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every morning and evening ? pious, and humble, and sober, and chaste, and neighbourly, and kind to all; desirous to improve, fearful to offend; and when done all, do you rely wholly upon the

mercy of God for the acceptance of these imperfect services ? If with a hearty good intention you have set yourselves to the performance of these necessary gospel-duties, you are of the number of “ the righteous.”

But still it is said, that even “ these righteous will scarcely be saved.” This seems at first sight a very hard saying”; yet it is no more than the uniform declaration of the scriptures; and, therefore, I proceed the more readily, as I promised, to, explain it.

Now it is to be noted, that the word ¢ scarcely,” which makes all the difficulty here, does by no means imply any, the smallest, doubt of any such fincere chriftians being saved, but only the impossibility of their being placed in a state of salvation by their own righteousness alone.

Even the very best man living abounds with imperfections, and has reason to ap

proach

proach the throne of infinite justice in no bolder terms than those of the humble publican, “ Lord! be merciful to me ą finner.” I believe those who live the beft, and examine the most narrowly into their own conduct, are the most sensible of this truth. But there are few of you will contradict the express words of the scripture and of our liturgy;) viz. that “ we are all gone out of the way,” that “ we have done amiss and dealt wickedly;" both in “ doing those things which we ought not to have done,” and in " leaving undone those things which we ought to have done.”

I might enlarge upon this subject, but I must proceed to consider the remaining characters in our text of “ the ungodly and the sinner,” and to thew their deplorable and hopeless fituation.

Nothing is so common as to expect to be saved by a partial compliance with God's laws, or that two or three of the talents paid which we owe to his justice, will excuse us for the many

thousands remaining on account. For, not to insist at present on that fundamental article of our salvation, “ faith in

Christ;"

Chrift;" nor to mention the scandalous defects of all, in the more active duties of chriftianity; such as, suppressing vice by our counfel and example, promoting every scheme for the advancement of God's honour with as much diligence as we should do our private interest or pleasure, endeavouring constantly to convey instruction in our common conversation, visiting the fick, comforting the afflicted, and following the steps of our divine master, “ in going about doing good;" duties which are thought peculiar to the clergy, or, however, above the sphere of common christians, though no other than the undistinguithed precepts of the new Testament to every man, at every seasonable opportunity.

When we cast our eyes upon our own people in the plainest acts of christian morality, we shall fee one who will not come to church, under a pretence of saying his prayers at home; another who will not relieve the poor, or perhaps as he walks home from the public worship of his God, defames his innocent neighbour; a third, who will indulge himself in drunkenness ; a fourth in his lust another in swearing frequently in his dis

course;

course ; in short, there is not one commandment in the whole decalogue that has not been excepted against by some christian or other in the general plan of his life, who, nevertheless, very gravely talks of being a good man, and doubts not of being saved, fome how or other, when he comes to die. But, surely, if these men be saved, it must be by some revelation that we are unacquainted with; and some other gospel than that we have received by Jesus Christ. By that gospel we are indeed informed that

Jesus Christ the righteous is a propitiation for our sins,” but that can only be for those fins that we have repented of and forsaken: and, moreover, it is recorded, that “ whoever (wilfully, considerately, and habitually) offends in one point, he is guilty of all.”

The next character described in our text is so the finner ;” that is, as I conceive, that wretched body of men who live in open

defiance of all morality, in a general course of cheating, swearing, drunkenness, or lust; intending, probably, sometime or other, to repent, and having a confused notion, in

general, that God is merciful. O wretched sinner! God is merciful, but what is that to thee? There is a point which mercy cannot exceed, for though he is merciful, he is also just. Though baptised into his faith, thou hast never taken the trouble to inquire about it; though retained in his service, thou hast daily broken his commandments; though living by his power, thou hast been unmindful of thy creator ; though supported by his providence, thou haft been ungrateful to thy preserver. Well, therefore, may we conclude with the apostle in my text, that if “ the righteous,” those who sincerely endeavoured to do the whole will of God, “ should scarcely be saved';" or, could with difficulty make their services acceptable to God, “ where shall the ungodly and the finner appear ?" that is, in how wretched a state must they be, who either partially obey his commands, or intirely flight his injunctions. But let us hear what other scriptures say in conformity to this observation : “ Know

finner!

“ Know ye not,” says the apostle to the Corinthians, " that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God! Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,

nor

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