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He bath been the more inclined to trespass upon the public indulgence, with these essays, from the con. sideration of the numberless errors and of the great des parture from evangelical truth, which appear in these latter days, to the molestation, and in part to the subversion, of the professing Christian world. It is awful to reflect, how men can dare, in this our land especially, to appeal by oaths to the God of truth fontheir hearty (ex animo) belief of those things, which immediately afterwards they can covertly undermine, or openly and shamelessly declare not to believe. The perjuries, which have been avowedly committed upon this account, are sufficient, both in number and weight, to crush any establishment into ruins. It is not a light thing to depart from principles, authorized and owned of God. The Jewish state and dispensation were not overthrown, but upon the dereliction of those great truths, for which, as a nation, they were raised, and on which they stood. The Arian renunciation of the true doctrine of the Trinity, without which the Christian religion itself must fall, brought the overwhelming scourge of the Mahometan infidelity on the once-flourishing churches of Asia, which threw them to the ground. And, to add no more, the church of Rome seems verging fast to entire decay, by the suppression of true doctrine, and by the introduction of false tenets and idle superstitions, equally offensive to common sense and to the beautiful truth and simplicity of the Christian religion.
But, amidst all the circumstances of outward desolation, there is a consolation for the Christian's heart, which can never be taken away: The foundation of God standeth sure;
the Lord knoweth them that are his; and they are safe. When the world itself falls into destruction, these shall be preserved, and shall shine forth in the regions of bliss. The Lord himself is their keeper now; and their glorifier for evermore.- what a prospect is this, in the midst of all the darkness of an evil world! what a consumma tion! what a joy! Life here is nothing in that view, nor all the matters of life. Death vanishes, with his terrors, before the faith and hope of this radiant scene. Eternity, awful eternity, with all its height and depth, appears only a boundless ocean of liberty, light, and love; to which every moment is carrying on the soul, and which the soul is led to pant after, the nearer it approaches, and the more it perceives it.— my God! what hast thou prepared for them that love thee! What a covenant manifested, ordered in all things and sure! What a fulfilment effected, arising in all things beyond the language or the thought of man! How art thou, O FATHER, glorified in thy vast designs of truth and love! how art thou, O blessed Son, exalted in the rich display of thy mercy and grace! how art thou, O Holy Spirit, triumphantly extolled in the full and perfect completion of all thy wonderful acts in the souls of men! Thou one adorable JEHOVAH in three persons; to thee, to thee, and only to thee, be all the honor and glory, all the dominion and power, all the happiness and mercy, ascribed, world without end!
Let every creature, then, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, say ; blessing, and honor, and
glory glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the LAMB for ever and ever. Chiefly, let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and who understand his loving kindness and truth: let them give thanks unto his holy name; for he is good, and doeth good; and his mercy endureth for ever. AMEN.
A SUPPOSED DIALOGUE IN HEAVEN,
THE CRUCIFIED THIEF,
THE APOSTLE PAUL,
DISCUSSING THE QUESTION,
Who was the greater Sinner of the two before Conversion
For this Cause, Í obtained Mercy, that in me First Jesus
Christ might show forth ALL LONG-SUFFERING," for a
Paul.-I am glad to see you in this blessed place, my brother. You came hither some time before me; but, through astonishing mercy, I also arrived at last, blessed be my Redeemer!
Thief.- If you are surprised, that mercy was granted to you for life eternal'; how much greater wonder may I feel, that so vile a wretch as I should have been ranBb
somed from destruction, and admitted to such a place, and to such company, as I find here !
Paul.-It is a wonder, indeed, that you should be saved; and doubtless you are a striking monument of peculiar mercy: but I, however, appear to myself, a far superior proof of the riches of divine grace, and a far greater miracle of the divine power, than you are, notwithstanding the apparent circumstances of your wicked life in the lower world.
Thief. I will readily allow, that you may have a much deeper sense and more enlarged views of the goodness of God, than I am capable of; and this indeed is a proof of brighter endowments, and, in that sense, of richer grace and mercy: but, in another view, considering me in my state of pature, I certainly must appear a more enormous sinner than you were in the same state; and consequently my salvation, in respect of our unconverted condition, a more surprising instance of divine condescension and favor.
Paul.With respect to bodily acts of sin and to offences against civil society, I admit, that your life an conversation were more atrocious and pernicious than mine. But, when it pleased God to open my blind eyes and manifest me to my own self, I discovered greater enormities in my heart and conduct against God, than could be found in your practices against men, detestable as they certainly were.
Thief.~Very few, I believe, in the lower world will either understand or allow of this. What! shall it be said then, that my roguery, treason, murder, and all sorts of destructive wickedness, were less crimes, than