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who have hitherto neglected to pay serious attention to religion, who have neglected to do the will of God, and consequently have not known of the doctrine; and to press upon their consciences the obligation of entering without delay on that course of piety which my text enjoins. You have every encouragement before you. You have the means of grace provided. You have the word of God in your hands. You have the sabbath to dedicate to the concerns of eternity. The influences of the Holy Spirit, without which we can do nothing in religion, are vouchsafed to every supplicant. God has even promised to take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and give you an heart of flesh. All things are thus prepared. If you perish, the guilt is purely your own. I am now referring to the elementary duties of religion, and I use great plainness of speech. Begin to withdraw yourselves from temptation. Begin to withstand corrupt example; to avoid every known sin, and practise every known duty. Begin to pray. Begin to read the holy Scriptures. Begin to consider your state as transgressors. These are the very first steps towards heaven. He that neglects to take these steps contemns God, and will in vain attempt to excuse his ignorance of the higher principles of

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Christianity. You have been careless long enough; think now with solemnity of an eternal state. The time past of your life may suffice you to have wrought the will of men1; regard now the will of God. You have as yet been attracted by the vanities of this world; now turn your eyes to the realities of another. So far as you have exerted yourselves hitherto, you have relied on your own talents and accomplishments, and you have relied on them in vain; acknowledge now their insufficiency, and make them subordinate to the grace of God. If you thirst for knowledge, what knowledge is so important as that of the word of life? If you thirst for fame, what pursuit is so ennobling, as the investigation of divine truth? If you pant for honour, what honour can be compared with that which cometh from God? If you can be allured by interest, what gain can be even mentioned in comparison with the salvation of your souls? Without this indeed, what is every other acquisition? If our taste were the most correct, our learning the most profound, our information the most enlarged, and our fame the most illustrious that the world ever saw; if we could comprehend all the curiosities of science, and all the treasures of literature were poured at our feet; if we could

11 Pet. iv. 3.

embrace all that the restless mind of man ever conceived, so that nothing should remain for the imagination to invent, or the desires to pursue; still, what is all this, if we are ignorant of ourselves, and of Christ and holiness? What shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? What indeed are all the fading scenes of this momentary world? The time is at hand, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The period is hastening apace which will for ever put an end to this world and all its concerns; which, like a flood, will sweep away its learning and its ignorance, its distinctions and its disgrace, its applause and its frown, its pains and its pleasures, its good and its evil. The truths of which I have been speaking will ere long be realized. The awful glories of the last judgment will soon be unfolded, when the humble and penitent inquirer, who has done the will of God, and has consequently apprehended by faith that stupendous grace which the doctrine of Christ presented to him, shall be eternally saved; while the merely speculative student, whose secret love of sin and wilful neglect of God have led to his disobedience to the Gospel,

2 Matth. xvi. 26.

3 2 Pet. iii. 10.

shall, notwithstanding his barren notions and schemes, his abortive designs of amendment, and his presumption of final impunity, be for ever undone. In a word, the hour will speedily arrive, when every veil will be torn aside, and they that have done good shall rise to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation 4. Comply then without delay with the direction of the text. Do the will of God, and you shall know of the doctrine. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, for he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardons.

• John, v. 29.

5 Isaiah, lv. 6, 7.








On Monday, February 24, 1817;


Η πορνέυσασα, ζῆ μὲν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, ἀπέθανε δὲ ταῖς ἐντολαῖς· ἡ δὲ μετανοήσασα, οἷον ἀναγεννηθεῖσα κατὰ τὴν ἐπιστροφὴν τῶ βίς παλιγο Γενεσίαν ἔχει ζωῆς· τεθνηκυίας μὲν τῆς πύρνης τῆς παλαιᾶς, εἰς βίον δὲ παρελθέσης αὖθις τῆς κατὰ τὴν μετάνοιαν γεννηθείσης.

Clemens Alex. sub finem lib. ii. Stromat. p. 424.


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