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lefs afperity of cenfure, and less vehemence of indignation.

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Such is the character of Felix. Let us now fee how wifely adapted, and fuitably applied, was the fubject of St. Paul's difcourfe; "reasoned of righteoufnefs, temperance, land judgment to come.

The defign of the Apostle was, to thew the ftrong obligations the doctrines of Chriftianity lie on men, to obferve the rules of justice and temperance; and, if on men, individually, how great on thofe in whom the adminiftration of justice is vested? for it is not neceffary that they fhould be irreproachable only in fuch ad ministration, but uniformly exemplary in their conduct: they are" to thine as lightsinthe world," and to enforce the laws, as well by their mo ral practice, as by their delegated power. And, that the governor might not elude the strength of his arguments, by any evasions of sophistry, or artifices of deceit, he urges the fevere, and impartial account, to be given in a judgment to come, where power can no longer opprefs, authority protect, nor cunning conceal; a Tribunal where poverty and wealth will becon the fame level, and fubmiffive weakness have

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equal advantages with vindictive rage→a Tribunal, where real goodnefs will be rewarded with everlasting glory, and actual guilt be ba nished, for ever, from the presence of the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

To preach to a magiftrate, invefted with uncontrolable power, that a future punishment awaited him from a fupreme Judicature, indicated an intrepid spirit hardly, as it should feem, attentive to its own prefervation. St. Paul was a prifoner; he was to appear at the bar of the magiftrate, to ftand as a criminal to be tried for his life. Inftead of moving the pity, and conciliating the esteem of the Judge, by exercifing his talents in an oftentatious dif play of "the many worthy deeds done to the "province, by the wifdom" of the Governor's administration, the Apoftle calls upon him to forfake his deeds of rapine, and fubdue his habits of luft; and, in the prefence, too, of the very person who had fo powerful an ascendancy over him; either not confidering, or contemning the fate of John the Baptift, whose head was demanded by Herod, by the suggestion of Herodias, whom, like Felix, he had unlawfully married. He exemplified, in his conduct, his



own declaration, "I count all things but lofs *for the excellency of the knowlege of Chrift "Jefus my Lord:" whether the Governor would admire his difcourfe, or not; or, whether it might not exafperate, and provoke his Judge, to deprive him of his liberty or his life, was not the object of his confideration, or regard; but, from a knowlege of the character of the perfon before whom he was speaking, he felected topics, which might be the means, by the bleffing of God, of awakening him from his lethargy of vice, and implanting in his mind, feeds of virtue, and principles of piety. But fuch appeals are, generally, uneafy to a guilty mind; the potion which was administered, though falutary in its effects, was naufeous to the palate. So powerful was the reafoning, and fo irrefiftible the application, he cries out, "Go thy way for this time; when I "have a convenient season I will call for thee." Often do we observe, that men, however flagrant may be their weakneffes, ridiculous their opinions, or reproachful their conduct—though reproof be given with the gentleft intimation -difcover the fame uneafinefs with Felix: from the fame confcioufnefs they are feized

with trembling, and tacitly acknowlege the juftice, and propriety of the reproof; but, " go "thy way," they cry, for this time;" when I am difpofed to hear of my weakneffes, my follies, or my vices, which too often meet me with unwelcome interruption, "I will call for "thee."

: That the governor of Judea, when the enormity of his fins was fet clearly before his eyes, fhould tremble with apprehenfion at the fight of his danger; fhould behold, with horror, the precipice on which he stood, and the gulph below ready to receive him, does not create aftonishment, nor excite furprize. "Fearful "nefs and trembling came upon him, and an "horrible dread overwhelmed him for wick"edness, condemned by its own witness, is very

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timorous, and always forecafteth grievous things." St. Paul had represented his guilt in fuch glaring colors; the fimplicity of truth was enforced by cogency of argument, and persuasion of oratory, fo ftrong as to imprefs conviction, and fo powerful as to alarm with terror: his Vices presented themselves in dreadful array to his confcience, the tyranny of oppreffion, the fubverfion of public happiness,

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and the annihilation of domestic peace. Unable to look on fuch a fcene with tranquility, or anticipate its effects without confternation, he trembles at the account he must one day give.

I now proceed to the last part of the text, that, when Felix trembled at the reasoning of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, inftead of examining his ways, forfaking his fins, and embracing Christianity, he difmiffes the Apostle with-" Go thy way for "this time; when I have a convenient feason "I will call for thee."

When a Judgment to come was founded in his ears, the fad ftate of his accounts, how utterly unfit, how altogether unprepared they were to undergo an accurate infpection, filled his foul with anxious difquietude. But, notwithstanding, he had not refolution" to break "the chain of his fins, with which he was fo "faft tied, and bound." He might, indeed, purpose to become a Chriftian, amend his life, and provide against a future Judgment: but this, unhappily, was to be deferred till fome other, and, as he termed it, "more convenient feafon." To have prepared againft a Judg


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