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enjoy, endeavour to rule their tongues, to guide their actions, and make clean their hearts, that His love may ever be upon themselves, for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and His countenance will behold the thing that is just; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

The text, having declared to us that God will be our Judge, that He is a righteous and a mighty Judge, proceeds to assure us (what every one of us must know from His dealings with ourselves) that He is patient. What should we do if He were not? how should sinful dust and ashes stand before the Lord of heaven and earth, if He were not patient and long suffering towards us? who is there among us that has not to accuse himself of sinful thoughts, or words, or works, which have deserved the punishment of God Almighty, but which He has never punished? Who is there that can say, I am free from sin, I have not broken the commandments of my God? Look back upon the past, and ask yourselves, if you have never said, nor done, nor wished to do, any thing that may have given offence

to the Almighty: if you have never unthankfully repaid His mercies and His goodness by sinning against Him, or neglecting your duty towards Him. Is there one man in the whole world who can say as much as this? No. We have all much to answer for: we have all gone astray, and God has been patient, very patient with us all. How often has He spoken to us by our own consciences! how often has he called us by the voice of His ministers! how often has He warned us by the deaths of our fellow creatures, by the visitations which He has laid upon ourselves or others, to beware how we offend Him who has such power over our bodies and souls!

My brethren, it is a proof of God Almighty's patience and goodness to you and to me, that we are still here: that, notwithstanding all our sins, we have not yet been called to account for them, but have been spared, and still are spared, to repent of them and make our peace with God. Let us consider, I beseech you, what return we make to Him for His patience and forbearance. Alas! I fear that the account

which the psalmist gives in the text, of the behaviour of mankind in his time, is as true of our behaviour now. Though we know that our Judge is righteous and strong, and feel by his treatment of ourselves that He is patient, yet God is provoked every day. Men live as if they said in their hearts to Him, We know that Thou art righteouswe know that Thou art strong and mighty, and able to do with us just as Thou pleasest -we feel that Thou art patient and merciful; but we care not for Thy goodness, Thy power, nor Thy patience-we must indulge our sins. Is this, my brethren, can it be the proper return of such beings as we are, towards Him who made us?who live daily enjoying His blessings, who have nothing to hope for but from His mercy, and have every thing to fear from his displeasure?

Suppose that some man were caught committing a great crime, and were to be taken before a judge to be tried, and were found guilty. And suppose that the judge should say to him, “for this crime which you have been guilty of, you deserve the punishment

of death it is in my power to have you so punished if I please; but I will not do so: I had much rather spare your life than take it away.

I will put off your punishment

for the present: I will wait to see how you behave and if I find that you go on well, and leave off your wicked habits and become an honest man, I promise you, upon my honour, that you shall not be punished at all." Suppose, that, besides thus sparing the man's life, the judge were to be extremely kind to him, and give him money, food, clothing, or whatever else he might want to make him comfortable and happy. What would be the behaviour of a man in such a situation? Would he willingly, if he knew it, do anything to provoke his judge, and bring upon himself the punishment of death?-would he not, on the contrary, knowing that it was only through the mercy of his judge that he was not punished, and remembering his judge's promise, that if he led a good life he should escape punishment altogether, would he not, I say, do every thing in his power to please his judge, that so he

might not suffer the punishment which he deserved? This, without doubt, would be the behaviour of any man in such a situation. Now, in what does our situation differ? We are all guilty before God: all deserving of punishment. He is the Judge; the righteous, strong, and patient Judge of every sinner. Instead of destroying us, He has solemnly sworn to us by His own holy name, that He wishes not that one should perish, but that all should come to repentance and be saved. He continues us in this life to try us; and He assures us, that if we believe in his Son Jesus Christ, who mercifully died upon the cross for us, and forsake our sins and serve Him, He will, for Christ's sake, not only not punish us, but take us, in his own good time, to everlasting happiness. Yet we, who should tremble before an earthly judge, and do every thing we could to please him and to gain his favour, we do not scruple to fly in the face of our heavenly Judge, and follow the evil lusts and desires of our own sinful hearts, not caring whether we offend him or not: God is provoked by us

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