Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

SERM. vni FALLING SHORT OF HEAVEN. 133 religion, and do honour to foul iniquity; that it should be enslaved to all the arts of lewdness, and dress up the shameof nature in the charms of language." Or if it be not debased to so exceeding vile purposes, yet at best, it is pity it should be all employed in jesting and trifle, in mirth and raillery, and vain amusement. Might it not have been laid out infinitely better, to allure sinners to the love of God, to adorn the truths of our holy profes- sion, and give credit to the gospel of Christ, even in the eyes of the witty and profane ? I pity the man of lively imagination without sanctify- ing grace. What a lovely wilderness of blooming weeds ! fair indeed in various colours, but useless and unsavoury, and it must be burnt up with unquenchable fire. You are the persons whose happy talents give a relish to the common comforts of life; you diffuse joy and pleasure through all the company, and enliven the dullest hours ; your presence is coveted by all men, and you are belov- ed of all : But how dismal is your state, if you neglect holiness, and are not beloved of God ! Can you ima- gine that your gay fancy will brighten the gloomof bell ? or give airs to yourselves, or your companions, in those hideous regions of sorrow ? It is a most melancholy re- flection to consider, that persons of your accomplish- ments should increase the number of the damned; and there is no sport or amusement admitted there, todivert the anguish of the tortured mind, or to relieve that heavyand everlasting heart-ache. I pity the man of strong reason and great sagacity of judgment, that hath traced nature in her most secret re- cesses; that has sounded the depths of the sea, and mea- sured the heavens; but has spent no time in searching the deep things of God, and lets the mysteries of reli- gion lie unregarded as obscure and useless things. He has never sounded the depth of his own misery and guilt, as he is a son of Adam : Nor is he acquainted with the way of climbing to heaven by the cross of the Son of God. Reason is a facultyof supreme excellence among the gifts of nature, and it is dreadful to think that it should ever be engaged in opposition to divine grace. How great and wretched are the men of reason, who strain the nerves of their soul to overturn the doctrine of Christ! who labour with all their intellectual powers K3