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rarely in his thoughts. Christ is not precious" to him. The "testimonies". of the Lord are not the "joy of his heart." The influences of the Holy Spirit are neither sought nor desired. There is in his daily habits nothing of "the mind" of Christ-nothing of the unearthliness, and spirituality, and devotion which are the essential elements and evidences of the Christian character. In fact, his whole life is one vast negation of the principles he professes. He "calls" the Saviour Lord, Lord," but he "does not the thing which he says." He lives without purity; dies perhaps without repentance; and sinks to the region prepared for the impenitent and ungodly.


Such are the two classes described by the text. Let us, instead of venturing on an application of the subject ourselves, endeavour

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IV. In the fourth and last place, to coN

SIDER THE APPLICATION MADE OF IT BY OUR LORD HIMSELF IN THE TEXT."Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you," that is, to the worldly priests and elders whom


he was addressing" The publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you-for John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and harlots believe him; and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."


And here I come to the mischievous notions which individuals have, in some instances, endeavoured to graft upon this and similar passages of Scripture.

There are those, who, complying with the natural bias of a fallen heart to discocover in every expression of Scripture either a pretext for sin or a shelter for the impenitent sinner, are disposed to construe this and similar texts into a lax and latitudinarian permission to live a life of iniquity, without any serious alarm as to its consequences. But let it not be conceived, for an instant, that the righteous Redeemer of the world is, in any possible way, or under any conceivable modification, the advocate or apologist for iniquity. Let it not be imagined that the Saviour of the guilty is, in any shape, the justifier of the sins for which he shed his

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precious blood. Let no man so oppose himself to the whole genius and spirit of the Gospel, as to endeavour to extort from this or any like statement a notion that sin, of any kind, is a light offence in the eyes of the holy God—that a youth of iniquity is likely to be followed by an old age of godly penitence--that we are authorised to persevere for an hour in vice, under the belief that the blood of Christ shall wash away our sins.-But, it may

be asked, if these doctrines are not taught by the text, what is it meant to convey to us ?

1. In the first place, it appears to me to teach most explicitly-in terms, I may say,

that cannot be mistaken-that crimes even of the deepest dye, whatever obstacles they may oppose to repentance, do not necessarily shut out the offender from penitence; and, therefore, do not necessarily exclude him from the kingdom of God. The crimes of licentiousness and knavish extortion which are those especially referred to in these verses, may be considered as among the foulest and most tenacious—among those that lie the deepest, and take the most permanent hold on our nature. But the text instructs us, that even offenders upon these points may be conducted by the Spirit of God, as heart-broken penitents, to the Cross of Christ; and that, if really found there, with a deep hatred of the sins over which they mourn, they shall be accepted, and pardoned, and sanctified, for the sake of Him who for these also has paid the ransom of his own precious blood.

2. The only remaining truth to which I shall advert as taught by the text is, that self-righteousness—a mere pharisaical religion-a religion of negatives, of cold neutrality in the service of the Lord-a religion of dead and unmeaning forms --a religion of hollow profession - a religion which promises much, and accomplishes nothing--a religion which serves, perhaps, to win us our own esteem, and, possibly, the approbation of a select number around us; but which neither leads us to the Cross of Christ, nor teaches us to pray for his Spirit, and adorn his doctrine -- that such a religion is often as strong a barrier in the way to heaven, as

crimes even of the deepest dye and most alarming character. “These” profligates, says our Lord to the chief priests and elders, “ enter the kingdom of heaven before you.”-Brethren, it matters comparatively little what it is that stands between us and a deep conviction of guilt, a simple dependence upon Christ for salvation, and an implicit devotion of ourselves to fulfil the whole will of God. Whilst any thing so stands, we must remain far from God, far from the contrition and faith of the Gospel, far beyond the limits of its promises -and therefore, far from the kingdom of heaven. He who would be his own saviour, becomes inevitably his own destroyer. He who discards the Redeemer on earth, shall be cut off from him for ever in heaven.

And now nothing remains for me but to address a few words to the two classes of persons to whom the text has thus especially drawn our attention.

In the first place, then, am I not justified by the foregoing statements, in saying even to the worst man in this assembly -

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