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example. But, at the same time, come and receive fresh assurances, that you are formed for a more perfect period of holiness. Come and receive the promises of God, who will assure you, that you shall one day see him as he is, and be like him, 1 John iii. 2. May God grant us this blessing ! To him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.
The compassion o: Bod.
Psalm ciii. 13.
Like as a father frilieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them
that foar him.
A MONG many frivolous excuses, which man
fitableness under a gospel-ministry, there is one that deserves respect. Why, say ihey, do you ad. dress men as if they were deştitute of the sentiments of humanity? Why do you treat christians like slaves? Why do you perpetually urge, in your preaching, motives of wrath, vengeance, the worm that never dies, the fire that is never quenched ? Isaiah lxvi. 24. Motives of this kind fill the heart with rebellion instead of conciliating it by love. Mankind have a fund of sensibility and tenderness. Let the tender motives, that our legislator hath diffu
then every sermon would produce some conversions, and your complaints of christians would cease with the causes that produce them.
I call this excuse frivolous: for how little must we know of human nature to suppose men so very sensible to the attractives of religion! Where is the minister of the gospel, who hath not displayed the charms of religion a thousand, and a thousand times, and displayed them in ain? Some souls must be terrified, some sinners must be saved by fear, and pulled out of the fire, Jude 23. There are some hearts that are sensible to only one object
in religion, that is, hell ; and, if any way remain to prevent their actual destruction hereafter, it is to overwhelm their souls with the present fear of it: knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men.
Yet, however frivolous this pretext may appear, there is a something in it that merits respect. I am pleased to see those men, who have not been ashamed to say that the Lord's yoke is intolerable, driven to abjure a system so odious : I love to hear them acknowledge, that religion is supported by motives fitted to ingenious minds : and that the God, from whom it proceeds, hath discovered so much benevolence and love in the gift, that it is impossible not to be affected with it if we be capable of feeling.
I cannot tell, my brethren, whether among these christians, whom the holiness of this day hath assembled in this sacred place, there be many, who have availed themselves of the frivolous pretence, just now mentioned; and who have sometimes wickedly determined to despise eternal torments, under an extravagant pretence that the ministers of the gospel too often preach, and too dismally describe them. But, without requiring your answer to a question so mortifying, without endeavoring to make you contradict yourselves, we invite you to behold those attractives to-day, to which you boast of being so very sensible. Come and see the Supreme Legislator, to whom we would devote your services; behold him, not as an avenging God, not as a consuming God, not shaking the earth, and overturning the mountains in his anger, Job. ix. 4, 5. not thundering in the heavens, shooting out lightnings, or giving his voice in hailstones and coals of fire, Psal. xviii. 13, 14. but, putting on such tender emotions for you as you feel ; for your children. In this light the prophet places him in the text, and in this light we are going to place him in this discourse.
O you marble hearts ! so often insensible to the terrors of our ministry, may God compel you to-, day to feel the attracting promises of the gospel ! O you marble hearts ! against which the edge of the sword of the Almighty's avenging justice hath been so often blunted; the Lord grant you may be this day dissolved by the energy of his love ! Amen.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so doth the Lord pity them that fear him. Before we attempt to explain the text, we must promise one remark, which is generally granted, when it is proposed in a vague manner, and almost as generally denied in its consequences : that is, that the most complete notion, which we can form, of a divine attribute, is to suppose it in perfect harmony with every other divine attribute.
The most lovely idea we can form of the Deity, and which, at the same time, is the most solid ground of our faith in his word, and of our confidence in the performance of his promises, is that which represents him as an uniform being, whose attributes harmonize, and who is always consistent with himself. There is no greater character of imperfection in any intelligent being, than the want of this harmony: when one of his attributes opposeth another of his attributes; when the same attribute opposeth itself; when his wisdom is not supported by his power; or when his power is not directed by his wisdom..
This character of imperfection, essential to all creatures, is the ground of those prohibitions, which we meet with in the holy scriptures, in regard to the objects of our trust. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no