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tion betrayed into apostacy, may not, like Peter, have the advantage to hear the cock crow twice, and thus be excited to early, unfeigned, and accepted repentance. It will urge us “to cleanse ourselves from secret faults," and to check presumptuous sins before they get the dominion over us. Finally, it will guide our steps to that most honourable and most happy situation, in which we, by the aid of heaven, have procured for ourselves a conscience void of offence both towards God and towards man.
But when provision has been so amply made for our innocence and our tranquillity, who must not lament, that from the giddiness of voluptuousness, the frowardness of infatuation, and the insolence of power, there should be so many rivals to the influence, so many traitors to the interests, so many rebels to the authority of the guide graciously given to us from above? It is indeed scarcely possible to avoid the appearances of exaggeration, when we pourtray the deformity of those sins, which arise from the often stifled or often vanquished suggestions of conscience.
From opportunities for personal observation, or from attention to the records of history, we shall find that circumstances have sometimes existed more deplorable than the case of Herod, and that greater wickedness has been accompanied with less remorse.
Offenders there may be, who, if the spectre of John reeking with blood has not hitherto scared them in their dreams, would be little disposed to believe that he would rise from the dead, or to hopour him for those stupendous works, which Herod ascribed to John. Amidst scenes of coarse and noisy debauchery, they would be rather inclined to trample upon his breathless corpse. Triumphing in the plenitude of their might and the success of their machinations, they would hail with loud plaudits the spectacle of his head placed in a charger on their luxurious table. They would buffet his memory with savage taunts - they, with unabated and undistinguishing acrimony, would expatiate upon faults, whether justly or unjustly imputed to him. Mingling hypocrisy with scorn, they would inveigh against him as an impostor who deserved to diem-they, with studied and diversfied indignities, would commit his body to the grave-maliciously and profanely they would consign his soul to the regions of the accursed.
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“ He that hath ears to hear let him hear”-let him pause, let him reflect, let him examine, let him be slow to echo and re-echo every sentence of condemnation pronounced by the lips of the rash, of the obsequious, of the unfeeling, and of that hireling crew, who, as a philosophical poet tells us,
drop the man in their account And vote the mantle into majesty.
YOUNG, Night 6th.
To conclude. Uunquestionably, my brethren, the persecution of John was a heinous sin. But Herod, like the men upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, was not perhaps the greatest of sinners, If, therefore, in any other country, or in any other
should have been persons, who followed the example of Herod rather in his crime than in his penitence, deeply must they have been interested in this solemn declaration—“ Except ye repent, (doubtless in the world to come) ye shall likewise perish.”
But from such guilt, arising from such causes, in habitual insensibility, or deliberate disobedience to the warnings of conscience, may God in his mercy protect every man, who hears me this day.
ACTS xxii. 25.
And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion
that stood by, is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned ?
To men eminently distinguished for the extent of their learning and the depth of their researches, it has appeared an appropriate, and I had almost said, an exclusive character of the Christian revelation, that so many parts of it are delivered in an historical form. The commands laid down by our blessed Lord, though sufficiently comprehensive to direct us aright in all the internal postures of our minds, and in all the varities of our external condition, are not burthensome from their number, nor are they removed from the common moral apprehension of believers, by artificial arrangement, by subtle and minute distinctions, or by curious and recondite modes of expression. Thus far then, the gracious Author of our salvation has provided that we should understand what we ought to practice; and for the same great end, yet further provision has been made by the numerous, and most impressive, and most instructive narratives, which constitute so very large, and so very useful a part of the sacred records.
* March 1797.
In those records example comes in to the aid of precept. The true spirit of Christianity is unfolded by the personal conduct of its holy founder, and of his immediate followers ; in so much that, were it possible for us to entertain any doubt upon the import or the extent of the laws prescribed to us, no diligent and impartial reader of the Gospel can long be at a loss for practical illustrations.
To men, therefore, who live, as the indulgent providence of God has long permitted the inhabitants of this nation to live, under the guidance of fixed and systematic laws, the passage I have just now read to you, must seem an illustration of this kind, most worthy of our attention. St. Paul had been rescued from the violence of his intolerant and bigoted countrymen by Roman soldiers, who carried him into a place called the Castle of Antonia in Jerusalem ; and as he stood upon the stairs he obtained leave from the chief captain to make his defence in the Hebrew tongue, before a Hebrew audience, whom he affectionately addressed by the appellation of“ Men, brethren, and fathers." For a time they listened to his solemn statements and his masterly reasonings with some curiosity, or at least without impatience. But when the Apostle told them that Jesus, whom they were conscious of having crucified, had commanded him “to go far hence to the Gentiles,” the mean and captious prejudices of his hearers took the alarm-they cast off their