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: gress have I made in virtue ? Have I this day approached the end of

my creation? And as the time of my abode here diminishes, do I advance in proportion to the time that remains? We should require of ourselves an exact account of every day, every hour, every instant of our duration ; but this is not the gospel of most christians. What we have been proposing seem to most liearers mere maxims of the preacher, more proper to adorn a public discourse than to compose a system of religion.

Why are not ecclesiastical bodics as rigid and severe against heresies of practice, as they are against heresies of speculation? Certainly there are heresies in morality, as well as in theology. Councils and synods reduce the doctrines of faith to certain propositional points, and thunder anathemas against all, who refuse to subscribe them. They say, Cursed be he, who doth not believe the divinity of Christ: cursed be he, who doth not believe hypostatical union, and the mystery of the cross: cursed be he, who denies the inward operations of grace, and the irresistible efficacy of the holy Spirit. I wish they would make a few canons against imoral heresies ! How many are there of this kind among our people ? Among our people we may put

many, who are in another class. Let ine make canons. In : the first I would put a heresy too common, that is, that the

calling of a christian consists less in the practice of virtue than in abstaining from gross vices; and I would say, If any man think, that he sufficiently answers the obligations of christianity by not being avaricious, oppressive and intemperate; if he do not allow that he ought to be zealous, fervent, and detached from the world, let him be accursed. In a second canon, I would put another heresy, equally general, and equally dangerous, and which regards the delay of conversion; and I would say, If any one imagine that, after a life spent in sin, a few regrets proceeding more from a fear of death and hell than from a principle of love to God, are sufficient to open the gates of heaven, let him be accursed. In a third canon I would put .... fill up the list yourselves, my brethren, and let us return to our subject. To confine ones self to a certain circle of virtues; to stop at a fixed point; to be satisfied with a given degree of piety, is an error, it is a heresy which deserves as many anathemas, and ecclesiastical thunders, as all the other, which have been unanimously denounced by all christians.

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easy. The

My brethren, let us rectify our ideas, in order to rectify our conduct. Let us run with patience the race set before us, let us go on till we can say with St. Paul, I have finished my course.

Be not terrified at this idea of progressive religion. Some great efforts must have been made by all holy men in this place to arrive at that degree of virtue, which they have obtained: but the hardest part of the work is done, henceforward what remains is

way

to heaven is narrow at the entrance; but it widens as we go on. The yoke of Christ is heavy at first; but it weighis little, when it hath been long worn.

After all, there is a way of softening all the pains, to which we are exposed by continuing our efforts. St. Paul practised this art with great success; It consists in fixing the eye on the end of the race. At the end of the race he saw two objects, the first the prize. How easy to brave the enemies of salvation, when the eye is full of the prospect of it! How tolerable appear the pains of the present state, when the sufferings of the present time are coinpared with, and weighed against the glory that follows. Next, St. Paul saw Jesus Christ at the end of the race, another object which animated him. He was animated by the example of Christ to finish his course with joy; he was animated by the assistances, which supported him; he was aniinated by the pro-. mise of Christ telling him, He that overcometh shall sit down in my throne , he was animated by the mercy, which he knew, how weak soever his efforts might be, would be approved at the tribunal of Jesus Christ, provided they were sincere, for Jesus himself conquered for him, and himself acquired that prize for the apostle, at which he aspired; in a word he was animated by his love, Jesus Christ is at the end of the race, and Paul loved Jesus Christ, and longed to be' with him. I said, he saw two objects, the prize of vistory, and Jesus Christ : but these make only one object. St. Paul's prize is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Paul's paradise. According to him Christ is the most desirable part

of celestial felicity: Whilst we are at home in the body, ure are absent from the Lord; we are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord, 2 Cor. v. 6. 8. I desire to depart, and to be with Christ, Phil. i. 23. I press toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, chap. iii. 14. This thought, that every step he took brought him nearer to Jesus Christ, this thought rendered him insensible to all the fatigue of the

race,

race, and enabled him to redouble his efforts to arrive at the end. O flames of divine love! Shall we never know

you except by the examples of the primitive christians!. O flames of divine love, which we have so often described, shall we never feel

you in our own souls ! Fire us, inflame us with your ardour, and make us understand that all things are easy. to the man, who sincerely loves God! God grant us this grace! To him be glory for ever. Amen.

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SERMON XIII.

THE MORAL MARTYR.

1
PSALM cxix. 45.

I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and well

not be ashamed.

MY BRETHREN, IT is not only under the reign of a tyrant, that religion in

volves its disciples in persecution, it is in tiines of the greatest tranquillity, and even when virtue seems to sit on a

A christian is often subject to punishments different from wheels and racks. People united to him by the same profession of religion, having received the same baptism, and called him to aspire at the same glory, not unfrequently press him to deny Jesus Christ, and prepare punishments for him, if he have courage to confess him. Religion is proposed to us in two different points of view, a point of speculation, and a point of practice. Accordingly there are two sorts of martyrdoms, a martyrdom for doctrine, and a martyrdom for morality. It is for the last that the prophet prepares us ilk the words of the text; and to the same end I dedicate the sermon, which I am going to address to you to-day. I come into this place, that affords a happy asylum for confessors and martyrs, to utter in your hearing these words of Jesus Christ, Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels, Mark viii. 38.

In order to animate you with a proper zeal for inorality, and to engage you, if necessary, to become martyrs for it, we will treat of the subject in five different views. VOL. IV.

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1. We dominioa

I. We will shew you the authors, or, as they may be justly denominated, the executioners, who punish men with martyrdom for morality. · 1. The magnanimity of such as expose themselves to it. III. The honours that accompany it. IV. The obligation which engages men to submit to it. V. The glory that crowns it.

We will explain these five ideas contained in the words of the psalmist, I will speak of thy testimonies before kings, and will not be asham.d; and we will proportion these articles, not to that extent, to which they naturally go, but to bounds prescribed to these exercises.

1. The authors, or as we just now called them, the executioners, who inflict this punishment, are to be considered. The text calls them kings, I will speak of thy testimonies before kings. What kings does the psalmist mean? Saal, to whom piety was become odious? or any particular heathen prince, to whom the persecutions of Saul sometimes drove our prophet for refuge? The name of the God of the Hebrews was blasphemed among these barbarians ; his worship was called superstition by them; and it would have bcen difficult to profess to fear him and avoid contempt.

It is not easy to determine the persons intended by the psalmist, nor is it necessary to confine the words to either of the senses given; they may be taken in a more extensive sense. The word king in the eastern languages, as well as in those of the western world, is not confined toʻkings properly so called ;' it is sometimes given to superiors of any rank. Ask not the reason of this, overy language hath its own genius, and custom is a tyrant, who seldoin consults reason before he issues orders, and who generally knows no law but self-will and caprice. If you insist on a direct ana Śwer to your inquiry concerning the reason of the generat use of the term, I reply, the same passion for despotism, which animates kings on a throne, usually inspires such'individuals as are a little elevated above people around them they consider themselves as sovereigns, and pretend to regal homage. Authority over inferiors begins this imaginary royalty, and vanity finishes it. Moreover, such as are called petty gentry in the world are generally more proud and absolute than real kings; the last frequently propose nothing but to exercise dominion, but the first aim both to exercise

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