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fornicators, takers and holders of unjust gain, liars and flanderers, hard-hearted oppreffors, and whofoever liveth under the dominion of known fin. Is the nature of God fo holy, is his law fo fpiritual, is his judgment fo fevere, that those who but regard iniquity in their hearts, shall inevitably perish; then how fhall you efcape the damnation of hell? Is memory fo unfaithful, as not now to bring your fins to remembrance? Is confcience fo feared as not to charge you with the guilt? Can you doubt the being, do you not feel the prefence, do you not fear the judgment of God? "The wicked shall be turned in"to hell, and all the nations that forget God; for Tophet "is ordained of old," &c.
Oh, that it would please God, by his omnipotent grace, to reach your hearts, to fhake your confidence, to humble you to the duft. I call God to record, that you have received warning. I know that you may defpife it; I am afraid that many will do fo. Away to your cups, away to the bleffed stage, that dear friend to virtue; away to your merry, focial life, drink confusion to your preachers, and pour forth every term of reproach that your little wit can fuggeft, against these poor priest-ridden creatures, who are afraid of their minister's reproof. Alas, alas! when the king of terrors, on his pale horfe, fhall make his approach, you will be of another mind, unless perhaps, as it often happens, you meet with a fudden call, an immediate tranflation from the fire of luft to the fire of hell.
2. Let me intreat you, my dear brethren, from what has been faid, to fearch and try yourselves, whether you regard iniquity in your hearts, or not. This is the rather neceffary, as you have in view an immediate and folemn appeal to God, that you are fincere in his covenant. Does the fear of the Lord poffefs you in fecret, as well as in public? Are you willing that it fhould be fo? Is it your daily ftudy, and is it the fubject of your daily prayer, to have a deeper and more lively impreffion of his prefence upon your fpirits? Is it truly matter of comfort to you, when you are delivered from the fear of human cenfüre, or defire of human approbation? Have you ever got above both in your experience, and do you not wifh to maintain
the fuperiority? If it is fo, happy, happy are you indeed; and may the Lord himfelf lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Do you know what it is to mourn over fecret fins, the vanity of your minds, the worldlinefs of your affections? And do you truly make confcience of keeping the heart with all diligence, becaufe out of it are the iffues of life? I will not afk because I know you cannot deny, that you have had many finful thoughts, in breach of every command of God. But are they approved, or abhorred? are they fubmitted to, or refifted? are they now recollected with pleasure, with indifference, or with fhame?
What are your thoughts with regard to the fins of others? Have you ever grieved for them in truth? Do not think that I am leading you to oftentation. I do not ask you whether you have openly teftified against them, or honeftly reproved them; becaufe, though these are both important and binding duties, they may be more eafily coun terfeited; and I am not now preffing you to the difcharge of your duty to others, but trying your fincerity before God. Have you therefore, mourned in fecret for the fins of others? have they ever brought you to your knees? have they added fervor to your prayers? If it be fo, i cannot think that you regard iniquity in your own hearts. This is no Pharifaical hypocrify. It is known only to God. The profane cannot curfe you for it, because they do not hear it and if they were told it, it is probable they would not believe it.
But methinks I hear fome ferious perfon fay, I have at tended to the interrogatories; and though I would fain hope I know fomething of a fenfe of duty in all, yet, oh! how miferably defective have I been? Nothing like that deep fense of the prefence of God, that humiliation of spirit for fin, that concern for the divine glory, that I ought to have had, that I have fometimes felt for a feafon, and that I wished to preserve.
Therefore, my brethren, I would once more afk you, can you now fincerely pray that God would fearch and try your ways, difcover every fecret fin, convince you of it, humble you for it, and deliver you from it? Is there no
reserve, no exception whatever, nothing that you are willing to cover, that you are backward to examine, and dif posed to excufe? Is there no doubtful practice, but what you are willing to think of deliberately, to examine impartially, and if it either appears to be finful, or but remain. eth doubtful, to furrender freely? If you can fay there is not, then after having pleaded your divorce from every fin, I have only further to rob you of every duty too, and leave you nothing whereof to glory; to call you to renounce all felf-righteoufnefs and felf-dependence, and make you to fay, "Not I, but the grace of God that was "with me: furely, in the Lord have I righteoufness and "strength."
3. I fhall only now fhut up this discourse with giving you a very few directions for your future prefervation.
I. Guard against the fin or fins that you may be most liable to, from your natural temper and conftitution, which may be faid to be your own iniquity, and the fin that most eafily befets you. It is lamentable to think what difgraceful blemishes are fometimes to be feen in the conduct of the fervants of God. I know this is permitted in Provi dence, and cannot be wholly prevented. But no watchful Chriftian will fit ftill eafily under it. If fuch a fin gives him no reft, he should give it no quarter. Some very bad things are fometimes borne with, under the noti on of unavoidable infirmities. Yet they are to the preju dice of your own peace; they are a reproach to your profeffion, and a difhonour to your mafter. If you cannot wholly deftroy, I befeech you, wound and weaken them. If there is no probability that they will die wholly, but with the body, let it be feen that they are daily losing ftrength, and dying gradually.
2. Set a particular guard upon those fins that you may be oppofed to, in your ordinary calling: in that way, where you go moft frequently, the tempter knows he can most easily find you, and he will certainly be there to meet you. Befides intereft often pleads fo ftrongly in behalf of fome fins of this kind, and they are so much juftified by example, that few can withstand the temptation. But confider, I beseech you, that no honor, profit, or conveVOL. II. U u
nience, can poffibly counter-balance the loss of God's favor! What a miferable excellency is it indeed, to add a little to our earthly store at the expence of his difpleasure, while we ourselves are in his hand, and all that we have is in the most abfolute manner at his difpofal.
In the last place, if you defire to be preserved from the dominion of fin, feat yourselves often in the prefence of God. He feeth in fecret, his eyes do fee, his eye lids try the children of men. Afk of him, therefore, that he may not fuffer you to deceive yourselves, but lead you in the paths of righteousness for his name's fake.
THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY or SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST.
Preached before the Society in Scotland for propagating Chrif tian Knowledge, in the High Church of Edinburgh, on Monday, January 2, 1758.
ACT S, iv. 12.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,
T it is not eafy to conceive any fubject, at once more important in itself, more seasonable in this and age, more fuited to the defign of the present meeting, than the abfolute neceffity of falvation through CHRIST. We live in an age in which (as is often complained) infidelity greatly prevails; but yet in which the cause of truth hath much less to fear from the affaults of its open enemies, than from the treachery of its pretended advocates. The lateft infidel writers have carried their own scheme to fuch perfection or extravagance, that it muft difcredit the cause in the eye of every fober judge.* And indeed the
* See David Hume's writings on morals throughout; where, hefides leaving out entirely our duty to God, which he hath in common with many other late writers, he exprefsly founds justice upon power and conveniency, derides chastity, and turns many of the most important virtues into vices. See alfo Effays on the principles of morality and natural religion; the author of which, at one decifive blow, takes away all fin, by