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daily practices most notoriously contradict fuch profeffion; fince their fathers bore that denomination, and yet led as abandoned lives as themselves: or fay they did not; yet they taught them but little more of their religion, than formally to fay,-we are believers. They have been accuftomed moreover to fee their neighbours practise the same easy religion; and it is poffible, they would be ashamed to be even thought lefs daring, or more religious, than their indolent elders.—What shall we say?-When men are thus grown up, and confirmed in this unhappy fecurity, and their understandings perhaps upon a level with their education, can it be a matter of wonder, if any arguments how weak soever, should have weight enough to persuade them, that God will not call them to account for common tranfgreffions? But should their course of life, as is too often the case, be extremely wicked and unjust, they will then be inclined to hope, that there is no God.-And surely that man must be wretched indeed, and his state truly deplorable who has lived to fear there is a God; to dread that there may be torments, and to hope that those inexpreffibly joys, which the Gofpel promifes, are only political delufions.

That few give themselves any real concern about their immortal fouls, is a very melancholy, but inconteftible truth. Vice, indeed, has at all times had her votaries; but now fhe almoft feeins to difpute the government of the world with virtue. I appeal to thofe, who have made any observation of these things, and more especially to the elderly part of my congregation.-Among the WEALTHY was ever luxury carried to fuch an amazing height as it is at present? Are not men's minds enervated with a love of ease and pleafure? Did ever men fo openly and audaciously practise wickedness and immorality? Were there ever known fuch numbers of profeffed unbelievers? If then vice feems at these times fo formidable, what a profpect do the times to come afford?-Among the POOR,-what demons of darkness do thofe promife to be, who now are children,

seeing that in their infant years they are trained to acts of brutal violence? The astonishing number of executions within the last seven years will give too melancholy proof of the truth of this affertion. You all must have known, or at least have heard that children of fourteen or fifteen years of age have been found too wicked to be fuffered to live with fafety to fociety. In our memory one or two inftances of early villainy was apt to alarm every fober family; but now we hear these things, and through their frequency, with almost indifference. Every town, every street, and almost every house is witness of their blafpheming the name of God, and invoking the powers of hell in curfes upon themselves and their companions. You all know this to be truth, you cannot chufe but hear them before your doors, in your markets, and even in your very churches. -Ye parents!-Ye mafters!—it is your neglect that is the fatal cause of all these evils; evils, which children, yet unborn, will have reason to lament. If therefore you have any defire of praise, any hope of contentment here, or happiness hereafter; if you have any regard for the honour of your native country, or the least bowels of compaffion for your yet innocent children; think on these things: take the utmost care to train them up to virtue; to cherish every generous fentiment, and raise in them an ardent zeal for the glory of God, and our most holy religion. As none are without, let me entreat you industriously to conceal your own failings, left children alio fall; for this, if it can be called one, is a commendable and praise-worthy deceit: the more virtuous they believe you to be, the more respect and tenderness you will experience from them. As a further motive for your being active in the reformation of the youth entrusted to your care; it may be worth your while to confider, that you are laying up for yourfelves joy and comfort even in this world, and procuring for pofterity invaluable advantages. For furely no bleffing can be greater to private perfons,



than dutiful and virtuous children; no advantage more folid to any nation or community, than a fucceffion of virtuous members.


AS we have been fomewhat diffufe in the profecution of our fubject; namely, the Danger and Folly of Practical Atheism: it may not be improper to collect our matter by a brief recapitulation. We hope therefore that enough has been faid to convince any one; FIRST, that there are infinite numbers fo unhappy, as to be wholly incurious and indifferent about the truth or falsehood of the religion they profefs.-SECONDLY, that their indolence will not prevent their being eternally miserable: and that unless they diligently feek the Lord, they may expect to feel the weight of his just resentment and displeasure.-THIRDLY, that fo many would not have fallen into this dreadful mistake, had their parents taken a proper care of their education.-FOURTHY, that the heathens were very industrious to cherish every virtue in their children; and that therefore more is required from the Chriftian; because he has greater advantages, far better leffons of inftruction, and more glorious views; namely, the light of the facred fcriptures, and the joys of heaven. And finally, we fhewed how few seriously confider these things, and the ill confequences that attended fuch a neglect; concluding with fome arguments in order to perfuade every one to make a reformation at home. It now remains, by way of application, that we represent to you the anguish and remorse which the Practical Atheist muft experience in a violent fit of fickness; or, if he lives long enough, in the forrows and infirmities of old age. And, on the contrary, the joy the virtuous man poffeffes in the latter ftages of his life; or, when he finds death making his gentle approaches.


Human nature is fubject to fo many accidents and misfortunes, that it has been very juftly infifted upon, that no man was ever compleatly happy in this life. But furely the reflections which will perforce obtrude upon a wicked man, when forely oppreffed, and confcious that his own ill conduct has brought his misfortunes upon him, will make the weight of them more intolerable. Image to yourselves a man weakened by intemperance, reduced almost to the last extremity, one who feels the violent burning of a distempered blood, who imagines himself upon the brink of the grave, and going to experience the wrath of a God, whofe laws he has violated and whofe authority he has contemned. At fuch a time as this, confcience will be heard, and his crimes will then appear in their true light. Every thing then about him will turn to his difquiet; he will perhaps obferve his friends look with unconcern for his sufferings: he is conscious how undeferving he has been, and therefore is not the last to discover what a fecret joy dawns in every face, proceeding from the hope that they are foon to be freed from a wretch whofe ill conduct has involved them in many troubles. How uneafy muft fuch his temporal condition make him? Every thing that can happen appears in the worst light to him at one view; his relations and neighbours defpifing his memory, and rejoicing at his death; his children, whofe education it is most probable has been fuited to their father's morals, sharing his fortunes as it were the spoil of fome enemy, and rioting even over his grave; forafmuch as wicked and licentious minds have very few touches of humanity. Natural affection too will perhaps point out to him, that his false indulgence, his pernicious counfels, and more efpecially his bad example, has procured the ruin, the eternal ruin of those, whose welfare ought to have been his chief concern. We find the rich man even in hell, according to the parable, smote with remorse of conscience for the fatal effects of this evil, and intreating Abraham to prevent his brethren from falling into the fame dread


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ful judgment as himself: the like remorfe may fieze the wicked man on this fide his death, and how great will his difquiet be, in that he was not duly fenfible of his destructive conduct, till the time was at hand, when it was too late to apply a remedy. If then these his earthly affairs will at fuch a time be so irksome and grievous to him, what must the profpect of eternity afford him? Intolerable punishments; unspeakable torments; an offended, and avenging God. All croud upon his foul, and give him up a prey to the most dreadful defpair. Though these things are replete with too much horror to be thought of; yet, that they are the most fure confequences of vice, all must bear teflimony who have ever attended the laft hours of the wicked. How great are their agonies? How inexpreffible the gloomy thoughts that appale and affright them? How often do we hear them, in the bitterness of their fouls, cry out, there is no mercy for me!-God hath forfaken me!-He will not hear!-The torments of hell are preparing for me!-I feel there is a God!-I fhall foon be driven into intolerable torments!-Such exclamations are not uncommon upon a fick bed; and it is wonderful the ftanders-by fhould not be more deeply affected with them, than they generally are. But you will fay, perhaps, this is only the cafe with the defperately wicked; we have. never been guilty of crimes black enough to occafion fuch deep defpair. Ah! let not fuch a flattering notion lull your fouls in deep fecurity: It is not enough, we are not wicked; if we hope for life and happiness we must be virtuous. It is not enough, that with a cold air and indifference we attend the church of God; but we must likewife diligently practice his commands, and feek him with zeal and warmth; or else we may fatally feel the terrors of his wrath.Remember! - he not only punishes the workers of iniquity; but has himself affured us, that the flothful fervant fhall be hurried to dreadful darkness, "Where will be weeping and wailing, and "gnashing of teeth.”


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