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of God unto you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. i. 30; doing the will of God for your

salvation, which he alone could do, purchasing your peace, and saving you from the second death by his own sweat and blood. Oh! do this, pray for this, turn the eye of your soul this

soul this way; look with penitence and faith on him who was pierced by you and for you, that you may love him, and he may live in you; do this, and you will be the children of God's family and kingdom now," born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever," 1 Pet. i. 23; and, hereafter, joint heirs with Christ in his glory.

May that word written by his inspired apostle, and now brought to your remembrance by me, be sounded into your hearts by the same Spirit which gave it, and stir you up to secure the blessedness of it to yourselves. Ye,” says he, speaking to all true believers, faithful Christians, and no other, “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”.


Which in time past were not a people, but are now the

people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but noro have obtained mercy. 1 Pet. ii. 10.

In the ten first verses of this chapter, St. Peter distinctly mentions the faith and practice of Christians, the privileges they enjoy, the hope they are made partakers of, the new and happy state they are called to, by being the people of God. Having “ tasted that the Lord is gracious," being grounded in the faith of his love, and “ coming to Christ as unto a living stone, they also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices,” their prayers, their praises, their hearts, their wills, their purest and best obedience, “ acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. To them that believe he is precious” in all respects, as their atonement and righteousness, the restorer of their natures to holiness, their resurrection and life, their Mediator and Advocate with God. And in the sense of his blessings, which are dearer to them than all the world, they strike at the root of sin in the heart, by“laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evilspeakings, as new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby;" study to approve themselves to God as his children in every thought, word, and deed; and endeavour as much as possible to "show forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.” All which the apostle sums up in the text, which is the conclusion of the first part of his epistle from the beginning to this verse; in which, having set before them the blessedness of believers in such high expressions as they would never have presumed to think of without his warrant and authority, namely, that they were " a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people;" he closes the whole with bringing their past and present state into one view; that, upon a comparison of one with the other, what they had been and what they were, they might with him bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the happy change which had been wrought in their condition; for that “ in time past they were not a people, but now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now," says he, “have obtained mercy.” Upon hearing the words, you must needs take notice of the great dif

ference between the two states mentioned in them ; how desirable it is on one hand to be of the number of God's people, how dreadful on the other not to obtain mercy. I shall endeavour to recommend them to your careful observation, and assist you in the improvement of them,

I. By showing the happy condition of the people of God.

II. By what means we attain to this state, and how we may assure ourselves that we are in it.

III. The necessity of our being brought into it.

O Lord! help me, for it is a great thing I am to speak of,—thy salvation, thy Christ, thy Spirit, thy kingdom of grace opened in our hearts as the only way to thy kingdom of glory. Have mercy on us, and be our guide unto death. Make thy word the savour of life to every one in this congregation, and bring us before thee with earnest unceasing prayer, to see the felicity of thy chosen, and rejoice in the gladness of thy people.”

I. I am to show the happy condition of the people of God. It is implied and expressed in the very

word “people.” As the people of any country are entitled to the privileges of it, enjoy the benefit of its laws, and think themselves happy under a wise and just government; in like manner, the people of God, as separated from the rest of mankind to a state of professed subjection and obedience to him as their Lord and Governor, are under his immediate care and inspection, owned by him as his people in a manner which others are not, and entitled to his peculiar blessings and favours. It is true, his kingdom ruleth over all, and all in common enjoy the benefits of his providence and universal dominion; for

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“ he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust;" Matt. v. 45. The air we breathe, the bread we eat, are his gifts to all without distinction ; every creature lives continually upon his bounty, is wholly at his disposal, and supported every moment by his will. And farther, as he made us for the knowledge of himself, he has an eye to this in all his dealings with us, and “would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth ;" 1 Tim. ii. 4. He now calls you to it, that he may be your God and Father, and you may rejoice in the happy state of his children. But if you despise this mercy, and do not choose to have your portion in him, here is plain intimation given you that you do not belong to him as his immediate subjects and servants, and therefore have no share in the blessings of his peculiar people. Do you ask what those blessings are ? All that suppose a gracious God has in store for those whom he loves and favours. The riches of his grace, the joy of his promises, all manner of blessings exactly suited to their needs, the blessings of time, the blessings of eternity; deliverance from the worst of all evils, and the greatest of all fears, from the power of sin reigning in them as a nature, and from damnation, the desert of sin; peace and good will, perfect reconciliation, and a right to draw nigh to him as children to a father; protection and comfort in life, support in death, and both in life and death a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them;" 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. Being “ born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God," 1 Pet. i. 23, they are begotten to the power of an endless life ; and though they must pay the debt of nature, and die like other men, it is only to be freed for ever from


sin, pain, and sorrow, and to enter upon those joys which are prepared for them; for “ their life is hid with Christ in God,” bound up in his life, quickened by the same Spirit which declared him to be the Son of God, and raised him from the dead; and in virtue of their union with him, “ when Christ who is their life shall appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory;" Col. iii. 3, 4.

4 Behold the portion of God's people, and those who have obtained mercy, what they believe in, and come to him for, and are sure to receive at his hands; though, at the same time, it must be confessed that this is the

very thing which frights the greatest part of mankind from him. If his blessings are the comforts of a soul, and the riches he bestows upon his children and favoured people are spiritual, or future, this is a kind of happiness for which the men of the world have no relish, and therefore resolve to seek it in other things. Certain, I say, it is, that the natural unenlightened man, whether vicious, careless, or altogether worldly, neither covets nor knows them, and that they are downright foolishness to him.

But nevertheless God reveals them to you, proposes them to your choice, courts you with the offer of them, and would gladly stir you up to desire them for yourselves, because he knows you must be undone for ever in the want of them; and he can make them look as lovely in our eyes as once they were mean and contemptible. But I beseech you, before we refuse them, let us consider a little further what they are. God, we may be sure, will take care of those whom he owns for his people, and provide effectually for their well-being and happiness. And the way to do this, he knows, is not to leave them to judge for themselves, what he ought to do, and what is good for them ; but he tells them what is so, and puts it in their power; and if they will not choose what he chooses for them, he cannot depart from his own wisdom, nor be

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