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because they cannot see or feel these blessed truths; but in candour and sincerity they think them wild fancies, eccentric notions, dangerous delusions. And thus while the open offender sins against his conscience, and carries about him a monitor, who, though unheeded, warns him; the lukewarm rejects the Gospel with the full sanction of his own judgment. The one disobeys his director, but may, at some happier moment, follow him. The other has seduced, or rather bewildered, his guide, and now goes after a blind leader of the blind. How awful is this state! If the light that is in us be darkness, how great is that darkness! Nor will it avail in extenuation to say, no man can be blamed for acting and thinking as his convictions lead. Perhaps the heaviest charges against the reprobate at the day of final reckoning will be, that they have perverted their moral sense, that they have abused their conscience, that they were capable of thinking as they did. "There is a way," says Solomon, "which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Guarded by discretion and by worldly prudence, the lukewarm shun those snares, and escape those miseries, which nevertheless often arrest us in a course of sin, and call the peni

tent back to God. The outcast from the pale of human intercourse, fainting in the deep waters, and buffeting with the waves of infamy and destitution, is sometimes driven, by these very extremities, to the throne of grace. He feels his lost estate-he flies for pardon to the blood of Jesus-he calls on God in his trouble, and he delivers him out of his distress. Here the remedy is hazardous indeed, altogether desperate in the case of any who could, on calculation, try the experiment, and venture down the precipice themselves. Nevertheless by thus feeling sin in all its horrors, brands have been sometimes plucked out of the burning-souls have been converted to God-publicans and harlots have passed the gates of heaven, and left the self-righteous, the wavering, and the lukewarm behind, in outer darkness.

But the evil stops not here. The lukewarm are to others the instruments of a delusion no less fatal than their own. And in no instance does this more lamentably appear, than where their influence and counsels come in contact with a soul just upon the point of turning from darkness unto light.

A man has, perhaps, been living like the world around him; outwardly decent, but inwardly a stranger unto God. In this state,

conscience shines for a moment with a truer light, and refuses to say peace where there is no peace. The slumberer begins to doubt whether this heartlessness in religion may not be the sleep of death; and whether Christianity may not be, after all, that very thing which he had scorned, and scouted as fanaticism and folly. Here the lukewarm often interpose. They are at a loss to know why one so punctual in his duties, should now imagine that any change is necessary. They resolve all these notions into mere low spirits, or nervous dejection. They dread the consequences: they are fearful lest this melancholy should end in loss of life, or reason; and thus every expedient is tried, every engine set at work, to persuade the unhappy sinner that all his scruples were but fancies; to ply him with business, or hurry him on with what are called amusements, till all these fancies are, indeed, effectually forgotten-till the struggle is over, and the soul goes down again into the darkness of this present world.

But we may picture to ourselves a still more affecting instance of this kind; and would to God that a melancholy experience did not furnish us with examples. A heedless youth has been, we will suppose, pursuing the mad career of wild extravagance, and been sunk in all the


horrors of abandoned profligacy. In the midst
of this, the Spirit of God moves upon his
soul-God says, let there be light, and there
is light. He is brought to see his real state,
and real misery; his ingratitude to heaven-
the terrors of an offended God-the wretch-
edness that surrounds him-the blessedness he
has thrown away. He calls to mind his fa-
ther's house; he remembers the days of for-
mer innocence, and scenes of early purity.-
He determines on a change of life; and at
such a moment, naturally turns to some friend-
ly bosom for advice, support, guidance, and
instruction. But whom is he to turn to ?-To
whom is he to open out the secret that labours
in his soul?-To whom is he to address him-
self, and say,
"What must I do to be saved?"
If, indeed, he meet at this important period
with some experienced and faithful Christian,
he can feel for his case and prescribe the re-
medy-He can direct the trembling penitent to
the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of
the world-He can lead the hungering and
thirsting soul to the wells of salvation, and to
the bread that came down from heaven. But,
alas! such counsellors are not always to be
met with. To a mind humbled, and a spirit
broken, such as I have represented this young
man's to be, every prudent, decent character

is often magnified by a comparison with its own demerits, into one of the excellent of the earth, and is looked up to, as if placed upon

lofty eminence. What then if the penitent betakes himself to one of these, and receives from him the counsels of the lukewarm. (I can myself vouch for it that such counsels are sometimes given.)


"I am delighted to find that you are at last "sensible of your folly. Besides the great impropriety of your conduct altogether, you "had seriously injured your property. You "had offended your best friends, and quite "sunk below your natural level in society. "But do not be discouraged: you are still


young, and people will make allowances. "You will now become, I trust, a steady "character. You will regain a respectable "character in the world, and be as much liked "and as well received as any one."

In the day of judgment it will be known, how many souls this sort of, what is called, sensible advice, has ruined. There may be a few formal words added about religion; but formal words about religion might as well be spared. The main drift, and spirit, and effect of such advice is, to take the soul at the feverish crisis of its thirst for life and immortality, and to lead it to the broken cisterns of the

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