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yourselves, and how gracious the Lord has been to you, you cannot but desire and pray above all things to be established in it. When Christ had been discoursing with the two disciples after his resurrection, and "expounding to them in all the Scriptures the things in them concerning himself, they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ?” Luke, xxiv. 32. Such hearts he makes wherever he comes, and Christ opened there sets them on fire. Do not, therefore, think you can be Christians without prizing Christ and his salvation; or that you can prize it without knowing what it is; or that you can know what it is without knowing your want of it. He delivers from sin, removes the load of it from the conscience, and the power of it from the heart; but if your sin has never been discovered to you in the daily breach of God's commandments, Christ will be as nothing in your eyes. You must therefore give way to this discovery, cast away all your vain excuses, be willing to know the truth of your condition, beg of God to search you, and when you find that you are not his people, give yourselves no rest till
Some of you may be grown old without ever making the inquiry, or one serious thought about the salvation of Christ. Oh! redeem the little time you have left. Pray to God to open your eyes. Seek the Lord while he may be found. The door of grace still stands open for you, if you will enter into it. Christ has a heart and a will to receive
you will come unto God by him. Make haste and escape for the life of your souls. Do not die without obtaining mercy.
If you are in the strength and vigour of your age, and have a prospect, as you think, of many years to come, let Christ teach you how to sweeten them to yourselves. poor comfort
And if, upon looking back, you do not find that hitherto you have made him your hope and your confidence, think what
with in the way of sin, or a mere worldly life, in comparison of what you might have from a well-grounded assurance that you are of the number of God's people. Think how uncertain life is, how short at the best, and how dreadful it would be to be called to your last account, without being in readiness for it by a life of faith. To the young
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth;" Eccl. xii. 1. Mark that word now. List not yourselves into the devil's service, lest you never escape from it. Give him not a day of your lives.
See on the one hand the broad way of destruction, and Christ on the other pointing out and calling you into the way of grace and salvation. If you make a right choice now, you will be established more and more in Christ's peace, make God your friend, fear nothing that can befall you in the world, knowing that he is so, and be prepared for his time of calling you out of it, whether it be sooner or later. But if you choose to live without God, without Christ and Christian hope, never ask yourselves what you must do to be saved, and rush blindly into the snares which are laid for you by the enemy of your souls, your souls, - you
- you have nothing before you but a bitter repentance, if that time should ever come; and, in the meanwhile, you are in a state which you should tremble to think of.
Let those who live in sin, and flatter themselves with the hope of mercy without repentance, know that they are not the Lord's people. They do not so much as
. believe in God, but disown and deny him, according to the revelation he has made of himself. For the God who made the heavens and the earth, the God of Scripture, is he who has a right to govern his creatures, and will be
obeyed. If ever you give way to cool reflection, consider how wretchedly absurd and impious the thought is, and how impossible it is that you should be entitled to his favour, or objects of mercy, while you continue in rebellion against him. Oh! quit this vain delusion, give up the lie in your right hand, and turn your eyes to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; in him calling you to be his people, and with astonishing patience yet waiting to be gracious to you; in him “ forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,” your ten thousand provocations of his justice, but " who will by no means clear the guilty ;" as all are who do not see their guilt taken away by Christ, an in the sense of so great a mercy live unto him that died for them, and become new creatures in the truth of a pure obedience.
Let those who exalt themselves against the Saviour, and, in the main, make but little account of “salvation by grace, through faith,” because they have a better appearance than many others, and can justify themselves before men, remember that they have to do with a heartsearching God, and that sins innumerable will be found upon them, to their everlasting confusion, if they have not made Christ their hope. He stooped very low, and submitted to a painful life and ignominious death, to save them from the sin which looks so little in their eyes ; but if they will not condescend to be washed in his blood, as sinners, learn of him a better holiness than they will ever teach themselves, and, with unfeigned humility, call themselves unprofitable servants whenthey have done the very best they ever will do, he will despise their boasted morals, has already excluded them from the "number of God's people, and pronounced the sentence of condemnation upon their self-righteous formality, in these words three several times repeated, “ Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased ;” Matt. xxiii. 12; Luke, xiv. 11; xvii. 14.
O ye people of God! in faith, hope, and charity, I am not worthy to speak to you. One word you will bear from an apostle of our Lord; as you have given up your names to Christ, go on in the power of his might, “ building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life;" Jude, 20, 21.
And I say to all, in the words of St. James, “ Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you;" iv. 8. Make deep search into yourselves ; know your hearts, know your sin ; look unto Jesus, as the Peace-maker in his blood, and the Lord our righteousness, that you may rejoice in the mercy of heaven, and live unto God, as his people, in faith and holiness. Indeed, my brethren, one hour of serious Scripture reading, one prayer from the heart, would do a great deal towards removing those mountains of difficulties which now stand in your way. I do not mean that you would, or ought to be content with that, for if you were once awakened you
would see the necessity of doing a great deal more; but a sad thing it is not to have one such hour, one such prayer, to think of in a whole life. The Lord grant unto us, that, in the acceptance of his mercy, in the faith of Christ, and the power of the eternal Spirit, we may all be his people; not for worldly things, or even spiritual comforts, desirable as they are, but“ pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Phil. iii. 14, and “striving to enter into that blessed rest which remaineth to the people of God,” in the everlasting enjoyment of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matt. vii. 7.
Prayer is the life of a Christian, and the proof of a Christian state. I mean secret prayer, the desire of the heart for spiritual blessings, that we may live unto God, and be fitted for heaven by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Prayer for repentance, prayer for faith, prayer for holiness. Prayer for the Spirit to enlighten onr understandings, to alter the vicious bent of our wills and affections, to keep us steady to our great work, and carry us happily through it. These are the things we want; what God wants to give us, what Christ came to offer us, and what therefore we must and shall pray for, if ever we be recovered to God by him. We must know distinctly that we want remission of sins, peace with God, and spiritual strength, and be very inwardly stirred up to seek after them as the life of our souls. My friends, do you, can you thus pray for your souls ?
, And is the desire of your hearts indeed turned to God for the blessings of Christ and his Gospel ? Then your eyes are opened, you are in God's way of happiness, and there shall be a performance of all that has been told you. “ Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find;
l knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” God is your Father, Christ is your Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit will be your Guide and Comforter. The portion you choose for yourselves, and ask of God, is kept safe for you; and no accident, no malice of men or devils, can deprive you of it. The desire of heaven will as certainly carry you thither, as God is now there. If your prayers are gone before, you must follow them.' Christ has taken possession of it in your names; and where he is, there