is the profanation, if they are not animated by the de-sires which they ought to express. Too many are aptto imagine, that they have succeeded well in the exer-cise of devotion, if they have been able to address Godby his proper titles, and to recollect those words inditedby the Spirit of God, in which holy men of old express-ed their desires, and which they committed to writingfor the use of the church. But they do not consider, thatthe very end for which those accepted prayers were re-corded, was, to regulate our hearts instead of directingour lips; and that it is our most immediate business,when such petitions occur to our minds, to try our heartsby them, that we may truly feel what they express, be-fore we adventure to present them to God.It is the character of hypocrites, whom God abhorreth,that they " draw near to him with their mouths, andhonour him with their lips, while their hearts are farfrom him." This is to add abuse and insult to all theirother sins; and those prayers which have proceededfrom feigned lips, will, in the great day of judgment,stop the mouths of transgressors more effectually, thanall the other offences with which they shall be foundchargeable.The articles of a man's belief may not always be pre-sent to his mind ; or at least the practical inferences whichmay justly be drawn from them, may not be all so obvi-ous as to command his uniform attention. To counteractindeed a plain and positive law, is such a flagrant re-bellion as admits of no excuse : and yet even in this case,SERMO XLVII. I73the sinner may pretend to plead, in alleviation of hiscrime, that the law appeared to him so strict and rigor-ous, that he could not hring his mind to consent to itsdemands.