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Against the ill effects of these, give me leave to observe, not as a politician (for I do not aspire to that character) but as a minister of Jesus Christ; that there is no true liberty but in the service, of God; and that the greatest of all grievances is sin, as fatal to societies as to individuals. The only free men, properly so called, are they whom the Son of God hath made free from the bondage of fin: the slavery is all on the other fide; with those who are subject to their own turbulent lusts and paffions, by which they are as effectually enslaved as the wretch who is chained down to drudge at the oar, all the days of his life: his servants ye are to whom ye obey whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. Pride, vanity, avarice, envy, hatred, ambition, extravagance, and impatience: these are the tyrants of the children of disobedience, who, while they are under the dominion of such masters, are generally the most forward to hold out the temptation of liberty, and promise it to all their followers; but the beggar may as well promise crowns and scepters. Of such men St. Peter gives us this character, that they speak evil of dignities; and while they promise liberty are themselves the servants of corruption. Tied and bound with the chain of their vices, and probably of their debts, they commence arbiters of freedom; and would have us believe, what great quietness we should enjoy, and what very worthy deeds would be done by their providence.

It is a mistake of the worst tempers only to suppose that liberty consists in contradiction; for if that were true, then the more unreasonable the contradiction, the greater the liberty. Every society is a body, the members of which being appointed to different offices, fhould all conspire to the same end for the good of the whole. Hath the tongue no liberty, but

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in uttering imprecations, and calling down vengeance upon its owner? Have the hands no liberty, but when they are lifted up against the head, or striking at the heart? It is the honour of the feet, that they can support the head by which they are animated and directed; it is the honour of the hands, that they can defend the vital parts, and repel the adversaries of the body: this is their proper employment, and when the order of nature is observed, the whole system will be in safety, which is all the liberty good men will ever expect in a world so full of mischief and danger.

As to grievances, it must be owned we have our share; and no government in the world is without them; but it is the unhappiness of this nation, to be more disturbed with imaginary than with real evils. The sick man may suffer much from his distemper; but he often suffers much more from his dreams, and throws himself into certain destruction, while he is flying from the terrors of a vision. It is no such easy matter for people in a lower sphere, especially in this age of scandal and defamation, to know when and how their superiors are in fault. The inhabitant of the valley blames the dimness of the air, and sees a mist spread over the hills and higher grounds; which to those in a better situation, appears to rise out of his own soil, and to settle upon the place of his own babitation. But then, have governors no faults, and are we to see nothing amiss in them? undoubtedly they have their faults, if they are mortal men, together with many difficulties, misfortunes, and mortifications from their office; under all which, it is our duty to pray for them, and not to revile them; to pray that God will give them grace to amend their faults, and assist them by his good providence, in the critical affairs of their

country; approving ourselves as true Christians, servants of God, and friends of mankind.

Let not then any heathen principles, any visionary notions of liberty, interpose to debauch our minds with disaffection, and thereby givé occasion to foreign enemies, whose envy will always be active, and is even now awake, to foment our divisions, and to triumph in all the unhappy effects of them*. Not many years are passed since we might justly be accounted the first people in the world. Nothing can support us in that high rank, but loyalty and unanimity, without which, a kingdom that hath attained its utmost greatness, must soon fall with its own weight.

May therefore the King immortal and invisible, in whose hand are all the nations of the earth; who, according to his good pleasure, sendeth counsel in peace and success in war, give us all grace, in our several stations, to correct what is amiss, to hold fast what is good, to restore what is lost, to preserve what is ready to perish, and to see the things that belong to our peace, before they are hid from our eyes! Amen.

* Those enemies have now disarmed themselves, by falling into the doctrine of licentiousness, against which this discourse was directed.

VOL. IV.

SERMON VIII.

TO THE ONE WE ARE THE SAVOUR OF DEATH UNTO DEATH; AND TO THE OTHER THE SAVOUR OF LIFE UNTO LIFE; AND WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS? COR. 11. 16.

So strangely has the world been divided in its opinion concerning the Gospel, that the ministers of Jesus Christ, whose business it is to preach it, have always found themselves in a difficult situation; for which no man can be sufficient without the gifts of fortitude, and prudence, and patience, from the Spirit of God, to support and assist him in his office. Christianity always had, and always will have its adversaries: it corrects the false opinions, and controuls the licentious morals of unconverted nature; therefore nature rises up against it; and as nature is the same in all ages and in all parts of the world, time and place make but little difference in this respect. The difficulty was certainly greater to the Apostles than it is to us. The heathen religion was then in possession of the world; and all its abominable practices had the sanction of custom and establishment; so that the opposition then carried on against the Gospel was more active and virulent, as well as more powerful, than it is now. error and vice are still the adversaries of true religion as they were then; and therefore the difficulty must

But

remain to all the successors of the Apostles, so long as error and vice shall have any power and interest upon earth. God who gave to his ministers the know ledge of the truth, and all good men who love the truth, will be ready to encourage them for their work's sake; but evil will be as near at hand to discourage and resist them. The Apostle, having this case under his consideration, is shocked with the difficulty, and cries out, who is sufficient for these things? Who can endure to stand in this fearful and troublesome situation, with the sun shining on one side of him, and a cold tempestuous wind beating against him on the other? What patience can hold out against, what constitution can long survive, such a trial? Yet such must be the trial, in some degree, of every true preacher of God's word; and as it has been my lot to preach amongst you, I hope with some profit, I am sure with much sincerity, it will be for our common advantage to consider the difficulties to which I am exposed in common with every other minister of a parish: that having considered them, you may be ready (as I have reason to think you will be) to do all in your power to lessen them. The better I shall succeed in my duty, the greater will be your advantage; and that as well in this world as in the next.

However well disposed and tractable the people of a parish may be, all will not be alike. Some will respect their minister for God's sake, for the church's sake, and for his work's sake: they will attend with pleasure to his doctrine, and his advice will sink into their ears. He found them good, and his instructions will make them better: they will profit by his admonitions, and even bear his reproofs, if such should be necessary, without being offended. But it will not be so with all others there are who will judge differently;

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