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Let us ever remember, that the life of all religion and goodness is love-and truth the existence thereof. If love, therefore, be our life; if our affections are raised to the Lord-we love him with all the heart, foul, mind, and strength, and our neighbour as ourfelves; then we shall be men and women of holinefs, humility, meeknefs; every amiable virtue and heavenly grace will flourish upon fuch a foil, be confpicuous in our life, and adorn our character. Truth by itself is harsh, stubborn, and fevere; but truth and love united, are mild, foft, and heavenly. They foften our rugged nature-fubdue our difordered paffions-regulate our irregular defiresdestroy our felf-love and impetuous lufts-and make us pure, holy, and good; yea, they regenerate the whole internal and external man.

The importance of this regeneration you must be fenfible of. And I can but intreat every one of you, who embrace the doctrines and truths of this difpenfation, to be very folicitous for this full and total renewal of the mind into the image and likenefs of your God. We are not only told in the words of our text, what the Lord will do for his Zion, his true church, and what every member of it shall be; but we have alfo every poffible incentive, every animating motive, every invigorating encouragement, to become men of love, charity, and holiness. Divine truth is opened to our view-the eternal world difplayed-religion and goodness exhibited in inexpreffible charms and lovelinefs-God himself


made known, and revealed in his nature, attributes, character, and perfections, as infinitely lovely and defirable; the true nature of man, his best interest, his immortality, and future state of existence, fully laid open-and the bleffed, heavenly, eternal world, depictured in fo clear, rational, and spiritual a light, that every thinking ferious mind must cheerfully acknowledge, that the motives and encouragements to goodness and truth, love and charity, faith and purity, are almoft irresistible.

Since, therefore, we enjoy these peculiar advantages, let us fet the best and most amiable example before men. Let us give daily proof that the filth of evil is washed away from our hearts and livesthat falfhood, error, and darkness are purged from the understanding-and that we are the holy people, the living members of the Lord's Jerufalem. In fo doing we shall honor his name-advance his truthpromote his kingdom-be useful to mankind-and unspeakably happy in our own fouls.

In this bleffed and holy manner may we live! and may the members of the Lord's new church, be bright examples to all men of goodness, love, charity, holiness, and every divine virtue. Thus may the kingdom of heaven come into our hearts -his will be done by us as it is done in heaven by angels-and love, purity, peace, and joy for ever reign in his laft, beft, holy, and happy kingdom. Amen.





ISA. xxxii. 17, 18.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of rightequfnefs, quietnefs, and affurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in fure dwellings, and in quiet refting-places.

FROM the ninth verfe of this chapter to the fifteenth, the prophet is (from the Lord) defcribing the state of the church. And an unpleafing defcription is given of it, viz. that it was funk into ease and careleffness; the people drew near the Lord with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. And the Lord tells them, that in confequence of fuch careleffness and inattention to

piety and virtue, they fhould be troubled many years;—that is to fay, they should bear the confequences of their apoftacy and declenfion, until the church was totally vaftated of good and truth; and the Lord vifited the land, to establish a new church and kingdom-which he actually did at his first advent.

The state of this people is further described by the failure of the vintage, of the pleasant fields, and the fruitful vine. But do not imagine that these things are meant literally, as though the vines in their vineyards fhould yield no fruit, nor their fields corn-for this is not meant. We see that in all lands, and in all the various states of the people, as to virtue or vice, feed-time and harveft continue; and not unfrequently the worst of men have the greatest abundance of temporal goods. But as vineyards, fruitful fields, and the produce of the earth, are the support of mankind, as to the body and this life; fo whatever comes from heaven, and flows from the goodness and truth of the Lord, is given for the fpiritual fupport, comfort, happiness, and life of the foul. But when a people are at ease, and grow carelefs in divine things, then they deprive themselves of thofe fpiritual fupports and bleffings; they become deftitute of divine good, of love, charity, wisdom, truth, and heavenly fcience. They are unfruitful and barren, like the fcorched wildernefs, and fandy defert; or, if they are fruitful at all, it is in thorns and briers-as it is faid in


the thirteenth verfe," Upon the land of my people "fhall come up thorns and briers." By the land of the people, is fignified the heart, the mind, the will, and understanding; and by thorns and briers, are meaat evils and falses.

By this, firs, we fee how dangerous it is to grow eafy and careless in thofe things which concern our fouls, and our everlafting happiness. The mind of man is always open to a blessed influence from the Lord, or to an infernal influence from Satan; that is, from evil fpirits. In proportion, therefore, as we clofe the mind to the former influence, we open it to the latter, and the consequence is, that thorns and briers fpring up-that is, we conceive an affection for what is evil and falfe-the understanding is perverted-the will is corrupted— and we call evil good, and darkness light. The infernal influence we admit, inflames our luft, excites our unruly paffions, fofters our fenfual difpofitions, ftirs up our pride, invigorates our Self-love, and prompts us to every iniquity our depraved nature, our fenfual principle, is prone to. These are in themselves, and at length prove to us, no less than thorns and briers; they wound our peace, destroy our every pleasure, render us obnoxious to men, offenfive to God, and eternally wretched in our own fouls.

In fact, firs, eafe and carelessness, in what relates to God and our own happiness, is the origin of all that is evil, burtful, and miferable; and this eafy, careless ftate of mind, is, I fear, as frequent and ast


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