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and will recover my wool and my flax." What pity is it that God's indulgence should be abused to his dishonour! The more his bounty shines on perverse and rebellious men, the more luxuriant is the growth of their vicious habits. But it will appear by and by, that as God hath favours to beflow, he hath also justice to execute his threatened displeasure. Though sentence against evil works be not executed speedily, let not the hearts of the .children of men be fully set in them to do evil; for the day is coming when abused goodness will no longer forbear. Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish shall be awarded to every soul of man who continueth to do evil.
Where grace can neither melt nor move, The Lamb resents his injured love, Awakes his wrath without delay, And Judah's Lion tears the prey. The subject will furnish us with a word of conviction also for those who put no value upon God's special favour. Among these, some there are who are inore desirous of friendship with the great men of this world, than of friendship with God. An ambitious pursuit after the honour which cometh from men is one of the grand obstructions to true faith, and real piety. “ How can ye believe who
receive honour one of another, and feek not the ho. nour which cometh from God only ?" The apostle tells us, that the friendship of this world is enmity with God, and, consequently, that if any man will be, at all events, the friend of the world, he is the enemy of God. Mofes put a proper value on the divine favour, when he esteemed even the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.
It is an high attainment to be able to say, with truth and sincerity, · Lord, let me have thy favour, though, in my adherence to thee, I should forfeit the regard of every man upon earth.' Reader, confider within yourfelf, what good the favour of the great can do you in the hour of death, or at the day of judgment. Can they give bail for you, when you are arrested by the king of terrors ? Can they stand forth in your defence at the awful bar of God ? Nay, can their friendship even free you either from
of conscience, or pains of body? In these cases, they can afford no help, when help is most of all needed. The favour of God alone can answer these purposes. Yet upon this few men put any proper value.
But there are others of difpofitions ftill more base and sordid, who prefer impure and sensual gratifications to the favour of the Most High. They have no concern about friendship with their Maker ;
the pleasures of sin, though but for a season, are all they crave. The apostle Paul speaks of these with grief and indignation, “ Whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame.” They make the gratification of carnal views and pleasures their principal aim ; the pampering of their own brutal appetites, in rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, is their chief good. They even boast of those things, which, instead of being to their honour, are scandalous and disgraceful to human nature. The end of such men, without repentance, we are assured, is destruction.
The world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doth the will of God abideth for ever. The divine favour which real christians enjoy, will make them perfectly and everlastingly happy, when the fons of fenfuality are lifting up their eyes in hell, being in torments.
These men have their good things here; they have such a measure of the bounty of providence, as perhaps some of God's dear children are denied; whose lot it is to be poor in this world, but rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which Gad has prepared for them that love him; who entreat the divine favour with their whole hearts; who earnestly long and daily pray for the assured tokens of it;
and such shall not be disappointed. But as the poet fings,
Fools never raise their thoughts so high,
Our Lord teaches us, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, that in the world to come, the miserable fons of sensuality will behold the felicity of those in heaven, whom they have seen in a state of affliction and poverty upon earth; and that this discovery will be a great aggravation of their own misery. “ The rich man died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bofom." He had a discovery of the seat and company of the blessed, which added weight to his own misery, and so much the more, as there he beheld
Lazarus, whom he had formerly neglected and defpised, in a state of perfect tranquillity, honour and joy.
O how terrible and insupportable will the reflections of those men be in that day, who have lived only after the flesh, and had no regard for the favour of him, on whom all our felicity-depends !
- Reader, descend with me, by way of contemplation,
into the dismal abodes of horror and despair, and liften, for a moment, to the cries and lamentations of one of those lost fouis, who once wallowed in sensual delights, and lived without God in the world. .
“ Woe is me, wretch that I am! This is the end of
my ungodly courses, the just reward of my evil deeds. I lived regardless of my own everlasting welfare. I disregarded the awful threatenings of that just and holy Being, whose anger now falls upon me, like a consuming fire. I took pleafure in that which his soul abhors; I made a mock of fin; but I now find that it bites like a serpent, and ftings like an adder. In vain were friendly warnings given me; in vain was I told, from time to time, that destruction should be to the workers of iniquity. I hardened myself in impiety, and cast off the fear of the Almighty. I flattered myself in my own deceivings and cried peace and safety, till fud. den destruction came upon me, as travail upon a woman with child; and now, hopeless condition! there is no way of escape. I said unto God, Depart from me, I désre not the knowledge of thy ways. I sought not his favour, I had no regard for friend. ship with him. Upon this I put no value. And now, I am for ever cut off from all hope of enjoying his blissful presence. The sentence is just