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matter of Uriah the Hittite. We read of mány Sins of Infirmity whicli he: comorit. ted; but these were easily pardoned; that ftuck close to him, and could not be wiped off but by a long and strict Repentance, and Patient enduring of terrible Calamities inficted on him. Other Sins alter not the Constitution of the Soul of Man; and if a: good Man should suddenly die even in the Commission of one of them, we might still liope for Mercy; but for a wilful Sin no Mercy is to be expected, till the habit of the Mind be intirely changed by Repentance.
This Distin&tion of Sins may instruct yon in the necessary manner of forming your Repentance. For Sins of Ignorance and Infirmity, a general Repentance may fuffice; a hearty Sorrow for having offended God in Thought, Word or Deed; an humble Supplication of Pardon,' a' fincere Red folution of endeavouring to avoid any fuch for the future. But for every wil ful Sin a particular Repentance is required, a fad Reflection of the Mind upon it, an earnest and continued Supplication for Pare don of it; a diligent struggling with the corrnpt Inclinations of the Will; a long Preparation of it by Prayer, by Resolution, by Meditation, by all neceffary Acts of Mortification, which may intirely change the Bent, and remove the Corruptions of it, and fubdue it to the Obedience of God.
Then, and not till then may the wilful Sinner presume of Pardon; believe himself reconciled to God, and to have escaped the Sentence of Destruction pronounced in the Text: Which God of his infinite Mercy Grant, that by a true and perfect Repentance we may all avoid, for the Sake, Sc.
Preach'd April 21, 1689, at Lam
Acts X. 34, 35. Then Peter opened his Mouth and
said, Of a Truth I perceive that
God is no respecter of Persons. But in every Nation, he that fear
eth him and worketh Righteouf
ness, is accepted with him. TH
HE Christian Religion being the ulti
mate, ought also to be the most perfect Revelation of the Will of God. And that it is so, cannot better he discovered, than from its most perfect Agreement with the Divine Attributes, and Subservience to them.
The End of all Religion is first the Honour and Service of God, and then the good of Men. The first is promoted by noble Conceptions of God and his infinite Perfectio
Ôns, the latter is inhanced by the extent of it. The primary Attribute of God in Relation to us is his Government of the World, and the Excellency of that consists in the Justice of it. This Justice appears most conspicuously in the universal diffusion of his Benefits, in dispensing his Rewards as well as Punishments impartially to all Orders and Ranks of Men, in excluding none from his Favour, but for Reasons common to their with all Mankind.
This all Men conceive to be à Perfe£ti. on in God, and as such it must be an eter: nal Attribute of the Divine Nature ; ala though the Influences and Effects of it may be niore manifest in fome Ages, and under fome Dispensations, than in others. As his Mercy, his Goodness, and his Power, were from all Ages equal and uniform ; but more openly declared to the World by external Actions relating to us.
His Justice was always impartial and universal; yet clouded in a great Measure under the Mofaick Law, while the Divine Mercies were in Appearance appropriated to a small Divis sion of Mankind; not clouded indeed die realy and by necessary consequence ; buc by reason of the fond Opinion of Men, who from the peculiar Favours of God, would take Occasion to fancy him partial in their behalf, and exclude the rest of the World from the participation of the fame Happiness.
This the Jews in a most gross Manner did, who imagined themselves to be the on
Members of Mankind, for whom God had any Care or Respect ; fancied themselves dear to God, not upon the common Accouuť of Piety and Obedience, but for peculiar Reasons; as their Descent from Abraham, their Separation from the rest of the World by Circumcision, and other Typical Rites: Upon this Account they treated all other Persons as Prophane and Unclean, allowed no share of the Divine Favour to them; and believed them to be utterly unregarded by God in his Government of the World.
A Prejudice which the Jews liad so far imbibed, that the Apostles retained it many Years, even after the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and would not receive the Gentiles to their Company or Conversation; much less to tlie Hopes and Fellowship of the same blessed Calling, until God by an extraordinary Vision, and by the Example of Cornelius, taught St. Peter not to call any Man common or unclean; and convinced him that his Favours were not to be restrained, according to the mean and unworthy Conceptions of the Jews; that the Extent of his Mercy and Goodness was no more capable of Limitation, than the Nature of them; and that the Conditions of his Favour should not, as his Country-men had hitherto vainly imagined, be descent from Abraham, and Obfervation of legal Ceremonies ; but the more noble