Imatges de pÓgina
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V.

SERM. heavy; and we seem as much afraid of

being confined to our own houses, or our families, as to our own private thoughts in solitude and retirement. This

may

afford amusement, but certainly at the expence of much solid comfort and rational delight. The sabbath is grievously profaned when God is shut out from all our thoughts. It is the Lord's day; he hath sanctified it; he has commanded us to

remember to keep it boly,” that is, the whole day, not two hours of it only, two hours of, perhaps at the best, very imperfect devotions; confession of sins, with but small sorrow and contrition; prayers for help, with little of humility and less of implicit confidence in God; praises, cold and careless, quite destitute of that ardent gratitude which we ought to feel for the smallest favors bestowed on us by God; an unprofitable hearing of his word, leading to no repentance for past sins, or amendment of our lives in future. I fear this is but too just a picture of our public devotions. As to private, I apprehend they are almost quite laid aside; private prayer, and private meditation; and, as to

acts

V.

acts of charity and benevolence, which SERM. ought to occupy all that is not given to the worship of God, it is to be feared, there is but little of true benevolence to be found in large and promiscuous meetings; much more, it is to be apprehended, of vanity, as to what regards ourselves, and of envy and malevolence towards others. Turn to the Apostles' account of true Christian charity, such as ought ever to be the ruling principle of those who would be thought holy in the sight of God, and ask yourselves, what share it is likely to have in the public assemblies, either of the rich or poor. First, that charity is kind,

envieth nat," vaunteth not itself,

is not puffed up," doth not bebave itself unseemly," 6 seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil,(a rare virtue indeed). Again,

rejoiceth not,that is, has no pleasure in iniquity,but “ rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things,

bopeth all things, endureth all things.But it is time to come to a close :-notorious acts of profanation every man can

detect;

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SERM. detect; though, it is to be feared, few re

gard them with the horror and disgust they should do; but besides these, there ought to be a spirit of holiness run through all our actions on that day, which of late seems to be entirely abandoned. If we think at all of God, we quite forget ourselves, and little regard the real good of our neighbours. Some of the day should be exclusively given up to God, in acts of fervent and sincere devotion; some should be carefully appropriated to private meditation, self-examination, and, if it need be, mortification and repentance; and the rest should be devoted to acts of real charity and true genuine benevolence. This is not making the Lord's day a day of pain and gloominess, except to those who cannot relish the most exalted gratifications of which the heart is capable. Let them amend and correct their hearts; at present they are disgustingly degraded below their native dignity. Given up to mammon, the human heart is a sink of corruption; devoted to God, it is the source of every thing amiable and good; and, if

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the heart cannot be corrected without SERM. some pangs of repentance and stings of remorse ; yet, if it is not corrected in time, sorrow without end, and pain without mitigation, are before us. Be sober and considerate, before it is too late. If it appears unpleasant, it is at least wise: if, in short, we are told, the hearts of the

wise" must sometimes be 56 in the house of mourning,” it is only the hearts of foolsthat would always be in the house of mirth*.

* Eccles. vii. 4.

SERMON

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