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SERM. habits (which can alone be gained by the XII. w constant practice of virtue, and the sin
cere love of it) we should not only be totally unworthy of the society of heavenly spirits, but absolutely unable to partake of their happiness, were it possible we could intrude ourselves amongst them.
Christianity, no less than the religion of nature, commands from her votaries perfection; but here is the difference between the two -- the latter accepts of nothing but a perfection, which is absolute; while, through Christ, the earnest and constant endeavours of his disciples will be accepted, however short they may fall of success. This is a point, which requires well to be understood. Christ came upon earth to save us from the rigour of divine justice, which can take up with nothing but an unsinning obedience; but an unsinning obedience is what no man ever arrives at; we should all therefore, but for Christ, be exposed to the wrath of God; on our sincere SERM.
XII. endeavours, however, Christ interposes, un and protects us; the will, through him, will be taken for the deed; but if we do not endeavour, his sufferings and death will, as far as concerns us, have been in vain.
But besides those who are desirous to accept Christ as their Saviour, though not willing to receive him as their King, there are others who renounce him in both characters, — who either neglect to examine into the justice of his pretensions, or, taking some offence at his life and doctrine, altogether refuse to acknowledge him. It is not, I believe, uncommon for persons of this kind to reason thus: Faith, say they, is not an act of the will, it is an act of the understanding; we would believe, if we could see reason, but we really cannot, and therefore, though the gospel should be true, we hope to meet with pardon.-But, I say, supposing the
ORIGIN OF EVIL,
LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH iï. 32, 33.
compassion according to the multitude of
the children of men.
The misery of human life has been the SERM. universal complaint of all ages and of all ento ranks of men; the high as well as the low, the rich as well as the poor, equally confess and lament that permanent happiness is no where to be found. Of the justice of this
SERM. complaint we 'may be convinced, both
from what we may observe passing around us, and also from our own experience:disappointment in the pursuit, and dissatisfaction in the possession of the objects of their desire; - losses, sicknesses, and disgraces, are some or other of them the portion of almost the whole of mankind. The observation of this constitution of human affairs has afforded occasion, to some, to disbelieve in the being of a God; and to others, to arraign his goodness: and even of those whose presumption does not carry them such daring lengths, it has driven too many into discontent and
despondency-highly unbecoming of them, viqa bothras men and as Christians, il
ILI?propose, in this discourse, 'first, to endeavour to clear up the difficulty of the existence of misery, and to recoriciteit with the benevolence of the great Creator and Governor of all things; and, secondly,