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be much ap

here given, that a character

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, plauded and very worthless; and that, to be well spoken of by all, in a certain extent of those words, one inust be, if not a Catiline, yet an unquestionably vicious and corrupt man.

I have now gone through the several topics, I proposed to illustrate in this discourse.

My more immediate design was, to explain and justify the text; to shew that it spake not without reason when it spake, perhaps, somewhat differently from our expectations; and that our divine master had abundant cause to pronounce a woe on those, of whom the world. is so ready to speak well.

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But in doing this, I persuade myself, I have done more; and, in shewing the reasons of this woe, have said enough to repress and mortify that lust of general praise, which is so fatal to our virtue, as well as happiness. For what can be more likely to restrain men from this fölly, than to let them see, that the prize, they so ambitiously contend for, would be a misfortune to them, if it could be obtained; since a very general praise is rarely conferred, at best," but upon a feeble imperfect state of virtue; is, frequently, the reward of positive ill-desert; and is, sometimes, the pay, that men receive for the greatest crimes.

These considerations shew the only true praise to be that which a well informed mind gives to itself. This praise is pure and unmixed; is only bestowed on real merit ; and is nicely proportioned to the several degrees of it. It is the earnest too of every other praise, which ought to be precious to us. For, when conscience approves, good men and angels are ready to applaud: nay, when a man's heart condemns him not, then has he confidence towards God.

To conclude: it is in this contention of human life, as in those games of which the ancient world was so fond : the success consists not in the acclamations of the attending multitude, but in the crown which the victor receives at the hands of the appointed judge. If he obtains that great prize, it is of little moment whether the rest follow or not. The applause of the by-standers may add to the noise and pageantry of the day ; but the triumph is sincere and complete without it.

As then it would be arrogance and inhumanity to reject universally the good opinion

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f 1 John iii. 21.

of the world, so it would be folly, or something worse, to dote upon it. If it may be honestly obtained, it is well: if not, let the friend of virtue; above all, let the follower of Jesus, console himself, under the loss of it, with this reflection, " That it is: no certain

argument of true honour and true happiness,

nay, that it is a presumption to the contrary, es to be found in the class of those, of whom « all men speak well."

SERMON XXII.

PREACHED FEBRUARY 6, 1774.

St. John viji. 9.

Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn thee;

Go, and sin no more.

EVERY one understands the occasion of these words: The absolution of the woman taken in adultery, says an ancient writer, has been always famous in the church : Indeed so famous, that some, who know but little of the other parts of the Gospel history, pretend to be well acquainted with this ; from which they draw conclusions so favourable to their

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own loose practices, that others of stricter morals have been disposed to question its authenticity, and to expunge this obnoxious passage from the sacred books.

The attempt, indeed, has not succeeded. The obnoxious passage is unquestionably authentick. But what then shall we say to the narrative itself? How are we to expound it consistently with the known character of Jesus? and how are we to obviate the ill consequences which seem so naturally to flow from it?

These questions will be answered by considering attentively the nature and circumstances of the case: from which it will appear, that this decision of our Lord is founded on the highest wisdom; and, when seen in its true light, affords no countenance to the licentious glosses of one party, and needs give no alarm to the scrupulous fears and apprehensions of another.

The fact is related by the sacred historian in these words: “ The Scribes and Pharisees e brought to him a woman taken in adultery; " and when they had set her in the midst, they

say to him, Master, this woman was taken “in adultery' in the very act. Now, Moses in

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