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Christ. But this is really not so; we rely SERM. upon nothing but Christ's atonement to XIV. save us at the last day, and we call upon him in all our prayers accordingly, to
save and defend us,” to “ have mercy upon
us, and shew us his salvation ;” but we do indeed urge and recommend good works to give efficacy to our prayers. All are sinners, and we among the rest, and Christ it is true has died for the redemption of sinners, but of what sinners? of those that
repent,” and “ turn away from their wick“edness," not of those who persist in their sins, and yet expect to be saved.
We estimate good works as low as those who depend solely on their belief; for we acknowledge with humility that it is but our duty to do well, and so far from meriting rewards at the hand of God, by any thing we can do, we are after all but unprofitable servants. Let us then endeavour to shake off all reproaches, and put to silence the ignorance of those who so misrepresent us, by a steady perseverance in “ well-doing.” This is undoubtedly the advice of an inspired Apostle, and we need not be afraid
SERM. of following it; at the same time, let us xiv. be careful not to give them ground to sup
pose we are less Christians than they are, or build our hopes of eternal life less on the free merits and mercies of our blessed Redeemer. In all that we do, let us do it to the glory of God. And though we should still at the last day be found unprofitable servants, as to any benefits we can have conferred on our blessed Lord, yet let us hope and pray that in consideration of our sincere endeavours, “ God will supply “ our need out of the abundance of his riches " in glory, by Christ Jesus.” Philipp. iv. 19.
S ER MON
THE FOLLY OF MOCKING AT SIN.
PROVERBS XIV. 9.
Fools make a Mock at Sin.
This remark of the wise king of Israel serM.
SERM. is not to be received as a mere assertion of xv. a fact; much valuable instruction is to be gathered from it. It is one thing, simply to declare that fools make a mock at sin it is another, to shew that making a mock at sin constitutes folly, or at least is a main branch of it. The folly of making a mock at sin must consist in the danger of doing so; therefore, if there is no danger, there is no folly in the act. But if there is so
SERM. manifest danger in it, that no considerate
man could ever be expected to run the risk of it, it is reasonable at once to pronounce it to be actual folly. The danger we run into by making light of sin, must not be confounded with other dangers to which, in this mortal life, we may be exposed. Of some dangers, it may be a virtue to make small account; to despise and defy them : dangers that stand in the way either of our duty to God, or our duty to man. It is not folly, but true righteousness, and true courage, to defy and make light of such dangers; whereas, in making light of sin, as it would be easy to shew that it must be inconsistent with every principle of righteousness, so it would not be difficult to prove that there can be no true courage in it. And yet probably it can only be under a pretence of great courage that men are ever induced to make a mock at sin : they must be sensible that the wise and considerate always act under a serious apprehension of the evil consequences of sin, which evil consequences they, on the contrary, affect to be above;
and to despise, and generally not without SERM. contempt of the very persons of those who act more soberly and discreetly, looking upon thein as people of a timid constitution, without the spirit or magnanimity which the Lord of this lower creation should possess. Man does not err much perhaps when he thus looks upon himself as the Lord of this lower creation. Such provision is made for all his wants and amusements, that indeed he may well be proud of the distinction. The great and weighty mass of the globe itself he can, in some measure, manage as he pleases; commit the seed to its bosom to be fostered by its warmth and juices till it grows up into corn for the food of man, or herb for the food of cattle; he can raise from it the stately oak, wherewith to build him an habitation to live in, or the more humble plant which, by various curious contrivances, he weaves into clothing for his body. Over the whole vegetable world, over all that springs out of the earth, he exercises uncontrouled dominion; nor do the waters stop his progress; over these in his bark of wood does he make his way,