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if we see criminal actions repeatedly pra&tised by our friend, we shall gradually not only regard them without horror, but shortly approve, and at length imitate, them. Solo mon saw the danger of thus making any friendship with the wicked ; and in his excellent book of Proverbs, has given us these cautions against such a dangerous error, and shewn us the fatal consequences in which it must end.' " Be not thou friendly with the “ wicked, whose ways lead to destruction.” “ Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

Avoid it; pass not by it ; turn from it, and pass

away. For they eat the bread of wicked“ ness, and drink the wine of violence." “ He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled " therewith; and he that hath fellowship “ with a wicked man, shall be like unto him. “ All flesh consorteth according to its kind; “ and a man will cleave unto his like."

Such as mankind are, however, good and bad, wise and foolish, “ wheat and tares,” they will remain mingled together upon the face of the earth, till that, and all that it contains, is consumed by fire. God might, certainly, if it so pleased Him, “gather up - the tares,” or remove all the w ed from among the good, by an act of miraculous

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power, but this would be contrary to the general method of his Providence, which allows things to take their natural course : or He might send upon the earth some ter. rible and general destruction, but this would be “rooting up the wheat with the tares, and bringing ruin upon the righteous as well as the wicked ; 'which, as Abraham says, is utterly inconsistent with the goodness of God: “ that be far from thee to do after 6 this manner; to slay the righteous with “ the wicked; and that the righteous should « be as the wicked, that.be far from thee; " shall not the Judge of all the earth do “ right?” God's wisdom has chosen a better and a juster plan than either of these ; for “ He will let both tares and wheat grow “ together till the harvest; and in the time " of harvest, he will say to the reapers, " Gather ye together, first the tares, and « bind them in bundles to burn them ; but “ gather the wheat into my barn.”

There are no truths more clearly revealed in scripture, my friends, than those of “ the re6 surrection from the grave;" “ a future judg“ ment;” and “ a life everlasting," either in happiness or misery, according as we shall have been faithful christians, or wicked doers, on this side the grave.

It is true,

that in this world the tares and the wheat must be mingled together, share the common evils of life, and partake of the same general blessings of Providence; for “ He causeth “ his sun to shine, and his rain to fall, alike " on the good and the bad ;” and in these particulars, as the wise man saith, “ there • is one event to the righteous, and to o the wicked ; to the clean, and the un“ clean; to those who serve God, and " those who serve Him not.” Nay, what is still more, it will sometimes happen, that the tares will thrive better than the wheat; become stronger and more flourishing ; put forth stouter branches, and strike deeper roots; in other words, that the wicked will be more prosperous than the good, and by their continuing in dishonesty, get larger gains, and make a greater shew, in the world than them: But this will last only for a little while; the Judge of the World will do right at the last; and in the next life, which is to last for ever, all these seeming irregularities will be set straight. Then it is, that a just and eternal distinction will be made between “ the tares and the wheat.” They will be separated from each other for ever; the one burned in fire, and the other gathered into the barn. The wicked, after their short space of mad folly, irreligious courses, and unjust worldly success, shall be plunged “ into the lake that burneth with “ unquenchable fire and brimstone;" while the righteous, who have loved their Saviour with sincerity, and striven to do his holy will, shall be received into the eternal habitations of future glory, and "shine as the

stars, for ever and ever."

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For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil.

' HE great object and intention of the

Christian religion, my friends, is, to make maukind pure, and holy, and righteous, in this life, that they may be fitted to become “ partakers of the inheritance of the ç saints in light ;” and after they are called hence, and are no more to be seen on earti, be translated into the everlasting happiness of Heaven. Hence it is, that our blessed LORD and his apostles continually exhort us

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