Imatges de pÓgina
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affift those who aim at the greatest perfection SERM. in virtue, to quicken the flothful and indo- II. lent, and to awaken finers, and reclaim them from their wandrings.

The words of the text are more especially adapted to fome of the laft mentioned cafes.

In the preceding verfe he declares, that he had thought on his ways: the refult of which was, that he was thereby difpofed and enabled to amend them: and I turned my feet unto thy teftimonies. He adds here a very happy and commendable circumstance of that converfion, or alteration for the better: It was fpeedie, and immediate. I made hafte, and delayed not, to keep thy commandments. Having lately explained and recommended to you the duty of confideration, or thinking on our ways: I now intend to recommend the imitation of the Pfalmift in this circumstance, speedineffe of amendment, wherever any thing has been amifs. The want of which is, probably, one of the most common failings, which men are incident to. There are few, or none, but have fome convictions of the evil of fin, and fome perception and perfuafion of the excellence and neceffity of real holineffe. They are aware, that fin, un

SERM. repented of, must be of fatal confequence: II. and that without holineffe no man can attain to the happineffe of a future ftate. They intend therefore, and hope, to be truly holy in time. They would not die in fin, nor continue in it always. No, they propofe to repent of it, and forfake it. They design to humble themselves greatly for all their tranfgreffions, and to turn themselves from them to a fincere obedience to all God's commandments. But the time for puting these refolutions in practise is not yet come, And they hope, it may be well done hereafter. This is very different from the example in the text. Which that all may be difpofed to follow and imitate,

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I. I will in the first place mention fome confiderations, fhewing the evil of delays in the things of religion.

II. I will confider thofe pleas and excufes, which fome make for delaying to reform, and their objections against immediate compliance with the commands of God.

III. I in

III. I intend alfo at the end to offer fome SERM.
motives and arguments, tending to in-
II.
duce men to perform what is their duty.

I. In the first place I fhall mention fome
confiderations, fhewing the evil of de-
lays in the things of religion.

1. A finer's delaying repentance and amendment is an act of great imprudence, and fuch as men are not ordinarily guilty of in other matters.

It is, I fay, great imprudence, to delay to reform; because it is a thing of the utmost importance, upon which depend our everlafting concerns, our happineffe or miferie in another state. Is not the condition of an habitual finer extremely hazardous? Every one must own, that whilft a man is in any evil course, allowed of and indulged, he is under the displeasure of God. And if he dyes in that state and course, he is miserable beyond redreffe. The only way of averting the difpleasure of God, and efcaping future miferie, is that of fincere repentance. And how imprudent muft it be, to defer that a moment? Should not every discreet and thoughtful perfon defire to be in a safe

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SERM. condition, rather than in a ftate of great II. danger?

Should we not then be all ready to embrace the pardoning mercie of God, now offered to us, by confeffing and forfaking our Hof. xiv. fins, as he requires? He will, then, receive us graciously, and love us freely.

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2. We ought seriously to confider the fhortneffe and uncertainty of life. Can it be reasonable, to defer a thing, which we own ought to be done: when we are not certain, that we fhall have another opportunity of doing it? For we cannot depend upon to morrow, not knowing what the prefent day may bring forth. All do not arrive at old age, or any other of the advanced periods of life. Numberless are the dangers, to which we are expofed. And the strongest and most healthie may be taken off by sudden accidents.

Suppofe, death to make gradual approches. Yet we are not certain, what pains, what indifpofitions they are, that fall bring on the diffolution of foul and body. They may be fuch, as fhall immediatly and utterly unqualify us for fettling any of our affairs relating to this life, or making any prepara

tions for another. How inconvenient then, SERM. how unfafe, how unwife muft it be, to defer II. this important concern to a diftant, unknown and uncertain futurity!

3. You defer repenting and giving up yourself to God for the prefent, in hopes of doing fo hereafter. But repentance will be more unlikely hereafter than now.

There cannot, I apprehend, be any reafon to think, it fhould be more likely in fome future time, than the prefent. But there are many reasons to suppose the contrarie.

You are not sure of having fuch calls to repentance, as you now have, even fuppofing the continuance of life. You now enjoy means of virtue and holineffe. And earnest and frequent calls and invitations are made to you. But it may not be always fo. Your worldly affairs may place you in fome other fituation, where the like means are not to be had, which are now afforded you. Or, if the principles of religion do not now make a deep and abiding impreffion upon your minds, you may be prevailed upon by fome worldly confiderations, to forfake and abandon the ordinances of divine worship, and all the ufual means of awakening, reforming, and

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