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make him feel that he is subject to divers, S E

and contradictory as well as imperious ,

masters? who often pull him different ways. His foul is rendered the receptacle of many repugnant and jarring dispositions { and resembles some barbarous country, cantoned Out into different principalities, who are continually waging war on one another. Such is the

state into which sinners have brought themselves, in order to be free from the supposed confinement of virtue. Where they had promised themselves nothing but ease, and pleasure, they are made to experience restraints more severe, and mortifications more painful, than any which they would have undergone under the discipline of religion.

It will perhaps be contended by some, that although the representation which has now been given of the slavery of sin holds true in certain instances, yet that it is applicable only to those who come under the description of atrocious sinners. They imagine that a certain moderate course may be held in vice, by means of

SERM. which, men, without throwing alto-
^J^ gethcr aside the restraints of reason, may

V enjoy an easy and pleasurable life.

By reasoning thus, my friends, you flat

"% ter and deceive yourselves to your own

destruction. Be assured, that, by every

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vitious indulgence, you are making an

approach to a state of complete slavery; you are forfeiting a certain share of your liberty ; how soon the whole of it may be forfeited, you are not aware. It is true that all which has now been said of the servitude of sin, applies only to a character corrupted in the extreme. But, remember that to this extreme no man ever arrives at once. He passes through many of those intermediate stages, in one of which you are now perhaps found. Vice always creeps by degrees; and insensibly twines around us those concealed fetters by which we are at last completely bound.—As yOu value therefore your liberty and your happiness, avoid every approach to eviL Consider all vitious pleasures as enchanted ground, by entering on which, you will be farther

and

and farther ensnared within the magic SERM. circle, till at length you are precluded u t f from all retreat. The most pure and virtuous man is always the freest. The religion of Christ is justly entitled the perfect law of liberty.*. It is .only when the Son makes us free, that we are free indeed; and it was with reason the Psalmist said, / will walk at liberty, for Iseek thy preceptsi-lf

* James i. 25. | Psalm cxix. 4$.

SERMON

SERMON XI.

On the Importance of Public Worship.

Psalm xxvi. 8.

Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

0 D is a Spirit, and they that worship

him, must worship him inspirit and in truth. That religion chiefly consists in an inward principle of goodness, is beyond dispute, and that its value and efficacy are derived from its effects in purifying the heart, and reforming the life.

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All All external services, which have not S E R M.

XI

this tendency, are entirely insignificant. They degenerate into mere superstition, equally unacceptable to God, and unprofitable to mam Hence they are so often treated in scripture with high contempt, when substituted in the room of the important duties of a virtuous life.

Notwithstanding this, it is certain that external services have their own place, and a considerable one too, in the system of religion. What their proper place is no one can be at a loss to discern, who will only make a just distinction between the means, and the end, in religion. It is evident there is danger of men's erring here, either on one side or other; and it is certain that they have erred on. both*. After it was observed, that mankind were prone to lay too much weight on the external parts of religion, it began to be thought, that no weight was to be allowed to them at all. The time was, when all religion centered in attending the duties of the church, and paying veneration to Vol. IV. P whatever

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