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P R E F A CE.

HE following plain practical T

Discourse would not have appeared in print but for the importunity of friends. I at first declined making it thus public, because of the tender emotions of my own mind, which I feel on the death of so near a relation; but have now complied with their repeated folicitations, that a tribute of respect might be paid to the memory of one, who was dear to many. It is therefore humbly committed to the blessing of God, and to the candour of the reader, by the author,

Took's Court,
Cursitor Street.

R. W.

I CANNOT enter on the painful tender service to which I am this morning called, without expressing my dependence on that promise of GOD, As thy day is, so shall thy strength be. The Sovereign Lord of all has made a wide and folemn breach among us by the death of one, to whom I stood in the relations of a brother and a pastor. As it was left to me to make choice of a text upon this affecting providence, I could not single out a more suitable one than that which

you
will find in

PSALM xii. I.
Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases ; for the faith-

ful fail from among the children of men.

POR

PON what occasion this Psalm was com

posed we are not told ; but it appears to have been a time of great degeneracy and core ruption of manners, when David poured out this complaint before the Lord. There is great reason to believe, that he penned it in the reign of Saul; a King whom God gave to the people of Israel in his anger ; who was a tyrant, and an encourager of wickedness; for the last verse says, « The wicked walk on every fide, when " the vileft of men are exalted.”

But, without

any.

further introduction, I shall accommodate the words of the text to the

prefent mournful occasion.

I. I

1 1

(6) 1. I shall open the important, useful and ami. able characters, which are here specified.

II. Shall shew what great reason we have to lament the want, and deplore the loss, of such persons, who bear these characters. And,

III. Observe how highly it becomes those who profess a regard for religion, to look up to God, and cry mightily for his help, when the godly man ceases, and the faithful fail from among the children of men.

I. I am to open the important, useful and amiable characters, which are here specified, viz. the godly and the faithful. So the words lie in our translation ; but as the word rendered godly carries two ideas in it, and is sometimes translated merciful, as well as godly, I shall therefore 'consider this threefold description : and through the whole use great plainness of speech.

1. Let us attend to the first of these characters, a godly man.

Men and manners are so greatly depraved, that the very term is by many made matter of ridicule. They sneer at the word, because they disike the thing; whereas godliness is the ornament; the beauty, the dignity and glory of human nature. It implies morality, honesty, sobriety; but it is much more.

1. Consider it as a principle that comes from God; not in a natural, but fupernatural way.

ALI

All mankind by nature are ungodly, or without God in the world ; nor is it in the

power of any man to make himself godly. Many have a notion, that they can make themselves so by performing the external acts of devotion ; but according to Scripture, the tree must be good, before the fruit can be good. Holiness, which is another word for godliness, is spoken of in the Bible as the work of the Spirit of God; it is called therefore the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thel. ii. 13. and it flows from, and is accompanied with, faith in Christ Jesus, Aets xv. 9. and chap. xxvi. 18. When the Spirit of God unites a foul by faith to Christ as an head of righteousness and influence, that foul is not only then justified from the guilt of fin, and accepted of God, but is also renewed and sanctified. This is the beginning and spring of true and vital godliness. This is that new heart and new spirit which God promises to put within his chosen people, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. No man then is godly in the sense of Scripture, but he in whom God has wrought a saving change, whose heart is turned from sin to God, from self to Christ, from earth to heaven. This

leads me,

2. To show wherein godliness consists,

I speak not merely of the form, but of the power of it. That is a good old saying, Godliness is God's Likeness; and where this Likeness is, there is,

First,

(६) First, A supreme love to GOD-Every godly man loves GOD, not only because Gop is kind and bountiful to him, but because Gop is holy in himself. · He loves him as he is reconciled in and through Jesus Christ; for there can be no complacency or love of delight in God, but as he has discovered himself to us, and is confidered by us as a Gon of Love in a Mediator-Multitudes are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of GOD; a godly man is a lover of God more than a lover of the world, than all the pleasures and the treasures of it. As he loves God because he is holy, he muf, therefore love his iinage which is holiness on whom foever he difcerns it, 1 John v. 1. « Every one « that loves him that begat, loves him also ss that is begotten of him."

Secondly, He is a godly man, who is a sincere and a constant worshipper of Gop.

The love of a child to a parent is exemplified by his obedience. A child of God obevs his heavenly Father from love: And as the word of God is the rule which guides and governs his heart and life; therefore both his heart and life are devoted to the fear and service of God. As with the heart he believes unto righteousness, fo with purpose of heart he cleaves to the Lord. He is such a worshipper of God as our Lord describes in fohn iv. 24. « God is a Spirit, and they who worship him, " muft worship him in {pirit and truth.”

Every

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