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they paid fo much regard to the day, as to affemble and receive inftruction. But how many among us wafte the fabbath in indolence, or profane it by unneceffary labours and vain amufements? How many contemptuously turn away from the stated inftructions of the fanctuary, and fay of God's worship, What a wearinefs is it?

Only one judgment, the incurfion of ravenous beafts, brought these Samaritans to confideration. But what good effect has been produced among us by a series of remarkable difpenfations both corrective and merciful? We may well be afhamed and afraid when we reflect, how much they did, and how little we do, to avert the displeafure, and procure the favour of God.

But ftill let it be remembered, that they came short of a fincere and acceptable fervice, because, while they feared the Lord, they ferved their graven images. The motives, which governed them in their religion, were of a worldly nature. They were more concerned to rid the land of wild beafts, than to rid themselves of their fins. And instead of directing their fervice to the one fupreme God, they divided it between him and their own falfe divinities.

We fee, then, that men may make the appearance of a reformation, and yet fall fhort of fincere repentance. Let us not reft in external forms, partial amendments, and divided fervices; but devote ourselves wholly and without referve to God, and walk before him in fimplicity and godly fincerity. The fincerity of the heart is the life and foul of religion. And fince, without this, men may seem to do much in religion, let us take good heed to ourselves, that we reft not in the form of godliness, when the power of it is wanting. There are those who feem to themselves to

be religious, when all their religion is vain. See that ye be not deceived. God requires truth in the inward parts. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are paffed away, and all thing are become new.

This brings us to another obfervation from our text, That true and acceptable religion is pure and fimple, directed to God and to him only.

This obfervation we will reserve to be illustrated in another discourse.

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II. KINGS xvii. 40, 41.

Howbeit, they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. So thefe nations feared the Lord and ferved their graven images, both their children, and their children's children; as did their fathers, so did they unto this day.

THE Affyrians, who were sent to re-peo

ple Samaria, after the native inhabitants had been carried to Affyria, found themfelves dangerously infefted with lions. This calamity they imputed to their ignorance of the religious fervice, which Jehovah, whom they called the god of the land, required of them. A Jewish priest was fent from Affyria to inftruct them in the character and wor fhip of the true God. Under his miniftration, they were fo far reformed, that they feared the Lord; but still, attached to the notions in which they had been educated, they worshipped their graven images. And thus did their children af ter them from one generation to another. Hence we have remarked,

I. The powerful influence of cuftom and edu cation in matters of religion. And,

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II. The general sense of mankind, that there is fuch a thing as religion, and that it is a matter of univerfal and indifpenfable obligation.

We now proceed to remark,

III. That true religion is pure and fimple, free from corrupt mixtures, and uniformly directed to one great end.

Thefe Affyrians "feared the Lord." They acknowledged the God of Ifrael; but, at the fame time, they ferved their own gods; and therefore the service, which they paid to the true God, was of little value.

As there is one God, the fole author and governor of the universe, and the fountain of all excellencies any where feen, and of all bleffings any where enjoyed, fo we are required to give him our highest regards, and to serve him with undivided affection; and we are forbidden to worthip any other object in oppofition to him, or in conjunction with him. And to us, who have been taught the unity of the godhead, nothing is more obvious than the neceffity of directing all our religious honours and fervices uniformly to this allperfect being. We eafily fee, that thofe Samaritans, by mingling idolatry with the worship of the true God, utterly corrupted their religion. But let us enquire, whether we, in fome other way, may not be guilty of the fame corruption.

When we are under any remarkable and fevere affliction, we perhaps think of God, acknowledge his power and fear his anger; we are more ftrict and conftant in attending on his worship; we pray oftener and defire the prayers of others. But do we, at the fame time, fearch our hearts, mortify our lufts, fubdue our paffions and renounce our fins ?—If not, what is our religion better than the motley religion of the Samaritans? The man,

who, in a time of affliction, only becomes more engaged in the external forms of devotion, and is ftill unbounded in his avarice, unjuft in his dealings, intemperate in his enjoyments; ungov-. erned in his paffions, profane in his language, or fenfual in his affections, is but like thofe who feared the Lord and ferved their own gods.

We are required to love and fear God with all our heart. Our external fervices are of little value farther than they are animated with an inward regard to him. If our hearts be principally fet on riches, honours, pleasures, or any earthly objects, we are as really guilty of idolatry, as they who worship an idol; because we transfer to them the regards which are due to him. Hence the covetous man is called an idolater; and they who ferve divers lufts and pleasures, are faid to make them their God. How much fo ever we may do in a way of external service to God; if the world, or any thing which belongs merely to the world, be fupreme in our hearts, we are like those who feared the Lord, and ferved their own gods. "No man can serve two mafters. If he love the one, he will hate the other. He cannot ferve God and mammon. The friendship of the world is enmity with God. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.'


God has given us a revelation to instruct us in his will and in the terms of his favour and acceptance. If we believe this revelation to be from him, we must take it as it is, and obey it with. out referve, neither prefuming to fupply its fuppofed defects by our own invention, nor to retrench its fuppofed redundancies by our own wifdom. If esteeming fome of its precepts too fevere, we relax them; or fome of its doctrines too mysterious, we reject them; or if imagining

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