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caufe we delight to do good; otherwife it is all hypocrify, constraint, or felfifhnefs, and cannot be acceptable to God. Here again, my brethren, look into your hearts and examine what is the principle of your obedience, and whether ever you have been made
3. I must add, especially as we live under the gofpel, that your dependence for life muft not be upon the good you do, but entirely upon the righteousness of Jefus Chrift. After you have done all, you must acknowledge you are but unprofitable fervants, and renounce all your works in point of merit, while you abound in them in point of practice. Phil. iii. 7, 8. This is an effential characteristic of evangelical obedience, and without it you cannot expect to have a refurrection to eternal life and bleffedness.
I might enlarge upon this head, but time will not permit; and I hope these three characters may fuffice to fhew you what is implied in doing good. Let us now proceed to the oppofite character.
2. What is it to do evil? This implies fuch things as thefe: The habitual neglect of well-doing, or the performance of duties in a languid, formal manner, or without a right principle, and the wilful indulgence of any one fin; the fecret love of fin, though not fuffered to break forth into the outward practice. Here it is evident at first fight that profane finners, drunkards, fwearers, defrauders, avowed neglectors of religion, &c. have this difmal brand upon them, that they are fuch as do evil. Nay, all fuch who are in their natural state, without regeneration, whatever their outfide be, must be ranked in this class: for that which is born of the ficfb is flesh, John iii. 6. and they that are in the flesh cannot pleafe God, nor be rightly fubject to his law. Rom. viii. 7, 8.
And now who is for life, and who for damnation among you? These characters are intended to make the diftinction among you, and I pray you apply them for that purpose.
As for fuch of you who amidst all your lamented infirmities are endeavouring honeftly to do good, and grieved at heart that you can do no more, you also muft die; you muft die, and feed the worms in the duft. But you fhall rife gloriously improved, rife to an immortal life, and in all the terrors and confternation of that laft day, you will be fecure, ferene, and undisturbed. The almighty Judge will be your friend, and that is enough. Let this thought difarm the king of terrors, and give you courage to look down into the grave, and forward to the great rifing day. O what an happy immortality opens its glorious profpects beyond the ken of fight before you! and after a few struggles more in this state of warfare, and refting awhile in the bed of death, at the regions of eternal bleffedness you will arrive, and take up your refidence there for ever.
But are there not fome here who are conscious that thefe favourable characters do not belong to them? that know that well-doing is not the business of their life, but that they are workers of iniquity? I tell you plainly, and with all the authority the word of God can give, that if you continue fuch, you fhall rife to damnation. That will undoubtedly be your doom, unless you are greatly changed and reformed in heart and life. And will this be no excitement to vigorous endeavours? Are you proof against the energy of fuch a confideration? Ye careless finners, awake out of your fecurity, and prepare for death and judgment ! this fleeting life is all the time you have for preparation, and can you trifle it away? Your all, your eternal all is fet upon the fingle caft of life, and you must stand the hazard of the dye. You can make but one experiment, and if that fail, through your floth or mifmanagement, you are irrecoverably undone for ever. Therefore, by the dread authority of the great God, by the terrors of death, and the great rifing day, by the joys of heaven, and the torments of hell, and by
the value of your immortal fouls, I intreat, I charge, I adjure you to awake out of your fecurity, and improve the precious moments of life. The world is dying all around you. And can you reft eafy in fuch a world while unprepared for eternity? Awake to righteoufness now, at the gentle call of the gofpel, before the laft trumpet give you an alarm of another kind.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.