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For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous. He knoweth all his sincerity, his zeal, his fervent piety, his ardent benevolence, his love of truth, his desire of usefulness, his earnest, persevering endeavour to approve

himself a faithful, diligent servant, and to fulfil the duty of the post assigned him.

And knowing this he beholds the character of the righteous with complacency and approbation; and will assuredly award to him a state of everlasting and unchangeable glory and felicity, such as no tongue can tell, no heart conceive.

He likewise knoweth the way of the ungodly; he discerneth all his follies and his crimes; his contempt of God and goodness, his confirmed habits, his fixed resolution to persevere in the paths of wickedness; he knoweth all his scornful and bitter reflections upon religion, upon its principles, its professors, and its advocates, and all the pains he takes to seduce the young and the unwary into forbidden paths, and to make them altogether like to himself;

and he who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, marketh this temper and conduct with his severest displeasure.

And the justice of God, that is, his benevolence, under the direction of infinite wisdom, ever consulting the good of the whole, requires that creatures so depraved, so altogether tainted and corrupted to the very core with vice, should be visited with condign punishment. The


of the ungodly shall perish, it leadeth to destruction. Sin must be chastised till it is totally subdued, and punishment must be inflicted till the just and necessary ends of punishment are completely accomplished. And, however men may flatter themselves in their vices, and whatever false expectations they may build upon the infinitude of divine mercy, it will most assuredly be found in the event that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.




Luke, v. 31. They that are whole need not a physician; but they that

are sick.

IT may be admitted as an established principle that knowledge is favourable to virtue, and particularly, that correct views of moral subjects are highly conducive to correctness of moral conduct.

Hence it follows, that no consideration more directly tends to alienate the heart from vice, than a just conception of its nature and tendency, of its malignity and deformity, and of its direct and necessary tendency to misery and destruction.

Correct views of moral subjects will also manifest the perfect consistency of moral agency and moral responsibility with the

distinct foreknowledge and the over-ruling providence of God.

The true definition of vice is that state of mind, or that modification of the habits and affections, which constitutes or tends to the greatest ultimate misery of the agent, or which detracts from or diminishes his greatest ultimate happiness. No intelligent agent can be happy whose heart is the seat of bad principles and exorbitant passions; of wild ambition, of avarice,.of pride, of malice, of envy, or of lust. These affections therefore are vicious in the extreme. And the quality which constitutes their vice is no abstract unintelligible notion, but plainly this: their direct and necessary tendency to the misery of their unhappy subjects, and to the production and extension of misery whithersoever their influence reaches.

Extreme indigence, personal deformity, bodily disease, and many other natural evils, are sources of pain; but they are not vices. The reason is, that they are not voluntary. Moral qualities appertain

only to affection and habit, to action and character. Whatever is involuntary, is morally indifferent. It is neither good nor evil, it is neither right nor wrong.

It is plain from this account of the nature of moral affections, that in whatever way vice

may be supposed to originate in the mind, the agent in whom it exists cannot possibly be happy, till this evil quality is completely extirpated. Also, that he who contributes to eradicate vice from the character of another, is acting a truly benevolent part, whatever be the length or severity of the


may cessary to this end.

In popular language a vicious man can only escape the misery to which he is hastening, and attain the favour of God and final happiness by sincere repentance, by the entire renunciation of his vices, by the practice of universal virtue. And since suffering is the natural, and usual, and perhaps under the divine government, and in the present state of things, the only efficacious means of purification from vice, he

be ne

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