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“ fake, happy are ye, and be not afraid of " their terror, neither be ye troubled; but “ fanctify the Lord God in your hearts, " and be ready always to give an answer to "every man that asketh you a reason of “ the hope that is in you, with meekness and “ fear, having a good conscience that, whereas " they speak evil of you as of evil doers, " they may be ashamed who falsely accufe “ your good conversation in Christ.” Supposing severe trials and sufferings ; the effect of the unyielding and eminent goodness of true Christians, is a third time exhibited by him in this exhortation, “ Beloved, think “ it not strange concerning the fiery trial " which is to try you, as though some “ strange thing happened unto you: but re“ joice in as much as ye are partakers of “ Christ's sufferings, that when his glory “ shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with “exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the “ name of CHRIST happy are ye, for the “ fpirit of glory and of God refteth upon “ you : on their part he is evil spoken of, “ but on your part he is glorified.---If any " man suffer as a Christian, let him not be " ashamed, but let him glorify God in this “ behalf.” St. Paul thus addresses the fervants and llaves who believed in Christ, or rather directs Timothy to exhort them, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke, “count their own masters worthy of all ho“nour, that the name of God and his doc“ trine be not blafphemed.” Similar is his direction to Titus, “ Exhort servants to be “ obedient unto their own masters, and to. “ please them well in all things, not answer“ing again ; not purloining, but shewing “ all good fidelity; that they may adorn the “ doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” I turn you again to the epistle of St. Peter, and his commendation of female excellence, “ Ye wives be in subjection to your own “ husbands, that if any obey not the word, “ they also may without the word be won by “ the conversation of the wives, while they “ behold your chaste conversation, coupled “ with fear :-adorned with the ornament of “ a meek and quiet fpirit, which is in the “ sight of God of great price.” In these paslages, you perceive that none are exempted from contributing to the counteracting of the influence of irreligion, and the forwarding of the interests of the Gospel. Slaves D d 2
SER. V. and servants, and females, are directed and encouraged in promoting these objects, tho' their opportunities and talents, and exertions, are not generally the most favourable : You yourselves feel the inference and join with us, how much more are they required to exert themselves, whose opportunities are more frequent and favourable, whose talents are more conspicuous, whose exertions therefore are more successful ?
CONSIDER what we say: And the LORD give you understanding in all things! Amen.
INFIDELS AN UNTOWARD GENERATION.
(Preached December 1795.]
* Acts, ii. 14.
- Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
A SUPERFICIAL observer of the works of God, and of the conduct of divine providence, finds nothing to excite his admiration, esteem and love, and sometimes he imagines that he meets with imperfection and irregularity, where another discovers design and goodness, and the highest reason to magnify the omnipotent Creator and wise Governor of the world. From reading or hearing the word of God, also, men return with very different sentiments. Nature and Providence abound in great and signal characters and manifestations of Deity: so does revelation : "he that “ runs” to use a scriptural phrase, “ may “ read.” Some of the works of God, some of the dispensations of Providence, and some portions of the holy Scriptures, require a closer and more accurate inspection and examination ; but abundantly reward all our pains and study, by the satisfying and increasing evidences of a divine original. Of this fort the facred histories afford us many instances. How artless and unadorned are the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles! Truth cannot express herself in a more unsuspicious manner. No anxiety is expressed by the Evangelists, as to obtaining the belief of their hearers or readers: they do not select and record what is favourable to themselves; they do not conceal, or palliate, or disguise, their own imperfections. The events published and recorded; the period in which they took place; the times and circumstances in which the apostles declared them, openly, before friends and enemies; the reception of their preaching; the effects of it upon the world, -must make a deep impression on an attentive reader. No reasonable or consistent explanation of them can be given but this, “ These men speak forth the words of truth ss and soberness: they are the servants of “ the Most High God.” The most artful and deep scheming politician, the most in