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like the false mother, they had rather take up with a dead half of it, than see it all given alive to the right owner.
3. Let those who suffer according to the will of God, commit their souls unto him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. “ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” “ Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake,” i. e. who, when they are persecuted for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, patiently endure it, and love and bless their persecutors; taking the cross, whatever it is, as their due, and a means of their purification, and praying, after the example of Christ, for the conversion of those who are the instruments in God's hands of bringing it upon them: for, otherwise, “ if we give our bodies to be burnt, and have not this charity, it will profit us nothing. “Blessed are they, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” They are translated into the kingdom and family of God here, washed by the blood of his Son, and brought under the power of his Spirit, and joint heirs with Christ of that kingdom of everlasting blessedness in heaven, which God hath prepared for them that love him. There they shall join in the universal song of the triumphant church, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and nation, and people.”
Lastly; Though the righteousness I have been chiefly speaking of in this discourse, viz. inward holiness and purity of heart, is so necessary a part of our Christianity that without it no man shall see the Lord; yet we must not so think of it, or trust in it, as if it was the ground of our final acceptance with God. When we have done all we can, and God has done all in us and for us that he ever will do, we are still unprofitable servants, and can
be accepted only in the Beloved: for “ the wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” First and last, our whole salvation is of him; our pardon, our holiness, our acceptance. Let it for ever humble us to think we are such unworthy weak creatures, and have so much imperfection still cleaving to our best performances, even in the highest state of grace we shall ever arrive at, that we must at no rate abide by the merit of them, or venture our salvation upon them, but receive all from God as a gift, and be saved by the righteousness of another. And, above all, let the infinite love of God, giving his Son to die for us, and to be our righteousness, win over all the powers of our souls to his service, that we may be holy as he is holy, and perfect as he is perfect. Let us not sin because grace hath so abounded. God forbid we should ever make that a handle for licentiousness or carnal security, which, in its own nature, is of all others the sweetest allurement, the strongest tie upon our souls, to devote ourselves to God in every kind and every degree of holiness! But let us watch evermore, and pray without ceasing, that we may “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," and endeavour all we can to recommend our faith to the esteem of others by the blessed fruits of it; that when they see our good works, our resignation, our meekness, our love, they may glorify our Father which is in heaven by their own conversion.
And to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end ! Amen.
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Gal. iii. 10.
let us say
I Am frequently endeavouring to set before you the evil of sin, and the divine indignation against it; and though much has been already said to you on this humbling subject, I would urge it still further; for it is a matter in which we are very hard of belief, though all is connected with it-our return to God and acceptance of Christ, our final salvation or eternal misery. It is the ground-work of Scripture, and if it does not lay this foundation in us,
what we will, we do not believe it. We are naturally in the depth of sin, sold under sin, love it, and live in it; and if we are not thoroughly persuaded of its deadly nature, and the justice of God in the punishment of it, we shall never be prepared for his mercy. If we
. think we need not fear, let us live as we please, or that the threatenings of Scripture are nothing but an empty sound, its call to repentance will, of course, be slighted, and we shall never once think of putting ourselves in the way of forgiveness. .
My design at present is to set before you that part of the service for Ash-Wednesday, in which we are reminded of the curses in Scripture against impenitent sinners, and to make some observations upon them for your farther conviction and instruction in this great and weighty point: and I do it the rather, because you will not come to hear them when they are appointed to be read. Who knows but they may reach you now? Who can tell whether God may not have a blessing for you in his curses ? I ara sure they are intended in mercy for this very end ; and if they should make your ears tingle, and your hearts tremble this day, you will have cause to bless God for them all your lives. I beseech you attend to them, and I pray God give you the right understanding of them.
“Cursed is the man that maketh any carved or molten image to worship it, Deut. xxvii. 15.--Cursed is he that curseth his father and mother, ver. 16.--Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour's land-mark, ver. 17.- Cursed is he that maketh the blind to go out of his way, ver. 18. - Cursed is he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow, ver. 19. — Cursed is he that smiteth his neighbour secretly, ver. 24. Cursed is he that lieth with his neighbour's wife, Lev. xx. 10.- Cursed is he that taketh reward to slay the innocent, Deut. xxvii. 25. — Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, and taketh man for his defence, and in his heart goeth from the Lord, Jer. xvii. 5.- Cursed are the unmerciful, fornicators, and adulterers, covetous persons, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, and extortioners, Matt. xxv. 41. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.”
1. Let me observe to you, that if there are any other sins besides those here set down, as doubtless there are, they must likewise be taken into the account, and all have the same sentence passed upon them. The sins here particularly mentioned, are chiefly sins against the second table, or sins against our neighbour, and not all those neither. Here is little said of sins against the first table, or sins against God; which, though they are not so scandalous in the eyes of the world, and but lightly regarded by ourselves, are as heinous in the sight of God as any other. Here is nothing said of sins of omission; which we have reason to dread and condemn ourselves for as much as any, both because we must give
as strict an account of them, and because we have more of them, and sooner forget them, so that they cannot easily be called back by a particular repentance. The duties you omitted, perhaps but the very last sabbath, are by this time quite slipt out of your minds, never to be thought of again, though God keeps a book of remembrance of them. If you were not at church morning and
. afternoon, he knows it. He knows whether you then sat down to read the Scriptures; whether day by day you think of your souls, pray in secret, and with your families, and train up your children and servants in the way they should go. He knows what works of mercy and charity, and many other things, you might have done, and did not. All these, I say, sins against God, and sins of omission, must be added to the catalogue of those which have now been repeated to you; for you will be fatally deceived if you judge yourselves by a short rule, or leave any thing that is in God's table of sins out of your own account.
2. Observe and understand, that the meaning of the curse you have heard is not that it belongs only to those who are guilty of all or many of the sins here mentioned, but of any one of them. It would be strange, indeed, if any man should be guilty of them all; and at this rate there would hardly be a sinner in the world. But take care how you think and judge in this matter; for St. James tells us, that “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,” James, ii. 10; and that because it is the law of God, whose authority binds the whole and every part of it upon us, and extends alike to every command ; for otherwise the law would cease to be a rule, and no command of God be in force, as such, where power
is assumed of disputing or dispensing with any. From this mistake wickedness abounds in the world; one