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ing degeneracy. Difference of constitution, of climate, of education, of connections, of pursuits, and of condition in life, naturally and necessarily produce many very different, opposite, and mixed characters; while a corrupt principle, common to them all, never fails to shew itself in each, it often, if not always, derives a peculiar characteristic distinction and influence from the above, or other circumstances of a similar nature.

Some are comparatively innocent, yea blameless, in the eyes of men, though in the judge ment of God, children of disobedience and wrath, with the rest of mankind; others are bold, presumptuous, notorious sinners. Some are in. different and careless, and others studiously bad in principle and practice. Some say in their hearts, others with their mouths, and others by their lives, that there is no God. If his existence is not denied, his name is blasphemed, his Son is not received, his gospel is slighted, and many do despite to the spirit of grace.

Sometimes Christianity is professed without any serious belief of its peculiar doctrines, or any practical regard to its sacred laws and institutions. Sometimes these are observed only with

cold formality, or designing hypocrisy. In some we see the shameless front of avowed infidelity or irreligion; from others we hear all the varied language of profane ridicule; and many are neither ashamed nor afraid of unrestrained licentiousness, yea, to commit all manner of iniquity with greedi

ness.

Sometimes a whole character is corrupted by the uncontrolled reign of a single criminal pas. sion, while one is hurried on by proud ambition to the constant sacrifice of principle and persecution of good men, another is degraded by silly, servile, sinful compliance. Here we find the senseless and sensual extravagance of the prodigal; and there the mean and selfish avarice of the miser. In short, is there not, universally, irresistible and growing evidence of deep-rooted depravity in the nature of man? Were we to lay open his heart, or trace the progress of his life; examine his conduct or motives of action; how many melancholy proofs would occur, of the want of religion, or of good morals, of unbelief, or of feeble faith, or of strong corruption, of deficient virtue, or triumphant vice.

In wilful ignorance, perverted knowledge, secret wickedness, and open profligacy, what a va

riety of human character appears! Yet in all that variety there is not one sight to relieve us from the sad and humbling conclusion, that all men, without exception, are alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, by reason of the blindness of their hearts; yea, enemies in their minds and by wicked works. Think not, my friends, that this is a picture of things overcharged with dark or strong colouring; it is not more than you will find in the following and many other passages of scripture, Psalm xiv. 1-4. Jer. xvii. 9. Matt. xv. 16–21. Rom. ii. 10—21. 1 Tim. i. 9, 10. But, Oh! how blessed and glorious is the prospect set before us in our text, and in the whole gospel, that all things, which are on earth, shall, by Christ, be reconciled unto God. Though the worst of things meet in the diversified character of man, it is determined that they shall all be brought under a new, a sanctifying, and saving influence. Evil as men every where are, and always have been, with every species of pollution and crime, they shall become the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

No forbidding distinction or exception is to be found in any part of the Christian Revelation.

Of peculiarly benign aspect it smiles on men of every character, with all the gracious expression of pardoning mercy and sanctifying love. Men may exclude themselves from the kingdom of God by obstinate unbelief and impenitence but in all its statutes there is not a single act of exclusion against any other. By this heavenly divine constitution, none are forced to be happy against their own convictions and inclinations, and none are refused who are willing: none are accepted because they are better than others; and none are rejected because they are worse. There never existed a reason for hope to any one sinner, which does not always exist, and universally. The grace which

appears in the gospel, brings salvation to all men. Its every doctrine breathes the spirit of universal benevolence; even what it teaches concerning the sovereign mercy, and e. lecting love of God, if properly understood, can be no just occasion of alarm; for neither does his decree proceed upon any supposed difference, or superiority of character; nor did the elect themselves ever believe, nor can they ever believe to the saving of their souls upon any previous knowledge of their election, or upon any other authority or warrant, than what is divinely revealed to all others as well as to them, If leaving then the secret counsels of Jehovah, which we have nei. ther power nor right to investigate, we attend to his revealed will, do we not see a deep and broad foundation laid, sufficient to support the building of eternal mercy, and of universal hope and confidence ? Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! Hear him testifying before-hand the infinite and universal efficacy of his death upon the cross. I, says he, when I am lifted up, will draw all men unto me. The invitations of the gospel are addressed to all without exception, commanding and encouraging the faith of the whole world, and promising present and eternal salvation to every believer, whether less or more guilty by the number and

ag. gravation of past offences. No mention is made of any pre-requisite to recommend sinners to the Divine favour, or even to procure the least degree of preference. The spirit of prophecy, anticipating the promulgation of the gospel, calls without discrimination of character, every one that hath ears to hear that his soul may live. Ho! every one that thirsteth. When Messiah actual. ly appears, his manner of address is not different. He calls not the righteous, but sinners to repent

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