Imatges de pÓgina
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ing stories injurious to his character, and secretly raising suspicions of him without foundation.

The tenth Commandment.] We are commanded not to covet any thing which is our neighbour's. This restriction is placed as a fence of all the rest. It comprises the utmost spirituality of the Law; and it is a perpetual confutation of all those systems, by which the outward, gross crime is considered as We are the only violation of the Commandment. not so much as to desire any thing God forbids. All murmuring and discontent, envy, and greediness, are sins forbidden by this Commandment, especially the sinfulness of gaming, "Thou shalt "not covet." How few are the consciences wounded (as they ought to be) with a sense of guilt for the transgression of this Commandment. A thousand irregular desires pass through the heart, and may lodge there continually: too many live in the violation of this law, accounting themselves pure and without offence. St. Paul was of another mind; "I had not known lust, says he, unless the law had "declared, Thou shalt not covet." From the use the Apostle makes of this tenth Commandment, it may clearly be seen, that the Law takes notice of the heart, as well as of the outward actions. Hence also it is plain, that much guilt may be contracted, which does not appear to any human

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eye.

If the sick person be very weak, converse only on the four first Commandments, and defer the remainder till the next visit.

N. B. Whoever has particularly and seriously thus considered the ten Commandments, will be far from the vanity of the promising young man in the Gospel, who confidently asserted, "All these have I "kept from my youth." (Matt. xix. 20.) Perhaps he had as to the letter, but not spiritually. An humbling sight of our sins is the first step to the kingdom of God. We should make a confession, that we

are guilty, and this should be succeeded by a carnest exclamation for their pardon, "Lord, hav deserts, aggravation, and effects, and then add thi "mercy upon me!" Let us meditate on their number to the other petition, " Incline our hearts, O Lord to keep thy laws." Let us renew our baptisma covenant, and follow the good inclinations it may please God to work in us. May our prayers for divine aid be hearty and sincere!

Helps for conversing with one who is ignorant, in order to enforce on him proper notions of religion.

As you seem unacquainted with religion, I wish to give you some right notions of it, particularly Of the attributes of God, as ever present-as all knowing as all powerful-as all wise-as merciful and just.

Of the fall of man.

Of baptism, its privileges and obligations. Of repentance, especially of repenting in time of health.

Of a death-bed repentance.

Of faith and works.

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Of prayer, secret, family, and public.
Of a state of grace, and a state of nature.
Of the sacrament.

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Of death, judgment, heaven, and hell. On each of these I propose to converse with from time to time, as opportunity may permit. Helps for conversing with one that is careless and inconsiderate.

"Know thou, that for all these things God will

"bring thee into judgment." Eccles. xi. 9. You should therefore consider well the baptismal covenant, wherein you have promised

1. To renounce what God has forbidden, namely, all the works of the Devil, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.

3. To practise what God has commanded, namely, to keep God's will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of your life.

Consider moreover the want of due reflection that has destroyed many; and remember that of the seed sown, only one part in four is represented as being productive. Think on the condition of the thoughtless, hardened, and worldly-minded, be alarmed at your own danger, and bring forth fruit.

Heaven is a gift, but conditions are required on our parts to receive it.

Fear the worst, that you may provide for the better. "Work out your salvation (says the Apostle) with fear and trembling."

Consider the many ways of miscarrying.

To feel nothing is a sign of spiritual death, not of a godly life.

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Nothing can be hid from God, to whom all hearts are known.

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2. To believe what God has taught, namely, all the Articles of the Christian faith.

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If it be alleged that you have done no harm, permit me to ask you what are the good works you perform?

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What is your love to God and Christ?

What is your zeal? What is your activity in the service of Christ? "Be zealous of good works.” Tit. ii. 14.

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You should consider your sins in general, and then enter into a particular examination of them.

How has your duty to God (the first duty) been performed, as well as (the second) your duty to

man?

Have you lived soberly, righteously, and godly? Remember that though many are called, few are chosen, comparatively with those who are condemned.

Helps for conversation (founded on suitable texts) with backsliders; such as have left off prayer, public worship, and other religious duties.

1. You had better never have known the way of righteousness, than after having known it to turn from it. 2 Pet. ii. 21.

2. Remember whence you are fallen, repent, and do the first works; (Rey. ii. 5.) otherwise your case will be dreadful.

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3. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. Prov. xiv. 14.

4. Beware of backsliding for the future.

5. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord, and he will heal your backslidings. Hos. xiv. 2, and 4.

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Your soul by this backsliding is brought into a miserable state; yet (blessed be God!) your case e is not desperate. Let me beseech you immediately to return to God by deep humiliation before him for so aggravated an offence; by renewed regard to the divine mercy in Christ; by an open profession of repentance, where your sin has given public offence; by frequently reviewing this unhappy fall for future caution; and by guarding against every tendency to a declension in religion.

Helps for conversation with one in his sickness who had disregarded religion, urging him to accept the terms of the Gospel, and assuring him of the forgiveness of his sins.

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You have lived a worldly life, mindful, only of earthly things, neglecting God and your salvation, and all the mercies offered you in the Gospel. Are you now unfeignedly grieved for this? not only because it has brought you so near ruin, but also because it has displeased God, and deprived you of that holy and comfortable life, which you might all this while have lived, and endangered all your

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hope of heaven. Do you so far relent that your heart is actually changed, so much changed, that you had rather lead an holy life on earth, and in the sight and enjoyment of God for ever, than to have all the pleasures and prosperity of this world? Do you hate your sins, loath yourselves for them, and truly desire to be made holy? Are you firmly resolved that, if God should restore you to health, you will lead a new life; that you will forsake your worldly maxims, and all your wilful sins; and set yourself in good earnest to learn the will of God, to call upon him daily, and make it your chief care to please him, and to save your immortal soul?

Are you willing for these ends to give yourself up absolutely now to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as your reconciled Father, your Saviour, and your Sanctifier, to be sanctified, justified, and saved from your sins, and from the wrath of God, and to live to God in love and holiness? And are you willing to bind yourself to this by entering into a covenant with God, renouncing the world, the flesh, and the devil?

Either your heart is willing and sincere in this resolution and covenant, or it is not: there is no hope that your sins should be pardoned, and your soul be saved, on any other or easier terms. And though God is merciful, and Christ died for sinners, it was never his intention to save the impenitent and unsanctified. But, if your heart unfeignedly consent to this covenant, I have the authority of Christ himself to tell you, that God will be your reconciled God and Father, that Christ will be your Saviour, that the Holy Spirit will be your Sanctifier and Comforter, that your soul shall be saved, and that you shall dwell in heaven with God for ever. God consented before you consented. He shewed his consent in purchasing, making, and offering you this covenant.

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