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PREFACE.

HE following plain practical not ap

peared in print but for the importunity of friends. I at firft declined making it thus public, because of the tender emotions of my own mind, which I feel on the death of so near a relation; but have now complied with their repeated folicitations, that a tribute of refpect might be paid to the memory of one, who was dear to many. It is therefore humbly committed to the bleffing of GOD, and to the candour of the reader, by the author,

Took's Court,
Curfitor Street.

R. W.

I CANNOT enter on the painful tender service to which I am this morning called, without expreffing my dependence on that promife of GOD, As thy day is, fo fhall thy strength be. The Sovereign Lord of all has made a wide and folemn breach among us by the death of one, to whom I stood in the relations of a brother and a paftor. As it was left to me to make choice of a text upon this affecting providence, I could not fingle out a more fuitable one than that which you will find in

PSALM xii. 1.

Help, Lord, for the godly man ceafes; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

UPO

PON what occafion this Pfalm was com→ pofed we are not told; but it appears to have been a time of great degeneracy and cor ruption of manners, when David poured out this complaint before the Lord. There is great reason to believe, that he penned it in the reign of Saul; a King whom God gave to the people of Ifrael in his anger; who was a tyrant, and an encourager of wickednefs; for the laft verse fays, "The wicked walk on every fide, when

"the vileft of men are exalted."

But, without any further introduction, I shall accommodate the words of the text to the fent mournful occafion,

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I. T

I. I fhall open the important, useful and ami able characters, which are here specified.

II. Shall fhew what great reafon we have to lament the want, and deplore the lofs, of fuch perfons, who bear thefe characters. And,

III. Obferve how highly it becomes those who profefs a regard for religion, to look up to God, and cry mightily for his help, when the godly man ceafes, and the faithful fail from among the children of men.

I. I am to open the important, useful and amiable characters, which are here specified, viz. the godly and the faithful. So the words lie in our tranflation; but as the word rendered godly carries two ideas in it, and is fometimes translated merciful, as well as godly, I fhall therefore confider this threefold description: and through the whole use great plainness of fpeech.

I. Let us attend to the first of these characters, a godly man.

Men and manners are fo greatly depraved, that the very term is by many made matter of ridicule. They fneer at the word, because they dislike the thing; whereas godliness is the ornament, the beauty, the dignity and glory of human nature. It implies morality, honesty, fobriety; but it is much more.

1. Confider it as a principle that comes from God; not in a natural, but fupernatural way. AI

All mankind by nature are ungodly, or withbut God in the world; nor is it in the of any man to make himself godly. have a notion, that they can make themselves fo by performing the external acts of devotion but according to Scripture, the tree must be good, before the fruit can be good. Holiness, which is another word for godliness, is fpoken of in the Bible as the work of the Spirit of GOD; it is called therefore the fanctification of the Spirit, 2 Theff. ii. 13. and it flows from, and is accompanied with, faith in Christ Jefus, Alts xv. 9. and chap. xxvi. 18. When the Spirit of GOD unites a foul by faith to Christ as an head of righteousness and influence, that foul is not only then juftified from the guilt of fin, and accepted of God, but is alfo renewed and fanctified. This is the beginning and spring of true and vital godlinefs. This is that new heart and new spirit which GoD promises to put within his chofen people, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. No man then is godly in the fenfe of Scripture, but he in whom God has wrought a faving change, whose heart is turned from fin to God, from felf to Christ, from earth to heaven. This leads me,

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2. To fhow wherein godlinefs confifts.

I fpeak not merely of the form, but of the power of it. That is a good old faying, Godlinefs is God's Likeness; and where this Likeness is, there is,

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First, A fupreme love to GoD-Every godly man loves God, not only because God is kind and bountiful to him, but because Gop is holy in himfelf. He loves him as he is reconciled in and through Jefus Chrift; for there can be no complacency or love of delight in God, but as he has difcovered himself to us, and is confidered by us as a Gon of Love in a Mediator-Multitudes are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of GOD; a godly man is a lover of GoD more than a lover of the world, than all the pleasures and the treafures of it. As he loves God because he is holy, he must therefore love his image which is holiness on whom foever he difcerns it, 1 John v. 1. "Everyone "that loves him that begat, loves him alfo "that is begotten of him."

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Secondly, He is a godly man, who is a fincere and a conftant worshipper of Gop.

The love of a child to a parent is exemplified by his obedience. A child of GOD obeys his heavenly Father from love: And as the word of God is the rule which guides and governs his heart and life; therefore both his heart and life are devoted to the fear and fervice of God. As with the heart he believes unto righteoufnefs, fo with purpofe of heart he cleaves to the Lord. He is fuch a worshipper of God as our Lord defcribes in John iv. 24. "Gop is a Spirit, and they who worship him, "muft worship him in fpirit and truth.”

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