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method to procure it, but continue in those very practices which already have destroyed their satisfaction. Is it that they are afraid of applying to an offended God for pardon 2. or is it that they have yet some favourite sin which, in spite of all their misery, they cannot part with, and which that they may preserve they are content to risk every hope of futurity? Should we reason thus in the affairs of this life, we should be deservedly marked for the most pitiable folly. Who would not forego a little present advantage for a large reversion? Who would not suffer a little inconvenience to avoid distress or ruin? Is it not better that one member, may that two or three should perish, than that the whole body should be destroyed? What then remains but that the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his path, and that he turn unto the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to God, that will abundantly pardon 2 If yet he hope to taste of life without anguish, or to enjoy the light without bitterness of soul; if he would seek any serenity of mind, any peace of heart, while in this state of being; let him not delay to apply to him, F f
who alone can give rest to the weary and the heavy-laden If he have any regard for the welfare of a future existence, if any hope of passing an immortal life in happiness, let him make use of the day, while it is called to-day, and, before the grave shall close its everlasting doors upon him, let him seek by repentance what he has forfeited by vice. Upon the whole, if we wish for peace or satisfaction in this life, let it be remembered that it is only to be found in the duties of religion. Every other scheme will prove ineffectual. He who can have nothing to entitle him to the favour of God, must be uneasy with respect to his future situation; if, indeed, he believes in a future state. Should he affect to disbelieve it, yet he cannot be happy, because no man can, at all times, be an infidel. The voice of reason and of conscience will occasionally interfere, and will stagger the resolution of the most determined obstinacy. A man may, perhaps, live an atheist, but no man ever died one. We give credit to the interests of this world no longer than it flatters us with pleasure, or furnishes us with 'amusement; and when the prospect of these, shall vanish, reason will assert her slighted authority, and will suggest it to us to seek a refuge where, hitherto, we had been unaccustomed to place it. In these circumstances, of what shall the wicked avail himself? What agonies must he feel, when the soul labours under fear and apprehension, while the body languishes in pain and sickness? How will he blame his folly and presumption, his obstinacy and ingratitude, that have robbed him of the only hope that could support him through the vale of death, or open any pleasing prospect to the allotments of eternity How will he mourn over the ruins of his folly, when every sense is lost in terror and confusion, and every reflection terminates in despairs Such is the melancholy fate of the wicked, whose life is misery, and whose death is distraction Let us, my friends, as we know these things, avail ourselves of the knowledge. Let us secure the favour of God, and life or death shall alike bring us happiness. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.
sER Mo N xx.
THE PROPRIETY OF A REVERENT AND ATTENTIVE DEPORTMENT IN THE HOUSE OF GOD.
EccLEs. v. l.
Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil.
JHOPV dreadful is this place! surely this is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven s said the ravished Patriarch, when he awoke from a vision, in which he had beheld the divine Presence. Nothing can be greater, or more solemn, than this ejaculation. How awful, says he, is this wild and uncultivated desert, where, destitute of domestic conveniences, I reposed my head on a pillow of stones' yet how venerable even in this place, since it hath been consecrated by the appearance of the immortal God! The sense of the divine Presence, either