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fore it be prepared for use ! The fame may be faid of raiment ; of trade ; of science ; of every thing valuable and excellent, you do not expect to gain them without diligence ; you would not esteem and prize them if you could.
« On earth nought precious is obtainid,
“ But what is painful too.
-Indispensable, if we appeal to the character of a Christian. He is a merchant, a scholar, a husbandman, a traveller, a soldier. The anxiety of the mer. chant, the application of the scholar, the hardy toil of the husbandman, the wearying progress of the traveller, the painful exercise of the soldier, are images which ill accord with indolence and ease.
-Indispensable, if we appeal to the promises of the Gospel. These all require it, encourage it, produce it. Is God said to work in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure? It is made a motive to induce us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Has he engaged to renew our strength ? It is
It is that we may mount up with wings as eagles, that we may run and not be weary, and walk and not faint ; this is the design. And if the promises of divine grace do not superfede the necessity of diligence, what else cán render it needless ?
Awake then, my fellow Christians, and be zealous. Be not satisfied with your present attainments ; but forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,be ever preff
ing towards the mark for the prize of the high-calling of'Gbd in Christ Jesus. Others are ambitious, covetous, active. The learned are adding to their in- tellectual treasures'; the honourable are 'adding to their fplendour and distinctions ; the rich are adding house to house, and field to field ; and none of them faith, “ It is enough.” And have you no concern to go from strength to strength, to be changed from glory to glory, to shine more and more unto the perfect day? Will not you add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance ; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity ?
Here, my Brethren, call forth all your diligence. Here is a prize which is able to reward it, which will assuredly crown it; but which it is impossible to acquire without it. Keep this always in your remembrance, that there is only one way to prosper in relig. ion ; that your strength is not to sit still; that something more is necessary than airy notions, sleepy wishes, feeble resolutions, wavering and cold endeavours; that temptations are to be resisted, obstacles to be overcome, means to be incessantly used, especially prayer, that divine Grace my be mighty in you, and sufficient for you. “ He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack “ hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” 66 The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath noth“ing ; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." 66 And we desire that every one of you do fhew the " fame diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the “ end ; that ye be not slothful ; but followers of them, .
« who through faith and patience inherit the promil. 66 es.” “ Wherefore, my beloved Brethren, be ye 6 stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work s of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your la. 6 bour is not in vain in the Lord,”
Eccles. viii. ii. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed
Speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. in
2 M y Brethren, to know things in their principles has always been deemed the highest kind of science. The attention of a vulgar mind may be rouled by effects ; but a wife man looks back from consequences to the cause, and explores the source of the disease, in order to prescribe more certainly the means of cure :
That there is much wickedness in the world is undeniable. · Whence does it arise ? Solomon views it as resulting from an Abuse of Divine Forbearance. Not that this is the only source of iniquity ; but it is a very powerful, and a very prevailing one. In such à dreadful course as Sin, a man needs' encouragement ; and he awfully derives it from the goodness and long-suffering of his God. “ Because sentence 66 against an evil work is not executed speedily, there
“ fore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them " to do evil.”
THERE IS A SENTENCE DENOUNCED AGAINST SIN. THE EXECUTION OF IT IS COMMONLY LONG SUSPENDED. · THIS DELAY EMBOLDENS THE SINNER IN HIS CRIMEs. These three things are obviously contained in the words before us; and with these I would engage your present attention. “ To-day if ye “ will hear his voice, harden not your heart.”
I. Sin is deservedly called an EVIL WORK. } fear none of us are sufficiently impressed with a sense of its vileness and malignity. It is “ the work of the “ devil.” , It is folly, ingratitude, rebellion, treason. It degrades the foul; it defiles the foul. It robs us of the likeness, the presence, the favour of God. How deplorable are its consequences ! What misery has it produced ! For it cannot go unpunished. THERE IS A SENTENCE DENOUNCED AGAINST IT.
God is of “purer eyes than to behold iniquity :" “ He is angry with the wicked every day.” But what is anger in God ? Not a passion, but a principle, a determination to punish. It is justice, and this justice is essential to the perfection of his character; and we could neither adore or love him, if we believed that he was indifferent to an evil which not only fub. verts his designs, but destroys the welfare of his creatures. What would you think of a magistrate who fhould“ bear the rsword in vain ;” and who, when you led before him one who had invaded your property, and another who had killed your child, should ofmile and say, What is that: to me? Would you not