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wisdom and strength to guide and assist them, and for righteousness to entitle them to eternal lise j you speak, as it were, to the dead. They flight those admonitions as needless, or beneath them. They that are whole, that think themselves whole and in health, will not apply to the physician. In a word, a proud, conceited sinner, who fancies himself to be fomething, when he is nothing, neither prizes the grace of God revealed in the gospel, nor has any true zeal for the interests of his kingdom, but flatters himself in his own eyes; and God is not in all his thoughts.
3. It flows alfo from want of serious consideration. Men do not attend to subjects of the greatest importance, and therefore, are not sully persuaded, nor have they lively views, of the excellence of that falvation which God reveals to us in the gospel. They do not consider the miseries that are prepared for careless sinners, who despise the offers of mercy and reconciliation through Jesus Christ; nor do they remember, that falvation is the one thing needsul, the good part that shall never be taken away; and that they are called to work out their own falvation with sear and trembling. If those important truths received from mankind the attention which they deserve, they would go far to subdue a careless and indifferent spirit. But, notwithstanding those plain intimations, many indulge a vain hope, that it is an eafy thing to be faved, and that religion is a work of no great difsiculty. They consider not, that the Spirit of God, in the facred scriptures, gives a different account of this matter. There, we are expressly told, "that "strait is the gate, and narrow the way, that lead"eth unto lise, and few there be that sind it; that "we must labour, nay, strive, to enter in; that the "kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the "violent must take it by force: that even the righte"ous themselves shall scarcely, and with difficulty, ** be faved: Where, then, shall the ungodly, and
"the "the sinner, appear?" Surely, if men would but seriously consider these things, if they sirmly believed them, they would be servent and diligent in serving the Lord.
4. Another cause of indisference in religion, is, the love of ease, and carnal sloth and security. There are too many prosessing Christians,-who, in matter* of religion, are like the sluggard in the book of Proverbs. The language of their hearts is, " Yet a little "sleep, yet a little slumber, yet a little folding of the "hands to sleep." They indulge themselves in sloth and laziness, and put off the working out of t^eir salvation from one day to another, still resolving; but never setting actually about it. They are like the door on its hinges, that makes no progressive motion; or,'if they• make any attempts, they are saint and ineffectual. Their goodness, at best, is but like the morning-cloud, and the early dew, that soon pass av-ay. How many are there, even under a Christian prosession, who spend their days in going round the same unhappy circle of sinning and repenting, and repenting and sinning; who being thus unstable as water, cannot excel, nor possess any true zeal for the glory of God, or their own salvation. Nay, are there not some who were formerly servent in spirit, and zealous for religion; but now, bewitched with. the charms of case and indolence, are become dull, and liseless, and indisserent. Let such persons seriously consider what our Lord says to the church of Ephesus; "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against "thee, because thou hast left thy sirst love: remem"ber, therefore, from whence thou art sallen, and "repent, and do the sirst works; or else I will come "unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick "out of his place, except thou repent (a)."
5. and lastly, Indisserence sometimes proceeds from the company with which we associate, and the unhappy influence of their pernicious example. For, if
(a) Ret. ii, 4, 5.
they be of a careless and indifferent spirit with respect to religion, we are too apt to contract the fame temper and disposition. "Be not deceived," fays the apostle Paul, " evil communications corrupt good man** ners." To the truth of this observation, your own esperience will bear witness. Tell me, ye that frequent the company of such as are careless and unconcerned about religion, especially if, at the fame time, they- be profane and vicious in their converfation; Do ye not sind, by hearing sin frequently mocked at, and religion turned into ridicule, that your abhorrence of the former is apt to wear off, and your regard for the latter is gradually diminished j in fome instances, perhaps, almost extinguished? Nay, I would aft you, who are the children of God; Do ye not fometimes sind it difficult, to preserve a spiritual and serious frame, in the company even of fober men, when the converfation turns upon the things of this world? .How great then must your danger be, how much more difficult to preserve your relish for the duties of religion, and your zeal for the interests of Christ's kingdom, if you venture into the paths of the ungodly, and sit with the workers of iniquity f Hence is that needsul caution of the apostle Peter: "Be** ware," fays he, " lest being led away with the er"rprs of the wicked, ye fall from your own sted"fastness (m)."
Thus, I have endeavoured to point out to you, some of the chief causes that concur in producing an indifferent spirit in matters of religion; that criminal disease of the foul, at which our Lord expresses such high displeasure in the text; and for which, he threatens the church of Laodicea with utter rejection: "So then," lays he, " because thou art lukewarm, ** and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of ** my mouth." And this brings me,
III. and lajlly, To explain to you, the import of the dreadsul threatening in the text, as an argument to excite your attention, and engage you to warmth and activity in serving the Lord.
1. This threatening demonstrates, that such perfons are the objects of his disgust: and aversion. He is, as it were, sick of them; he cannot bear them, and loathes their indisference; nay, he reckons a careless prosessor of his religion, to be worse than an insidel; for, such as know not God, nor the method of falvation through Christ, are not fo guilty in sinning against him, as those who know his will, and do it not. This is what our Saviour himself expressly tells us, and, at the fame time, subjoins the reafon and justice of this proceeding: " That servant," fays he, " who "knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, "neither did according to his will, shall be beaten "with many stripes : .But he that knew it not, and "did commit things worthy of stripes, (hall be "beaten with sew shripes: For unto whomfoever "much is given, of him shall much be required: "and to whom men have committed much, of him "will they alk the more (<)." Pity and compassion is due to those, who walk in the darkness of idolatry, because they know not the way to happiness. But such as prosess Christianity, and -yet are careless and' unconcerned about it, are most justly the objects of Christ's abhorrence; because, under the mask and cover of a religious prosession, -they are either asraid of keeping his commandments, or betray the interests of his kingdom. A prince exercises more clemency to an open and avowed enemy, than to a subject who has rebelled against his government. Thus we sind our Lord does not condemn Pilate with such severity, as the disciple who betrayed him: For he faid to the former, " He that delivered me unto thee, hath the "greater sin." But he faid to Judas, " Wo to that T « man,
Lukt xii. ii, 48.
** man by whom the Son of man is betrayed: good "were it for that man if he had never been bom." In a word, a careless prosessor of religion, may call his indisserence, charity, meekness, moderation, or •what soft name shall be most agreeable to him; but it is a temper more hatesul to God, and deserves heavier condemnation, than that of the heathen or insidel, because it is not only baser in itself, but gives an example, of pernicious consequence to religion.
2. and Iqytly, Indisserent prosessors ofreligion, are not only the objects of Christ's dislike and aversion, but he will exclude them from his presence, and resuse them the marks of his friendship. This is also plainly implied in the dreadsul threatening in the text. He, who is the only Fountain of happiness, in whose savour there is lise, and whose loving-kindness is better than life, will far ever exclude them from his blisssul presence and love. And were this all, this alone would be a very grievous punishment. But he will also throw them into that place .of horror, -which is appointed to ieceive all the impurities of the earth, even the bottomless pit, that lake that burns with sire and brimstone, where the wicked are tormented day and night. Accordingly, we sind this is the doom pronounced by our Saviour on the slothful, unprositable servant: ■* Cast him," says he, ** into outer darkness; there
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 'A terrible, but at the same time righteous punishment, which should sill us with horror, and make us guard against that indisserence in religion by which it may be incurred.
Let us then seriously examine ourselves, whether iliis be our real character, or, whether, on the other hand, we have a trite zeal and servor of spirit in serving the Lord. It is not enough that you profess much love to Christ, that you call him Lord, Lord, and make high pretensions to zeal for his glory. Nay, it is not enough, that you perform the external