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in our hearts, or a word in our tongues, but he knoweth it altogether. His eye now looks down from heaven upon us in this his holy place, and reads the sincerity or hypocrisy of our devotions. Happy they, who are not afraid to meet it; who can say, with the noble confidence of David, “ Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my “ heart; prove me, and examine my thoughts ; “ look well if there be any way of wickedness in “ me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

SERMON

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SE R M O N LX.

MICAH vi. 8.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and

what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with

thy God?

ages, has

WERE we to form our sentiments of re

ligion by the general practice of those who profess it, we should be tempted to imagine, either that God had given no religious system, or had given it in such a manner as could not be understood. For how often, in all it been made to consist in things which do not come up to its nature, or in things which are directly contrary to it? Men know that they have laws for moral behaviour; they know that they have acted in contradiction to them; and, from a sense of danger, they have endeavoured to be at peace with God; but not in the way of

his

.

his appointment, but of their own. Thus, in
the heathen world, men were terrified by their
sins, and therefore invented an endless and un-
profitable variety of expiatory ceremonies and
sacrifices. The people of Israel were happy in
a clearer knowledge of divine things : yet too
many of them also laid all the weight of re-
pentance upon outward things, upon numbers
of offerings, thousands of rams, and corporeal
lustrations. And even Christians, though blessed
with a Gospel of life and immortality, yet are too
apt to place religion in things which are only.
the circumstances and appendages. of it: they
will rend the garment, but not the heart: they
will fast and pray, and attend divine ordinances,
and then fancy that they have discharged the
.whole of their duty.

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To such men the words of the text are fitly addressed. In the beginning of the chapter from which they are taken, God enters into a controversy with his people, and, by the mouth of his Prophet, states the folly and unreasonableness of their being dissatisfied with his service; since, he required nothing at their hands but :what was fitting for a God to receive, and man to give. The Prophet then introduces the peo ple, as it were, sullenly demanding of God, what he would have their conduct to be:

66 Wherewith

“Wherewith : shaļl I come before, the Lord: Is not what I do for him in the way of sacrifice sufficient for the atonement of my sins? Will, he have all my estate; my flocks and herds, my sons and daughters; all the fruit of my body? Will nothing please but the sacrifice of all, I possess? No says the Prophet : this is not the aim of God; so far from this, that he requires: none; of these things, in comparison of duty: he hath shewed thee what is good: what is infinitely beyond the fạt of rams, ör rivers of oil; even “to “ do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly " with thy God." ;!.,

Whether we take the inquiry preceding the text in this sense, as expressive of a sullen dissat tisfaction at the service of God, or in the sense I have before mentioned, as expressive of an uncertainty and doubtfulness about the fittest and most acceptable method of serving him, the Prophet's answer is equally applicable, and descriptive of our whole duty, and therefore it would be mere waste of time, to consider to which interpretation the preference is dues

. It is evident from this declaration of the Prophet, that an obligation lies upon every mian to behave dutifully towards God. " He hath " shewed thee, Oman, what is good," and VOL. III.

s . A therefore

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