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gard to the manner of conducting the inquiry to which the exhortation relates, and then to point out to you the practical improvement of the subject. - I begin with the exhortation itself,“ Let every man prove 6 his own work."

There is a particular emphafis in these words, which must not be overlooked. It is his own work that a man must prove. We are sufficiently ready, to examine, and to pass fentence upon the works of others. We are often abroad; but are feldom at home, where our chief business lies. Like fome travellers, who are well acquainted with foreign countries, but shamefully ige norant of their own; we know more of others than we are willing to know of ourselves; and perfuade ourselves, that the Hudy of our own hearts is a dull and melancholy business, which may incite within us many uneasy thoughts, and can give us no pleasure at all.

Alas! how low are we funk by our apoitaly from God! and with what little and false confolations may a degenerate mind be foothed ! Instead of looking inwards for


positive evidence of our favour with God, we learn to regulate our judgement of ourfelves, by what we perceive in the characters of other men. If the image of the devil is more visibly formed on others than on ourselves, we have little anxiety to difcover the image of God upon our own hearts. The bulk of men think it enough to know that fome of their brethren are worfe than they are, as if their characters would rife, in proportion as the characters of others are debased. We must relinquish this false rule of judging, if we would either enter into the spirit of the exhortation in the text, or would not be fatally disappointed at laft. We must learn to rejoice in ourfelves, and not in others; and we must call in our thoughts from the state of other men, and

prove every man his own work.” “ Every man,” faith the Apostle; “ shall

bear his own burden." Each of us shall give an account of his own conduct to God, and shall be judged according to his own personal behaviour, without regard to any comparative goodness or attainments which may belong to him.


But here, perhaps, fome may ask the question, To what works do you refer? If they are works of a doubtful nature, we acknowledge that they bught to be tried, and that those are highly to blame who neglect to try them. But are there not other works, so eininently good and excellent in themselves, that the person who doth them, may conclude, without hesitation, that they are certainly pleasing and acceptable to God? This, my brethren, is a rock upon which thousands have made shipwreck. It would make one fad to think what multitudes will be surprised with the everlasting burnings, who, in consequence of this very opinion, flatter themselves, while they live, with the hopes of heaven. You must therefore allow me to retort the question, and to ask, What are those works which are so eminently good and excellent, that there is no need to prove them ? or rather, Are there


duties of an external nature, which an hypocrite cannot perform as well as you? Do you frequent the church, and attend upon the preaching of the word ? So did the impeni


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nitent Jews in the days of the Prophet Ezekiel, with as much decency, perhaps, and apparent devotion, as are seen in you. For thus said the Lord unto that Prophet,

They come unto thee as the people co

meth, and they fit before thee as my peo“ ple, and they hear thy words, but they « will not do them: for with their mouth

they shew much love, but their heart

goeth after their covetousness." Are you strict observers of the Sabbath? We read of some who persecuted our Saviour for working a miracle of mercy on the fabbathday: and surely you pretend not to a greater degree of strictness than this. pray? So did the Pharisees; they made long prayers, and they prayed with a loud voice. Do you fast before the observation of the Lord's Supper? The Pharifees did more: They fafted twice in the week. Do you partake of that holy facrament? Many think that Judas did so too: we know at least that he was present at the paiover, which was also a folemn rite of religion: And therefore no certain conclu


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fion can be drawn from the outward exer: cises of religious worship.

Where then shall we go next? Will we judge with more certainty from the duties of the second table of the law of God?

Here, my brethren, the macter may be brought to a very short issue. We read of a young man who profeffed, in the presence of our Lord, that he had kept all these commandments from his youth :--and yet we learn from the fequel of his story, that he preferred the posseffions of this earth to the enjoyment of God; for he refused to sell his lands for the relief of the poor, although our Saviour had assured him of treasure in heaven. But you have perhaps to say for yourselves, that you are charitable and kind

poor; and ask if this is not a duty applauded in Scripture ? I confess it is much applauded. But were not the proud and hypocritical Pharisees also charitable? They gave

alms : and more liberal alıns than most of us; otherwise, I suppose, they would have founded the trumpet as little as we do.

We may therefore conclude, that none of all these outward deeds are sufficient, by


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