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with your own splendour, and fascinated with brethren, the heart of a man is sometimes the seat your own charms, you aspire at nothing less of two opposite tyrants, each of whom has views than to make all mankind your worshippers, and interests different from the other. Avarice offering incense to the idol you yourself adore; says keep, ambition says give, avarice says with this view you break through the bounds hold fast, ambition says give up. Avarice of law, and the decency of your sex; your says retire, ambition says go abroad. Ambidress is vain and immodest, your conversation tion combats avarice, avarice combats ambiis loose, your deportment is indecent, and you tion, each by turns distresses the heart, and if it think the world take you for a sort of goddess. groans under tyranny, whether avarice or amNo such thing. You deceive yourself

. Peo- bition be the tyrant is indifferent. The plea. ple say you have put off Christian modesty, sure of seeing one passion reign is always poiand laid aside even worldly decency, and as soned by the pain of seeing the other subdued. they judge of your private life by your public They resemble that woman, whose twin “ childeportment, how can they think otherwise dren struggled together within her," and who Fathers forbid their sons to keep your compa- said during the painful sensations, if it must be ny, and mothers exhort their daughters to so, why was I a mother? avoid your bad example.

Piety prevents these fatal effects, it makes us 3. Observe how godliness influences our for content with the condition in which Providence tune, by procuring us the confidence of other has placed us: it does more, it teaches us to be men, and above all by acquiring the blessing happy in any condition, how mean soever it of God on our designs and undertakings. may be. “I have learned in whatsoever state You are sometimes astonished at the alarming I am, therewith to be content: I know both changes that happen in society, you are sur- how to be abased, and I know how to abound. prised to see some families decay, and others Every where and in all things I am instructed, fall into absolute ruin. You cannot compre- both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound hend why some people, who held the other and to suffer need,” Phil. iv. 11, 12. day the highest places in society, are now fal 5. Consider the peace which piety diffuses len from that pinnacle of grandeur, and involv- in the conscience. The prosperity of those ed in the deepest distress. Why this atonish- who desire to free themselves from conscience, ment There is a Providence, and though is such as to make them miserable in the midst God often hides himself, though the ways of of their greatest success. What pleasure can his providence are usually impenetrable, though a man enjoy, who cannot bear to be one moit would be an unjust way of reasoning to say, ment alone; a man, who needs perpetual dissuch a person is wealthy, therefore he is holy, sipation to hide from himself his real condition; such a one is indigent, therefore he is wicked; a man, who cannot reflect on the past without yet the Lord sometimes comes out of that dark- remorse, think on the present without confuness in which he usually conceals himself, and sion, or the future without despair; a man, raises a saint out of obscurity into a state of who carries within himself that obstinate rewealth and honour.

prover, on whom he cannot impose silence, 4. Consider what an influence godliness has a man, who already feels the "worm that dieth in our happiness by calming our passions, and not” gnawing him; a man, who sees in the by setting bounds to our desires. Our faculties midst of his most jovial festivals the writing are finite: but our desires are boundless. From “of a man's hand,” which he cannot read, but this disproportion between our desires and our which his conscience most faithfully and terrifaculties a thousand conflicts arise, which dis- bly interprets; I ask what pleasure can such a tress and destroy the soul. Observe the la- man enjoy! bour of an ainbitious man, he is obliged to Godliness not only frees us from these torsacrifice to his prince his ease, his liberty, and ments, but it communicates joy into every part his life; he must appear to applaud what he of the pious man's life. If the believer be in inwardly condemns; and he must adjust all prosperity, he considers it as an effect of the his opinions and sentiments by the ideas of his goodness of God, the governor of this universe, master. See what toils worldly honour im- and as a pledge of blessings reserved for himn in poses on its votaries; a man of honour must another world. If he be in adversity, indeed revenge an affront after he has pardoned it, and he considers it as a chastisement coming from to that he must expose his establishment and the band of a wise and tender parent: and the bis fortune, he must run the risk of being same may be said of every other condition. obliged either to quit his country, or to suffer 6. In fine, consider how piety influences the such punishment as the law inflicts on those, happiness of life, by the assurance it gives us of who take that sword into their own hands, a safe, if not a comfortable death. There is which God has put into the hand of the magis- not a single moment in life, in which it is not trate, he must stab the person he loves, the possible we should die; consequently there is person who loves him, and who offended him not one instant, that may not be unhappy, if more through inadvertence than animosity; he we be not in a condition to die well. While must stifle all the suggestions which conscience we are destitute of this assurance, we live in urges against a man who ventures his salvation perpetual trouble and agitation; we see the on the precarious success of a duel, and who sick, we meet funeral processions, we attend by so doing braves all the horrors of hell. the dying, and all these different objects become Above all, what is the condition of a heart, motives of horror and pain. It is only when with what cruel alternatives is it racked and we are prepared to die well, that we bid detorn, when it is occupied by two passions, fiance to winds and waves, fires and shipwhich oppose and counteract each other. Take wrecks, and that, by opposing to all these ambition and avarice for an example; for, my perilous casualties the hope of a happy death,

sure.

we every where experience the joy with which the human heart. There, ye earthly thoughts, it inspires such as wait for it

ye worldly cares, ye troublesome birds of prey, Collect all these articles, and unite all these that so often perplex us in life, there you have advantages in one. I ask now, is it an impro- no access! There, revolving in his mind the bable proposition, that virtue has a reward in divers objects presented to him in religion, he itself, sutficient to indemnify us for all we suf- feels the various emotions that are proper to fer on account of it, so that though there were each. Sometimes the rich gifts of God in nothing to expect from this life, yet it would nature, and the insignificance of man the rebe a problem, whether it would not be better, ceiver, are objects of his contemplation, and all things considered, to practise godliness than then he exclaims, "O Lord, my Lord, how to live in sin.

excellent is thy name in all the earth! When I But this is not the consequence we mean to consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, draw from our principles. We do not intend the moon and the stars which thou hast ordainto make this use of our observations. We willed,” Ps. viii. 1. 3. I cannot help crying, “What not dispute with the sinner whether he finds is man that thou art mindful of him and the pleasure in the practice of sin, but as he as son of man that thou visitest him!” ver. 4. sures us, that it gives him more pleasure to Sometimes the brightness of the divine perfecgratify his passions than to subdue them, we tions shining in Jesus Christ fixes his attention, will neither deny the fact, nor find fault with and then he exclaims, “ Thou art fairer than his taste, but allow that he must know better the children of men, grace is poured into thy than any body what gives himself most plea- lips, therefore God hath blessed thee for ever!"

We only derive this consequence from Ps. xlv. 2. Sometimes his mind contemplates all we have been hearing, that the advantages that train of favours, with which God has en which accompany godliness, are sufficient to riched every believer in his church, and then support us in a course of action, that leads to he cries, “ Many, O Lord my God, are thy won eternal felicity.

derful works which thou hast done, and thy This eternal felicity the apostle had chiefly thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be in view, and on this we would fix your atten- reckoned up in order before thee! Would I tion in the close of this discourse. "Godliness declare and speak of them, they are more than hath promise of the life that now is,” is a pro- can be numbered!" Ps. xl. 5. Sometimes it is position, we think, plain and clear: but how the sacrifice of the cross, and then he says, ever, it is disputable you say, subject to many “Without controversy great is the mystery of exceptions, and liable to a great number of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh!" difficulties: but “godliness hath promise of the i Tim. iji. 16. Sometimes it is the joy of life that is to come,” is a proposition which possessing God, and then his language is, “ My cannot be disputed, it is free from all difficulty, soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness! and can admit of no exception.

Ps. Ixiji. 5. Sometimes it is the desire of enHaving taken up nearly all the time allotted joying God in a greater measure, and in a to this exercise, I will finish with one reflection. richer abundance, and then he says with Asaph, “ Promise of the life to come,” annexed to god- “My supreme good is to draw near to God. liness, is not a mere promise, it puts even in When shall I come, O when shall I come and this life the pious man in possession of one part appear before God!" Ps. Ixxiii. 28, and xlii. 2. of the benefits, the perfect possession of which Follow this man in the participation of holy he lives in hope of enjoying. Follow him ordinances. Represent to yourselves a man, in four periods-First in society-Next in the who after preparing himself some days, or closet — Then in a participation of holy ordi- some weeks for the holy communion, bringing nances And lastly, at the approach of death: thither a heart proportioned to the labour, you will find him participating the eternal feli- which he has taken to dispose it properly: imacity, which is the object of his hope.

gine such a man sitting at this table along with În society. What is the life of a man, who the ambitious, the impure, the revengeful, the never goes into the company of his fellow crea- vain, all the members of this community; suptures without doing them good; of a man who pose this man saying to himself, they are not after the example of Jesus Christ "goes about only men who see and consider me, they are doing good;" à man, who every where shows angels, who encamp around such as love God; the light of a good example, who endeavours it is Jesus Christ, who sits amidst his disciples to win all hearts to God, who never ceases to assembled in his name; it is God himself who publish his perfections, and to celebrate his sees all, and examines all the dispositions I praise, what, I ask, is the life of such a man? It bring to his table. It is not only an invitation is an angelical life, it is a heavenly life, it is an to this table given by ministers, it is “wisdom anticipation of that life which happy spirits who hath furnished her table, mingled her live in heaven, it is a foretaste and prelibation wine,” Prov. ix. 1, 2, and who cries, “Ho, of those pleasures which are at the "right hand every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters," of God,'' and of that “fulness of joy," which Isaiah lv. It is my Saviour, who says to me, is found in contemplating his majesty. “ With desire I have desired to eat with you,"

Follow the pious man into the silent closet. Luke xxii. 15. It is not only material bread There he recollects, concentres himself, and that I am receiving, it is a symbol of the body loses himself in God. There, in the rich and blood of Christ, it is his flesh and blood source of religion, he quenches the thirst of under the elements of bread and wine. It will knowing, elevating, perpetuating, and extend- be not only a little tranquillity of conscience, ing himself, which burns within him, and there which I shall receive at this table, if I enter he feels how God, the author of his nature, into the spirit of the mystery set before me: proportions himself to the boundless capacity of | but I shall have consolations on my death-bed,

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triumphs after death, and oceans of felicity and dregs of which he must drink; he tries, though glory for ever. God has not preserved me till in vain, to put off the end by his too late now merely to give me an opportunity of sit- prayer, and he cries at its approach “ Mounting here: but to open to me the treasures of tains fall on me, hills cover me!" As for the his patience and long-suffering; to enable me believer, he sees and desires nothing but that to repent of my former negligence of breaking dispensation of happiness, which he has already the sabbath, profaning the communion, com- embraced by faith, possessed by hope, and mitting iniquity, forgetting my promises, and tasted by the comforts of the Holy Spirit in his offending my Creator.

soul; and hence comes that active fervour, I ask, my brethren, what is the man who ap- which makes his countenance luminous like proaches the Lord's table with such dispositions that of departing Stephen. I cannot better Is be a common man? Verily with eyes of express such sentiments than in the words of flesh, I see nothing to distinguish him from the the primitive saints, who so happily expericrowd. I see this man confounded with all enced them. others, whom a lax discipline suffers to partake “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord! I of this ordinance, and to receive with unclean know that my Redeemer liveth, and though hands and a profane mouth, the most holy after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in symbol of our religion; at most, I see only an my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for agitation of his senses, a spark shining in his myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not aneye, a look cast towards heaven, emotions other. Though thou slayest me, yet will I which the veil of humility that covers him trust in thee, o God! Though I walk through cannot entirely conceal: but with the eyes of the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear my mind I behold a man of a superior order, no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy a man in paradise, a man nourished with plea- staff they comfort me. I know whom I have sure at the right hand of God, a man at whose believed, and I am persuaded, that he is able conversion the angels of God rejoice, a man to keep that which I have committed unto him fastened to the triumphal car of Jesus Christ, against that day. Neither count I my life dear and who makes the glory of the triumph, a so that I might finish my course with joy, and the man who has the happy art of making heaven ministry which I have received of the Lord. descend into his soul; I behold amidst the mi- I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is series and vanities of the world, a man already far better. Lord Jesus receive my spirit. I "justified,” already "raised,” already "glo- have fought a good fight, I have finished my rified,” already “sitting in heavenly places course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there with Jesus Christ,” Rom. viii. 30; Eph. ii. 6. is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. O I see a man ascending to heaven along with death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is Jesus Christ, amids the shouting of the hea- thy victory? In these things we are more than venly choir, “ Lift up your heads, O ye gates, conquerors, through him that loved us. As and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so let the King of glory in,” Ps. xxiv. 7. I see a panteth my soul after thee, O God! my soul man“ with uncovered face beholding the glory thirsteth for God, for the living God! When of the Lord," and changing “from glory to shall I come and appear before God? How glory by the Spirit of the Lord,” 2 Cor. ii. 18. amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!

But it is particularly in a dying bed that the My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the pious man enjoys foretastes of the life to come. courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry A worldling is confounded at the approach of out for the living God. Blessed are they that that dismal night, which hides futurity from dwell in thy house, they will be still praising him; or rather, despair seizes his soul at the thee! Thine altars, even thine altars, O Lord rising of that dreadful light, which discovers of hosts, my King and my God.” to him a dispensation of punishment, in spite May you all, my brethren, may every one of of his obstinate denial of it. Then he sees you, know these truths by experience. God fire, flames, devils, “a lake of fire, the smoke grant you the grace. To him be honour and of which ascendeth up for ever and ever." glory for ever. Then be shrinks back from the bitter cup, the

VOL. II.-6

that he had chosen the worst? Which would SERMON LVIII.

you have chosen had you been in his place, my

brethren? Would you have determined for war? THE REPENTANCE OF THE UN

Could you have borne the bare idea of it Could

you have endured to see the once victorious CHASTE WOMAN.

armies of Israel led in triumph by an enemy,

the ark of the Lord a captive, a cruel and barLUKE vii. 36-50.

barous soldiery reducing a kingdom to ashes, And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would rasing fortresses, ravaging a harvest, and de

eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's stroying in a moment the crop of a whole year: house, and sat down to meat. And behold, « Would you have determined for famine? Would woman in the city, which was a sinner, when you have chosen to have the heaven become as she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's iron, and the earth brass, the seed dying in the house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, earth, or the corn burning before it was ripe? and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and “ The locust eating what the palmer worm had began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe left, and the canker worm eating what the lothem with the hairs of her head, and kissed his cust had left," Joel i. 4; men snatching bread feet, and anointed them with the ointment. from one another's hands, struggling between Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him, life and death, and starving till food would afsaw it, he spake within himself, saying, this ford no nourishment Would you have chosen man, if he were a prophet, would have known mortality? Could you have reconciled yourwho, and what manner of woman this is that selves to the terrible times in which contagion toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus on the wings of the wind carries its deadly poianswering, said unto him, Simon, I huve some son with the rapidity of lightning from city to what to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, city, from house to house; a time in which social say on.

There was a certain creditor, which living is at an end, when each is wholly emhad two debtors: the one owed five hundred ployed in guarding himself from danger, and pence, and the other fifty. And when they had has no opportunity to take care of others; when nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. the father fees from the sight of the son, the Tell me therefore, which of them will love him son from that of the father, the wife avoids the most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that husband, the husband the wife; when each he to whom he forgave most. And he said unto dreads the sight of the person he most esteems, him, thou hast rightly judged. And he turned and receives, and communicates poisonous and to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou deadly infection? These are the dreadful puthis woman? I entered into thine house, thou nishments out of which God required guilty gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath David to choose one. These he was to weigh washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with in a balance, while he agitated the mournful the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss; question, which of the threo shall I choose for but this woman, since the time I came in, hath my lot? However, he determines, “Let me fall not ceased to kiss my feet. Mine head with oil into the hands of the Lord, for his mercies are thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath great: but let me not fall into the hand of man." anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore He thought, that immediate strokes from the I say unto thee, her sins which are many, are hand of a God, merciful though displeased, forgiven; for she loveth much: but to whom would be most tolerable. He could conceive little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And nothing more terrible than to see between God he said unto her, thy sins are forgiven. And and himself, men who would intercept his looks, they that sal at meal with him, began to say and would prevent his access to the throne of within themselves, who is this that forgiveth sins

grace. also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith My brethren, the wish of David under his hath saved thee; go in peace.

consternation may direct ours in regard to all “Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, the spots that have defiled our lives. True, the for his mercies are great: but let me not fall eyes of God are infinitely more pure than those into the hand of man,” 2 Sam. xxiv. 14. of men. He indeed discovers frailties in our This was the request that David made in the lives which have escaped our notice, and “if most unhappy moment of his life. A prophet our heart condemns us, God is greater than our sent by an avenging God came to bring him a heart.” It is true, he hath punishments to inchoice of afflictions, “ I offer thee three things, flict on us infinitely more dreadful than any choose one of them, that I may do it unto mankind can invent, and if men can " kill the thee.-Shall three years of famine come unto body, God is able to destroy both soul and body thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months in hell.” However, this Almighty God, this before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? terrible, this avenging God, is a merciful God, or that there be three days pestilence in thy" great are his tender mercies;" but men, men land? Now advise, and see what answer I shall are cruel; yea, the very men who allow themreturn to him that sent me,” ver. 12, &c. selves to live in the most shameful licentious

What a proposal was this to a man accus- ness, men who have the most need of the patomed to consider Heaven as a source of bene- tience of others, men who themselves deserve dictions and favours! Henceforth he was to the most rigorous punishments, these very men consider it only as a cavern of thunder and are usually void of all pity for their fellows. lightning, flashing and rolling, and ready to Behold a striking example. The unchaste wostrike him dead! which of these punishments man in the text experienced both, and by turns would he choose? Which of them could he made trial of the judgment of God, and the choose without reproaching himself in future | judginent of men. But she met with a very

different treatment. In Jesus Christ she found | word signifies a sinner. This term sometimes a very severe legislator, who left her awhile to signifies in Scripture the condition of such as shed tears, and very bitter tears; a legislator, lived out of the covenant, and in this sense it is who left her awhile to her own grief, and sat used in the epistle to the Galatians, where St. and saw her hair dishevelled, and her features Paul calls pagans sinners: but the word is apdistorted; but who soon took care to dry up her plied in Greek authors to those women who tears, and to address this comfortable language were such as all the circumstances of our histo her, “Go in peace.” On the contrary, in tory engage us to consider this woman. Though the hands of men she found nothing but bar. it is easy to determine the sin of this woman in barity and cruelty. She heard a supercilious general, yet it is not easy to determine the parPharisee endeavour to arm against her the Re- ticular kind, whether it had been adultery, or deemer of mankind, try to persuade him to prostitution, or only some one criminal intrigue. denounce on her sentence of death, even while Our reflections will by turns regard each of she was repenting of her sin, and to do his ut these conditions. In fine, it is highly probable, most to cause condemnation to flow from the both by the discourse of the Pharisee, and by very fountain of grace and mercy.

the ointment, with which this woman anointed It is this instructive, this comfortable history, the feet of Jesus Christ, that she was a person that we set before you to-day, and which pre- of some fortune. This is all I know on this sort sents three very different objects to our medi. of questions. Should any one require more, I tation, the conduct of the incontinent woman, should not blush to avow my ignorance, and to that of the Pharisee, and that of Jesus Christ. recommend him to guides wiser than any I have In the conduct of the woman, prostrate at the the honour of being acquainted with, or to such feet of our Saviour, you see the principal cha- as possess that, which in my opinion, of all the racters of repentance. In that of the Pharisee talents of learned men, seems to me least to be you may observe the venom which not unfre- envied, I mean that of having fixed opinions on quently infects the judgments which mankind doubtful subjects unsupported by any solid armake of one another. And in that of Jesus guments. Christ you may behold free and generous emo We will confine ourselves to the principal tions of pity, mercy, and compassion. Let us circumstances of the life of this sinner; and to enter into the matter.

put our observations into a kind of order, we I. Let us first observe the inconlinent woman will examine first, her grief-next, the Saviour now become a penitent. The question most to whom she applied-then, the love that incontroverted by interpreters, and very differ- flamed her—and lastly, the courage with which ently answered by them, is that, which in our she was animated. In these four circumstances opinion is the least important, that is, who was we observe foar chief characters of repentance. this woman? Not that a perfect knowledge of First, Repentance must be lively, and accomher person, and the history of her life, would panied with keen remorse. Our sinner weeps, not be very proper, by explaining the nature of and her tears speak the language of her heart. her sins, to give us a just idea of her repentance, Secondly, Repentance must be wise in its appliand so contribute to elucidate the text: but be- cation. Our sinner humbles herself at the feet cause, though we have taken a great deal of of him, "who is the propitiation for our sins, pains, we have found nothing on this article and not for ours only, but also for the sins of worthy to be proposed to critical hearers, who the whole world,” i John ii. 2. Thirdly, Reinsist upon being treated as rational men, and pentance must be tender in its exercise, and who refuse to determine a point without evi- acts of divine love must take place of the love dence.

of sin. Fourthly, Repentance must be bold. I know, some expositors, misled by a resem- Our sinner surmounts all the scruples dictated blance between this anointing of Jesus Christ, by false honour, she goes into the house of the and that mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Pharisee, and acknowledges her misconduct in St. John, when our Saviour supped with Laza- the presence of all the guests, and was no more rus, have supposed that the woman here spoken ashamed to disavow her former crimes than she of was the same Mary, the sister of Lazarus, had been to commit them. who paid such a profound attention to the dis We consider, in the repentance of this wocourse of Jesus Christ, and who, according to man the grief with which she was penetrated. the evangelist," anointed the Lord with oint- Repentance must be accompanied with keen ment, and wiped his feet with her hair.” And remorse. It is the chief character of it. In as other parts of the gospel speak of another whatever class of unchaste people this woman “Mary called Magdalen," some have thought ought to be placed, whether she had been a that Mary the sister of Lazarus, Mary Magda- common prostitute, or an adulteress, or whelen, “out of whora" it is said, Jesus Christ had ther being unmarried she had abandoned her“cast seven devils,” and the woman of our self for once to criminal voluptuousness, she text, were one and the same person.

had too much reason to weep and lament. If We do not intend to enter on these discus- she had been guilty of prostitution, she could sions. It is sufficient to know, first, that the not shed tears too bitter. Can any colours sufwoman here in question lived in the city of ficiently describe a woman, who is arrived at Nain, which sufficiently distinguishes her from such a pitch of impurity as to eradicate every Mary the sister of Lazarus, who was at Betha- degree of modesty; a woman letting herself out ny, and from Mary Magdalen, who probably to infamy, and giving herself up to the highest was so called, because she was born at Magdala, bidder; one who publicly devotes herself to the a little town in the tribe of Manasseh. Second greatest excesses, whose house is a school of ly, the woman of our text was one of a bad life, abomination, whence proceed those detestable that is to say, guilty of impurity. The original maxims, which poison the minds

men, and

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