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they hear thy words, but they will not do them." He may have the most sanguine hope of future glory, and may look with pity and scorn upon the humble followers of Jesus, who sometimes are afflicted with fears lest they should have deceived themselves. Notwithstanding they were under the curse of the law, the pharisees “ trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.” Those apostates who are mentioned in the fifth chapter of Hebrews, had “ tasted the powers of the world to come.” He may pray often, like those " who drew nigh to God with their lips, while their hearts were far from him;" “ who returned and inquired early after God; and remembered that God was their rock, and the High God their Redeemer; but who nevertheless did flatter him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongues, since their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant.” (Isa. xxix. 13. Ps. Ixxviii. 34.) He may feel something like love to God, not from the influences of the Spirit, and a view of the transcendent excellences of Jehovah, but from a mistaken belief that God is his friend, has conferred upon him the blessings of his grace, and has reserved for him the riches of his glory. He may feel some love for the children of God, not for their spiritual excellences, but for their gentle and courteous behaviour, and for those natural or acquired advantages which they may possess. Thus a heathen Pharaoh loved the pious Joseph; and the wicked Ahab was attached to Jehoshaphat. Thus those very Galatians, concerning whom the apostle feared that he had bestowed upon them labour in vain, had given him the strongest proofs of their love. “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record that, if it had


been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”

Thus, my brethren, I have in a very brief and imperfect manner shown you how far a man may advance without being altogether a Christian, without having any interest in the promises of God, or in the merits of the Redeemer. Do you ask, What is still wanting to such a man, in order to constitute him a believer? I answer, Every thing that radically

I forms the Christian.

1. He wants the Holy Ghost to dwell within him; for (it is the language of inspiration) “ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

2. He wants that new birth by which he must be made spiritual. From the first man, Adam, he has been made a living soul; but by the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, he has not yet been quickened in the spirit. He has not yet " put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.” He is still a stranger to the “ life of God," and has not been made a “partaker of the divine nature," of which all the children of God partake.

3. Though he has slightly confessed and felt his sins, yet he was never deeply humbled in his heart, nor made vile in his own eyes, nor contrite, nor brokenhearted, nor loathing himself for his abominations, nor weary, nor heavy laden with his sins.

4. Though he professes to believe he wants the life of faith, from education he calls himself a Chris

a tian, and coldly talks of the “ mystery of redemption.” But he does not with an humble, broken heart, betake himself to Christ, as his only refuge from the wrath of God and everlasting misery. The sense of the odjousness of sin, and of the damnation


threatened by the righteous God, has not yet taught him to value Christ as he must be valued by all who would be saved by him. He talks of him with cold respect; but he does not flee to him as to the only physician who can heal the deep wounds of his soul ; he does not cry to him, as the sinking disciples in the tempest, “ Save, Master, we perish !” Christ does not dwell in his heart by faith, nor does he long “ with all saints to comprehend what is the depth and breadth, and length and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." He cannot truly say that he desires to know nothing but a crucified Christ, and that “ the life that he lives in the flesh, he lives by faith on the Son of God.” He has not that grateful admiration of the love of God in Christ which becomes a soul that is saved by him from the flames of hell, and that is reconciled to the Lord, and made an heir of everlasting life. He has not, understandingly, seriously, deliberately, and unreservedly, given up himself and all that he has to Christ, and thankfully accepted eternal life, as given to him on gospel terms. This living, effectual faith, is wanting to him.

5. He wants that serious belief of the world to come, which causes the soul to take it as its happiness and treasure; to place there its desires and hopes; to make it the principal business and labour of life to attain it; and to prefer it before all the honours, profits, and pleasures of the world. The almost Christian only takes heaven as a reserve, and regards it as a better place than hell. It is only the real believer who feels, that to be with Christ is far better."

6. He wants a universal hatred to all known sin, and an actual victory over it, so far as to avoid all


of you

iniquities. He is not weary and weighed down with his infirmities, and ardently desirous to be freed from all the remains of corruption, and to use the means appointed by God to obtain a victory over them.

7. He has not an unfeigned love to a life of holiness; a delight to meditate on the law of God, with an intention to obey it; a delight in the inward exercise of grace; in serious diligence for salvation; in fearing, loving, trusting, and knowing God.

Notwithstanding then the apparent progress he has made in piety, he must lie down in sorrow.

My brethren, these are solemn truths that have been declared to you. Let us be led by them,

1. To examine our own state. Professors of the religion of Jesus, are you real, or only almost Christians? Do any think this question unnecessary, and this examination useless? Your character is already decided : you want that holy jealousy, that self-distrust, that desire of converse with

your own heart, which characterize the believer. Remain no longer in this state: none can be more uncomfortable. You renounce the pleasures of sin, and you

have not the joys of religion; the profane hate you

for your profession of religion, and God hates you for your insincerity. Your situation is most dangerous. The open sinner knows that he is not prepared for death, and his heart may be affect

, ed by the threatenings of the word of God. But these threatenings disquiet not you: the thunders of Sinai roll above you, and are just ready to burst upon your head! your calm is not disturbed, because you falsely suppose you are sheltered from them. Many, I doubt not, who are most interested in this discourse, have been felicitating themselves that it did not affect them; have been listening with as much com



posure as David did to Nathan, before the prophet declared, “ Thou art the man!” At last awake from this security ; search deeply into the foundation of your hopes; make sure of a sound and thorough conversion unto God; cry not "peace, when sudden

“ , destruction

may be" approaching; confide not in a building upon the sand : the storm is advancing which will try its foundation.

2. Salvation is not so easily obtained as the men of the world imagine. Strive, therefore, to enter in at the strait gate, for many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” We can easily sink into hell, but the kingdom of heaven must suffer a holy violence. Think of this, you who are living in the neglect of God, from a belief that a few cries, and tears, and confessions on your death-bed, will secure you heaven. The almost Christian has done far more than this, and been rejected. Think of this, you (and how many thousand such persons are there!) whose religion consists only in an acknowledgment of the truth of the gospel, which you

call faith, in a decent attendance on the ordinances of religion, and the heart of a moral heathen. Think of this, you whose piety consists only in contending for a particular system of opinions, or a particular mode of worship! Falling so far below the almost Christian, will you be safe when he is condemned?

3. If those that advance so far shall perish, what shall be the doom of the openly profane? If, after acknowledging and professing Christ, and forsaking many sins for him, persons may descend into despair, what woes must be reserved for those who despised and blasphemed this Redeemer, and indulged in every wickedness ?

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