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At your baptism, you drew near and promised by your sureties that you would obediently keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the fame all the days of your life. Most of you have again drawn near at the office of confirmation, and renewed the solemn promise and vow which were made in your name at your baptism; ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe and to practise all those things which your fureties then undertook on your behalf. A large proportion of you have frequently drawn near to the sacramental table; and have there professed repentance of your fins, and a full purpofe to lead a new life, to follow the commandments of God, and thenceforth to walk in his holy ways. On this very day, and on every day when you have attended the public worship, you have drawn near and requested of God, that he would give to you that due sense of all his mercies, that your hearts may be un. feignedly thankful ; and that you may shew forth his praise, not only with your lips but with your lives, by giving up yourselves to his service, and by walking before him in holiness and rightcousness all your days, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Jews, in their folemn professions, dissembled. My brethren, have you disseinbled in yours? - Dissimulation, like other sins, admits of degrees. The heart may dissemble radically and entirely, so as to be wholly hypocritical; fo as not to feel any portion of that love to God, of that faith, of that gratitude, of that sense of duty, of that purpose of obedience which the tongue expresses. Or it may dissemble partially ; feeling weakly and insufficiently those sentiments towards Him, which dwell with parade and seeming warmth upon the lips. The doom which awaits the complete hypocrite, cannot be doubted. Let the partial hypocrite beware, lest he at last come to the same place of torment.
II. Consider, in the next place, each of you for himself, how strong is the probability that you may be guilty, in a greater or a less degree, of diffembling in your heart before God. Remember the natural corruption of the human heart. The heart is originally averse to holiness, replenished with the feeds of every sin, and scarcely to be searched or penetrated by human eyes. The imagination of man's heart, faith the Scripture, is evil from bis youth. The heart of the fons of men is full of evil. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know
it (d)? Have not you reason to dread that your heart thus subjected originally to the dominion of fin, may not yet be purified from dissembling against God ? Have you not reason to dread that your heart, by nature thus stored with duplicity, thus difficult to be discerned, may deceive yourself? Reflect farther, of what multitudes the Scriptures make mention; multitudes existing at different periods, and among the very people peculiarly favoured with the knowledge of true religion, and in the most impressive manner dedicated to God; as having dissembled against Him, even so as utterly to have departed from Him. At the time of the deluge, only eight persons out of the whole human race were preserved by divine mercy from destruction. When the Israelites were commanded to enter the land of Canaan ; Caleb and Joshua, together with Moses and Aaron, and perhaps some few individuals besides, were the only persons of the whole congregation of Israel who remained faithful to the Lord of Hosts. When the Jews, to whom Jeremiah addressed the words of the text, were commanded to render the promised obedience to their God, and to abstain from going down into Egypt; all the people, with the exception as it should seem : (d) Gen. viii. 21. Eccl. ix. 3. Jerem. xvii. 9.
only of the prophet, himself and his friend Baruch, obeyed not the voice of the Lord, to · dwell in the land of Judah. When Jesus Christ called the world to repentance, and manifested himself to be the Son of God by the i most decisive miracles : how few were there out of the multitudes which had flattered him with their lips who did not speedily prove that they had dissembled with Him in their hearts ! How few who preferred to walk with him in the narrow way that leadeth unto life, compared with the crowds which thronged the broad road that leadeth to destruction! What is the case in the present day? I wish not to encourage myself or you in drawing invidious comparisons. But we cannot be blind to plain and notorious facts. We have in our hands the word of God, which describes the character of a true Christian. We have before our eyes the practice of the world. We cannot but compare the one with the other. When we compare them, we cannot but perceive how vast is the number of professed Christians, who evince little of the spirit of true christianity in their principles and conduct : . and therefore stand self-convicted as diffemblers in their hearts before the Most High. When you call to remembrance the multitudes :: N4
even among those who styled themselves the followers of God, which in ancient times the finfulness and deceitfulness of the heart betrayed into hypocrisy : when you survey the multitudes of his professed followers, which in this your day the same sinfulness and deceitfulness render hypocritical before Him: have you not reason for serious dread that you may yourself be found a dissembler in his • sight?
III. I proceed to lay before you, and to exemplify by some instances, a scriptural rule, which may assist you in discovering whether, if the Son of God were now to call you to judgement, you would be found difsemblers in your hearts.
Where your treasure is, faith our Lord, there will your heart be allo (c). In other words, Whatever be the object which you judge and feel to be the most valuable; concerning that object will your heart few itself to be the most steadily and the most deeply interested. Apply this rule to yourself. Examine yourself by it. It is thus that you may discover with absolute certainty whether your heart is fixed upon God, or whether it disfembles before Him. (e) Matt. vi. 21.