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· Compare then the pains which you employ, the vigilance which you exercise, the anxiety which you feel, concerning worldly objects, on the one hand; on the other, concerning religion. When you hear your friend slandered or your parent injuriously treated; you are moved with indignation, you are distressed and afflicted. When you hear the name of God profaned; are you more deeply grieved? When you perceive Him to be Nighted and insulted ; are you more severely troubled in your heart? If not; you do not give the first place in your heart to God. You do but difsemble with him when you-profess that you love him above all things.
Again. When you receive a kindness, a great and an undeserved kindness, from a friend; you feel, I presume, warm and durable emotions of gratitude, and an earnest desire to render to your benefactor such a return, in proportion to your ability, as may be acceptable to Him. You are receiving every day from God blessings infinitely superior to all the kindnesses, which can be conferred upon you by any of your fellowcreatures. Do you feel then still more lively and durable emotions of gratitude to Him? Do you feel a still more earnest desire to ren. der to Him through Christ that acceptable tri
bute of faith and love and holiness of life, which his grace is ever ready to enable you to offer? If not ; you do not give the first place in your heart to God. You do but difsemble with Him, when you profess that you love him above all things. i
Again. Your worldly prosperity is an object which you pursue with industry and solịcitude. Are you still more diligent, more anxious, in pursuing the welfare of your soul? Are you more earnestly bent on growth in grace, than on the accumulation of property? Are you more eager to advance in religious knowledge, than in knowledge which will enable you to augment your wealth ? Are you more watchful to feek for religious friends and connections, than for those which may forward your present intesest, or that of your family? If nos; you do not give the first place in your heart to God, You do but difsemble with Him, when you profess that you love Him above all things.
Again. You have various occupations to which you resort, as opportunities offer themfelves, from inclination and choice. Among these is religion to be found ? Does religion stand at the head of them? Do you delight in the study of the scriptures? Do you delight in public worship; in its adorations, its prayers, its praises, its thanksgivings? Do you delight
in commemorating the atoning death of your Redeemer at his Sacramental table? Do you delight in meditations upon God; upon his goodness and mercy ; upon salvation through Christ; upon the hope of dwelling with Him in holiness and happiness hereafter? Do you delight to converse privately with your family, or with a Christian friend, on these subje&s? Do you find all other pleasures and satisfactions uninteresting and dead, when compared with those which have religion at their root ? If not; you do not give to God the first place in your heart. You do but difsemble with Hın, when you profess that you love Him above all things.
I will mention only one example more. When you are informed of the events, which befal another person, you rejoice, if they are such as promote his worldly advantage ; you lament, if they impair it. Do you experience greater joy, when you are assured of his advancement in religion? Do you experience greater sorrow, if you learn that he has gone backward in the ways of righteousness? Do you judge of all changes in the fituation of a person for whom you are interested, principally by the influence which they seem likely to have on his religious prospects? You hear that he has entered into the state of marriage.
Do you at once feel-more solicitous to enquire whether his wife be steadily pious ; than whether she be of superior understanding, accomplished, and rich ? He removes to a distant part of the country. Are you more grieved to learn that he is thrown into the hands of companions calculated to endanger his salvation ; than to be informed that his new place of abode will probably be destructive of his health ? He has lost his child or the wife of his bosom. Are your prayers that his affliction may be fanctified more fervent than those for its removal ? You ponder on schemes and labour in exertions for his benefit. In all your plans, in all your efforts, are you more anxious to be made the instrument of strengthening him in faith and good works, than of forwarding his temporal success: of guarding him from those evils which war against the soul, than from those which assault the body? If not; you do not give to God the first place in your heart. You do but dissemble with Him, when you profess that you love Him above all things; that all which the Lord your God commandeth, you will do.
IV. My brethren! a part at least of the words of the prophet, as delivered in the text,
is applicable to your conduct this day. By presenting yourselves in this house of God, you have in fact said to his ministers, Pray for us unto the Lord our God; and according unto all that the Lord our God mall say, so declare unto us and we will do it. “Offer up “ unto God on our behalf the supplications “ recorded in the liturgy of our church. And “ in your discourse from the pulpit, explain “ to us from the word of God our duty as “ Christians, and we will perform it.” Whether the remaining words of the text, the charge which Jeremiah pronounced against the Jews, re have dissembled in your hearts, be also applicable to you, is a question which it is not mine to decide. The truth is known to the Searcher of hearts. It is open and naked before the eyes of Him from whom no secrets are withdrawn. It is discoverable by you: by every one for himself. Examine yourselves, when you are returned to privacy at home, by that scriptural rule, which I have stated and endeavoured to exemplify for your instruction. Accompany that examination with humble prayer for the grace of the holy Spirit ; that he may enlighten your understandings, awaken your consciences, and enable you to judge sincerely and impartially whether your hearts are stedfast with God,