trust our all on so precarious a bottom, nor to let our most important concerns lie at the

mercy

mercy of every accident that may befal us. The loss of a year, the loss of a day, may be the loss of Heaven. “ Thou fool, this night

shall thy soul be required of thee:” This was said for our admonition: and if, under this apprehension, we can calmly lay ourselves down to sleep, without reviewing our conduct or preparing ourselves to wake, as we may do, in another world, it is in vain to use any further exhortations. If an argument so plain, so simple, so forcible, has no influence

upon our minds, Reason and Religion can do nothing more for us; our obstinacy is incurable, our danger inexpressible,

From that danger, may God of his infinite mercy preserve us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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AFTER HIS OWN HEART, AND THE LORD HATH COMMANDED HIM TO BE

CAPTAIN OVER HIS PEOPLE,

*The person spoken top in these words

HERE is no need to inform you that the

person spoken of in these words is David king of Israel. The appellation of THE MAN AFTER GOD's Own HEART, is a well-known distinction, which having never been expressly bestowed on any other, has, by

* This Sermon was originally written and preached before the University of Cambridge, in the year 1761, in answer to a profane and licentious pamphlet, which had its day of celebrity and applause among a certain class of readers; but is now, as it deserved to be, and as is the usual fate of such productions, entirely forgot. Those parts of the sermon, therefore, which had a more immediate reference to that publication, are now omitted; and the whole is rendered less polemical and more practical, and of course, it is hoped, more generally useful. H 2

long

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