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captivate the affections of beholders, or to mislead their judgments.
Lastly, By: “ the pride of life,” is meant an immoderate love of every thing calculated to cherish and inflame pride, or inordinate self-esteem.
Of this description are honours, dignities, preferments, fame, influence for selfish purposes; together with the adoption of every mean, and the use of every intrigue, to acquire them. With this must be connected a useless parade in houses, equipages, and attendants for personal services; pride of family, and an overweaning fondness for literary and professional eminence,
Such are, briefly detailed, the idols of the sinner. Such are the things which he loves and honours; and according to whose spirit he converses and lives. His attachment to them characterizes his whole deportment, and shows the alienation of his heart from God. They are his gods; those things to which he looks for support, and from which he draws his happiness. He loves them supremely, because that love is contrary to his duty and the will of God.
God permits him to use the world, but he abuses it. God permits him to gratify natural wants, but he adds drunkenness to thirst, and impurity to love, seeking for the gratification of corrupt desires God permits him to use his eyes for the purposes of life, but he covets with them. God permits him to esteem the honours and dignities of the world, if honestly within his reach; but he searches for them unlawfully, and feeds his pride with them. In all these respects, he transgresses the rule of God himself. “ Whether,” such is his language, “ whe“ ther ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, “ do all to the glory of Gods.” “ We are “ debtors, not to the flesh to live after the "5 flesh”.” “ They that are Christ's have - crucified the flesh, with the affections and “ lusts'.” Instead of doing this, the sinner forgets God, forsakes his ways, rejects the Saviour, dallies with divine justice, tramples upon divine mercy, despises the joys of heaven, and braves the torments of hell.
Where this course of life is pursued, after repeated warnings; where it is systematic
g 1 Cor. s. 31.
h Rom. viii. 12.
i Gal. v. 24.
ally and determinately persevered in; where it is warmly loved, and for its continuance every exertion is made; the sinner is then “ joined to his idols,” and the fate of Israel awaits him.
II. “ Let him alone!" is the proclamation of Almighty God, to all his instruments and agents, in providence and grace.
e. . · How awful is this language! To be left alone to our hearts' desires; to be deprived of God's restraining grace; what, Brethren, can be imagined more truly terrible, save eternal banishment from the presence of God, and the joys of the righteous ?
The sinner, thus abandoned by God, unable to take care of himself, works out his own ruin. The means of grace no longer affect his heart; he even avoids the use of them. The Spirit ceases to strive in him; his conscience becomes callous. Providential mercies or judgments are viewed by him with the utmost indifference. He rejects the admonitions of Scripture, and despişes its threatenings. The world becomes more and more dear to him. His affections are more immoveably and ardently attached to it. Eternity grows daily more terrible to him. Death is carefully banished from his mind. His selfishness increases; his propensities rage with more violence, and more imperiously call for gratification. His eye habitually ranges, lawless, impudent, and unrestrained ; ever desiring, and never satisfied. His pride of life, his self-importance, like a torrent swollen with rains, overflowing its banks, bursts every restraint, scorns every subordination, and looks with contempt upon all around him. .
Thus the sinner progresses in his evil course. His sins become habitual; his habits of sinning become rooted. Being joined to his idols, so connected with the objects of his supreme love that he cannot be separated from them, he is left alone by God to act as he pleases. Does not the drunkard add iniquity to iniquity? The debauchee shames the night by his carousals, and scares the day by his pollutions The miser, shrivelled wretch, like the horse-leech, cries, “ Give, givek,” though buried, as it were, in wealth ; and in the agonies of death, grasps
'k Prov. IXX. 15.
his bags of gold, with the utmost intenseness of desire'. The ambitious man, rather than not mount the ladder of preferment, will, in his way to it, wade through a rival's blood. He hesitates not to sacrifice natural feeling and moral justice to his ungovernable appetites. He who idolizes his literary fame, prostitutes his talents to the increase of his own vanity. Too often he poisons the sources of information in society, and produces a moral pestilence among men, which, walking in darkness at first, ere long wastes at noon-day the virtue and happiness of man.
But I forbear enlarging.
Look abroad, throughout the world, and you will find the truth which I have been explaining, confirmed. They who are joined to idols are let alone by God, and become worse and worse in the career of sin. “ The father corrects not the rebel“ lious son any more, when he determines to
1 At a fire in the island of St. Thomas, some time back, a miser, when the flames reached his habitation, seated himself on his chest, in which was contained his money. The last cries which he was heard to utter, were, “O my dollars !" The bones of his hands were found fastened to the iron handle of his chest, after the fire was extinguished.