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upon reasons, in a great measure, unknown to and incalculable by us.

this affected disguise was broken, and how Joseph found himself forced, as it were, from the resolution he had taken, of keeping his brethren in ignorance of his person. He had proposed, you quar-read, to detain Benjamin; the rest, being perplexed beyond measure, and distressed by this proposal, Judah, approaching Joseph, presents a most earnest supplication for the deliverance of the child: offers himself to remain Joseph's prisoner or slave, in his brother's place, and, in the conclu sion, touches, unknowingly, upon a string, which

Again: It is a lesson to all schemers and confederates in guilt, to teach them this truth, that, when their scheme does not succeed, they are sure to quarrel amongst themselves, and to go into the utmost bitterness of mutual accusation and re-vibrates with all the affections of the person whom proach; as the brethren of Joseph you find did. he was addressing. "How shall I go up to my Again: It is a natural example of the effect of father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradvenadversity, in bringing men to themselves, to re-ture I see the evil that shall come on my father." flections upon their own conduct, to a sense and The mention of this circumstance, and this perperception of many things which had gone on, and son, subdued immediately the heart of Joseph, might have gone on, unthought of and unper- and produced a sudden, and, as it should seem, an ceived, if it had not been for some stroke of mis- undesigned, and premature discovery of himself, fortune, which roused their attention. It was af to his astonished family. Then, that is, upon this ter the brethren of Joseph had been shut up by circumstance being mentioned, Joseph could not him in prison, and were alarmed, as they well refrain himself; and after a little preparation, Jomight be, for their lives, that their consciences, soseph said unto his brethren, "I am Joseph." far as appears, for the first time smote them: "We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us and we would not hear." This is the natural and true effect of judgments in this world, to bring us to a knowledge of ourselves; that is to say, of those bad things in our lives which have deserved the calamities we are made to suffer.


The great secret being now disclosed, what was the conversation which immediately followed? The next word from Joseph's mouth was, "Doth my father yet live?" and his brethren could not answer him; surprise had overcome their faculty of utterance. After comforting, however, and encouraging his brethren, who seemed to sink under the intelligence, Joseph proceeds, "Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, and there will I nourish thee, (for yet there are five years of famine,) lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.”

It is well known that Jacob yielded to this invitation, and passed over with his family into Egypt.


When a surprising course of events had given to Joseph, after a long series of years, a most unexpected opportunity of seeing his brethren in Egypt, the first question which he asked them was, Is your father yet alive?" This appears from the account, which Reuben gave to Jacob, of the conference which they had held with the great man of the country, whilst neither of them, as yet, suspected who he was. Joseph, you remember, had concealed himself during their first journey, from the knowledge of his brethren; and it was not consistent with his disguise, to be more full and particular, than he was, in his inquiries.

The next thing to be attended to, is the recep tion which he there met with from his recovered son. "And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen; and presented himself unto him, and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face; because thou art yet alive." Not content with these strong expressions of personal duty and respect, Joseph now availed himself of his power and station to fix his father's family in the enjoyment of those comforts and advantages, which the land of Egypt afforded in the universal dearth which then oppressed that region of the world. For this purpose, as well as to give another public token to his family, and to the country, of the deep reverence with which he re

On account of the continuance of the famine in the land, it became necessary for the brethren of Joseph to go a second time into Egypt to seek corn, and a second time to produce themselves before the lord of the country. What had been Jo-garded his parent, he introduced the aged Patriseph's first question on the former visit, was his arch to Pharaoh himself. "And Joseph brought first question in this, "Is your father well, the in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: old man of whom ye spake? is he yet alive? And and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." The sovereign of they answered, Thy servant our father is in good Egypt received a benediction from this venerable health, he is yet alive: and they bowed down stranger. "And Joseph (the account proceeds) their heads, and made obeisance." nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread according to their families."

Hitherto, you observe, all had passed in disguise. The brethren of Joseph knew nothing who they were speaking to; and Joseph was careful to preserve the secret. You will now take notice, how

It remains to be seen how Joseph conducted himself towards his father, on the two occasions,

Again: The history of Joseph is a domestic example. It is an example of the ruinous consequences of partiality in a parent, and of the rels and contentions in a family, which naturally spring from such partiality.

These are all points in the history: but there is another point in Joseph's character, which I make choice of as the subject of my present discourse; and that is his dutifulness and affection to his father. Never was this virtue more strongly displayed. It runs like a thread through the whole narrative; and whether we regard it as a quality to be admired, or, which would be a great deal better, as a quality to be imitated by us, so far as a great disparity of circumstances will allow of imitation, (which in principle it always will do,) it deserves to be considered with a separate and distinct attention.


in which alone it was left for him to discharge the
office, and testify the affection of a son; in his
sickness, and upon his death. "And it came to
pass," we read, "after these things, one told Jo-
seph, behold, thy father is sick: and he took with
him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim." Jo-
seph delayed not, you find, to leave the court of
Pharaoh, the cares and greatness of his station in
it, in order to pay the last visit to his dying parent:
and to place before him the hopes of his house
and family, in the persons of his two sons.
Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are
these? And Joseph said unto his father, They
are my sons, whom God hath given me in this
place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, TO THINK LESS OF OUR VIRTUES, AND MORE OF
unto me, and I will bless them. (Now the
of Israel were dim, so that he could not see.) And
he brought them near unto hun; and he kissed
them, and embraced them: and Israel said unto
Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face; and, lo!
God hath showed me also thy seed. And Joseph
brought them out from between his knees, and he
bowed himself with his face to the earth." Nothing
can well be more solemn or interesting than this
interview; more honourable or consoling to old
age; or more expressive of the dignified piety of
the best of sons, and the greatest of men..




My sin is ever before me.—

fortune, undiminished, nay, rather increased, by absence, by distance, by unexampled success, by remote and foreign connexions, you have seen, in this most ancient of all histories, as conspicuous, and as amiable an can be met with in the records of the world, in the purest, best ages of its existence.

.-Psalm li. 3.


THERE is a propensity in the human mind, very general and very natural, yet at the same time, unfavourable in a high degree to the Christian character; which is, that, when we look back upon our lives, our recollection dwells too much upon our virtues; our sins are not, as they ought to be, before us; we think too much of our good qualities, or good actions, too little of our crimes, our We now approach the last scene of this event- corruptions, our fallings off and declension from ful history, and the best testimony, which it was God's laws, our defects and weaknesses. These possible for Joseph to give, of the love and rever- we sink and overlook, in meditating upon our good ence with which he had never ceased to treat his properties. This, I allow is natural: because, unfather, and that was upon the occasion of his doubtedly, it is more agreeable to have our minds death, and the honours which he paid to his me- occupied with the cheering retrospect of virtuous mory; honours, vain, no doubt, to the dead, but, deeds, than with the bitter humiliating rememso far as they are significations of gratitude or af- brance of sins and follies. But, because it is nafection, justly deserving of commendation and es-tural, it does not follow that it is good. It may be "And when Jacob had made an end of the bias and inclination of our minds; and yet commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into neither right nor safe. When I say that it is the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gather-wrong, I mean, that it is not the true Christian dised unto his people. And Joseph fell upon his fa- position: and when I say that it is dangerous, I ther's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. have a view to its effects upon our salvation. And Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. And the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt. And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: and there went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan; and there they mourned with a great and a very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days."

Thus died, and thus was honoured in his death, the founder of the Jewish nation, who, amidst many mercies, and many visitations, sudden and surprising vicissitudes of afflictions and joy, found it the greatest blessing of his varied and eventful life, that he had been the father of a dutiful and affectionate son.


I say, that it is not the true Christian disposition; for, first, how does it accord with what we read in the Christian Scriptures, whether we consider the precepts, which are found there, applicable to the subject, or the conduct and example of Christian characters?

Now, one precept, and that of Christ himself, you find to be this: "Ye, when ye shall have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do." Luke xvii. 10. It is evident, that this strong admonition was intended, by our Saviour, to check in his disciples an overer-weening opinion of their own merit. It is a very remarkable passage. I think none throughout the New Testament more so. And the intention, with which the words were spoken, was evidently to check and repel that opinion of merit, which is sure to arise from the habit of fixing our contemplation so much upon our good qualities, and so little upon our bad ones. Yet this habit is natural, and was never prohibited by any teacher, except by our Saviour. With him it was a great fault, by reason of its inconsistency with the favourite principle of his religion, humility. I call humility not only a duty, but a principle. Humble-mindedness is a Christian principle, if there be one; above all, humble-mindedness towards God. The servants, to whom our Lord's expression refers, were to be humble-mindtained under great singularities and variations ofed, we may presume, towards one another; but

It has been said, and, as I believe, truly, that there is no virtuous quality belonging to the human character, of which there is not some distinct and eminent example to be found in the Bible; no relation in which we can be placed, no duty which we have to discharge, but that we may observe a pattern for it in the sacred history. Of the duty of children to parents, of a son to his father, main

hear little of virtue or righteousness; but you hear perpetually of the forgiveness of sins. With the first Christian teachers, "repent, repent," was the burden of their exhortations; the almost constant sound of their voice. Does not this strain of preaching show, that the preachers wished all who heard them, to think much more of offences than of merits? Nay, further, with respect to themselves, whenever this contemplation of righteousness came in their way, it came in their way only to be renounced, as natural perhaps, and also grate


The turn of thought which I am recommending, or rather, which I find it necessary to insist

towards their Lord, the only answer, the only thought, the only sentiment, was to be, "We are unprofitable servants." And who were they, that were instructed by our Lord to bear constantly this reflection about with them? Were they sinners, distinctively so called? Were they grievous, or notorious sinners? Nay, the very contrary; they were persons, "who had done all those things that were commanded them!" This is precisely the description which our Lord gives us of the persons to whom his lesson was directed. Therefore you see, that an opinion of merit is discou-ful, to human feelings, but as inconsistent and raged, even in those who had the best pretensions irreconcilable with the Christian condition. It to entertain it; if any pretensions were good. But might do for a heathen, but it was the reverse of an opinion of merit, an over-weening opinion of every thing that is Christian. merit, is sure to grow up in the heart, whenever we accustom ourselves to think much of our virtues, and little of our vices. It is generated, fos-upon, as an essential part of the Christian charactered, and cherished, by this train of meditation ter, is strongly seen in one particular passage of we have been describing. It cannot be otherwise. Saint Paul's writings; namely, in the third chapAnd if we would repress it; if we would correct ter to the Philippians: "If any other man thinkourselves in this respect; if we would bring our- eth that he hath whereof he might trust in the selves into a capacity of complying with our Sa- flesh, I more; circumcised the eighth day, of the viour's rule, we must alter our turn of thinking; stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hewe must reflect more upon our sins, and less upon brew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Phaour virtues. Depend upon it, that we shall view risee concerning zeal, persecuting the church; our characters more truly, we shall view them touching the righteousness which is in the law, much more safely, when we view them in their blameless." These were points which at that defects, and faults, and infirmities, than when we time of day, were thought to be grounds of confiview them only, or principally, on the side of their dence and exultation. But this train of thought good qualities; even when these good qualities no sooner rises in his mind, than the apostle checks are real. I suppose, and I have all along sup- it, and turns from it to an anxious view of his own posed, that the good parts of our characters, which, deficiencies. "If by any means I might attain as I contend, too much attract our attention, are, unto the resurrection of the dead." These are nevertheless, real; and I suppose this, because the words of an anxious man. "Not," then he our Saviour's parable supposes the same. proceeds, "not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am

bling," do not accord with the state of a mind which is all contentment, satisfaction, and selfcomplacency; and which is brought into that state by the habit of viewing and regarding those good qualities, which a person believes to belong to himself, or those good actions which he remembers to have performed. The precept much better accords with a mind anxious, fearful, and apprehensive; and made so by a sense of sin. But a sense of sin exists not, as it ought to do, in that breast which is in the habit of meditating chiefly upon its virtues. I can very well believe, that two per-made, he casts his eyes and attention upon those sons of the same character in truth, may, never- qualities in which he was short and deficient, upon theless, view themselves in very different lights, what remained for him yet to do; and this I take according as one is accustomed to look chiefly at to be the true Christian way of proceeding. "Forhis good qualities, the other chiefly at his trans-get those things that are behind;" put out of your gressions and imperfections; and I say, that this thoughts the attainments and progress you have latter is the disposition for working out salvation already made, in order to see fully your defects agreeably to Saint Paul's rule and method; that and imperfections. is, "with fear and trembling:" the other is not.

Another great Christian rule is, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (Philip. ii. 12.) These significant words "fear and trem-apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this ons thing I do; forgetting those things which are be hind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." In this passage, you see, that, withdrawing his mind from all notions of perfection, attainment, accomplishment, security, he fixes it upon his deficiencies. Then he tells you, that forgetting, that is, expressly putting out of his mind and his thought, the progress and advance which he had already

But further: There is, upon this subject, a great deal to be learnt from the examples which the New Testament sets before us Precepts are short, necessarily must be so; take up but little room; and, for that reason, do not always strike with the force, or leave the impression, which they ought to do: but examples of character, when the question is concerning character, and what is the proper character, have more weight and body in the consideration, and take up more room in our minds than precepts. Now, from one end of the New Testament to the other, you will find the evangelical character to be contrition. You

In another passage, found in a chapter with which all are acquainted, the fifteenth of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, our apostle, having occasion to compare his situation with that of the other apostles, is led to say: "I laboured more abundantly than they all." Saint Paul's labours in the Gospel, labours which consumed his whole life, were surely what he might reflect upon with complacency and satisfaction. If such reflections were proper in any case, they were proper in his. Yet observe how they are checked and qualified. The moment he had said, "I laboured more abundantly than they all," he added, as it were, correcting himself for the expression, "Yet not I, but the

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grace of God, which was with me." He mag.
nifies not himself, but the grace of God which
was with him. In the next place, you will ob-
serve, that, though the consciousness of his labours,
painful, indefatigable labours, and meritorious la-
bours, if ever man's were so-I say, that, though
the consciousness of these was present to his mind
at the time, yet it did not hinder him from feel-
ing, with the deepest abasement and self-degrada-
tion, his former oflences against Christ, though
they were offences which sprang from error.
am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to
be called an apostle, because I persecuted the
church of God; but, by the grace of God, I am
what I am." The faults of his life were upper-
most in his mind. No mention, no recollection
of his services, even when he did happen to recol-
lect them, shut out even for a single moment, the
deep memory of his offences, or covered or con-
cealed it from his view.

gers, one of his temptations, one of the propensities which he had both to guard and struggle against, and lastly, an inclination, for which he found an antidote and remedy in the dispensations of Providence towards him. Of his gifts, he says, considering himself as nothing, as entirely passive in the hands of God, "of such a one," of a person to whom such gifts and revelations as these have been imparted, "I will glory; yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities." Then he goes on: "Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."


After what you have heard, you will not wonder, that this same Saint Paul should pronounce himself to be "the chief of sinners." "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief;" 1 Tim. i. 15. His sins were uppermost in his thoughts. Other thoughts occasionally visited his mind: but the impression which these had made, was constant, deep, fixed, and indelible.

In another place, the same apostle, looking back upon the history of his singular and eventful life, exhibits himself to his converts, as how? not as bringing forward his merit, pleading his services, or claiming his reward: but as nothing other, nothing more, than a monument and example of God Almighty's mercy. Sinners need not despair of mercy, when so great a sinner as himself obtained it." Hear his own words: "For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting;" 1 Timothy i. 16. What could be more humble or self-depressing than this acknowledgment? yet this was Saint Paul's.

If, therefore, you would imitate Saint Paul in his turn and train of religious thought; if you would adopt his disposition, his frame, his habit of mind, in this important exercise; you must meditate more upon your sins, and less upon your virtues.

Again; and which is another strong scriptural reason for the advice I am giving, the habit of viewing and contemplating our own virtues has a tendency in opposition to a fundamental duty of our religion, the entertaining of a due and grateful sense of the mercy of God in the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. The custom of thought, which we dissuade, is sure to generate in us notions of merit; and that, not only in comparison with other men, which is by no means good, or likely to produce any good effect upon our disposition, but also in relation to God himself; whereas the whole of that sentiment, which springs up in the mind, when we regard our cha


The eleventh chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and also the twelfth, ought to be read by you on this occasion. They are very remarkable chapters, and very much to our present purpose. It had so happened, that some hostile, and, as it should seem, some false teachers, had acquired a considerable influence and ascendancy in the church which Saint Paul had planted. To counteract which influence it became necessary for him to assert his character, to state his preten-racters in comparison with those of other men, if sions to credit and authority, amongst them at tolerated at all, ought to sink into the lowest selfleast, and in comparison with those who were abasement, when we advance our thoughts to God, leading them astray. He complies with the occa- and the relation in which we stand to him. Then sion; and he does, accordingly, set forth and enu- is all boasting, either in spirit or by words, to be merate his pretensions. But I entreat you to ob done away. The highest act of faith and obediwith how many apologies, with what ence, recorded in Scripture, was Abraham's conreluctance, and under what strong protestations, sent to sacrifice his son, when he believed that he does it; showing most manifestly, how con- God required it. It was the severest trial that trary it was to his habit, his judgment, and to the human nature could be put upon; and, therefore, inclination of his mind to do so. His expressions if any man, who ever lived, were authorized to are such as these: "Would to God ye could bear boast of his obedience, it was Abraham after this with me a little in my folly; and, indeed, bear experiment. Yet what says Saint Paul? "If with me." What was his folly? the recital he Abraham were justified by works, he hath wherewas about to give of his services and pretensions. of to glory; but not before God." No man's pre-Though compelled by the reason you have tensions to glory were greater, yet, before God, heard, to give it, yet he calls it folly to do so. He they were nothing. By grace ye are sayed is interrupted as he proceeds by the same senti- through faith, and that not of yourselves, lest any ment; That which I speak, I speak it not after man should boast;" Eph. ii. 8, 9. Here you the Lord, but, as it were, foolishly in this confi- perceive distinctly, that speaking of salvation, with dence of boasting." And again, referring to the reference to its cause, it is by grace; it is an act of necessity, which drew from him this sort of lan-pure favour; it is not of yourselves; it is the gift guage; "I am become," says he, "a fool in glory of God; it is not of works; and that this repreing: ye have compelled me." sentation was given, lest any man should boast, that is, expressly for the purpose of beating down and humbling all sentiments of merit or desert in what we do; lest they induce us, as they will induce us, to think less gratefully, or less piously,



But what forms, perhaps, the strongest part of the example is, that the apostle considers this tendeney to boast and glory, though it was in his gifts, rather than his services, as one of his dan

of God's exceeding love and kindness towards us. ↑
There is no proportion between even our best
services and that reward which God hath in re-
serve for them that love him. Why then are
such services to be so rewarded? It is the grace
of God; it is the riches of his grace; in other
words, his abounding kindness and favour; it is
his love; it is his mercy. In this manner the sub-ed,
ject is constantly represented in Scripture; and it
is an article of the Christian religion. And to
possess our minds with a sense, an adequate sense,
so far as it is possible to do so, of this truth, is a
duty of the religion. But to be ruminating and
meditating upon our virtues, is not the way to ac-
quire that sense. Such ineditations breed opinions
of merit and desert; of presumption, of pride, of
superciliousness, of self-complacency; tempers of
mind, in a word, not only incompatible with hu-
mility, but also incompatible with that sense of
divine love and mercy towards us, which lies at
the root of all true religion, is the source and
fountain of all true piety.

You have probably heard of the term self-righteousness: you find much in the writings and discourses of a particular class of Christians, and always accompanied with strong and severe expressions of censure and reprobation. If the term mean the habit of contemplating our virtues, and not our vices; or a strong leaning and inclination thereto, I agree with those Christians in thinking, that it is a disposition, a turn of mind to be strongly resisted, and restrained, and repressed. If the term mean any other way of viewing our own character, so as to diminish or lower our sense of God Almighty's goodness and mercy towards us, in making us the tender of a heavenly reward, then also I agree with them in condemning it, both as erroneous in its principle, and highly dangerous in its effects. If the term mean something more than, or different from what is here stated, and what has been enlarged upon in this discourse, then I profess myself not to understand its meaning.

and by disposition is also meant, the train and habit of our thoughts, two things which are always nearly connected. It is the latter sense, however, in which I use the word; and the particular les son which I am inculcating, for the conduct of our thoughts, is to think more of our sins, and less of our virtues. In a former discourse, I show

And, first, There is no occasion whatever to meditate upon our virtues and goo qualities. We may leave them to themselves. We need not fear that they will either be forgotten or undervalued. "God is not unrighteous to forget your works and labour of love:" Hebrews vi. 10. He will remember them; we need not. They are set down in his book; not a particle will be lost. Blessed are they who have much there; but we need not count them up in our recollection; for, whatever our virtues are or were, we cannot make them better by thinking of them afterwards. We may make them better in future by thinking of their imperfections, and by endeavouring to encounter, to lessen, or remove those imperfections hereafter; but then this is to think, not upon our virtues, but upon our imperfections. Thinking upon our virtues, as such, has no tendency to make them better, be they what they will. But it is not the same with our sins. Thinking upon these afterwards may make a very great alteration in them, because it may lead to an effectual repentance. As to the act itself, what is past cannot be recalled; what is done cannot be undone: the mischief may possibly be irrevocable and irreparable. But as to the sin, it is different. Deep, true, sincere penitence may, through the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, do away that. And such penitence may be the fruit of meditation upon our



TO THINK LESS OF OUR VIRTUES, AND MORE OF sins; cannot possibly come without it. Nay, the


act itself may be altered. It is not always that an injury is irreparable. Wrong indeed has been received at our hands; but restitution or compensa tion may be in our power. When they are so, they are the surest proofs of penitence. No penitence is sincere without them, if they be practicable. This benefit to those whom we have injured, and an infinitely greater benefit to ourselves than to them, may be the effect of seeing our sins in their true light, which that man never does, who thinks only, or chiefly, or habitually, upon his virtues. Can a better reason be given for meditating more upon our sins, and less upon our virtues, than this; that one train of thought may be profitable to salvation, the other is profitable for nothing?

It is an exceedingly good observation, that we may safely leave our virtues and good qualities to themselves. And, besides the use we have made of it in showing the superfluity, as well as the danger of giving in to the contemplation of our

My sin is ever before me.-Psalm li. 3.

To think well is the way to act rightly; because thought is the source and spring of action. When the course and habit of thinking is wrong, the root is corrupt; "and a corrupt tree bringeth not forth good fruit:" Do what you will, if the root be corrupt, the fruit will be corrupt also. It is not only true, that different actions will proceed from different trains of thought; but it is also true, that the same actions, the same external conduct, may be very different in the sight of God, according as it proceeds from a right, or a wrong, a more or less proper principle and motive, a more or less proper disposition. Such importance is attached to the disposition; of such great consequence is it, that our disposition in religious matters be what it should be. By disposition is meant, the bent or tendency of our inclinations;

that there are strong and positive Scripture precepts, a due regard to which accords with the state of mind of him who fixes his attention upon his sins and defects, and by no means with his state of mind, who hath fixed his attention chiefly upon his virtues Secondly, That Scripture examples, that of Saint Paul most particularly, teach us to renounce the thoughts of our virtues, and to entertain deeply and constantly the thoughts of our sins: Thirdly, That the habit here reproved, is inconsistent with a due sense of the love of God in the redemption of the world. I am now to offer such further reasons as appear to support the rule I have laid down.

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