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is this?. It is because they do not bring forth fruits meetafor repentance: because they do not according to the grace they have received, cease from evil, and do good.

They do not cease from the easily besetting sin, the sin of their constitution, of their education, or of their

profession. Or they omit doing the good they may, and know they fought to do, because of some disagreeable circamstances attending it: that is, they do not attain faith, because they will not deny thenisclves, or take up their cTÓSSO.PAMO

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hy But this nian:did receive the heavenly gift. He did taste of the powers of the world to come. He saw the light of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. The peace which pas seth all-understandig, did rule his heart and mind'; and the love of God was shed abroad therein, by the Holy Ghost which was given unto him. Yet he is now weak as another man. He again relishes the things of earth, and has more taste for the things which are seen, than for those which are not seen. The eye of his upderstanding is closed again, so that he cannot see him that is invisible. His love is waxed cold, and the

peace of God no longer rules in his heart. And no marvel : for he has again given place to the devil, and grieved the Holy Spirit of God. He has turned

He has turned again unto folly, to some pleasing sin, if not in outward act, yet in heart." He has given place to pride, or anger, or desire; to self-will, or stubbornness. Or he did not stir up the gift of God which was in him ; he gave way to spiritual sloth, and would not be at the pains of praying always, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.

That is, he made shipwreck of the faith, for want of self-denial and taking up his cross daily.

6. But perhaps he'lias not made shipwreck of the faith: he has still a measure of the Spirit of adoption, which continues to witness with his spirit that he is a child of God. However he is not going on to perfe&tion : he is not, as once, hungring and thirsting after righteousness, panting after the whole image and full enjoyment of God, as the hart after the water-brook. Rather he is weary and faint in his mind, and as it were hovering between life and death. And why is he thus, but because he hath forgotten the word of God, By works

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is faith made perfeet ? He does not use all diligence, : in working the works of God. He does not continue instant in prayer, private as well as public: in communicating, hearing, meditation, fasting and religious conference. If he does not wholly neglect some of these means, at least he does not use them all, with his might. Or he is not zealous of works of charity, as well as works of piety. He is not merciful after his power, with the full ability which God giveth. He does not fervently serve the Lord, by doing good 10 men, in every kind, and in every degree, he can, to their souls as well as their bodies. And why does he not continue in prayer ? Because in tiines of dryness it is pain and grief untu him.' He does not continue in hearing at all opportunities, because sleep is sweet; or it is cold, or dark, or rainy. But why does he not continue in: works of mercy ? Because he cannot feed the hungry, or cloath the naked, unless he retrench the expence of his own apparel, or use cheaper and less pleasing food. Beside which, the visiting the sick, or those that are in prison, is attended with many disagreeable circumstances. “: And so are most works of spiritual mercy: reproof, in particular. He would reprove his neighbour ; but sometimes shame, sometimes fear comes between. For he may expose himself not only to ridicule, but to heavier inconveniences too. Upon these and the like considcrations, he omits one or more, if not all works of mercy and piety. Therefore his faith is not made perfect, neither can he grow.in grace': namely, bé. cause he will not deny himself, and take up his cross daily.

7. It manifestly follows, That it is always owing to the want, either of self-denial or taking up his cross that a man does not throughly follow his Lord, that he is not fully a disciple of Christ. . It is owing to this, that he who is dead in sin, does not awake, though the trumpet be blown: that she who begins to awake out of sleep, yet has no deep or lasting convi&tion: that he who is deeply and lastingly convinced of sin, does not attain reinission of sins : that some who have received this heavenly gift, retain it not; but make shipNo. XII.

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wreck

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wreck of the faith : and that others, if they do not draw back to perdition, yet are weary and faint in their mind, and do not reach the mark of the prize of the highcalling of God in Christ Jesus.

III. 1. How easily may we learn hence, that they know neither the scripture nor the power of God, who directly or indirectly, in public or in private, oppose the doctrine of self-denial and the daily cross. How totally ignorant are these men, of an hundred particular texts, as well as of the general tenor of the whole oracles of God ? And how entirely unacquainted must they be, with true, -genuine, Christian experience ! Of the manner wherein the Holy Spirit ever did, and does at this day; work in the souls of men ? They may talk indeed very loudly and confidently, (a natural fruit of ignorance) as though they were the only men who understood either the word of God, or the expérience of his children. But their words are, in every sense, vain words : they are weighed in the balance and found wanting. 19: 2. We may learn from hence, secondly, the real cause why not only many particular persons, but even bodies of men, who were once burning and shining lights, have now lost both their light and heat. Ir they did not hate and oppose, they at least lightly esteemed this precious gospel-doctrine. If they did not boldly say, Abnegationem omnem proculcamus, internocioni damus ; "We trample all self-denial under foot, we devote it to distruction:" yet they neither valued it according to its high importance nor took any pains in practising it. Hanc mystici docent, said that great, bad, man, The mystic writerst teach self-denial : no, the inspired writers. And God teaches it to every soul, who is willing to hear his voice..!

3. We may learn from hence, thirdly, That it is not enough for a minister of the gospel, not to oppose the doctrine of self-denial, tarsay nothing concerning it. Náy, he cannot satisfy his duty, by saying a little in favour of it. If he would indeed be pure from the blood of all men, he may speak of it frequently and

- largely :

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largely: he must inculcate the necessity of it, in the clearest and strongest manner, He must press it with his might, on all persons, at all times, and in all places :. laying line upon line, line upon line, precept upon precept, precept upon precept.

So shall he have a conscience void of offence : so shall he save his own soul and those that hear him.

4. Lastly, See that you apply this, every one of you, to your own soul. Meditate

Meditate upon it when you are in secret : ponder it in your heart. Take care not only to understand it throughly, but to remember it to your live's end.' Cry unto the strong for strength, that you may no sooner understand, than enter upon the practice of it. Delay not the time, but praētise it immediately, from this very hour : practise it universally, on every one of the thousand occasions which occur in all circumstances of life. Practise it daily ; without intermission, from the hour you first set your hand to the plough : and enduring therein to the end, till your spirit returns to God.

SERMON XLIX.

THE CURE OF EVIL-SPEAKING.

Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17.

If thy brother shall sin against thee, go and tell him his fault

between thee and him alone : if he will hear thee, thou hast

gained thy brother. But if he will not bear, take with thee one or two more, that

by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be i established. And if he will not hear them, tell it to the church : but if he will

not hear the church, let him be to thee as an Heathen man and a Publican.

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1.

SPEAK

PEAK evil of no man, says the great apostle ; as plain a command as Thou shalt do no murder.

But

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But who, even among Christians regards this command ? Yea, how few are there, that so much as understand it? What is evil-speaking ? It is not, (as some suppose) the same with lying or slandering. All a man says, may be as true as the bible ; and yet the saying of it is evil-speaking. For evil-speaking is neither more nor less, than speaking evil of an absent person : relating something evil which was really done or said, by one that is not present when it is related. : Supposc, having seen a man drunk or heard him curse or swear, I tell this when he is absent, it is evil-speaking. In our language this is also by an extremely proper name termed backbiting. Nor is there any material difference between this, and what we usually stile talebearing. If tlie tale be delivered in a soft and quiet manncr, (perhaps with expressions of good-will to the person, and of hope, that things may not be quite so bad) then we call it whispering. But in whatever manner it be done, the thing is the same; the same in substance if not in circumstance. Still it is evilspeaking; still this command, Speak evil of 110 man, is ļrampled under foot, if we relate to another the fault of a third person, when he is not present to answer for himself.

2. And how extremely common is this sin, among all orders and degrees of men ? How do high and low, rich and poor, wise and foolish, learned and unlearned, run into it continually ? Persons who differ from each other in all things else, lievertheless agree in this. How few are there that can testify before God, “I am clear in this matter: I have always set a watch before my mouth, and kept the door of my lips ?" What conversation do you hear, of any considerable length, whereof evil-speaking is not one ingredient? And that, even among persons, who in the general have the fear of God before their eyes, and do really desire to have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward

man.

3. And the very commonness of this sin, makes it difficult to be avoided. As we are incompassed with it on every side, so if we are not deeply sensible of the

danger,

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