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II. What we proposed to treat of in the second place des mands a greater attention. We engaged to unmask such of our hearers as endeavour to acquire, by the performance of less important duties, a right to neglect other duties of the highest class, and of the utmost importance. And yet, I have neither time nor courage to fulfil this engagement. All that the few remaining moments, all that the delicacy, or, if I may venture to use the words of an apostle, all that the itching ears of our times will allow me to do, is to set you a task. This is it. Recollect our rules, avail yourselves of them to enable you to form a just notion of your state ; and, to exemplify in a few articles what we cannot fully investigate, let one avail himself of our rules to enable him to make a just estimate of the decency of his outward deportment; let another judge by these of the value of those sacrifices, which he has made for religion ; another of his assiduity in attending public worship; and another of the encomiums, which he makes on the dead, and which, he hopes, his sur vivors will after his decease make on him.

You are a man of a grave deportinent. All the virtues seem painted in your countenance, your eyes habitually roll towards heaven, the smallest inadvertence offends and provokes you, your mouth never opens but to utter moral sentences; and yet you are proud and affronted at a smile, a look, the least indication of humanity. Every body knows you are always full of your own importance, your reputation, your rank, and, what is still worse, your virtue. It should seemn, you are afraid of defiling yourself by touching other men, and always exclaiming, by your actions if not in so many words, Stand by thyself, come not near me, for I am holier than thou, Isa. Ixv. 5. How little progress soever we have made in the knowledge of the human heart, and in the art of discerning the pretences, under which the most haughty souls conceal their pride, it is easy enough to see that what you estcem above all other things is self. Ah! Woe be to you! you pay tithe of mint, anise, und cum. min: but you omit the weightier matters of the law. Do I impose on you? What place, then, does humility occupy in your system of morality? What value do you set upon humility, that virtue, of which Jesus Christ has given you so many excellent descriptions, and so many amiable models?

You have made great sacrifices for religion. You have left your country and your fortune, your honour and your

family family, yea your all to follow. Jesus Christ : yet, were we to judge of your intention by your actions, we should affirm, that you followed him only to have a fairer opportunity to insult and betray him. It is notorious that you violate without remorse the most essential laws of that religion, for the sake of which you made such noble sacrifices. In this exile, to which you voluntarily condemned yourself for the sake of religion, we see you covetous, envious, revengeful, wearing, and glorying to wear, the livery of the world. Ah ! Woe be to you! you pay tithe of mint, anise, and cunnin: büt omit the weightier matters of the law. I ask again, Do I impose on you? What place; then, does the practical part of religion occupy in your system? Is christianity less proposed to your heart than to your mind ? Is the person from whom it proceeds, less jealous of his precepts than of his doctrines ? Satisfied that his disciples say Lord, Lord, is he indifferent whether they perforni of omit what he commands?

You are assiduous in attending public worship: You are scrupulously exact in the performance of every part. Our festivals are delicious days to you: but, alas! devotion sours your temper, and you become insufferable as you grow devout. You make your friends martyrs ; you treat your children like slaves, and your domestics like animals of a species different from your own. You are more like a fury than a

Your house is a hell, and it seems as if you came into a christian church only to learn of the God, who is worshipped there, the art of becoming a tormentor of mankind. Ah! Woe be to you ! you pay tithe of mint, anise, and cumniin : but you omit the weightier matters of the law I ask again, Do I impose on you? What rank, then, in your system does discretion occupy? Where is that spirit of prudence, patience, gentleness and goodness, which the inspired writings' so often repeat, and so powerfully recommend in their writings?

You celebrate the praises of your dying friends, and incessantly exclaim, How comfortably 'he died! If you do not go so far as to place your departed friends, who in your opinion died in such a christian manner, among the number of the gods, you do'not place them without scruple in the number of the saints. This sort of encomium is a model of that, at which you aspire, hence you often exclaim, speaking of your good departed friend, Let me die his death, and let

my last end be like his ! Num. xxiii. 10. When


you are seized with any illness, that threatens your life, you put on all the exterior of religion. I see one minister after another sitting at your bedside. I hear your constant sobs and groans. Here is nothing but weeping and sighing and holy ejaculations : but I stand listening to hear you utter one other word, that is, restitution, and that I never hear. I never hear you say, as Zaccheus said, If I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold, Luke xix. 8. I never see your coffers disgorge the the riches you have obtained by extortion ; you never hear, or never feel the cries of the labourers, which have reaped down your fields, whose hire is of you kept back by fraud, the cries of whom are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, James v. 4. You choose rather to set at defiance all those terrible judgments which God hath denounced against extortioners than to part from your idol, gain ; you would rather transmit your fortune under a curse to your posterity than restore what you and your ancestors have extorted. "Ah! IVoe be to you! you pay tithe of mint, anise, und cummin: but you omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, faith and mercy!

My brethren, it is a deplorable thing, that, when we treat of such an important subject as this, we are obliged to pay more attention to the delicacy of our hearers than to the weight of the subject. But in the name of God, do you, yourselves, finish the list of those articles, which timidity, (or shall I say caution?) forbids me to extend. Go up to the origin of that disposition, which I have been opposing. It must proceed from one of three principles; it must come. from either narrowness of mind, or hypocrisy, or a criminal composition.

Perhaps it may proceed from littleness of mind. We are enslaved by external appearances. . We determine ourselves by semblances. In the world more reputation is acquired by the shadow than by the substance of virtue. By habituating ourselves to this kind of imposition, we bring ourselves to believe that God will suffer himself to be imposed on in the , same manner. These things hast thou done, saith he by the mouth of a prophet, and thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself, Psal. l. 21. We insensibly persuade ourselves, that, provided we lift our eyes to leaven, God will think our hearis are elevated thither provided we kneel before the throne of God, he will think our hearts bow with our bodies; provided we mutter a few prayers, God

will accept us as if we formed ideas, and performed acts of love. This is littleness of mind.

Sometimes it proceeds from hypocrisy. Jesus Christ reproached the pharisees with this. The pharisees were attached to religion no further than as it acquired them reputation in the world. But I will not insist on this article. I freely acknowledge, I had almost said I lament, that hypocrisy is not the vice of our age. Piety is now so little respected, that we need not much suspect people of aiming to acquire reputation by professing it; yea, perhaps it may oftener happen, that they, who really have some degree of it, conceal it in order to escape contempt, than that others, who have none, affect to possess it in order to acquire public esteem,

Sometimes, also, this disposition of mind proceeds from a criminal composition. We have the face to compound with God. We are willing to perform the external part of religion, provided he will dispense with the internal part; we are ready to offer sacrifices, provided he will dispense with obedience ; we are willing to do what costs our depravity nothing, or next to nothing, if he will dispense with what would cost it much.

Let us finish. One maxim, which I intreat you to retain in memory, is the essence of my subject, and the spring, that gives force to all the exhortations, which I have addressed to you in the latter periods of this discourse. This maxim is, that a christian is obliged by his heavenly calling not only to practise all virtues, but to place each in its proper rank; to give more application to such as merit more application, and to give most of all to such as require most of all.

On this principle, what an idea ought we to form of that mercy or benevolence, which my text places among the weightier matters of the law? You have heard the value of this in the body of this discourse. Such virtues as have God for their object are more important than others, which have our neighbour for their object. But God, in order to engage us to benevolence, hath taught us to consider beneficence to our neighbours as one of the surest evidences of our love to himself. He unites himself with the poor ; he clothes himself, as it were, with their miseries ; and he tells us, inasmuch as ye do good unto one of the least of This virtue, to the practice of which we perpetually exa hort you, ought to be extraordinarily exerted, my dear brethren, now that God visits us with a sort of jodgment, I meairthe excessive rigour of this winter. It is not a judgmen upun you, rich men, God loads you with temporal blessings: bnt it falls upon you, miserable labouters, whose hands benumbed with cold are rendered incapable of working, the only way you have of procuring a morsel of bread for your selves and your families: upon you, poor old people, struggling at the same time against the infirmities of old age, and the rigours of the season : upon you, innocent victims to hunger and cold, who have no provision except cries and tears, and whom I see more dead, than alive around a fire, thay emits less heat than sinoke: upon you, wretched sick people, lodged in a hovel open on all sides to the weather, and destitute of both nourishment and cloathing. Is it wrong to call a cause, producing such tragical effects, a judgment? Must I justify the terın of reasons more convincing ? I am ashamed to allege them. Without pretending to answer for the fact, it is an affair too mortifying for some of us to investigate,) we are assured, that some have perished with cold. I do not know who is in fault: but I recollect the complaint, which St. Paul addressed to the Corinthians, when incest had been committed in their city. What! said he, have ye heard of this deed, and have ye not covered yourselves with mourning? 1. Cor. v. 1. 2. dear brethren, in a christian society, do we see such events, do we behold the poor dying with cold, without being] touched in our inmost souls, without inquiring into the cause of such a misfortune, without applying proper means to prevent such things in future?

do it unto me, Matt. XXV. 40. What a subliine idea! From what a fund of love does such benevolent declaration proceed! And, at the same time, what a motive to aniinate us to benevolence.

these, ye

With this pious design, the dispensers of your bounty. will again humbly wait at the doors of this church to receive your charitable contributions, in order to enable them to-day plentifully to supply the wants of such as perliaps may die to day, if they be not relieved. With the same pious views, they have besought the magistrates to grant them an extraordinary collection, and next Wednesday they intend to conjure you by those shocking objects, with which their own minds are affected, and with which they have thought it their duty to affect ours, to afford such relief as may be necessary to prevent the many evils, with which the remainder of the winter yet threatens us.

What! my

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