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pression, where there is nothing to resist or counteract them : and thus the character becomes determined for life against the salutary truths of revelation. And the major part of our nobility, gentry, military, and too many of the learned professions, are unbelievers. Where any have been, without any just knowledge of what they reject and disbelieve, under invincible prejudices, which have hindered their seeing truths, all allowance will be made by the merciful Father of his frail creatures, as for all involuntary errors. But, in proportion as bad passions have mixed with men's rejection of the Gospel, and been.encouraged by them, they will grievously suffer loss and punishment hereafter.

It is, however, a sad forlorn condition, for a rational creature of God, made for him, and for the attainment of habits of piety and all virtue that lead to him ; and placed in the midst of sufficient means and opportunities to make these improvements, to go out of the world not only destitute of them, but fixed in contrary dispositions, generated through a life of longer or shorter continuance, spent in neglect of him, in bringing discredit on his

righteous

righteous laws, and by example and influence having contributed to bring others into the same wretched state.

May we all take warning in time, and prevent our unavailing regrets on being overtaken by the inexorable hand of death, in the midst of such a course of life!

PRAYER.

O Thou, the inexhaustible fountain of all being, perfection, and happiness! who hase from all eternity been bringing creatures into existence to enjoy thy bounty : for never was there time, wherein thy goodness did not find objects on which to display itself :

What abundant cause of thankfulness have we of the human race, unto thee, O God, that we have not been left in the insensible clod and dust of the earth, of which we are composed; but, framed and organized by thy forming hand, have had the breath of life breathed into us by thee, and been made in thine image, so much superior to the animal creation around us !

Let not a day pass over us, in which we recognise not this thy kindness unspeakable,

SO

90 utterly undeserved, to us who have many of us behaved so unworthily; and make us more worthy of it.

Whilst millions of millions of creatures, more perfect and exalted, in worlds innumerable, through infinite space, are the objects, O Lord, of thy providence and care, by which alone the whole universe is continually sustained :

Make us thankful that we are not overlooked by thee, who are the very latest of thy works, and an inferior part of thy rational creation, though capable of the highest attainments; and that thou givest us continually unceasing proofs of thy tender concern for our welfare.

For we trace thy care of us, O Lord, throughout all nature, with which we are connected ; in the wide expanse above, in the earth we inhabit, and the mighty waters that encircle us.

But chiefly, and above all, O God, let our hearts and mouths be filled with thy praise, for the provision thou hast made for our minds, and for our improvement in virtue and holiness, whereby we may bear some resemblance of thee, and become qualified, through

thy

thy favour, to live in increasing virtue and happiness for ever.

And here cause our deepest gratitude to overflow at the reviving thought, that thou, most high and holy, shouldest show us such. condescending regards, as to visit us and speak to us for our good, and to draw us out of the abyss of sin, and misery, and ruin, in which we had plunged ourselves, by thy prophets of old time, and last of all by the blessed Jesus, thy most beloved son and

servant.

Suffer us not to debase ourselves, and lose sight of thee, and this thine immense goodness, through the grovelling cares and defiling pleasures of this passing world ; but aid us to lift up our hearts always unto thee, who art to be found of all that diligently seek thee.

And dispose us to take pains and labour in this great work of our immortal state, without which nothing valuable is to be acquired by us ; and remove every attachment to this world, and that most baneful sloth and indolence which bar all access to thy truth; that we may be in a right state of mind to VOL. I.

receive

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receive and profit by it, and may be possessed of those virtuous dispositions which may fit us for those heavenly and eternal abodes, which are thy gracious promise to us by Christ our Lord. Now unto Thee, O Father, &c.

The Lord bless us, &c.

December 19, 1779.

SERMON

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