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earth, who perfectly does good, and sins not? Why else does the madness of sin so extensively prevail? Why else are the most powerful antidotes so often ineffectual?

Our own observation will furnish us with sad examples of the infatuating influence of sin. There are many, who discover no deep concern for their future interest, but are wholly immersed in the cares of the world-who are governed by no fixed principles of piety, but entirely by temporal considerations. There are some who are addicted to palpable vice, to intemperance, profaneness, slander, or injustice, and who live in the habitual neglect of the means of religion. There are those who persist in their guilty course, unreformed and unawakened by all the methods of divine grace and providence: or if they are alarmed by a sudden danger, they soon relapse into their former stupidity, And we sometimes see those who leave the world without exhibiting any proof of a better temper. Madness is in their heart while they live. Our Saviour warns us, that, at the last day, many will come and plead admission into his kingdom, whom he will reject as workers of iniquity.

Now it is probable, that among those who shall be finally rejected, few will be found, who beforehand really expected this awful event. When Jesus speaks of the sad fate of impenitent sinners, he generally represents them as wofully disappointed. If we enquire what supports their present hopes, we shall find it to be one of these two things; either a flattering opinion that they are already entitled to God's favour, or a vain presumption that they shall secure his favour by repentance, before they die. Well; you see that many, who have indulged these hopes, will finally be disappointed: look well to yourselves, lest ye be disappointed also. Fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into God's rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. There are probably none present, who really believe that they shall miss of this grand object. If they realized for themselves such an event, how is it possible that they should maintain all this calmness and indifference, which they actually discover?And yet it is probable, there are some, who, if they were to talk seriously of their moral state, would confess, that they had not made their calling

and election sure. It is then the hope of a future repentance, which composes their minds. But how precarious such a hope is, appears from this undeniable fact, that many have contented themselves with it as long as they lived. And what reason have you to conclude, that the same hope of future repentance which has flattered thousands through life, and flattered you hitherto, will not flatter you, till you die? You think it now a just ground of inward peace; and yet you know that you must, and intend that you will, by and by, view it otherwise. You resolve, that some day or other, you will give it up, and live upon it no longer. But how absurd it is to depend upon that now, which you hope you shall hereafter see to be vain and delusive? If it be a sufficient ground of comfort now, why do you not intend to trust it always? If it be no ground of comfort, why will you trust it at all?

2. The words of the text remind us, that the sinner, however unprepared, must yield to death. Though, in the madness of his heart, he lives thoughtless of death, yet he must go to the dead as well as others.

A man would think his reason affronted, if his neighbor should seriously undertake to convince him that he must die, by laying before him, in a formal manner, the proofs of human mortality. You never met with a man, who would dispute this solemn truth. The most profane sinner in the world, if he ever talks calmly on such a subject, will say, "All men are mortal-no man hath power in the day of death-there is no exemption from that warfare— and no man knows what shall be on the morrow."

It may then, be proper to ask him such questions as these : Since you believe this important truth, why are you not influenced by it? Since you know that God will bring you to death, why do you live as if you were in league with death? Since you would be ashamed to have it thought, that you disbelieved your mortality, why are you not ashamed to act as if you disbelieved it? Which is most to your dishonor, to reject a plain and important truth, or to confess it and still live in opposition to it?

Death is an event as solemn and momentous, as it is certain and evident. It will dissolve this animal frame, disunite soul and body, remove us from every earthly interest and enjoyment, and

send us to a new world, where we shall exist in a new manner, and among new inhabitants; and it will there fix us in a condition extremely miserable, or inexpressibly happy. This is a most interesting change. And it is certainly near it may be even at the door.

Surely the careless sinner does not realize that he shall die, or does not realize what it is to die. If a sense of death, in its solemn nature, and eternal consequences, were impressed on his mind, he could not be careless-he could not spend his time and strength in pursuit of vanities, and content himself with the postponement of his everlasting concerns. Let him, then, remember, and often consider, that there is an important scene before himthat death and judgment await him—that they linger not, nor slumber, but are hastening on that he with others, must yield to death, and that there is no work, nor device in the grave. Let these considerations be applied, as an antidote to the madness of sin.

3. The text farther intimates, that the madness of sinners is often the means of hastening their death.

They go to the dead; and go the sooner, because madness is in their hearts. This the scripture teaches, and observation confirms. The Psalmist says, "Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days." They shall perish in the flower of their age. There are, indeed, some wicked men who live and become old; some who do evil, and yet their days are prolonged; and because sentence against their evil works is not executed speedily, their hearts are more fully set in them to do evil. The prophet supposes, that there may be such a case, as a man's living to be an hundred years old, and yet dying accursed at last. But then the natural tendency of wickedness is, to shorten life; and God often makes the man of vice and impiety an example of his wrath by bringing him to a sudden, violent, or premature death. To this purpose we find many observations in the writings of Solomon. "Be not overmuch wicked-why shouldst thou die before thy time?"—" The wicked is driven away in his wickedness."—" His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall die without instruction." "He that will love life," says St. Peter, "and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips

from speaking guile; let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it; for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry: but the face of the Lord is against them who do evil, to cut off their remembrance from the earth." This advice the apostle gave to christians, in a time when the profession of their religion exposed them to reproach and persecution. And the substance of his advice is, that if they would be safe in their christian profession, they must live the religion which they professed. It is as if he had said, “If you desire to live long and comfortably in these contentious and perilous times, in the first place, bridle your tongues; never employ them in impiety, slander, or deception; but let all your language be pure, grave, open and courteous. In your conduct avoid what your religion forbids, and strictly observe whatever it enjoins. Especially, live peaceably among yourselves, and cultivate and promote peace among all with whom you are conversant. Thus you will enjoy inward contentment, and serenity of conscience; and God will take you under his gracious protection, and be present with you in all your dangers; while they, who pursue a contrary course, involve themselves in innumerable perplexities and troubles, and provoke God to withdraw his care, and to leave them to the consequences of their own folly and rashness."

Many vices directly tend to bring on disease and death. Such are the vices of sensuality. "Who hath wo? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contention? Who hath wounds without cause? They that tarry long at the wine."

There are vices which waste men's substance; reduce them to want, and involve temptations to more intolerable vices, which expose them to the stroke of civil justice.

There are vices which divest men of self-command, and deprive them of the capacity of consulting their own safety, or directing their own conduct. Many in the paroxysm of lust, or passion, have done those dreadful deeds, which have terminated in their own ruin. Many, enslaved to an intemperate appetite, have perished by sudden accidents, or by slow and silent diseases. We look with horror on the creature who has been his own executioner. Self-violence is an act so full of guilt, and so con

trary to nature, that we all think ourselves in little danger of it.. But some who would shudder at the thought of self-execution are really guilty of it, and will be judged accordingly. If a man voluntarily destroy himself, what is the difference whether he cuts his own throat, or drinks poison? The latter is the guilt of the intemperate man. He will say, he has no intention to destroy life. Why then does he pursue a course, which leads to this effect? If he wilfully neglect to preserve his life, he is as really criminal, as if he aimed to destroy it. Will it exonerate him from guilt to say, he had no intention to injure himself, when he knows that injury will naturally ensue? It is every man's duty to consult his own préservation. If he put it out of his power to do this, then he voluntarily exposes his life. Now every man, who suffers himself to be intoxicated, either by passion, or by drink, puts it out of his power to take care of himself. Does he not then trifle with his life? And is he not answerable for the consequences which follow?

4. The text suggests to us, that death often overtakes sinners suddenly and unexpectedly.

"Madness is in their heart while they live." Stupidity pos-sesses them as long as life continues. "After that they go to the dead." Many are driven away in their wickedness, and by a storm hurled out of their place. God now gives them a space to repent. If they improve it, they will be safe. But their timeis at God's disposal. He may cut them off, how and when he pleases. They live every hour on his forbearance. When they abuse, they forfeit their day of grace; and the continuance of it they cannot claim, on the foot either of justice or of promise.. God commands them, while it is called to-day, to hear his voice, and not harden their hearts. He has given them warnings. What assurance have they, that he will give them any more? He may, perhaps, cut them off with pining sickness. But if he should, it is far from being certain, what use they will make of it. Pain of body, weakness of reason, stupidity of mind, or distraction of thought may prevent their improving to repentance the space allowed them. While they expect a recovery, they will perhaps flatter themselves as they do now. When they despair of recov

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