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when our Hearts are ready, we may praise the Lord with the best Member that we have; that that Meekness and Charity which the Gospel inspires, that Innocence and Simplicity which adorn a Christian Conversation, may run through all our Discourse ; and that while we minister Grace unto the Hearers, we may treasure up our own Justification against that Day, wherein by our Words we shall be justified, and by our Words we shall be condemned.
ROMANS vi. 21. What Fruit had ye then in those things
whereof ye are now ashamed ? for the End of those things is Death.
Ga@ SHER E Interest and Hap
piness are apparently conCew cern'd, there seems to be
no Room at all left for Per
swasion ; and the Suggestions of our Nature, one would imagine, should anticipate the Force of any encicing Words of Exhortation, in the Pursuit of whatever may be good and profitable to us, and in the rejecting whatVol. I. Q 2
ever is hurtful and prejudicial. Yet continual Experience evinces, how palpably Men act against their highest Interest; and how strongly our Affections, the Tendency of which is to the Attainment of Happiness in general, prompt us to the Profecu. tion of finful Objects, at the same time that we cannot but be sensible upon the least Recollection, that nothing brings upon us more certain and substantial Misery.
THE Sensualift in his cooler Thoughts cannot but condemn those Vices as odious, which through the Heat of Desire, he acts over with so much Greediness; and could he but so regulate his Affections, as to submit them to the conftant Guidance of his Reason, Vice would ever appear equally detestable ; and the Danger and Baseness of Sin would fill his Mind with such glaring and affecting Apprehensions of its Nature and Consequences, that he would live in an habitual Fear and Shape of falling into the Commission of it.
The Holy Scripture is very large and frequent, in describing Sin under every Character and Allusion, that niay pro
voke our Detestation and Abhorrence: Thus, for Instance, the Continuance in a State of Sin is called walking in the Night, the being in a State of Darkness; Circumstances full of Horror and Uncertain. ty, Confusion and Danger : Awake out of Sleep, and awake to Righteousness, says the Apostle, intimating that Sin is a State of Sleep, a State of Insensibility and Delusion.
But we need not go on to recount all the Particulars, wherein the Sacred Writings express the wretched Condition of Sin ; the Words before us will be found to take in the whole Argument: For here the Apostle, under the Allegory of a Service, is shewing the Reasonableness of performing our Duty in the most entire and chearful Obedience, and this is the Amount of his Reasoning : While we were under the Slavery of Sin, we yielded our Members Servants of Iniquity unto Iniquity ; i. e. we gave up ourselves to fulfil every Lust and Affection ; but being made free from that, and admitted into another Service, viz. that of Religion, we ought to yield our Members
Servants of Righteousness unto Holiness; i. e. with the fame Fidelity and sincere Submission, we ought to satisfy the Duties of Pure and Holy Living : And this will appear much more reasonable, if we reflect upon the different Characters, wherein these Services stand recommended us : The service of God is truly lovely and beneficial; we thereby have our Fruit unto Holiness, and our End everlasting Life : But, on the contrary, the Service of Sin is unfruitsul, it is scandalous, it is destructive; and for Proofthere. of, the Apostle appeals even to the Experience and Sentiments of those who have been engaged in that Service: What Fruit had ye then of those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the End of those things is Death.
Now the only Circumstances which are the true Grounds of Hatred, are either the Mischief which we do, or may receive from, or the inherent Foulness and Ugliness of the Objects, towards which we exercise this Affe&ion: And how eminently thefe Circumstances agree with Sin; with what Fuiness of Truth