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2 Peter iii.
Seeing then, that all these things shall be dis
folved, — what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? looking and hastening unto the coming of God.
HE fubject upon which St. Peter is dif
coursing in this chapter, is the certainty of Christ's coming to judge the world; and the words of the text are the moral application he draws from the representation he gives of it,-in which, in answer to the cavils of the scoffers in the latter days, concerning the delay of his coming, he tells them, that God is not flack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but is long suffering to us ward ;---that the day of the Lord will
come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.-Seeing then, says he, all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ?-The inference is unavoidable,
-at least in theory, however it fails in practice ;--how widely these two differ, I intend to make the subject of this discourse; and though it is a melancholy comparison, to consider, “what manner of persons we really are,' with what manner of persons we ought to be,' yet as the knowlege of the one, is at least one step towards the improvement in the other, the parallel will not be thought to want its use.
Give me leave, therefore, in the first place, to recall to your observations, what kind of world it is we live in, and what manner of persons we really are.
Secondly, and in opposition to this, I shall make use of the apostle's argument, and from a brief representation of the Christian religion, and the obligations it lays upon us, fhew, what manner of persons we ought to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hakening unto the coming of the day of God.
Whoever takes a view of the world will, I fear, be able to discern, but very faint marks of this character, either upon the looks or actions of its inhabitants. Of all the ends and pursuits we are looking for, and hastening unto,--this would be the least suspected,-- for without running into that old declamatory cant upon
the wickedness of the age, we may fay within the bounds of truth,--that there is as little influence from this principle which the apoftle lays stress on, and as little sense of religion,--as small a share of virtue (at least as little of the appearance of it) as can be supposed to exist at all in a country where it is countenanced by the state.-The degeneracy of the times has been the common complaint of many ages :- how much we exceed our forefathers in this, is known alone to that God who trieth the hearts.-But this we may be allowed to urge in their favour, they ftudied at least to preserve the appearance of