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wilful Breach of God's Commandments, ŞERM. and is obliged to come before him to pre

VI. fent his Supplications, What can he ask ? Any Evil to be removed, any Blessing to be conferred ? His Conscience must retort the Presumption in his Face, till he has first asked for Pardon, and sued for Re. conciliation. But how can he ask THAT, but upon the Terms prescribed by God for obtaining it? They, manifestly, are Re. pentance for the Offences past, and a full Determination of future Obedience. If his Offence had been against a Superior on Earth, the Fact might be unknown, or the Doer, or the Intent with which it was done ; and fo he might have approach'd him boldly, and, while an Enemy, have hoped to gain, as many do, the Favours of a Friend. But here, as we have already seen, he is convinced, that the Thing, and the Person, and his Heart, all open

and undisguiseable to the perfect Knowledge of him with whom he hath to do. In the former Cafe, though his Guilt were apparent, yet a feigned Sorrow and false Promises of another Conduct might prevail for Remiffion; whereas



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SER M. before the Searcher of Hearts thofe Me-
VI, -thods can have no Effect, but that of a

fresh' Provocation. Again ; with us, after
Men's Crimes are known, and their Con-
tinuance too in the fame evil Disposition ;
still the Necessity of Affairs, the Defect of
Power, and sometimes of Justice, secures
them à Connivance. But the Criminal
that stands before God cannot, as we have
thewn, but be a Believer in the Holiness
of his Justice, and in his Omnipotence to
give it certain Execution. And can he
then offer himself as the Object of his Fa-
vour, being conscious he is only qualified
for that of his Vengeance? Every Call
therefore to the Duty of Prayer, from the
Sense of his Necessities, or the publick
Order and Example, is a fresh and for-
cible Admonition to repent of his Wicked-
ness, and form the Refolves and Methods
of reforming his Life. And these Admo-
nitions carry with them a Terror, fuch' as
one fhould think would never suffer the
Man to take any Rest, till he had com-
plied with their Demand. Is he not'in
the State of an Enemy and Rebel, known
and obstinate ; as to his Cause, felf-con-

demn'da demn'd; and to the Issue, desperate ; and SERM. yet refusing the Terms, the only possible VI. Terms of Forgiveness and Reconciliation 2 And in this Condition does he, without Horror, enter into the House of his Lord, and appear in the Midst of his faithful Servants, and affume a Share in their Hopes and Requests, their Services and Adorations ? Very stupid, or very defperate, indeed he must be, that does. The just Construction upon such a Proceeding being so terrible and fo obvious, that it partakes of Hypocrisy, and Neglect, and Indignity towards God ; before whom he behayes as if he had bribed his Juftice, or dared to defy his Power, or would dissemble with his Omniscience. There is but one Way for a Person in these Circumstances to turn himself. He cannot lay aside the Duty of Prayer : That were to renounce all Interest in Heaven, and remain abandon'd and deftitute in the Midst of this World of Dangers, and confign'd to eternal Misery in that which is to come. And yet, as we have few'd, he cannot continue that Duty ; such an Impenitent, every Time be bows the


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SER M. Knee before. Almighty God, 'imitating in VI. Effect the Pattern of the Soldiers who

mock'd our blessed Saviour. What remains ? God and his Laws are immutáble : The Man then must be changed, and the Impediment removed, THAT SIN PERSISTED IN, which disqualifiés him from all Intercourse with Heaven, but that of a mad Provocation here, and thence a suitable Retribution: This is the natural Force of the enjoin'd Exercise of Prayer to compel our Repentance ánd Obedience : It is working inceffantly; and to People, that have not thrown from them all their Reason, irresistible. May it have that Effect upon us.

And let us magnify our Heavenly Father, for his wife and gracious Appointment, perverted and objected to only for its infinite Condescenfion. Let us make a reverent and assiduous Use of it; and the blefled Success will answer the Pro inise : Let us ask, and it shall be given us ; seek, and we shall find;- krock, and it Thall be open'd unto us.

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John. xvi. 23.
Verily, verily, I say unto you,

whatsoever ye ball ask the Father
in my Name, he will give it you.

HEN our Lord, knowing SERM.
that bis Hour was come, VII.

had declared to his Apo-

ftles, that he should be
with them yet but a little

while we read their Heart was troubled, and filld with Sorrow. Indeed it could be no otherwise : The Apprehension of their Master's Suffering, and their own Orphan State, amidst the Hatred of the World, after the glo

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