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SERMON I.

ON THE DELAY OF CONVERSION.

John i. 23.

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make

straight the way of the Lord.

It is that he may enter into our hearts that Jesus Chrif announces, by John the Baptist, that we have the way to make straight for him, by removing all those obstacles which, like a wall of separation, rise up betwixt his mercy and our wretchednels. Now, these obstacles are the crimes with which we lo often ftain ourselves, which always subfift, because it would be necessary to expiate them by penitence, and we expiate them not: these obstacles are the paffions by which our heart foolishly allows itself to be carried away, which are always living, because, in order to de. froy, it would be neceffary to conquer them; and we never conquer them : these obstacles are the occafions against which our innocence hath so often split, and which are ftill every day the rock fatal to all our resolutions, because, in place of yielding to that inward inclination which leads us to wards them it would be necessary to shụn chem; and we thun them not : in a word, the true and only manner of making straight the way of our hearts for Jesus Chrift, is that of changing our life, and of being sincerely converted. VOL. II. B

But,

.

But, though the business of our conversion be the most important with which we can be entrusted here below, sees ing that through it alone we can draw Jesus Christ into our hearts; though it be the only one truly interesting to us, fince on it depends our eternal happiness; yet, О deplora. ble blindness! it is never confidered by us a matter either of urgency or of importance ; it is continually put off to some other time, as if times and feasons were at our dispofal. What wait you, Christians, my brethren ? Jesus Christ ceaseth not to forewarn you, by his ministers, of the evils which threaten your impatience, and the delay of your conversion ; he hath long announced to you, through our mouth, that, unless you repent, you most assuredly shall perish.

Nor is he satisfied with publicly warning you through the voice of his ministers, he speaks to you in the bottom of your hearts, and continually whispers to you, Is it not time now to withdraw yourself from that guilt in which, for so many years, you have been plunged, and from which almost nothing but a miracle can now extricate you? Is it not time to restore peace to your heart, to banish from it that chaos of passions which has occasioned all the misfortunes of your life ; to prepare for yourself at least some few happy and tranquil days, and, after having lived so long for a world which hath always left you empty and uneasy, at last to live for a God who alone can give peace and tranquillity to your heart ? Will you not at last bestow a thought upon your eternal interests, and, after a lite wholly frivolous, return to the true one, and, in serving God, adopt the only wile plan which man can pursue upon earth ? Are you not wearied out with struggling against those remorses which tear you, that sadness of guilt which weighs you down, that emptiness of the world which ev.

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