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and drown the remonstrances of conscience SERM.
VII. in noise, hurry, and dissipation,
But alas! what do they gain by this ? a little present ease dearly bought with lasting woe; a moment's respite from the anticipation of misery, purchased with the actual endurance of it to all eternity. By thus flying the inspection of their hearts, and the consideration of their ways, they shut up every avenue to reformation, they effectually and voluntarily close against themselves the gate of everlasting life.
It is strange that men should be so inattentive and negligent of their eternal happiness, when in general they are so extremely provident and careful of their temporal interest.
To promote the latter they will rise up early, and late take rest and eat the bread -of carefulness; no toils are thought too hard to undergo, no dangers too formidable to brave with a prospect of its advance
SERM. ment, while to the former they frequent
ly refuse the equitable chance of even a few hours consideration. For surely if after death there be a state which is to last for ever; and if our condition in that state will depend entirely on our conduct now, nothing but consideration can be wanting to rational creatures, to induce them to pursue that which may render them as happy as possible. Consideration may indeed at first be the cause of great anguish and horror to the guilty person; and this may tempt and unfortunately prevail on him to endeavour to drive it from him, yet let him recollect, that though he may postpone, he cannot finally escape it. Calamity, sickness, or approaching dissolution, will force it upon him, and with pangs proportionably increased from their having been so long kept off; and alas ! consideration will then too probably do him little good.
When we have cunningly contrived to SERM.
VII. rob God of the service of the best part of our lives, have anxiously laboured to expel all thoughts of him from our minds, can we expect that he will take up with a few unprofitable sighs and prayers, which terror alone has drawn from us, and which we are no longer able to avoid. “ Long have ye set at nought (may he say) my counsel, and hearkened not to my reproof: therefore I also will laugh at your cala- · mity, I will mock when your fear cometh: : when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon you ; then ye shall call upon me, but I will not answer ; ye shall seek me early, but ye shall not find me: for ye hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord !"Oh then let us be wise in time, and consider these things now to our
SERM. eternal peace and comfort; let us think of VII.
them while we may redress them ; while we have it yet in our power let us make haste to enter into the paths of the Lord!
THE EFFICACY OF REPENTANCE.
St, LUKE xv. 7.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in
beaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.
Of all the discoveries which we derive serm.
VIII. from the scriptures, there is none which is capable of affording us greater comfort and satisfaction, than the assurance which they give us of forgiveness of sins on re. pentance. It is not to be denied that the