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All around us eagerly unite in rendering the seduction effectual. The young, the gay, the splendid, declare with persuasive eloquence, that the good destined for man, is certainly and only found in pomp and pleasure. The ambitious proclaim, that it lies in reputation, place, and power. The industrious and frugal assure us, that nothing but solid wealth can yield the envied boon; and that all things else are toys and gewgaws. The Infidel asserts, that no real good consists with the dread of an hereafter. The Atheist, still wiser, laughs at them all; and announces, that himself alone has found the coveted object in the disbelief of a GOD.

With the living beings, by which we are encompassed, all others conspire. The bounties of Providence, good in themselves, and glorious proofs of goodness in their Author, become, under the influence of our appetites, solicitations to gluttony, and drunken

Abundance begets sloth, pride, self-confidence, and forgetfulness of God. Indigence awakens fretfulness, murmuring, ingratitude, fraud, theft, and profaneness. Power prompts to arrogance, oppression, a hard heart, iniquitous claims on others, and an universal corruption of ourselves. Ambition produces a miserable thirst for applause, a servile dependence on popular favour, a deplorable venality of mind, a fatal habit of sacrificing conscience to the hope of preferment, and a fatal idolatry to the world. Science engrosses the heart; and steals it away from God. Taste and refinement enervate independence, reason, and conscience; and offer them up as victims to the pleasures of faney, or the dictates of fashion. Thus, wherever we turn, and whatever we converse with; we turn from allurement to allurement, and converse almost only with temptations. In a world, replete with such dangers, it cannot be desirable " to live alway."

Secondly. The world is full of Sin.

This is a calamity, from which not an individual is exempted. Ourselves, our dearest relations, our most beloved friends, together with all around us, are involved in the general evil. Nor are we merely sinful; but exceedingly sinful. Our hearts are exhibited by Christ as a treasury of sin ; whence evil things only


are continually brought out. A propensity to evil only, universal, and unresisted, is the predominating character of

every child of Adam. Every one is begotten and born in his likeness ; in the character of apostacy, revolt, and rebellion. Hence our “imagination is full of evil.” A leprosy has seized the soul, and corrupted its whole constitution; to which every physician, beside Christ, attempts in vain the application of a cure.

Accordingly we perpetrate iniquity every day; conceive it in our hearts; utter it with our mouths; and finish it with our hand. In the morning we rise with the unhappy purpose : to complete it we toil through the day ; and, when we close our eyes at night, reluctantly leave it unaccomplished.

In this manner we commit numberless acts of impiety, iniquity, and rebellion. Day by day the mass is heaped up; the burden rendered more and more insupportable; and the preparation for our account made more and more dreadful. Of course, "a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation to devour us," is, unless we are benumbed with stupidity, and bewildered with frenzy, made more and more the only view which we can form of our future being; the only prospect of endless reward.

No calamity can be equal to this. Our minds are deformed ; our understanding perverted; our hearts polluted; and ourselves debased below the proper level of Intelligent beings. Our lives, also, are stained with guilt; and rendered odious and dreadful. Whenever we retire into ourselves ; whenever we solemnly explore the recesses of the mind; whenever we cast a just and melancholy survey, (for melancholy it cannot fail to be,) over the

perverse and miserable wanderings of our feet through the journey of life; we are compelled to sit in judgment on ourselves, to anticipate by the distressing decision of our consciences, the sentence of final reprobation; and to declare, that in this character we can never see life, but are condemned already.

On the contrary, if with happier views and determinations, we have renounced our enmity against God; if we have laid aside the weapons of our warfare; if moral darkness has begun to disappear, and holiness to dawn in our minds; if we have closed VOL. II.


with Christ on his own terms, and can dimly discover and hopefully read our names inscribed “in the Lamb's book of life;" if the Spirit of Grace with a benign and eternal influence has descended, as the showers of heaven, on our hearts; if our souls have begun to be expanded, ennobled, and refined, with love to God and love to man; our state has, indeed, been rendered inestimably more desirable. Yet it is still far from being secured against the intrusion of this dreadful evil. "Oh wretched man,

u that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” is the natural and necessary exclamation of the best Christian who has ever lived ; springing spontaneously from a heart, deeply affected with a sense of his sins, and flowing instinctively from his lips. The suffering is too great to be neglected, or concealed. It returns too often to be forgotten, or to be contemplated without terror and anguish. A languor of mind, strongly resembling the languor of disease, renders every effort to act and to resist, to guard or to overcome, feeble, painful, and discouraging. The struggles really made, are too often the struggles of a sick man : and the soul, distressed on the one hand with a knowledge that they are necessary, and on the other with a conviction of the terrifying probability that they will be ineffectual, frequently sinks in the conflict; and in a great measure ceases to strive, because it feels assured that it will strive in vain. Its views of the Divine promises, which convey grace and strength, are dim and distant: its faith is perplexed by doubt, and enfeebled by fear; its hold on hope, and heaven, and God, in a great measure loosened, its strength “a bruised reed,” demanding the careful support of an Almighty hand, to prevent it from being broken off; and its light that of " the dimly burning flax," at times apparently extinguished, and to the eye of hope itself scarcely capable of continuing to shine.

There are indeed brighter and better seasons; and to some of those, who are sanctified, they frequently return; but the best and happiest are often obliged to go mourning all the day. Sin is a poison, which spreads through all the veins and all the faculties. It becomes a part of the constitution of every fibre. Un

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ceasing applications, directed with the highest skill, and adopted with the greatest exactness and care, repeated every day and continued through life; are at the utmost barely sufficient to increase the tendency towards returning health, and to secure the unhappy patient from final dissolution.

To all these evils is inseparably annexed a continual sense of the anger of God. Nothing but a paralytic torpor can prevent any man from believing, and feeling, that He, before whom “the heavens are unclean" and whose "angels are charged with folly," must regard, as immensely “more abominable and filthy, man, who drinketh iniquity like water." Every good man feels this distress of course ; and says instinctively,' “O Lord God of my salvation! I have cried day and night before thee. Let my prayer come before thee : incline thine ear unto my cry. For my soul is full of troubles ; and my life draw- . eth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man, that hath no strength ; free among the dead, like the slain, that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more, and they are cut off from thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, and in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves."

Every bad man, who is insensible to this incomprehensible calamity, is merely benumbed like the half-frozen wretch ; who, on the point of perishing, resolves to fall asleep, and can by no motives be induced to an effort to preserve himself from sleeping; although the very moment he closes his eyes, he closes them in a death. So great and dreadful an evil is the anger of God, that, beside the sin, which provokes it, nothing, in comparison with it ought to be called an evil.

3dly. It is a world of Enemies.

These enemies are found in every place and among persons of every description ; among strangers and neighbours ; in the list of those who have been our friends; and not unfrequently even in our own households. They exist at all times even when as much as possible we live in peace with all men. When we are

for peace, others will be for war. Childhood, Youth, Manhood, and Old Age are all sufferers by their attacks. In the day of prosperity they envy our blessings : in the day of sorrow they find a malignant pleasure in our distresses. In the week they labour to frustrate our plans, and to prevent the success of our efforts: on the Sabbath, they question the truth of our Bible, laugh at our Religion, insult our worship, and disturb our devotion.

They attack us with every weapon; and assail us in every vulnerable part of our well-being. If they do not beat and wound us; they cheat us out of our property ; stain our reputation ; hale us before the bar of justice in causeless litigation ; alienate from us our beloved friends; frustrate our lawful plans of business ; rob us of public and private confidence and challenge us to the field of death. Beyond this they lie in wait for our souls, seduce us to the belief of ruinous errors; obliterate from our minds tenderness of conscience, and apprehensiveness of guilt and danger ; varnish crimes, and cover them with beautiful colours ; entice us to sin ; take us by the hand, and lead us down to the chambers of death; and murder our souls throughout eternity.

At the same time, they are enemies always active and always distressing. From some or other of them we are ever to expect attempts on our welfare ; and are obliged to feel ourselves never safe.

4thly. This world is filled with innumerable other evils.

Want, hunger, thirst, cold, toil, weariness, anxiety, disappointment, despondency, disease, and death, hedge the path of man

and all of them attack many, and some of them all, men. The best health is liable to be lost by disease; and the most secure property by a flaw in a title, by the bankruptcy of others, by accident, by the tempest, or by the conflagration. The best laid schemes are frequently frustrated by unexpected contingencies; and by the ignorance, sloth, and inattention, of those, to whom the execution of them is committed. A voyage is rendered fruitless, or ruinous, by the unskillfulness of the pilot, or the drunkenness of the master, or of the seamen ; by the starting of


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