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SERM. lest we also be involved in similar judgments. But the argument is greatly strengthened, when we reflect on what is probably true, that those who have suffered were not more guilty than ourselves; nay, perhaps, that they were holy and virtuous persons. This latter supposition, which we know to be just in many instances, is a most awakening warning to us, to fly from our sins, for if this has been done to the green tree, what shall be done to the dry! If this has been the lot of those whom God loves, what shall be the portion of those, whom he hates!-if judgment begin at the house of God, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear!

No rational person, I should think, can hear of the terrible torments, which the first martyrs to our religion underwentholy and good men who spent their whole lives in serving God, and endured death in its most terrible shapes rather


than forsake him,-no reasonable person SERM. XIV. can think of this, and not apprehend, that if men of this character, such peculiar, fayourites of heaven, suffered so much, how, far greater sufferings must be in store for. the impenitently wicked! Many grievous sinners have enjoyed great and uninterrupted prosperity in this world, and many righteous persons have passed their whole lives in tribulation and distress; but in the world to come the scene will be directly reversed; those who have received their evil things, and have carried themselves. patiently and piously, shall be comforted; those who have received their good things, and who have been ungrateful and irreligious, shall be tormented.

From what has been said then, I should hope that the propriety and wisdom of this mode of conduct is clear and evident; that when we see our brethren in tribulation, it is not for us to aggravate their distress



SERM. tress by imputing it to their iniquities; it does not at all concern us to pry curiously into the matter; but, instead of doing this, we are to think of ourselves, to take warning, to relinquish our evil ways, and amend our lives, since we have the word of our Saviour, that, "unless we repent, we "shall all likewise perish."




1 JAMES i. 13, 14.

Let no man say, when be is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth be any man: but every man is tempted, when be is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.


It happens, I believe not unfrequently, that SERM. those who are guilty of any great degrees of wickedness, charge their guilt, either immediately or by implication, upon God; they either reflect on Providence, for hav


SERM. ing placed them in such situations and circumstances, that to avoid sin was not in their power or, for having given them such violent and headstrong passions, that their reason was utterly unable to contend with them. To something, either external or internal, which it depended not on themselves to order otherwise, they would willingly impute their depravity. But this the apostle St. James, in the words which I have just read, tells us is very unjust, inasmuch as it is very untrue; - "Let no "man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he

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any man: but every man is tempted, "when he is drawn away of his own lust, "and enticed." Think not to excuse yourselves, when ye give way to temptations, by attributing your fall to the Almighty; for as God cannot be tempted to commit evil himself, so neither certainly would


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