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was to be required of you this night. Persons do many things, for which they plead, and pretend they think there is no evil in them, who yet would as soon eat fire, as do the same, if they knew that they were to stand before the judg. ment-seat of Christ within four and twenty hours. This shows that persons do but prevaricate, when they pretend that their sins are sins of ignorance.

2. Another way wherein men deal falsely and perversely in this matter, is, in pretending that they do not allow themselves in those sins which they practise. They either pretend that they know them not to be sins, or if they cannot but own that, then they will say, they do not allow themselves in them; and so they hope God is not very much provoked by them. They pretend this, though they make a trade of them. They go on repeating one act after another, without ever seriously repenting of past,

or resolving against future acts. But take heed that you do not deceive yourselves in this matter; for such pretences, however they do something towards stilling your consciences now, will do nothing when you come to stand before your righteous and holy Judge.

SECTION IV. Address to such as attend ordinances, and yet allow themselves in known sin.

Consider how holy and sacred the ordinances of God are; what mockery you are guilty of in making such a show, and such pretences in attending ordinances, and yet voluntarily acting the reverse of what you pretend. Consider that there is no sort of sinners with whom God is so provoked, and who stand so guilty before him, as the profaners of his ordinances. The fire of God's wrath is kindled by none so much as by the polluters of holy things. They are represented as those who are especially guilty before God, in the third commandment : “ The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Why is this annexed to this command, rather than to any other of the ten, but because the breach of it especially renders a man guilty in the sight of God?

The taking of God's name in vain includes the profanation and pollution of ordinances and holy things. They do in a very dreadful manner take God's name in vain, who attend on his ordinances, and yet live in known sin; for, as we have shown, they manifest the greatest irreverence for him, and contempt of divine things. They manifest a contempt of his authority, a contempt of the business and design of his ordinances, and a most careless and irreverent spirit in things wherein they have immediate converse with God. Ordinances, as we have shown, are attended in the name of God; and therefore, by such an attendance on them, the name of God is greatly profaned. You that attend ordinances in such a manner, take the name of God so much in vain, that you use it only in mockery, and so as to expose it to contempt. Such a way of attending ordinances is a trampling of all that is sacred under foot.

We have in Scripture scarce any such awful instances of the immediate and miraculous vengeance of God, as on the profaners of holy things. How did God consume Nadab and Abihu, fer offering strange fire bfore him! How did he break forth upon Uzza, for handling the ark with too much irreverence! 2 Sam. vi. 6, 7. And how did he break forth on the children of Israel at Bethshemesh, for profaning the ark! “He smote of the people fifty thousand threescore and ten men," as in 1 Sam. vi. 19.

And God hath threatened in the New Testament, that if any man" defile the temple of God, him shall Gud destroy; for the temple of God is holy," 1 Cor. iii. 17. There is an emphasis in the expression. God will destroy all sinners, let it be what sin it will which they commit, and in which they con

tinue; and yet it is said, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy,” as if it had been said, there is something peculiar in the case, and God is especially provoked to destroy such, and consume them in the fire of his wrath; and he will indeed destroy them with a destruction especially dreadful.

So God hath declared, Gal. vi. 7, “That he will not be mocked;" i. e., if any presume to mock him, they will find him, by experience, to be no contemptible being. God will vindicate his holy majesty from the contempt of those who dare to mock him, and he will do it effectually: they shall fully find how dreadful a being he is, whose name they have daringly profaned and polluted. Defilers and profaners of ordinances, by known and allowed wickedness, provoke God more than the heathen, who have no ordinances. Thus the wickedness of Judah and Jerusalem is said to be far worse than that of Sodom, though the inhabitants of Sodom were, as we have reason to think, some of the worst of the heathens. See Ezek. xvi. 46, 47, &c. The sin of Sodom is here spoken of as a light thing in comparison with the sins of Judah. And what should be the reason, but that Judah enjoyed holy things which they profaned and polluted, which Sodom had no opportunity to do? for it is not to be supposed, that Judah otherwise arrived to the same pass that Sodom had.

Consider therefore, ye who allow yourselves in known wickedness, and live in it, who yet come to the house of God, and to his ordinances from time to time, without any serious design of forsaking your sins, but, on the contrary, with an intention of continuing in them, and who frequently go from the house of God to your wicked practices; consider how guilty you have made yourselves in the sight of God, and how dreadfully God is provoked by you. It is a wonder of God's patience, that he doth not break forth upon you, and strike you dead in a moment; for you profane holy things in a more dreadful manner than Uzza did, when yet God struck him dead for his error. And whereas he was struck dead for only one offence; you are guilty of the same sin from week to week, and from day to day.

It is a wonder that God suffers you to live upon earth, that he hath not, with a thunderbolt of his wrath, struck you down to the bottomless pit long ago. You that are allowedly and voluntarily living in sin, who have gone on hítherto in sin, are still going on, and do not design any other than to go on yet; it is a wonder that the Almighty's thunder lies still, and suffers you to sit in his house, or to live upon earth. It is a wonder that the earth will bear you, and that hell doth not swallow you up. It is a wonder that fire doth not come down from heaven, or come up from hell, and devour you; that hell-flames do not enlarge themselves to reach you, and that the bottomless pit hath not swallowed you up.

However, that you are as yet borne with, is no argument that your damnation slumbers. The anger of God is not like the passions of men, that it should be in haste. There is a day of vengeance and recompense appointed for the vessels of wrath; and when the day shall have come, and the iniquity shall be full, none shall deliver out of God's hand. Then will he recompense, even recompense into your bosoms.

SERMON XXXIII.

GOD THE BEST PORTION OF THE CHRISTIAN.

Psalm lxxiii. 25.—Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides

thee.

The Psalmist, in this psalm, relates the great difficulty that he met with in his own mind, from the consideration of the prosperity of wicked men. He tells us, ver. 2 and 3, " As for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” In the 4th and following verses, he informs us, what it was he had observed in the wicked, which was his temptation. In the first place, be observed, that they were very prosperous, and all things went well with them. He then observed their behavior in their prosperity, and the use which they made of it; and that God, notwithstanding such a use or abuse, continued their prosperity, as in the 6th and following verses. Then the Psalmist tells us by what means he was helped out of this difficulty, viz., by going into the sanctuary, verses 16, 17; and proceeds to inform us what considerations they were which helped him, viz., these three :

1. The consideration of the miserable end of wicked men. However they prosper for the present, yet they come to a woful end at last, ver. 18, 19, 20.

2. The consideration of the blessed end of the saints. Although the saints, while they live, may be afflicted, yet they come to a happy end at last, ver. 21, 22, 23, 24.

3. The consideration, that the godly have a much better portion than the wicked, even though they have no other portion than God; as in the text and following verse. If it be so, that the wicked are in prosperity, and are not in trouble as other men ; yet the godly, though they be in affliction, are in a state infinitely better than the wicked, because they have God for their portion. However they may have nothing else, this is enough, without the enjoyments of wicked men; they need desire nothing else; he that hath God, hath all

. Thus the Psalmist professes it was with him, in the sense and apprehension which he had of things : Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.

In the verse immediately preceding, the Psalmist takes notice how the saints are happy in God, both when they are here in this world, and also when they are taken to another world. They are blessed in God in this world, in that while here God guides them by his counsel; and when he takes them out of this world, they are still happy, in that then God receives them to glory. The Psalmist having thus taken notice of the happiness of the saints in God, both while here upon earth, and also when removed into another world, was probably by this observation led, in the next verse, which is the text, to declare that he desired no other portion, either in this world or in the world to come, either in heaven or upon earth.

DOCTRINE. It is the spirit of a truly godly man, to prefer God before all other things, either in heaven or on earth.

1. A godly man prefers God before any thing else in heaven.

1. He prefers God before any thing else that actually is in heaven. Every godly man hath his heart in heaven; his affections are mainly set on heaven, and what is to be had there. Heaven is his chosen country and inheritance. He hath respect to heaven, as a traveller who is on occasion abroad in a distant land hath to his own country. The traveller can content himself to be in a strange land for a while, until his present occasion and business be over ; but bis own native land is preferred by him to all others. Heb. xi. 13, &c., “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned: but now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly.”

So also the respect which a godly person hath to heaven, may be compared to the respect which a child, when he is abroad, hath to his father's house. He can be contented abroad for a little while; but the place to which he desires to return, and in which to dwell, is his own home at his father's house. Heaven is the true saint's father's house. John xiv. 2, “In my Father's house are many mansions.” John xx. 17, “ I ascend to my Father and your Father.”

Now, the main reason why the godly man hath his heart thus in heaven, is because God is there ; that is the palace of the most high God; it is the place where God is gloriously present, where he is to be seen, where he is to be enjoyed, where his love is gloriously manifested, where the godly may be with him, see him as he is, and love, serve, praise, and enjoy him perfectly. It is for this chiefly that a godly man desires heaven. If God and Christ were not in heaven, he would not be so earnest in seeking it, nor would he take so much pains in a laborious travel through this wilderness, nor would the consideration that he is going to heaven when he dies, be such a comfort to him under the toils and afflictions of the world, as it now is. The martyrs would not undergo those cruel sufferings which are brought upon them by their persecutors, with that cheerfulness in a prospect of going to heaven, did they not expect to go and be with Christ, and to enjoy God there. They would not with that cheerfulness forsake all their earthly possessions, and all their earthly friends, as many thousands of them have done, and wander about in poverty and banishment, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, in hopes of exchanging their earthly for a heavenly inheritance, were it not that they hope to be with their glorious Redeemer and heavenly Father in heaven.

If God and Christ were not in heaven, however beautiful the place be, and whatever excellent creature inhabitants there be there, yet heaven would be but an empty place, it would be but an unlovely place. The believer's heart is in heaven, because his treasure is there; and that treasure is Jesus Christ, the same that we read of in Matt. xii. 44, which is there called “a treasure hid in a field, which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all he hath, and buyeth that field.”

2. A godly man prefers God before any thing else that might be in heaven. Not only is there nothing actually in heaven, which is in his esteem equal with God; but neither is there any thing of which he can conceive as possible to be there, which by him is esteemed and desired equally with God. Those of some nations and professions suppose quite different enjoyments to be in heaven, from those which the Scriptures teach us to be there. The Mahometans, for instance, suppose that in heaven are to be enjoyed all manner of sensual delights and

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pleasures. Many things which Mahomet has feigned are, to the lusts and carnal appetites of men, the most agreeable that he could devise; and he flattered his followers with promises of such enjoyments in heaven.

But the true saint, if he were to contrive such a heaven as would suit him best, could not conceive one more agreeable to his inclination and desires, than such a one as is revealed in the word of God; a heaven of the enjoyment of the glorious God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, where he shall have all sin taken away, and shall be perfectly conformed to God, where he shall have a perfect acquaintance with God, and shall spend an eternity in exalted exercises of love to God, and in the enjoyment of his love. Such a heaven is to the saint better than any Mahometan paradise ; it is the best heaven that can possibly be; there is no happiness conceived of, that would be better, or that would appear so desirable to him, as this. If God were not to be enjoyed in heaven, but, instead of that, there were vast wealth, immense treasures of silver and gold, and great honor of such kind as men obtain in this world, and a fulness of the greatest sensual delights and pleasures; all these things would not make up for the want of God and Christ, and the enjoyment of them there. If it were empty of God, it would indeed be an empty melancholy place.

The godly have been made sensible, as to all creature enjoyments, that they cannot satisfy the soul, and that happiness is in God; and therefore nothing will content them but God. Offer a saint what you will, if you deny him God, he will esteem himself miserable. His soul thirsts for God, to come and appear before God. God is the centre of his desires; and as long as you keep his soul from its proper centre, it will not be at rest. The true saint sets his heart on God as the chief good.

II. It is the spirit of a godly man to prefer God before all other things on the earth.

1. The saint prefers that enjoyment of God, for which he hopes hereafter, to any thing in this world. He looketh not at the things which are seen, and are temporal, so much as at those things which are unseen and eternal, 1 Cor. iv. 18. It is but a little of God that the saint enjoys here in this world; he hath but a little acquaintance with God, and enjoys but a little of the manifestations of the divine glory and love. But God hath promised to give him himself hereafter in a full enjoyment. And these promises of God are more precious to the saint, than the most precious earthly jewels

. The gospel which contains these promises, doth therein contain greater treasures, in his esteem, than the cabinets of princes, or the mines of the Indies.

2. The saints prefer what of God may be obtained in this world before all things in the world. They not only prefer those glorious degrees of the enjoyment of God which are promised hereafter, before any thing in this world, but even such degrees as may be attained to here in the present state, though they are immensely short of what is to be enjoyed in heaven. There is a great difference in the spiritual attainments of the saints in this world. Some attain to much greater acquaintance and communion with God, and conformity to him, than others. But the highest attainments are very small in comparison with what is future.

The saints are capable of making progress in spiritual attainments, and of obtaining more of God than ever yet they have obtained ; and they are of such a spirit that they earnestly desire such further attainments. Not contented with those degrees to which they have already attained, they hunger and thirst after righteousness, and as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby. It is their desire, to know more of God, to have

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