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indulges himself in fin, trusting to his form to save him, Of hypocrisy o’r Saviour gives a description, when he says, Wben tbou dost thine alms, do not found a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. And when thou prayeft, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are ; for they love to pray flanding in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. We have a remarkable instance of it in the Pharisees of old. They devoured widows houses, and for a pretence made long prayers. Who would have thought that so excel. lent a thing as Religion would be so bafely abused ? That men with this cloak would cover their villanies? Their conduct is extremely foolish and desperately wicked.
Once more: I may mention, as descriptive of the wicked, that they are impatient of restraint and reproof. They cannot bear to be checked in their mad career of sin and folly; and the faithful reprover, if such be found, is hated and avoided. The very fight and example of the godly is a secret reproof to the wicked; it is a contrast to their own conduct; gives them disagreeable feelings, and therefore they strive to be out of the way. Sometimes they are so bold as to expose, in a ludicrous manner, every appearance of fincerity, and laugh and jest merely to keep themselves in countenance.
The preacher who seeks to save himself and them that hear him, by telling them plainly of their fins, and denouncing the judgments of God, is thought rigid and severe. Ahab, the king of Israel, said of Micaiah, the son of Imla, I bate hin, for he never prophefieth good unto me, but always evil. The discourse which flows smooth and even, dwelling on generals, not directed to the conscience, nor finners pursued in it by the terrors of the Lord, is most applauded. It is related as fact of a preach. er, who had arrived at so great perfection in adapting himself to delicate ears, that he once told his hearers, “ If they did not vouchsafe to give a new turn to their lives, they would go to a place he did not choose to name in so courtly an audience.” It is no breach of charity to say, that such preachers and their hearers are in danger of going down to hell, and enduring never-ceasing torments, of which we should now often hear and think, that so we may be excited to lay hold upon the hope set before us. If danger is not known, how shall it be shunned? We do not preach you to, but from these everlasting burnings. If our own hearts do not condemn us, why should we fear? If they do, O! what madness to shut our eyes, and wander heedlessly on! Will this make the danger less? What fearfulness must seize such, when they come to stand on the brink of the awful pit!
That there is an improper method of reproving finners is certain ; a method tending more to disgult than edify even pious ears. The wrath of man worketb not the righteousness of God. There are many descriptions of heaven and hell to no purpose, or worse: Eye hatb not seen, nor ear heard, neither bath entered into the heart of man, the one or the other. The joys of the one, and the terrors of the other, are best represented in the language of facred writ. Besides, the word of God is quick and powerful, and harper than any two-edged sword; and is that instrument by which, in his dispensation of grace, he wounds and he heals.
THE CHARACTER AND MISERY OF
WILLIAM LINN, D.D. One of the Ministers of the Reformed Dutch Church,
Isa. Ivii. 21.
L AVING endeavoured, in a former discourse, fo to 11 describe the wicked, as that we might be assisted in forming a judgment of ourselves, I proceed now to show,
II. In what respects there is no peace to such.
First, There is no peace to them with God. By their wickedness they wage war with heaven, and the Al. mighty King is angry with them every day. Man, hearkening to the suggestions of Satan, has thrown off allegiance to his rightful owner, transgressed his holy law,
refused that tribute of praise which is due, and engaged in open rebellion. Whatever we may think of the claims of fellow-mortals, surely the great God hath an unque. stionable right to us and all our service. He hath made, and continually upholds us. Of him we cannot be independent, and our happiness lies in his favour. Having ruined ourselves, he found out a help. He sent his Son to fulfil the demands of the law in our room, and in his Gospel he proclaims pardon and peace to all who will return. Only they have reconciliation with him, who have submitted to his terms; who, forsaking their fins, have believed in the name of his Son. The impenitent and unbelieving must fall under the stroke of his justice. To their rebellion they add ingratitude, by making light of the offers of grace. · Having no peace with God, of what advantage are the most flattering circumtances in this world? Of what ad. vantage that we are the citizens of a free state, and the nations around in league with us? These indeed are inestimable blessings, and which we must not tamely surrender to every proud and ambitious spirit; but can they make us happy hereafter? We may not enjoy them a day, or an hour. While we continue under the power of fin, we are the most abject flaves. We do the works of the devil, who delights in the ruin and misery of our race.—Is not the displeasure of our Maker enough to embitter every comfort, or render as joyless in the midst of every earthly good thing? How dreadful to think that his curse is upon us when we lie down and rise up, and in all our ways! How fearful to know that we must fall at last into the hands of the living God! This is the pitiable condition of the wicked, to whom,
In the second place, There is no peace in their own consciences. The thoughts of what their crimes have ex
posed them to, often tear them with the most bitter refections. Some of them have been afraid to be left alone ; and dismal spectres, which guilt formed, have haunted them in the midnight hours. It is said of the infidel Hobbes, " that though he would speak very strange and unbecoming things of God, yet in his study in the dark, and in his retired thoughts, he trembled before him. If his candle happened to go out in the night, he awoke in terror and amazement. He was unable to bear the dismal reflections of his dark and desolate mind; and knew not how to extinguish, nor how to bear the light of the candle of the Lord within him."
See the man of pleasure, how gaily he walks abroad! What cheerfulness in his looks! He affe&is to esteem the more fober part of mankind as precise and supercilious ! Talk to him of conscience, and he hardly restrains a burst of laughter! Did you see him in some hour of sickness, gloom and solitude, you might find distress pictured in his face, arising froin remorse within. Though repeated acts of fin fear the conscience, and render it less sensible, yet there are few but have their severe twinges and repenting seasons. It is easier to prostitute conscience than to silence it." Whatever there be in the air, there is certainly an elastic power in conscience that will bear itself up, note withstanding the weight that is laid upon it to stifle and kill its clamours.” Dr Doddridge, in his life of that memorable convert, Col. Gardiner, informs us, “ That still the checks of conscience, and some remaining principles of so good an education as he had received, would break in upon his most licentious hours; and that he told him, when some of his dissolute companions were once congratulating him on his distinguished felicity, a dog happening at that time to come into the room, he could not forbear groaning inwardly, and saying to himself, “ Oh, that I