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infernal spirits, whose abode is darkness, and whose portion is despair!

Reflections upon such a state will give its full measure to the cup of trembling. Was not Belshazzar, the impious king of Babylon, a striking instance of what I am now saying? This monarch made a feast to a thousand of his lords, and assembled his princes, his concubines, and his wives. In order to increase the festivity, he sent for the consecrated vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temples of Jerusalem; and in these vessels, which were holy to the Lord, he made libations to his vain idols, and in his heart bade defiance to the God of Israel. But, whilst thus he defied the living God, forth came the fingers of a man's hand, and on the wall, which had lately resounded with joy, wrote the sentence of his fate! In a moment his countenance was changed, his whole frame shook, and his knees smote one against another, whilst the prophet in awful accents denounced his doom: "O man, thy kingdom is departing "from thee I" Although Providence should not now particularly interpose to punish thee, O guilty man! yet the sentence of thy doom is written in thy heart, and there is a prophet within, who, upon the commis* sion of crimes, will tell thee, that for these the king* dom of heaven is departed from thee.

In the second place, As wickedness makes a man miserable in his religious character, so does it also in his social.

However corrupted men may be in their lives, their moral sentiments are just and right; that is, although from an immoderate self-love we may excuse wickedness in ourselves, yet such is the force of conscience within, so deeply rooted in the mind is the eternal difference between good and evil, that, by the veiy frame of our natures, we abhor wickedness in others. When we are conversant in the world, or give our attention to a story that is a faithful picture of human manners, from the impulse of natural feeling, we attach ourselves to the side of innocence; we take part with the virtuous hero, and-consider his enemies as our own. There is no vice but what tends to make a man contemptible or odious to society. Against the greater and more atrocious crimes, the sword of the law is for ever drawn, and its stroke is death. Other vices which come not under. the cognizance of the laws, either have ways of punishing themselves, or are marked with public infamy. Pride makes every affront a torment, and puts a man's happiness in the power of every fool he meets with. The envious man is literally his own tormentor, and preys upon his own bowels. The drunkard exposes himself to the derision of mankind, and falls into follies thai? cover him with shame in his sober hours. Does not a habit of intoxication deprive a man of all sense of decency, indispose him for the business of life, and render him a sorrow to all his friends? Will the atheist conciliate the love of men by shewing us that he possesses not the fear of God? Is not the miser pointed at with the finger.of scorn, and doomed to the double curse of hoarding and guarding? Is not a liar universally odious, and does he not prepossess usagainst him;, even when he speaks truth? Do not fraud and dishonesty mar a man's fortune, ruin his reputation, and hinder his success in life?

In truth, my brethren, there is not a sin but what one way or another is punished in this life. We often err egregiously by not attending to I he distinction between happiness and the means of happiness. Power, riches, and prosperity, those means of happiness and sources of enjoyment, in the course of Providence, are sometimes conferred upon the worst of men. Such persons possess the good things of life, but they do not enjoy them. Tliey have the means of happiness, but they have not happiness itself. A wicked man can never be happy. It is the -firm decree of Heaven, eternal and unchangeable as JehoVah himself, that misery must ever attend on guilt; that when sin enters, happiness takes its departure. There is no such thing in nature, my brethren,—.

VOL. II. X x

there is no such thing in nature,—as a vicious or unlawful pleasure. What we generally call such, are pleasures in themselves lawful, procured by wrong means, or enjoyed in a wrong way; procured by injustice, or enjoyed with intemperance; and surely neither injustice nor intemperance have any charm for the mind; and unless we are framed with a very uncommon temper of mind and body, injustice will be hurtful to the one, and intemperance fatal to the Other. Unruly desires and bad passions, the gratification of which is sometimes called pleasure, are the source of almost all the miseries in human life. VV7hen -once indulged, they rage for repeated gratification, and subject us, at all times, to their clamours and importunity. When they are gratified, if they give any joy, it is the joy of fiends, the joy of the tormented; a joy which is purchased at the expence of a good conscience, which rises on the ruins of the public peace, and proceeds from the miseries of our fellowcreatures. The forbidden fruit proves to be the apples of Sodom and the grapes of Gomorrah. One deed of shame is suqeeeded by years of penitence and pain. A single indulgence of wrath has raised a conflagration Which neither the force of friendship, nor length of time, nor the vehemence of intercession, could mitigate or appease, and which could only be quenched by the effusion of human blood, One drop from the cup of this powerful sorceress, has turned the living stream of joy into waters of bitterness. "There "is no peace, sait{> my God, to the wicked,"

If a wicked man could be happy, whqmighthave been so happy asHaman? Raised from an inferior station, to great riches and power, exalted above his rivals, and above the princes of the empire, favourite and prime minister to the greatest monarch in the world. But with all these advantages on his side, and under all these smiies of fortune, his happiness was destroyed by the want of a bow, usual to those of his station, from one of the porters of the palace. Enraged with this neglect, this vain great man cried out in the pang of disappointment. "All this availeth me nothing, so long "as I see Mordecai sitting at the king's gate." This seeming affront sat deep on his mind. He meditated revenge. A single victim could not satisfy his malice. He wanted to have a glutting vengeance. He resolved for this purpose; to involve thousands in destruction, and to make a whole nation fall a sacrifice to the indulgence of his mean-spirited pride. But, ds it generally happens, his wickedness proves his ruin, and he erected the gallows on which he himself was doomed to be hanged!

In the third place, If we consider man as an individual, we shall see a further confirmation of the truth contained in the text, "That there, is no peace to the "wicked."

In order to strengthen the obligations to virtue* Almighty God hath rendered the practice of sin fatal to our peace as individuals, as well as pernicious to Our interests as members of society. From the sinner God withdraws his favour and the light of his countenance* How dark will that mind be, which no beam from the Father of lights ever visits? How joyless that heart which the Spirit of life never animates! When sin entered into paradise, the angels of God forsook the place. So from the soul that is polluted with guilt, peace, and joy, and hope, those good angels, vanish and depart. What succeeds to this family of heaven? Confusion, shame, remorse, despair.

Ccetera desunt.


Psalm lxxviii. 1.

Give ear, O mi/ people, to mi/ law.

^IIIS is the call which God addressed to his ancient people, and w»iich at sundry times and in divers manners he addresses to the world. It is the voice of the Almighty to mankind in every age. His voice all nature hears, and his law all nature obeys. The sun moves in the path marked out for him by his Creator; the moon keeps her appointed course, and the host of heaven proceed from age to age in their original beauty. The seasons know their time, and the earth obeys the law impressed upon it at first. The elements confess their Lord; the tempest hears his voice, and the sea submits to the mandate which said, "Hitherto shalt thon come* and no farther; "here shall thy waves be stayed." The orders of celestial spirits, the principalities and powers of heaven, obey the command of their King, minister to the purposes of his providence, and, in acts of goodness, or on errands of mercy, perform his pleasure.

Throughout all nature, one being alone is deaf to the voice, and disobedient to the command of God, that is, the sinner. He alone has departed from his sphere, has rebelled against the law of his nature, and rejected the universal dominion of the Deity in the universe. To recal him from this rebellious state, to replace him in his original station, and restore him again to the kingdom of God, is the end of true religion. For this purpose Moses and the Prophets were inspired, Jesus and the apostles were sent. For this pur

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