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which happens every day among ourselves, namely, that a man may be guilty of very bad and dishonest actions, and yet reflect so little, or so partially, upon what he has done, as to keep his 'conscience free, not only from guilt, but even the remotest sus. picions, that he is the man which in truth he is, and what the tenor and evidence of his life demonstrate. If we look into the world.-David's is no uncommon case ;-we see some one or other perpetually copying this bad original, sitting in judgment upon himself, hearing his own cause, and not knowing what he is doing; hasty in passing sentence, and even executing it too with wrath upon the person of another, when, in the language of the prophet, one might say to him with justice

,. Thou art the man."

Of the many revengeful, covetous, false, and illnatured persons which we complain of in the world, though we all join in the cry against them, what man amongst us singles out himself as a criminal, or ever once takes it into his head that he adds to the number?-or where is there a man so bad, who would not think it the hardest and most unfair imputation, to have any of those particular vices laid to his charge ?

If he has the symptoms ever so strong upon him, which he would pronounce infallible in another, they are indications of no such malady in himself.He sees, what no one else sees, some secret and flattering circumstances in his favour, which no doubt make a wide difference betwixt his case and the party's which he condemns.

What other man speaks so often and vehemently against the vice of pride, sets the weakness of it in

& more odious light, or is more hurt with it in an. other, than the proud man himself? It is the same with the passionate, the designing, the ambitious, and some other common characters in life ; and being a consequence of the nature of such vices, and almost inseparable from them, the effects of it are generally so gross and absurd, that where pity does not forbid, it is pleasant to observe and trace the cheat through the several turnings and windings of the heart, and detect it through all the shapes and appearances which it puts on.

Next to these instances of self-deceit and utter ignorance of our true disposition and character, which appear in not seeing that in ourselves which shocks us in another man, there is another species still more dangerous and delusive, and which the more guarded perpetually, fall into from the judgments they make of different vices, according to their

age and complexion, and the various ebbs and flows of their passions and desires.

To conceive this, let any man look into his own heart, and observe in how different a degree of detestation, numbers of actions stand there, though equally bad and vicious in themselves : he will soon find that such of them as strong inclination or custom has prompted him to commit, are generally dressed out, and painted with all the false beauties which a soft and flattering hand can give them; and and that the others, to which he feels no propensi. ty, appear at once naked and deformed, surrounded with all the true circumstances of their folly and dishonour.

When David surprised Saul sleeping in the cave, and cut off the skirt of his robe, we read, his heart

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smote him for what he had done :-strange, it smote him not in this matter of Uriah, where it had so much stronger reason to take the alarm !-A whole year had almost passed from the first commission of this injustice, to the time the prophet was sent to reprove him ; and we read not once of any remorse or compunction of heart for what he had done : and it is not to be doubted, had the same prophet met him when he was returning up out of the cave,and told him, that, scrupulous and conscientious as he then seemed and thought himself to be, he was deceiving himself, and was capable of committing the foulest and most dishonourable actions ;-that he should one day murder a faithful and a valiant servant, whom he ought in justice to have loved and honoured ;---that he should without pity first wound him in the tenderest part, by taking away his dearest possession-and then unmercifully and treacherously rob him of his life :-had Nathan in a prophetićk spirit foretold to David that he was capable of this, and that he should one day actually do it, and from no other motive but the momentary grati. fication of a base and unworthy passion, he would have received the prediction with horror, and said possibly with Hazael upon just such another occasion, and with the same ignorance of himself," What ! is thy servant a dog that he should do this

great thing ?” And yet in all likelihood, at that very time there wanted nothing but the same degree of temptation, and the same opportunity to induce him to the sin which afterwards overcame him.

Thus the case stands with us still. When the passions are warmed, the sin which presents itself exactly tallies to the desire, observe how impetu.

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ously a man will rush into it, and act against all principles of honour, justice, and mercy !-Talk to him the moment after upon the nature of another vice to which he is not addicted, and from which perhaps his age, his temper, or rank in life secure him ; take notice, how well he reasons, with what equi. ty he determines,--what an honest indignation and sharpness he expresses against it, and how insensi. bly his anger kindles against the man who hath done this thing!

. Thus we are nice in grains and scruples, but knaves in matters of a pound weight; every day straining at gnats, yet swallowing camels ;-miserably cheating ourselves, and torturing our reason to bring us in such a report of the sin aś suits the present appetite and inclination.

Most of us are aware of and pretend to detest the barefaced instances of that hypocrisy by which men deceive others ; but few of us are upon our guard,

; or see that more fatal hypocrisy by which we deceive and over-reach our own hearts ! It is a flattering and dangerous distemper, which has undone thousands ;-we bring the seeds of it along with us into the world, they insensibly grow up with us from our childhood, they lie long concealed and undisturbed, and have generally got such deep root in our natures by the time we are come to years of understanding and reflection, that it requires all we have got to defend ourselves from their effects.

To make the ease still worse on our sides, 'tis with this as with every grievous distemper of the body,—the remedies are dangerous and doubtful, in proportion to our mistakes and ignorance of the cause : for in the instances of self-deceit, though the head is sick, and the whole heart faint, the patient seldom knows what he ails. Of all the things we know and learn, this necessary knowledge comes to us the last.

Upon what principle it happens thus, I have endeavoured to lay open in the first part of this discourse ; which I conclude with a serious exhortation to struggle against them : which we can only hope to do, by conversing more and oftener with ourselves, than the business and diversions of the world generally give us leave.

We have a chain of thoughts, desires, engagements, and idlenesses, which perpetually return upon us in their proper time and order :-)et us, I beseech you, assign and set apart some small portion of the day for this purpose of retiring into our selves, and searching into the dark corners and re• cesses of the heart and taking notice of what is passo ing there, If a man can bring himself to do this task with a curious and impartial eye, he will quickly find the fruits of it will more than recompense his time and labour. He will see several irregularities and unsuspected passions within him which he never was aware of he will discover in his progress many secret turnings and windings in his heart to which he was a stranger, which now gradually open and disclose themselves to him upon a nearer view. In these labyrinths he will trace out such hidden springs and motives for many of his most applauded actions, as will make him rather sorry and ashamed of himself, than proud.

In a word, he will understand his errors, a id then see the necessity, with David, of imploring God to cleanse him from his secret faults, and with some

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