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that incomprehensible instance of the divine love in the redemption of the guilty lost race of Adam, by Jesus Christ, God's own eternal son. To those who are acquainted with the gospel dispensation, and such, I trust, are all within these walls, all I shall say is, that if they are able to stand out against the mercy and loving kindness therein expressed, their own consciences cannot but acquiesce in their condemnation. What could be done for us, that God has not al ready done? if this instance of goodness is scorned, mercy itself, even the divine mercy, can do no more;

and what must be the misery of that man, whom eternal justice cannot but condemn, and whose stinging reflections must reproach with having obstinately rejected the highest offers of goodness which even God could make ? “ For if " we sin wilfully after that we have received the

knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no

more sacrifice for sins*.” If we would know, therefore, the way to maintain“a conscience void “ of offence toward God,” it is to live under the power and influence of religion, or, in other words, from a sense of the number and greatness of the benefits conferred upon us by God, to have our hearts filled with the most ardent feelings of affection and gratitude towards him,

* Heb. x. 26,

which will naturally express themselves in an universal and unreserved obedience to all his commandments--for this is always the genuine and most undoubted proof of love. It is ever the nature of real affection to pay an unlimited regard to the pleasure of the beloved object, by carefully avoiding what is likely to offend, and constantly pursuing what may procure satisfaction; and even pain incurred in such a cause is far from being disagreeable--but with the love of God, our own self interest is likewise strictly connected, nay it is the very sum and substance of our happiness, for " in the keeping of God's commandments is great reward.” When the apostle therefore says, “ he exercised himself “ constantly to have a conscience void of offence “ toward God," he means that it was the business of his heart and life, his chief study and aim, to do what was well pleasing in his sight, to live to his praise and glory.

Again, to have “ a conscience void of offence “ toward men,” is to live in the habitual practice of those duties which we owe to one another, according to the different circumstances and relations in which we stand to one another, which duties, together with those we owe to our Maker, which have been already mentioned, comprehend the by the

whole of a christian's duty, and are summed up

great author of the religion which we profess in a very few words: “ Thou shalt love the « Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all

thy soul, and with all thy mind : this is the “ first and great commandment. And the se«s cond is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neigh“ bour as thyself. On these two commandments

hang all the law and the prophets*.” It were endless to recount all the particulars contained under this head; we are generally well acquainted with them, at least we ought to be so : in case we should ever find ourselves at a loss, our Saviour has given us a short, plain, and unerring rule to direct us herein: “ All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do

ye even so unto them.” We are naturally partial to ourselves, we are very much disposed to believe that we have more good, and fewer bad qualities than is really the case ; this rule of our divine Master will teach us then to examine the conduct of our fellow men in the mirror of selflove, which never fails to extenuate blemishes and enhance excellencies; it will likewise teach us, that as we stand in need of the assistance of others in order to our well-being in life, so we are bound to contribute all in our power to the

* Matt. xxii. 37, 38, 39, 40.

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relief and assistance of such of our brethren of mankind as stand in need of them at our hands : that as we frequently offend against our fellow men, and consequently stand in need of their forgiveness, so it is our duty to be of a mild and forgiving disposition toward them who have trespassed against us: that as our reputation and good name often lie at the mercy of others, and as we would wish to be tenderly dealt with in this particular, so it becomes us to be sparing and tender of the character of others. In a word, that it is our duty, both as rational creatures and christians, to root out from our hearts every remainder of vitiated passion, which too often hurries us on to the commission of what is highly indecent, and injurious to others, the consequence of which cannot fail to fill our own breast with the most cutting remorse, when the furious unruly gust is subsided; and who would be such a fool, as, for the boisterous pleasure of a moment's gratification, to run the dreadful, the certain risque of a lasting pain ? Instead then of being the slaves of passion, to which we are so much addicted, let us endeavour to imitate the example of our blessed Saviour,“ who did no sin, neither was

guile found in his mouth; who, when he was

reviled, reviled not again, when he was perse“ cuted he threatened not;” whose forgiveness extended even to those who embrued their hands in his blood; and let us endeavour to live in the practice of those virtues which tend to promote the peace, happiness, and good order of society, with which our own well being is naturally and necessarily connected. In order thereto, let us consider, that the light in which the christian religion teaches us to consider the whole human race, is that of brothers, of children of the same common father, of candidates for the same heavenly inheritance: let this have its due influence with us, teaching us to “ love one another, to be

kindly affectioned one towards another, with brotherly love forgiving one another, even as “ God for Christ's sake hath loved and forgiven “us.” This shall suffice, at present, as a brief explication of the exercise the apostle here mentions as his constant employment; namely, the habitual practice of all the duties arising from a principle of love to God, and to mankind. I proceed in the

Second place, to illustrate the happiness of having a conscience thus clear and serene, and the misery of a contrary situation. It is common, even to a proverb, to observe, that virtue is its own reward, and vice its own punishment; and in the nature of things it cannot be other

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