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upbraid me with thy unuseful fervices: What profit have I if I be cleanfed from my fins 1? And how canft thou after all this expect any thing from me, but that my wrath fhould burn against thee like fire, till thou wert confumed, and that I fhould ftir up all the fury of my jealoufy towards you? O, but Ephraim, I am God, and not man, and therefore ye Sons of Jacob are not confumed: my mercy and my patience are not the narrow qualities or habits of a mortal man, but the infinite attributes of an infinite God. Though' I can fee nothing in thee, but what deferves my wrath, I can find that in myfelf, that fend sout my compaflion, a heart turned by returning upon my own mercy,' and repentings kindled upon the confiderations of my own covenant with thy fathers, kindled by a facrifice that thou little thinkeft of, even the facrifice of my own Son: I will not therefore execute the fiercenefs of my anger. Although it be thy duty to repent, finner, yet I will repent of my wrath even before thou repent of thy fin: it may be my long-fuffering will, as it should do, lead thee to repentance 2: But if after all this thou defpifeft the riches of my goodness and forbearance and long-fuffering, know that thou treafureft up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath; and that day will furely find thee; and then thou wilt find that every day's forbearance and patience, that thou haft had and abufed, hath ripened and improved thy guilt; and made thy fin out of meafure finful, and will add weight and fire to my wrath, which like a talent of lead, fhall everlaftingly lye upon that treasure of thy fin and guilt.

2. His pardoning Mercy. Thofe tender and pathetical expreffions of God's mercy, in pardoning fin upon repentance and turning to him, carry more weight than it is poffible for our fpirits to arife unto. Come now, and let us reafon together: though your were as fcarlet, they fhall be as white as fnow; though they be red as crimfon, they fhall be like

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wool 1.' Thou haft made me to ferve with thy fins, thou haft wearied me with thine iniquities; I, even I am he that blotteth out thy tranfgreffions for mine • own fake, and will not remember thy fins 2.' Let the wicked forfake his way, and the unrighteous man ⚫ his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways; for as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, fo are my •ways higher than your ways 9.' 'Go,and proclaim these <words: Return thou backfliding Ifrael, and I will not < cause mine anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful, faith the Lord, and will not keep anger for ever, only acknowledge thine iniquity, &c. 4.

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Isa. i. 18. Isa. xliii. 24, 25. $ Isa. lv. 9.

'Jer. iii. 12.

A DISCOURSE OF RELIGION,

IN THREE PARTS,

PART I.

THE ENDS AND USES OF IT, AND THE ERRORS OF MEN TOUCHING IT.

PART II.

THE LIFE OF RELIGION, AND SUPERADDITIONS TO IT.

PART III.

THE SUPERSTRUCTIONS UPON IT, AND ANIMOSITIES

ABOUT IT.

A DISCOURSE OF RELIGION.

PART I.

THE ENDS AND USES OF IT,

AND

THE ERRORS OF MEN TOUCHING IT.

TRUE religion is the greatcft improvement, advan tage, and privilege of Human Nature; and that which gives it the nobleft and highest pre-eminence above other visible creatures.

We may obferve in many brute beafts and birds, admirable inftincts, dexterities, and fagacities; and in fome of them fome dark refemblances of reafon, or ratiocination; but Religion is fo appropriate to the human nature, that there are fcarce any fort of men, but have fome Religion; nor do the most fubtle or fagacious brutes afford any figns thereof, as communicated to their natures.

It is one of the chiefcft mercies and bleffings that Almighty God hath afforded to the children of men, and that which fignally manifefts his providential care towards and over them, that in all ages and among all nations he hath given to them fome means and helps to difcover unto them, though in different degrees, fome principal fentiments of true religion: 1. By the fecret characters, and impreffions, and structures thereof in their minds and confciences. 2. By his glorious

and

and admirable works, commonly called the Works of Nature. 3. By fignal providences, and providential regiment of the world. 4. By raifing up men in all ages, of great wifdom, obfervation; and learning, which did inftruct the more ignorant in this great concernment, the rudiments of natural Religion. 5. By traditionary tranfmiffion of many important truths and directions of life, from ancestors to their pofterity, and others; though in procefs of time evil cuftos and evil men did, in a great meafure, impair and corupt the fentiments and practices of men, notwithstanding thefe helps. Therefore the fame mercy and goodness of God, for the prefervation and propagation of the true Religion, was pleafed to fubftitute a more fixed and permanent means; namely, the Holy Scriptures, or Divine Revelations, committed to writing in the books of the Old and New Teftament. Though the Religion delivered in both Teftaments, be in fubftance the fame; yet the true Religion was more fully, and plainly, and diftinctly delivered by Chrift and his Apoftles in the New Teftament, together alfo with fome additional inftructions, for the better prefervation and propagation thereof to mankind, and divers additional evidences to prove and manifeft the truth of this Religion, to procure its belief and acceptation: as the birth, miracles, death, refurrection and Afcenfion of Christ Jefus, the great reformer of the Jewijn, and great Inftitutor of the Chriftian Religion, fo called from Chrift, that taught and afferted it. The Chriftian Religion is the most perfect rule of our duty to God, ourselves and others; and was defigned principally for thefe great ends:

1. To restore to the glorious God, the honour, duty, and obedience of his creature, Man; teaching him to know, to glorify, and ferve his Creator; to be thankful to him, to fubmit to his Will, to obey his Law and Command, to be thankful for his mercies, to acknowledge him in all his ways, to call upon him, to worship him, to depend upon him, to walk fincerely in his

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