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Could sickness and death be done away, could the arts and sciences flourish, would you not covet the privilege? It is a mercy that we are to choose between heaven and hell!
Are you not, then, without God in all these respects? And, in conclusion, let me ask,
1. In what do you differ from atheists? You start, and I admit a difference in almost every thing which makes a good citizen. But in the view of the Bible, what is the difference? What have you to commend you to God ́ which they have not? You have a belief in him; but is it of any practical value? Do not "the devils also believe, and tremble?" Be assured, it will not save you from condemnation. "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the onlybegotten Son of God." You have a fear of him. But what is its nature, filial or slavish? Would not the former lead you to obedience? Is not the latter possessed by the lost? What, then, in the sight of God, and in its bearing on your future destiny, is the difference? I can see none. It becomes me to remind you,
2. That if you remain without God in this world, you must remain so for ever. O! fearful state! Without Him, as he constitutes the felicity of the redeemed, but not as he completes the misery of the lost!
MY PEOPLE DOTH NOT CONSIDER.-Isaiah i, 3.
THERE is peculiar beauty in this affecting language of Jehovah. It reveals to us traits of character which ought to endear him to our hearts. It is the language of a kind father, affectionate almost to tears, beholding the reckless-TM ness of his children, and mourning over its awful conse
quences. How sad the picture of our race which it sents! We see them straying-the tempest threateningGod entreating-but all in vain. We suffer in comparison. with the brutes. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." I propose to prove the assertion of the text by a brief reference to the views and actions of men respecting religion. And that you may fully understand me, I would here observe, that all my remarks will be based on the fact that we are intelligent beings, gifted with judgment and reason. Hence, sufficient light and reflection on any subject will lead to opinions, and these to their legitimate effects in action. Let us consider,
I. The views which men have of religion.
I wish not to think or speak disparagingly of our age, nor overlook its many glories. It is an age of enterprise, philanthropy, and Christian exertion. Still it is an age of conflict, in which these virtues are called to contend with their opposites; an age of troubled elements, where all is commotion. One may safely predict, from present movements in the moral world, that we are on the eve of great events-that the opposing forces of Christ and Belial will not, in the next age, be as equally matched as they now are, but that victories are to be gained which will give the predominance to one of the parties. You see, then, that I believe the views of many at the present day to be against religion. Without much effort we find avowed atheists and deists, who view Christianity as an imposition, and who cavil openly at every thing that is holy. And to what is this attributable but inconsideration? Is there want of evidence in proof of the existence of the Deity, and of the authenticity of revelation? Man's reason proves the existence of God-all nations have believed in fate, or some overruling power-nature and providence are both inexplicable on any other sup
position. Revelation has been made morally certain by evidence. Notwithstanding the thousand volumes which infidelity has written, the truth is still unobscured; like the sun, it outshines these stars of night. Paley and Butler infidelity has not dared assail. Why have not men embraced the truth? Is it not because they have not considered it? Has not this been the dying confession of infidelity? What stronger proof of inconsideration than skeptical young men furnish can you ask?
We bring as proof the views of many nominal Christians. I pass over the many who reject vital truths, as it must be admitted that fashion and inclination, not prayerful consideration, lead them on. Would they consider, they would see that they were robbing religion of its life, Christ of his glory, and heaven of its allurements. But why the obscurity of the views of many on vital points? How few of my hearers can explain the scheme of salvation; can tell how a sinner may be justified! How few know how to begin to seek religion-how to repent and believe! We have to explain these anew to every peniNow the Bible is clear on these points-preaching frequent-but, alas! your attention is drawn to other objects. You do not view this knowledge as essential now, and hence labour not to attain it. "My people doth not consider."
II. Their actions in reference to it. It will readily be admitted that many live as if there were no God, and no hereafter. Some are openly impious, restrained only by society; others have no regard for God, however moral their lives. Now all this would do, if they had proved the Bible to be false, and religion a fable; but do they consider that they have demonstrated neither to be false, and that both may prove true in the end? Do they reflect on the interests at stake-interests so vast that nothing short of demonstration will justify
their conduct? They care not to think of these things; they will not.
1. Look especially at the apparent unconcern with which nominal Christians continue in sin. The indifference of even true Christians to religion is matter of surprise to infidels. "How different would be your actions," say they, "did you really believe in Christianity." Muchmore surprising, however, are the actions of sinners. Some live in commission of outbreaking sins, and seem to feel no great anxiety, except on extraordinary occasions which bring them to reflection. Others are outwardly moral; but who knows their secret sins? And even these live in open violation of the great law which requires them to love and serve God. Both classes are sinners od's sight. Both profess fully to believe his word. If their profession be sincere, what then do they believe? Why, that "sin" is "exceeding sinful"-the "abominable thing" which God hates-that it is contempt of infinite mercy, justice, and power-that it exposes the soul to eternal death—that every sin goes to judgment—that for every sin they will be punished. And yet they go on in sin without anxiety in view of all this, and professing to believe all this! Can they consider when they do so, or do they disbelieve? Here is your dilemiha; which horn will you take?
2. Look at the ease with which they defer repentance and faith. Numerous, you know, are the instances of individuals who, day after day, for years, thus procrastinate. They engage in business and pleasure, and neglect religion. The excuses which they offer for this neglect are all unreasonable; such as, "I have not time;" "I am too young;" "People will laugh at me," &c. The motives which influence them are love of the world and sin, and the gratification of their appetites and passions. All is summed up here. Now they profess to believe that the
pleasures of sin are unsatisfying and transient-that religion is absolutely necessary to present and future happiness-that life is uncertain-that every call may be the last-that the Spirit may be grieved away for ever! And yet we cannot prevail upon them to embrace religion. We beg and plead, but they still procrastinate! Heaven waits and pleads, reason expostulates, and conscience alarms; but they leave the sanctuary, and defer attention to the salvation of their souls. O, alarming proof of the assertion of the text.
But I am satisfied that you are fully convinced that the complaint of God is just. In the proof of this inconsideration which I have spread before you, you see also its awful effects. Say, will you, with the assistance of divine grace, now prevent them? Consideration is the first step to religion. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies." I cannot but fear that some of you will remain inconsiderate-leave the house, as you have often done, without seeking God—become absorbed in the world and pleasure-and put far away the evil day. I fear that accidents and sickness will overtake you, and that, without time for reflection, you will be hurried away. But what more can I do? What can I say to move you? "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!"
FOLLOW ME.-Matt. ix, 9.
How wonderful that the Saviour should have chosen publicans and fishermen to be his disciples! As if in contempt of human pride, he passed by the wise, and selected the simple. This was not earthly, but heavenly