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nourishment of your new life ; and if you have no appetite for it, it is certain you are not quickened to that life. Do you, or do you not, desire to feed upon it, for growth in grace and holiness? Try yourselves here. If you would persuade yourselves, upon good grounds, that the end you are aiming at is to be of the number of God's people, see that you be diligent in the use of those helps and means, without which you cannot reasonably hope to obtain it. Do not be so foolish as to think you can have any assurance of the goodness of your state, without a life of godliness, or that there can be a godly life, without the actions which are proper to it, and fitted to produce and maintain it. Reading and hearing the word of God is one of them. Again, are the blessings therein

. brought to your knowledge, and offered to your acceptance, not worth praying for? Do you pretend to believe that a great salvation has been wrought for you, and that you must be miserable for ever, if you are not made partakers of it, and can you be so unconcerned about it, as not to ask it of God, and make it the burden of all your prayers ? especially, when you know that he has made your asking the condition of receiving ? “ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;” (Matt. vii. 7.) if you ask, seek, and knock, truly and earnestly, and not otherwise. And surely, if you were believers, your own sense of the greatness of the benefits to be obtained, and your great want of them, would drive you to prayer, if God had not called you to it. Your hearts would ask; they would say more to God than your tongues can, and you would be forward and willing of yourselves to all kinds of prayer; prayer in public, prayer in secret, prayer with your families. Nothing would be neglected which you know to be necessary for carrying on your great design of obtaining and keeping mercy; no means of God's appointing for your establishment in the faith and growth in grace, would be slighted, not the sacrament of the Lord's supper. It could not be, if

you were alive unto God, and had any real, affecting sense of your salvation from the curse of sin and eternal misery by the death of Christ. You will take notice, that I mention these outward things, to help you in the trial of your state. The question is, how you may assure yourselves that you are in a state of grace and salvation? And the answer is, by your faith, and the life of faith ; when

you know first, that you have come repenting and sorrowing to Christ, as your Saviour from the guilt and condemnation of sin; and then give up yourselves to be taught and governed by him, and maintain a Christian walk with him, in all such ways as he has appointed for the security and increase of your faith and holiness. Can you think and call yourselves Christians, and be content to live, as too many do, in the neglect or careless performance of public worship? Can you be the servants and people of God, without a diligent, conscientious study of his word, without prayer, in private and with your families ? Can you be the disciples of Christ, without a high value and esteem for the blessed sacrament of his body and blood; in which you are called upon to remember the sacrifice of his death, the necessity of it, the love there was in it, and the obligation it lays you under to live unto him that died for you? Let these things bear witness against you, as marks of an unregenerate state; and I say again, do not think there can be a godly and a Christian life, without the actions of it, or a diligent use of those helps and means, which are the signs of it, and as necessary for the

, nourishment and well-being of the soul, as our food is for the support of the bodily life. I do not mean that the greatest exactness in an outward form of religion is of itself a sufficient proof of the soundness of any man's


state; for it may be counterfeited, and, by a great mistake, is too frequently substituted in the room of real conversion, or grace in the heart. But wherever there is true religion, it will necessarily show itself in all such acts and exercises as are suitable to a religious state, as being the way in which we draw nigh to God, the means of deriving a blessing from God to our souls, and strictly required of us as the duties we owe him. It would be strange, indeed, if we could be “a chosen generation,” without any degree of zeal in the worship of God; "a royal priesthood,” without any duties and services to offer up to him; “ a holy nation," without an appearance

” of holiness; “ a peculiar people,” without any difference of religious behaviour from the rest of the world. If, therefore, we would be the people of God, and have the comfort of knowing it, let us lay Christ for the foundation of our hope toward God, let us take him for the Lord our righteousness, and make him the anchor of our souls, and only refuge from the guilt that is upon us; that, believing and rejoicing in God our Saviour, we may present him with the obedience of our hearts, and make it appear to the world, and to ourselves, that we belong to him, both by the regularity of our behaviour in his service, and the holiness of our lives and conversations. So we shall keep our faith, live in hope, and die in peace.

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III. I am to show the necessity of our attaining to the happy state of God's people.

It is just a matter of the same necessity as it is to be saved. It is the very thing which Christ came into the world to accomplish in the souls of those whom he saves, what he wrought his miracles for, the end for which he died upon the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended


into heaven. And he hath left us his will for this purpose in writing, appointed his servants under him upon earth to explain and enforce it, and is always with us in the power of the Holy Ghost to preach it to our hearts; and all to the end we may be brought into the happy state of God's people, rejoice in the mercy of our deliverance from sin, death, and hell, and make it the chief end of our living to secure to ourselves so great a benefit. And what I have farther to say to you upon this head, is only this one thing, that if you are not stirred up effectually to seek after the grace of God, and the salvation which is by Christ, if you do not come to him in repentance, and know him now by faith as your Saviour, and live unto him by his rule, you perish for ever.

Conversion from a dead state in sin, wretched ignorance, or the cares of a worldly life to the neglect of the soul, conversion, I say, is the point; the opening of your eyes, the turning ,

; of your wills, to the acknowledgment of God and of Christ, this is the work which the Spirit has to do in you, and must, of all necessity, be carefully and strictly attended to 'as your work under him. What we could not possibly do, Christ' has done for us. We had no blood to pour out for the remission of sins, no righteousness to offer to God, no counsel, might, or will, for the redemption of our souls. He alone could pay the price of it; he alone could take up our sins, bear the whole weight of divine vengeance against them, and blot them for ever out of God's book by the blood of his cross. He alone could fulfil all righteousness, and put it into our hands to appear

with before God. And all he requires of us for what he has done and suffered on our behalf is, that we would acknowledge the desert of our sins, thankfully accept the mercy he has obtained for us, and, in the sense of his love, bind ourselves to his service, and return to our obedience. Do this, and I can tell you, in

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the name of Clirist, that you shall live; refuse this offer, and mercy is at an end with you. Why, he says it himself: “ He that believeth” in Christ for the remission of sins, “and is baptized,” or by the rite of baptism solemnly owns his belief, and obliges himself to live suitably to it, “shall be saved.” Again he says, " he that believeth not” that sin must be forgiven, can be forgiven only through Christ, and is forgiven that it may be forsaken, “shall be damned;" Mark, xvi. 16. And what I am ROW advising you to consider, and be well aware of, is, that mercy 'does not consist, as I fear you think, in receiving the impenitent and unbelieving to pardon, or overlooking the sins they live in, and make light of; but in providing such a remedy for us, in our undone state, as we could not provide for ourselves, and may choose or not; but which can be of no benefit to any, till they receive it in the love thereof, and, in the belief of it, turn from the world to God, from sin to holiness. Christ said to the blind man, “Go, and wash in the pool of Siloam; and he went, and washed, and came seeing;" John, ix. 7. Do you think he would have received his sight if he had not gone? He says to you, “ Repent, and believe the Gospel.” This is his salvation; he has told us all, in few words, what we must do for our recovery, and has no other means in reserve to help us out in case of wilful neglect. And can you think to be saved without repentance and faith, and “ bringing forth fruits meet for repentance ?” It does not become me to set bounds to mercy. Blessed be God, it is infinite, and has operated on our behalf, far beyond what we could conceive. But then it is most dangerous presumption to take it to ourselves, in opposition to the declared will of God; and it would be doing unspeakable injury to your souls, not to tell you faithfully what that will is. And I now, therefore, tell you, with the same earnestness and

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