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EZEK. Xviii. 27.



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APPY is the man, who, under

Hthe influence of a good education

and virtuous difpofitions, has pursued a regular course of life, from the first years of discretion! Trained up in the way, wherein he should walk, he finds his duty converted into a pleasure: he goes on uniformly in a course of good


nefs; betrayed indeed, by the common weakness of nature, into occafional frailties and errors, yet never babitually deferting his Maker's fervice. His paffions are under discipline: habits of reflection, and the grace of God in the regular revolution of religious offices, either restrain or recall them to their proper fubjection. The world has the benefit of his virtues, and he the comforts and ferenity of a mind at ease.

BUT, unhappily, a great part of mankind, on their firft entrance into life, take a contrary courfe. They grow up uninstructed and undisciplined: the paffions fwell: the pulse beats high: the world spreads all its bewitching charms to feduce them. The example of those before them adds force to thefe follicitations. The conteft is soon decided, where the forces are difproportioned. Where principles are either weak or none at all, paffions will ever get the afcendant. Under their blind im


pulfe, then, the weak and fimple are hurried away; down they go the broad, and smooth, and eafy path of fin, that leadeth to deftruction. *

WHAT are the minifters of religion to say and do in this deplorable case? Are they to shut up the gate of mercy against this unhappy, this pitiable part of their fellow-creatures? That were cruelty. Are they to fet them upon a level with the uniformly virtuous and ufeful? That were to fubvert the foundations of right and wrong.

THE truth is, repentance, when real and fincere, is always acceptable to God in its proper degree, and, through the merits of a Mediator, washes away



facilis defcenfus Averni;

Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis:

Sed revocare gradum, fuperafque evadere ad auras, Hoc opus, hic labor eft: pauci, quos æquus amavit Jupiter, aut ardens evexit ad æthera virtus,

Dis geniti, potuere

VIRG. 6, 126.

guilt of all tranfgreffions; but to indulge and practise fin with the hopes of exercifing fuch a fincere and true repentance, as is really acceptable, is a delufion of the most fatal consequence to mankind. For this notion supposes that a man has a command of things, which lie totally out of his own power; that he can ascertain his life, and the degrees of mifchief, which his vices occafion; that he can command his refolutions; and claim the affiftance of Divine grace when he pleases. All these are wild fuppofitions. For life is uncertainthe mischievous confequences of several vices hard to be repaired-human refolutions grow every day weaker by ill habits and Divine grace can only co-operate with, and not force, our wills.

I. BOAST not thyself of the morrow, (fays the wife man) for thou knoweft not what the morrow fhall bring forth. Yet the finner, as if times and feasons and accidents

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