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Perhaps thy breast with anguish too may burn. Mournful In one short moment is unthinking mortal
refe&tion. Dash'd from the summit of all earthly joys,
Favor'd with Plenty, let thy hand extend
How sweet, in thy declining day, to hear Delight. The various voice of Heaven-born GRATITUDE
Ascending to the radiant throne of Grace!
A SERMON. (1) The end of preaching is two fold : To instruct mankind in the several truths contained in scripture ; and, To persuade them to live agreably to the laws of the Christian religion. It is, therefore, my present purpose, my brethren, to endeavour, with the Divine assistance, to promote your spiritual and temporal happiness, by desiring your attention to what shall be spoken to you from the following passage of the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Titus, the second chapter, and eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth verses.
“ The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and world'y lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world, looking for the blessed hope, and glorious appearance of the great Gud, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
We may represent to ourselves the great Apostle of the Gentiles, speaking as follows: for it is, I think, probable, he meant what follows :
(1) I did not know where to find a fingle Sermon containing a fufficient variety of Species of matter, for exercising, generally, the ialents of a preacher. The reader will perceive, that this discourse is coinposed with a direct view to expreffion or delivery. And who
6 The favour of God, to which we owe all that we enjoy, or hope for, particularly our deliva. erance from Heathen ignorance and immorality, and the prospect of future rescue from the tyranny of Satan, (1) and from death; (2) this divine goodness is, in the Christian revelation, gloriously displayed before mankind; the new religion being established upon the unquestionable evidence of miracles, prediction, and its own internal character, and that of its divine Author, and of its propagators, who are ready to lay down their courage. lives in attestation of the truth of his resurrection from the dead; (3) of the reality of which they are sure beyond the possibility of mistake, and cannot be suspected of a design to deceive others, having no worldly temptation to propagate, but much to conceal, or deny the fact.
" And this heavenly religion giveth full satisfaction to the anxious and inquisitive mind, upon the most interesting subjects; where the light of nature, and the sagacity of philosophers had left men in great uncertainty, as, Wherein the chief good of man consisteth; Who is the only object of worship, and hizo he is to be acceptably worshipped; Of the other orders of beings, inferior to the one indivisible and unoriginated Supreme, but superior to us; and how we are concerned with thein ; How evil, and particularly death, came into God's world : Of the future redress of the disorderly state, in which this world is at present : The will of God, or duty of man, fixed by laws authoritatively promulgated :-What will be the effect of repentance and reformation : How, and when the good, and the wicked are to
ever has considered the strain of the popular addresses of the Prophets and Apostles, and of the Fathers, and best French preachers, ( to say nothing of the orations of Demosthenes, Cicero, and the rest) will not, I hope, be offended at a vivacity of remonstrance, and defeription, unusual in our English fermons, which are, otherwise, the best.
(1) AAs xxvi. 18. (2) Heb. ii. 14, 15. (3) Acts i, so
receive their respective retributions of reward and punishment; The possibility of rising from the dead demonstrated by actual resurrections, especially that of Christ himself : That the whole human species is to be raised from the dead, in bodies, and that the belief of the heathen nations in Elysian fields, and of Tartarus, as well as of transmigration of some souls into other bodies, without end, and of the re-union of others to the Deity, are fables and fictions ; and that all mankind are to be judged at one time, and that it is to be done by Christ: That the retribution for the virtuous is glory, honour, and immortality; and for the obdurately wicked, final destruction from the presence of God, and the glory of his power ; both sentences irreversible.
" And the new religion inculcates, in the
most powerful manner, the necessity of forsaking Aversion. the impious superstitions, and vicious abomina
tions, allowed, or not reformed, by the heathen religions, as the worship of deified men, and of innumerable imaginary gods and goddesses, celes-tial, terrestrial, and infernal; with rites, absurd, obscene and cruel; the promiscuous, excessive and unnatural indulgence of fleshly lust; the arbitrary violation of the matrimonial union by causeless separation ; the horrid practices of exposing
children : of self-murder ; or inflicting arbitrary Teaching. revenge, and the like. (1) And this blessed relig
ion doth also prohibit, in general, the indulgence of every wicked disposition (for its authority reacheth to the heart ) and every wicked practice; all malice, hatred, envy, injustice, selfishness; pride, covetousness, intemperance, lasciviousness, anger, revenge, backbiting, lying, craft, uncharitable zeal, impiety, prophane swearing, blasphemy, obscenity, idleness, sedition, rebellion, and neglect of public and private religion. The Christian law forbiddeth all unwarrantable pursuit of
(1) Rom. i.
the three great objects of the desires of wicked and wordly men, viz, riches, power, and pleasure; and it reqnireth the faithfuil and unreserved performance of our whole threefold duty.
- First, That which respecieth ourselves, the due regulation of every passion, appetite, and inclination of our nature ; and a proper attention to, and careful cultivation-of, all our pow. ers, bodily and mental, so that the wise ends of the beneficent Giver of thein, inay best be answered, and the least disappointed ; therefore no one can justly pretend to be a sincere prosejte to the new religion, who does not study to be humble, meek, forgiving, pure in heart, sincere, diligent in improving his knowledge and / virtue, courageous in the cause of truth, temperate, frugal, industrious, decent, cautious, fearful of offending, penitent for his weaknesses, heavenly-minded, and richly furnished with every grace and virtue, flourishing, and growing, and rising to higher and higher degrees of perfection continually.
- The second head of duty, required by the new religion, is, That which respecteth our fellowcreatures, viz. The conscientious observance of justice, negative and positive, as to the interests of the body, the soul, the reputation, and the worldly estate of our neighbour ; and over and above mere justice, a generous disposition to shew kindness on every proper occasion, and in every prudent manner, to all within our reach ; and the discharge of every relative duty according to our respective situations of governors, subjects, countrymen, parents, children, husbands, wives, masters, servants, and the rest.
" The third bead of duty, required by the new religion, is, That which respecteth our Creator, viz. Thinking and speaking, and acting, in the Veneration, constant fear, and sense of the universal presence of Almighty God; with love and gratitude to him for all his goodness to us, especially for his last
and best gift, the Christian religion ; worshipping Him in spirit and truth, both publickly and privatriy ; obedience to all his laws ; acceptance, upon due examination, of the biessed religion of his Son, and aaherance to it in spite of the terrors of persecution, with an unreserved submission to its heavenly precepts, (1) sincerely repenting of, and thoroughly reforming all our faults; with gratitude to our illustrious Deliverer from Satan, sin, and death, and observance of his institution for commemorating his sufferings and death.
“ And this heavenly religion teacheih us to expect the future glorious appearance of its divine Author, to restore this ruined world, to put an end to the tyranny of Satan, (2) to abolish death, and to judge the whole human race, both those who shall then be alive, and also all who have lived in all parts of the earth, from the creation of man, who shali universally be restored to life, by the same power which first gave them life; and to reward them according to their respective characters, to fix the penitent and virtuous, in a state of safety and everlasting happiness, and condemn the obdurate to utter destruction.'
This is, in part, the vast and weighty sense of the passage of scripture, froin which I have chosen to speak to you at this time. And what is there, my Christian brethren, of consequence to us, with regard either to our peace of mind here, or our happiness hereafter, that is not virtually comprehended in this short passage of three verses? What various matter for consideration is here suggested ? To think of the state we are at present in, and of the task prescribed us, of which you have heard only the principal heads, which task if we do not labour to perform, with the fidelity which becomes those, who know that the
Joy. Horror. Alarm.
(1) The gospels, and particularly that by St. Matthew, in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of which, we have the peculiar laws of christianity suinmed up, probably were not at this time written.
(2) Revelations xxi.