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the things of the Spirit. To be spirituallyminded is life and peace: to be carnally-minded is death (<r).

My brethren! the parable which has been explained, while it affords an exact picture of the present state of multitudes who profess themselves to be Christians, holds forth a solemn warning to all persons, who are at this day endeavouring to make excuses for denying to religion the empire of their hearts. If in tempers or in conduct you are an open transgressor of the gospel; as surely as the word of God is true, you are in a state of damnation. The gulf of destruction stares you in the face; and, unless you repent and become a new man, will close upon you for ever. But this parable, in conformity to many other passages in the New Testament, teaches you the no less aweful lesson; that you will be condemned at the day of judgement, if you suffer any one of the lawful occupations or lawful pleasures of this life to be the principal object of your pursuit. Yet how frequently do we see people resigning themselves to such idols; and sind every argument ineffectual to convince them that they are in the direct road to eternal ruin. With

{() Rom. viii. 6, 7.


some, wealth is the idol. They rife up early, and go late to rest, and eat the bread of carefulness, day after day, and year after year. Then* minds are filled with plans for the improvement of their ground, and the advantageous disposal of its produce; or with schemes to draw customers to their compting-house or their shop, and to lay in their commodities at the cheapest rate; or to place out their money on the best security, and at the highest interest. At the end of every year tljey are become richer: but they are not become more inclined to religion. They have increased in possessions; but they have not grown in grace. They have accumulated substance on earth: but have not laid up treasure in the sight of God. During all this time they imagine that they are religious I and are even ready to profess a conviction that this scraping laborious life is one proof of religion. How hardening is the deceitfulnefs of fin (d)! How darkening the influence of a worldly spirit! What specious evidence have they to produce of their religion? Let their cause be exhibited in the most favourable light. They have not been spendthrifts. They have observed common honesty in their dealings. They have seldom omitted their forms of devotion at the returns of night

(</) Heb. iii. Ij:.

Pa and and of morning. They have attended public worship, and even the sacrament, with decent frequency. But let every person of this description answer to himself a short question: Where has your heart been fixed I On the next world, or on this ?'Your answer will tell you that, if you die in your present state, your condemnation is certain and just. Others make pleasures and amusements their idols. They conceive that, because they are under no pecuniary necessity of addicting themselves to business, they need not disappointtheh? inclinations. They do not mean, they profess, to live wickedly: but they think that they have a right to entertain themselves. Amusements accordingly constitute their leading pursuit. Hounds and horses, or other sports of the field; or public places and unprofitable visiting and the indolent perusal of trifling and uninstructive books, take possession of their time and their thoughts. The amusements which each person selects for himself depend on his situation, and other accidental circum. stances. But of all such persons, amusement, whatever shape it may assume, is the object. And because they follow such amusements as are not in their own nature necessarily sinful; and because they are not regardless of the forms of devotion, and some other outward

"duties duties of religion; they flatter themselves that they are sufficiently.good Christians. But let such persons also be asked: Where has your heart been fixed? Can you think that the life which you have led has been to live unto God and unto Christ? Has your life been that of a man who seeks first the king* dom of God and his righteousness? The persons who were previously described perish by the cares and the riches of the world. You perish by its idleness and its pleasures. Industry, grounded on Christian motives, and governed by Christian rules, is not only not a sin, but an absolute duty. Recreations, innocent in their nature, and moderate in degree, are at proper times beneficial and necessary. But if either the acquisition of money, or the pursuit of amusement, be the leading object of your thoughts and wishes, the ruling principle of your heart: cease to imagine that you are religious; anticipate the condemnation which awaits you. 1 dwell not on other idols. What though power and learning, and reputation, have also their worshippers? Is the idolatry of another man a vindication of yours? God acknowledges none as his servants, except those whose predominant desire and delight is to promote his glory and obey P 3 his

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his commandments. To no others does he promise pardon and grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Deceive yourself no longer. Lean no longer on a broken reed. Away with ever excuse for^delaying to resign your whole heart to your Redeemer. Some excuses may be more absurd, some may be more presumptuous, than others. But if you trust to any excuse whatever, you will fall into everlasting condemnation,

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