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less instances which fall within the compass of every one's observation ; but in none, more visibly than in the treatment, which the gospel and its ministers are known to receive from the openly profane and profligate. Aware that the design of preaching is to rebuke and restrain their wandering steps, and “ willing to justify themselves,” they embrace every opportunity to depreciate both the office, and those who sustain it. Such is indisputably the origin of that indiscriminate ridicule, which is so often aimed at the clergy, not only in the vulgar haunts of licentiousness, where they are literally made “the song of drunkards ;" but among certain others, who even claim the reputation of science and refinement. It is not the men, but the profession, which excites their rancorous hostility. "The god of this world hath blinded their minds, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, should shine unto them.” Whenever, therefore, they consent to hear the word, it is in the exercise of deep rooted prejudice against the lessons it inculcates. They studiously repel every doctrine and precept, which contravene their prevailing conduct. Their first inquiry is not,

. “Cometh this forth from the Lord ?" But, .What is its aspect on our habitual temper • and manners? Will it not convict us of absurdity and guilt? Will it not reduce us to

one or the other of these alternatives; either • to suffer disgrace, or to change our course of life ; to pluck out a right eye ; to cut off a right hand ; and to take up our cross ?'

If so, and so it actually is, self defence im. pels them to treat both the message and the messenger with neglect, at least, if not with indignation and contempt. They accordingly cherish animosity against all who “shun not to declare the whole counsel of God ;” and whenever “the sins which most easily beset them” are described and denounced, they take immediate alarm, and not unfrequently complain of personal attacks from the pulpit. If they have too much penetration and pru. dence thus to publish their own shame, they will, in any event, evade the force of every prescription and command, by which their refor. mation is attempted. The subterfuges resorted to for this purpose are equally numerous and surprising. Sometimes the veil of pretended ignorance is assumed, and doubts are affected, where even a child would be at no loss : sometimes far-fetched and extravagant

interpretations of scripture are adopted : sometimes a studied indifference and insensibility to moral excellence are displayed : 'and sometimes a shameless levity, sporting with the most sacred subjects, precludes every serious application to the heart... á Now it will be evident to every capacity, that a character, which necessarily generates such dispositions in the mind, and renders it impervious to the sentiments of religion and virtue, is a fatal obstruction to the meek re

ception of the “ ingrafted word.” Reason · must be permitted to operate, before revela· tion can produce its desired effect. The dic

tates of natural conscience must be respected, :before the voice of God will be heard with docility and reverence. A sense of the need, in which we stand of light and direction, and a concern to..“ know the things which belong to our peace," must, in the order of nature,

precede, as well as accompany an acceptable • and advantageous attendance on the means of • religious instruction. “Keep thy foot, there

fore, when thou goest into the house of God, - and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools.” Not only " incline thine

ear unto wisdom,” but “ apply thy heart to * understanding.” Renouncing those vices, which pervert the judgment and affections, “ receive the kingdom of God as a little child.”

If we fix our attention on the end proposed in this duty, we cannot be ignorant of the manner, in which it is to be performed. This end is nothing less than our improvement and şalvation. Surely, then, it becomes us to “ give the most earnest heed to the things we hear, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

The gospel brings “glad tidings of great joy to all people :” and with what eager attention, with what fervent gratitude, with what reve.. rential awe should they be welcomed to our ears and hearts! Yet how many, who would be absorbed by an idle tale, in which they had no concern, and from which they could derive no benefit, are alike unmoved and unengaged by the most solemn and interesting communications of heaven! A listless, drowsy languor appears in their whole deportment; and “ what a weariness is it !” is repeated in every attitude and every gesture! Others, with a " superfluity of naughtiness,” suffer their thoughts and eyes to wander to the ends of the earth, and are “ almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.” At the very moment, when addressed on the all-important subject of their eternal welfare, they

betray a wanton lightness of behaviour, totally inconsistent with every principle, both of piety and good manners. Is this an undue censure of the frequent whispers, and other sportive irregularities, which sometimes disturb and disgrace our holy convocations ? The overtures of reconciliation from God to man are calculated neither to excite, nor to justify mirthful trifing. All who feel their weight will, of course, hearken to their demands with serious gravity. Not only their external de portment, but their hearts, will be in unison with the great design of this benevolent institution. Far from seeking opportunities to object and cavil; far from transferring the reproofs and expostulations of the gospel from themselves to others, they will listen to them with candour and self application, and make it their uniform endeavour to gain that information and encouragement, which may effectually convince them of their errours, and “guide them in the way everlasting.”

It is not pretended, that meekness will require or induce you to repose, an unlimited · confidence in your instructers. · "To the

law, and to the testimony : If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is

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