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a course of fin : for such meditations as these do naturally tend to break the power and dominion of it. Who that considers that God is a spirit, who searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of the children of men, can satisfy himself to play the hypocrite, and run on in a round of external duties, without any correspondent affection of soul? Indeed for a man who worships an image, to be little concerned about the frame and temper of his mind, is nothing so very strange and unnatural: but for a man who worships an intelligent being, acquainted with the secrets of his heart, for such a one to be insincere, is the most absurd thing in the world. God is a Spirit ; and they who worship bim muft worship him in spirit and in truth ; says our Saviour, John IV. 24.
Again : who that considers God as a being every where present, and makes this thought familiar to his mind, can indulge himself in vice? For thus he argues with himself: ' 'Tis impossible for me to fly from God; and there
fore vain to think that I can have the • licence to fin in one place any more • than in another : for God, who ob• serves my actions and will call me to
an account for them, is equally pre• sent in all places ;' according to that of the pfalmist, Pfal. CXXXIX. 7 – 10. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither Mall I fly from thy presence ? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there : if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there : if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall bold me.
Again : the thought of God's omnipotence has a natural tendency to suppress finful inclinations. For a rational man will be apt to argue after this
If I rebel against God, and • disobey his laws, I must necessarily
incur his wrath and displeasure : and who can stand before his indignation ; who can abide the fierceness of his anger? He is not like the children of men ; who are many times big with the thoughts and purposes of revenge, but want power to put them in execution. No: he hath power and might irrefistible: he can with a word speak me into nothing ; or, which is more terrible than that, he can cast me into hell, and there make me the subject of his vengeance to all eternity.
The thought of God's omniscience may be improved much to the same purposé as that of his spirituality. It naturally tends to make a man fincere in all acts of religion, and to engage
him to banish from his mind all vain and sinful thoughts ; which, tho they may be conceal'd from men, yet are all naked and open unto the divine being.
If to these attributes of God be added that of his eternal duration we have thence likewise a very powerful argument against vice and wickedness. If the omnipresence, the omnipotence, and the omniscience of God were only temporary, and the time were coming when he should no longer be present every where, no longer be infinite in power and knowledge ; the finner would have somewhat of an excuse. But this is an absurd supposition. Those perfections which he now enjoys, he always hath enjoy'd, and always will. He is the same yesterday, to day, and
for ever Let us now consider the moral attributes of God, and see how the contemplation of them tends to destroy sinful appetites. And first; what is more apt to check the mocions of fin, than the confideration of the holiness and purity of the divine nature ? How can that man think of approving himself to God, who takes no care to resemble him in the temper of his mind? Which seems to have the faireft title to the favour of God; he who purifies himself as God is pure, or he who is alienated from the life of God by wicked works? The question seems easy to be answer'd, if we consult the light of nature only: which teaches us that they are best beloved of God who are most like unto him: and revelation
perfectly agrees herewith; which assures us that the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and his countenance doth behold the upright, but the wicked ånd him who loveth violence, his soul hateth; Psalm XI. 7, 5.
The veracity of God is another attribute which is apt to beget religious sentiments in us. God hath promised many favours and blessings to the righteous, and denounced and terrible threatnings against the wicked and ungodly. Now we may depend upon it, that all these promises will be fulfilled, and threatnings executed. For the strength of Israel will not lye, nor repent : for he is not a man that he should repent. The council of the Lord
ftandeth for ever; the thoughts of bis beart unto all generations. Whofo is firmly persuaded of this, will scarce have courage to persist in a course of sin; which he is sure will be attended with such fatal consequences.
But the goodness of God is, of all his other attributes, the most powerful to restrain men from fin, and persuade them to live a virtuous life. What can be more reasonable, than to endeavour to please him who bestows so many favours upon us ; to whom we owe our life, and all the comforts of it; who, protects us from innumerable evils to which we are exposed, and provides for us all things pertaining unto life and godliness ? Are we not under the highest obligations to do the will of God? who hath not Spared bis own Son, but delivered him up for us all, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life. Any ingenupus mind would scorn to do any thing that is displeasing to a being so kind and bountiful. To render evil for good, and hatred for love, is something prodigiously shocking to human nature. What !' says the Apostle, Rom. VI. I. Mall we continue in fin, that grace may