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evil that is in his neighbour, it is out of love and compassion, not out of malice or envy. Universal benevolence, a constant disposition to forgive and oblige, to make peace, and to suffer rather than to do wrong, are his peculiar characteristics. But how many are destitute of such characteristics, and yet think and call themselves Christians! Now all these are wicked' men; and these I called the Devil's agents; because, as they do his work, so they deserve his name. 6 Satan,' in Hebrew, means an Opposer, and Alaboλos, Devil, in Greek, means a Slanderer: Because that unhappy spirit delights in opposing and slandering mankind in general, and good men in particular: So that those who oppose and slander their neighbours, and much more those who hurt and persecute them, show plainly what spirit they are of, what master they serve, and what wages they shall have; if, on their reformation and conversion, Divine Mercy do not speedily reverse the sentence gone forth against them.
Thus, under the eight foregoing particulars, I have showed you who are the wicked' that shall surely die:' And I hope that in whichever class of them your particular case was touched, you have suffered conscience to make the application.
II. I now proceed to lay before you such Directions as may, through Divine Mercy, save your precious souls, notwithstanding all this great wickedness,—or, at least, deliver my own.
1. Let us all humble ourselves before Almighty God; not transiently, like bulrushes which bend to the storm for an hour, and then return again to their former state; but for all the days of our life. No unhumbled, no stout-hearted sinner, can be in a state of salvation. Except ye repent,' says our Saviour, ye shall all perish.' The unhumbled sinner is, then, in double danger of perishing; first, on account of his sins, and secondly, on account of the stoutness of his heart, which makes his lip-repentance entirely ineffectual,
2. To prove the sincerity of our humiliation and repentance, instead of cloaking and extenuating our mani. fold sins, let us confess them with deep sorrow, and return to the Lord with mourning and prayer, as well as with fasting; bearing, each of us, the load of our own private iniquities, the additional load of the iniquities of our families, and the immensely accumulated load of the iniquities of our country at large.
3. Let us meditate, with redoubled sorrow, on all the aggravating circumstances of our sins; for instance,
(1.) Let us meditate on their Universality. From the gilded palace to the thatched cottage, our guilt cries to heaven for vengeance;-as if the blood of Abel were found on the door-posts of almost all the houses in the land!
(2.) Let us dwell on the commonness and frequency of our sins, which add a prodigious weight to our guilt. They are not sins committed but once in all our life; but they return every year, perhaps every month, or week; and, in too many cases, alas! every day, and every hour, -as often as temptation urges; yea, sometimes, before any temptation solicits.
(3.) Let us not conceal a third aggravation of our guilt, still more heinous than the former; I mean, our having sinned with an uncommon boldness, and boasted of our sins. Wickedness is become so fashionable, that he who refuses to run with others into vanity, intemperance, or profaneness, is in danger of losing his charac ter, on one hand; while, on the other, the son of Belial prides himself in excesses, glories in diabolical practices, and scoffs with impunity at religion and virtue. O how inconceivably provoking is this in the sight of a holy God!
(4.) But this is not all. Where have we committed these abominations? Is it in a land of the shadow of death, in some dark, unhappy corner of the earth, where God never manifested himself, either by any choice blessing, or by the light of his gospel? No! Just the reverse! These scenes of wickedness, profaneness, and
vanity, are transacted in the most favoured spot of the universe; in a country where Divine Goodness seems to have endeavoured to soften every heart by showers of temporal and spiritual blessings. O, England! England! -happy, yet ungrateful island! Dost thou repay fruitfulness by profaneness,―plenty by vanity,-liberty by impiety, and the light of Christianity by excesses of immorality?
After such aggravations of our guilt, how justly might God have scourged us by those that have risen up in arms against us; how justly might he have said to the sword, 'Go through the very heart of this land,' or to the pestilence, Arise and devour.' Let us acknowledge this, and confess that it is of the Lord's mercy, that we are not consumed,' as a nation, and that each of us is not cast as a Jonah into the sea of God's judgments, for the sport of Satan, that great Leviathan.
4. But, above all, let our humiliation and confession, our acknowledgment of our aggravated guilt, and condemnation of ourselves, be attended with a visible reformation. We cannot mend the whole land, I grant; but let each of us, through the grace offered us this day, mend one at least; and let every head of a family vow before God, that, let others do as they will, yet he and his house will serve the Lord.' Fasting, without reformation, is but abomination. Turning from our wicked way, and doing that which is lawful and right, through the grace of Jesus Christ, that we may save our souls alive, is the very soul of repentance; and repentance is the very soul of fasting. So that take repentance from fasting, or take reformation from repentance, and there remains nothing but detestable formality and abominable hypocrisy.
5. Not only cease to do evil, but learn to do good. You never will, you never can, leave off serving Mammon and the flesh, unless you give yourselves up wholly to the service of the living God. You may have good desires, yea, and good resolutions too ;-but till you come to make it the main business of your life
to seek and serve the Lord, in spite of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. I take heaven and your conscience to witness, that I warn you this day of the consequence. -Your resolutions will never come to any thing, and you shall surely die in the iniquity you have committed. Therefore, that this may not be your lamentable case, give all for all; the praise of men for the praise of God; earth for heaven. Sell all, to buy the pearl of divine love. Sell all to get the knowledge of Him who says, Except a man deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me, he is not worthy of me; he cannot be my disciple.'
6. Lastly: As you tender the prosperity of the King, the good of our church, and the welfare of our country;-as you would not bring a private curse upon yourself, your house, and your dearest friends;—as you value the honour of Almighty God, and dread his awakened wrath;-as you would not force him to make our land a field of blood, or to break the staff of our bread, and send famine, pestilence, Popery, or some other fearful judgment, among us ;-I pray, I beseech, I entreat each of you, my dear Brethren! as upon my bended knees, in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by those bowels of divine mercy against which we have madly kicked in times past, and which, nevertheless, still yearn over us,--I entreat you not to rest in outward humiliation and reformation. Christians must go one step beyond the Ninevites. O seek then, with all true Christians, a righteousness superior to that of the Scribes and Pharisees. Seek it in Christ. Never rest, till you are sure of your interest in him, till you feel the virtue of his blood applied to your heart by the power of his Spirit. Without this, all the rest will stand you in little stead. It is the blood of the true Paschal Lamb, sprinkled upon our souls, that makes the Destroyer sheath his flaming sword, and pass over the protected heads of true believers. O get an application of this blood; get this seal of the living God apon your heart; and then, marked unto the day of redemption, safe in your Saviour's wounds, and rejoicing
even in the midst of tribulation, you will experience the truth of what David says, (Ps. cxii,) Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. Surely he shall not be moved for ever. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings. His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies,'-sin, death, hell, and the grave. May this be our happy lot, for Christ's sake! Amen!