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sin, and such a mist of darkness do the sensual desires of mankind cast before their own eyes, that the Apostle thought it absolutely necessary to give his too easily deluded brethren this caution in my text, and frequently to repeat it, in other places, upon the like occasion. Be not deceived, says he, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, or drunkards, nor revilers, nor citortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven; and then assures them, and us, that because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience; even upon the heathens, if they live in their debauched practices, contrary to the light of nature, and to the eternal laws of truth and reason.
That prudent and considerate man, who takes a survey of the world about him, cannot but be astonished and grieved at the madness and folly of the generality of his fellow creatures, who act, for the most part, like rational beings, except in that important concern of a life after this, which (with shame aud grief be it spoken) is seldom thought of 'till they are ready to launch into it. . And whence can this proceed from? Why, from the many deceitful objects that they meet with in this theatre of vanity, which draw them from their duty, and prevent them from observing this great foundation of religion, that every man shall finally receive of God according to what he has done, whether it be good, or whether it be evila
What the principle of these delusions are, I shall make it the business of this discourse to enquire.
The first, then, that most obviously offers itself in the survey of mankind, is that general carelessness and inattention which most men do unfortunately labour under. Instead of considering the design of their creation, we find them in the pursuit of ambition and covetousness.
The ambitio:is man spends his days in the quest of fame, and in aspiring to posts of honour; and in this he places his chief happiness. But could he be persuaded to suffer his reason to throw off the mask, which his fancy has put upon these things, he would then discover nothing but emptiness and vanity. He would then perceive, that there is no glory like that of a generous and honest mind; no applause like that of a man's conscience, when it displays itself in good and virtuous actions. And who would quit the inward joy and content of his soul for the perishing baubles of this transitory world? This would be to leave a lasting happiness to follow a phantom or dream.
But, notwithstanding all this, what difficulties do men chuse to undergo, only to be loaded with heavier sorrows; to be amazed with greater fears, and to bring upon themselves greater trouble and perplexity. In like manner, the covetous man, whose mind is continually bent upon accumulating wealth, and making a fortune, who is continually filling his bags with gold, and hoarding up his money, only brings upon himself so much the more vexation and anxiety. For between the care of keeping, and the fear of losing this idol of His heart, he is deprived of the enjoyment of that which, perhaps, he has been toiling for the greatest part of his life. So idle and so fruitless is all the industry of ambition and covetousness.!
Behold the unthinking man, who breaks his sleep, and racks his brain, and employs his skill to no purpose, but to be more unhappy and uneasy than he was before. He labours continually to gratify his passions and appetites, and is so far from paying that homage which is due from a despicable worm to an all-glorious Creator, that his life is one continued series of rebellion. He never allows himself time to consider, that the great God is a constant spectator of all his actions. He little thinks that he is acquainted with all his ways; that he has beset him behind and before; that he is present in our hearts, and beholds all the impurity that is acted in our thoughts and desires.
The supreme Being is conscious to the fraud of the unjust deceiver ; there is not a proud thought or secret lust in our hearts but he views with the utmost indignation.
No idle pretences, no pitiful excuses, no pieas of necessity, will avail that man (in the day of judgment) who has habitually neglected the cervice of God, and apostatized from the faith. For however he may stifle his conscience and impose upon the world, yet the great King of Heaven cannot be deceived. He can discern the heart of an hypocritical Pharisee under all
his broad philactory, and knows from what fountain his actions proceed. There is no trimming with the world without his knowledge; nor can the most sly and subtle sinner act any thing so secret as to escape the all-seeing eye of that God who is too pure to behold iniquity without punishing the offender. With what awful "reverence, then, ought we to think of this all-powerful and all-seeing God! - When we consider that there is a day of retribution hourly approaching us, when we shall all be called to an account, and the most minute circumstances shall be evidently disclosed. But, alas ! how little do men make of that day ; and how greatly do they slight that judgment. . In this world there appears to be no difference between the just and the unjust, but that it fares much alike with him that sacrifices, and with him that sacrifices not; this draws men, inconsiderately, into the paths of vice, as if things would never have an end, but should always continue as they now are; and so they go on, adding one day's crime to another, 'till they are surprized with the arrest of death; at which time they would give, if it were possible, a thousand worlds but for Hezekiali's lease of life, to provide for that dreadful day hereafter. · How vain is man! Every man, says holy David, at his best estate is altogether vanity. His soul is deceived and ensnared by the suggestions of his senses, which represent the visible objects of this life so pleasing to his carnal appetites, that things of a spiritual nature are to him as mere matters of fancy and conceit. And when the world has got possession of his heart, it has all the powers and faculties of his mind at command, and he is captivated and made a slave to ungovernable passions; the consequence of which is a coolness for spiritual improvement, a disrelish for religious duties, and a very dangerous'state of his soul.
Indeed, it is very observable that those temptations in the world which appear very innocent and natural, are very often of fatal consequence. For instance, it is very natural, and very reasonable, that a man should endeavour to make a provision suitable to his station, and the state of his family. Our reason and conscience dictate, that we should be diligent in our callings, in order to the support and comfort of life. But then our minds are continually intent upon these things, without any regard to the one thing needful ; if we place our affections upon them, and are continually anxious about them, they will be dangerous temptations. For when we covet the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world, they exclude the love of God from our hearts; they lead us intɔ sin, which produces misery, and the end is eternal destruction.
Secondly, The next thing by which mankind are so easily deceived is, that they imagine God is very easy to be pacified, and is pleased with every little appearance of virtue, without regarding men according to the whole tenour of a virtuous or vicious life. And hence, though they indulge themselves in the habit of any