Imágenes de página
PDF

-->

Sins and Follies of our Lives, and the Defe&ts which may be chargeable even upon our Former Exercises of Repentance itself? If it be found, after all Past Instances of Humiliation, that Worldly Men have still Relapsed into their Eager Love and Pursuits of the things of the World; The Drunkard and Glutton, into his Intemperance and Excess; The Impure, into his Pollutions; the Proud and Supercilious, into his wonted High Esteem of Himself, and Contempt, or Neglećt of Others; The Passionate and Boisterous, into their Usual Forgetfulness of Themselves, and Indulgence of their Tumultuous Passions; The Slothful and Negligent in the Duties of Religion, into their former Laziness and Remisiness; the Hypocrite, into his Old Tricks of Falsecolouring and Misrepresentation, retiring within his Cover'd Ways, and running the Fatal Rounds of Pretence and Disguise; The Faëtious, Prejudiced, and Partial, into his Inveterate Spirit of Fačtion, Prejudice and Division; The Uncharitable and Unmerciful, into his Customary, Impious Disregard to the Miseries of his - Brethen;

-

‘Brethren: If in These, or, any other Instances of Iniquity, it be found, that, after all our Fastings and Humiliations, Sighs and Tears, Vows and Resolutions,

we are still the very Same Men, have still run Back into the Dominion of the yery Same Passions, and Allowance of the Same Vicious Pračtices, as Before, we may Hence draw this Afflićting and Woful Consequence for our selves, That we are still Obnoxious to the Indignation of our Maker, we are still to Begin the great Work of our Repentance Afresh, and to Humble our selves before God, even for the Inefficacy and Unfruitfulness of our Former Humiliations before Him. Whosoever is in this Unhappy Case, should obey the Prophet's Injunétion, and Indeed Rent his Heart, under this Reflexion, That All he hath hitherto done, fignifies nothing; For All does signify nothing, if he hath still fallen off from his Holy Purposes, if he hath still returned to his former Sinful Courses, and be still Swayed and Governed by his Unruly Passions, of what Kind soever they be. Let * . . . . . . . . . o " . - every every such Person mourn, as One who will not be Comforted; Will not? Cannot be, otherwise, comforted, than under the Hopes of God's Mercy, upon the Condition of that Repentance, which is still to be Perform’d, and which he must Begin with the Profoundest Sorrow, if he would have it'Terminate in the Perfection of Joy. - Let us no longer dare to Trifle with God, and Deceive our Selves. Nothin can render Him Propitious to Us, but the Faithful Discharge of our o to Him. May therefore the Sincerity of our Repentance effeótually recommend us to his Mercy and Favour This Day, and may every succeeding Day of our Lives be a New Proof of That Sincerity. -z 2. 'Tis our Duty, to Detes; and Bewail the Sims of Other Persons, and to Deprecate that Divine /engeance, which may jusly fall upon the Kingdom, on account of Their Sims, or, our Own. In a Future State indeed, no Body shall be hurt by any Man's Sins, but Himself. The Proper Weight of Punishment Due to every Man's Guilt, w i al

--------------------------

laid upon his own Person Alone. But this Rule does not hold good, in all the Distributions of Punishment, in This State. Nations and Communities, as such, do finally Dissolve and Cease in This World; And therefore, as such, they are to be Rewarded and Punished Here, or not at all. And, when God sends a General Calamity upon a Nation, Those who have Provoked him to it, are not the Only Sufferers by it; Their Neighbours are distressed, as well as 7%emselves, who have been the Cause of such Distress. And This is One Weighty Reason of our Detesting and Bewailing other Mens Sins, and of Proving the Reality of this Detestation and Sorrow, by bearing our Testimony against them, upon all Proper Occasions: 'Tis a Reason abundantl

Sufficient to justify our being so highly concern'd for the Iniquities and Abominations of our Fellow-Citizens and Countreymen, as to testify that Concern, no less by Exhorting or Reproving them, as Circumstances Require, than by Mourn—

ing and Praying for them.

But

But so Injudicious, and Injurious are Wicked Men, as to account such Reproof and Exhortations, the Effects of a Meddling and Impertinent Spirit. In the Defence even of their Blasphemy, their Burlesques upon God and Religion, and, to use St. Jude's Words, of all their hard Speeches, which Ungodly Simmers have spoken agains; the Lord, they are wont to express Themselves, in much the same way, as Those Haughty Scorners, who are introduced by the Psalmift, saying, * With our Tongue will we prevail; our Lips are our own, who is Lord over us? They are apt to say, and to say it with Pirulency enough, That no Man hath any thing to do with Them, or Their Behaviour: And whosoever Concerns himiself with Them, is Petulant, and AffeČted, and Phantastical. Happy indeed would it be for Humane Society, if the Truth of this their Observātion were but equal to the Acrimony of it. But the Advantages, or the Misfortunes, the Joys, or the Sorrows of all

[ocr errors]

* * * * *,

« AnteriorContinuar »