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innate pride of the human heart; which, where it does not formally reject, yet studies studiously to detract from, the efficacy of the cross of Christ. Recollecting that woe is denounced against him if he preach not the Gospel ; convinced by the declaration of Scripture, that there is “no other name given" save that of “Christ;" he asserts, with the great Apostle, that Christ crucified -however he may be to the jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness—however he may be undervalued by the indifferent, or degraded by the modern rationalist, is yet to them that believe “ Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” In the discharge of his ministry he studies by the display of man's natural enmity to God, and constant liability to eternal punishment, to evince the necessity and the value of a Redeemer. While, too, he inculcates the humiliating truth of man's inability of himself to do any thing pleasing or acceptable to God, he feels the importance of the doctrine of sanctification, and points out the methods by which the Holy Spirit of God may be induced to take up his abode in the heart of the believer; subduing the emotions of the old man, and making him a new creature devoted to God, in righteousness and true holiness. · Knowing, too, the “terrors of the Lord,” and that “ we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ,” to receive our everlasting doom, according to the things done in the body, he fails not to remind the disobedient and profane, that indignation and wrath await every soul of man that continueth to do evil.
My Christian friends, I trust that in the course of my ministry among you. these important articles of Christian doctrine have not been overlooked. I trust that, however imperfectly, I have yet not handled the Word of God deceitfully; that I have not shunned, to the best of my ability, to declare unto you the whole counsel of God. The Christian minister who commences his ministry with a determination to know nothing, among those for whom he ministers, but “ Jesus Christ, and him crucified"—that is, to make Christ the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of his preaching.–is called upon at its close to exhort those who have been committed to his charge, to continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel. Christ, however, solemnly enjoined his apostles—and in them all succeeding ministers -to teach the people to observe and do all things whatsoever he commanded. Agreeably to this injunction, I have endeavoured to combine the enforcement of the precepts, with the exposition of the doctrines, of the Gospel ; to render the great truths of our holy faith instrumental to the production of holiness, and pureness, and love. This is a branch of the ministerial office always important, always obligatory: and my own ministerial duties in this place cannot, I believe, be more profitably terminated, than in setting forth the necessity, and exhorting you to the cultivation, of that “ holiness without which no man can see the Lord."
The end of all religion is to bring men to God. In effecting this the Christian religion alone has succeeded ; for although it has concluded all men under sin, it only has exhibited God as a reconciled Father in Christ Jesus.” Now, every religion assuming that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity hut with abhorrence, and that man is a being capable of paying obedience to a given law, must come to the conclusion that holiness is required of man. For
in what does holiness consist but in being like God? and how can any man be like God except by obedience to those laws which he has ordained for him to walk in?
The Gospel las made no alteration in this fundamental requirement of all religions. To those, indeed, who by reason of sin were aliens to God—that is, to all mankind—it has opened a fountain for the purification of all sin and uncleanness: but it has pronounced, in terms which cannot be misunderstood, that, without that holiness of heart and life which is enforced in the discourses of our Lord and his apostles, no wan can, without presumption, expect to see the Lord. When, therefore, we preach the necessity of holiness as a condition of acceptance with God, we are building on the apostles and prophets: we are not diminishing the efficacy of Christ's atonement; for it is only the blood of our Lord, through faith in that blood, that can cleanse our consciences “ from dead works to serve the living God.” It was to renew the holiness in which man had originally been created, but which by disobedience he had lost, that the glorious mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God was designed and accomplished. For what was it Christ lived—for what was it that he died; for what was the everlasting Gospel to be preached to the ends of the world; for what was the priesthood instituted, and the sacraments ordained; but that sinners might be made righteous—the unholy holy? If we would please God—if we would answer the end for which we were created if we would live as the redeemed of the Lord—if we would not do despite unto the Spirit of grace-we must cultivate real practical holiness.
It is to this—as to the end of all religion, the design of all that our blessed Saviour did and suffered--that I now solemnly and earnestly exhort you. those who cast the Gospel behind their back, make it their chief study to obey the flesh and the lusts thereof: let them be content to mind only earthly things. But be not ye like-minded : knowing that your inheritance and your hope is there, let your tempers, your conversation, and your lives savour of heaven. To this end, believe in the Lord Jesus. I here speak of faith as the animating principle of religion : for it is in vain that the understanding assents to doctrines if the heart be not affected by them, since our actions arise from the united operation of the affections and the understanding. If, therefore, we would do right, we must so believe as to act upon our belief.
Let it not be imagined by any person (for I would anxiously acquit myself of such a suspicion) that in enforcing the duties of the Christian religion I have ever intended so to inculcate them as supposing them to be the meritorious cause of salvation. In conformity with the plain exposition of Scripture, in obedience to that interpretation of Scripture which is laid down in the formularies of our Church, I would maintain that “ we are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings." I thankfully confess that Christ is the sole meritorious cause of man's salvation, and that faith is the instrument by which we apply his merits to ourselves. But I also believe that no faith can be instrumental in the application of those merits unaccompanied by obedience. The same lips in which was no guile, from which proceeded the gracious asa urance, “ He that believeth on nie shall never die," declared also, “ If thou
for if any
wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” And these doctrines, wnicn the Son of God hath joined, let no man presume to put asunder.
Let me, then, exhort you, while you disclaim all merit of your own, ana confess yourselves with real humility to be miserable sinners, agreeably to that declaration of the Apostle, “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he hath saved us,” still to show yourselves meet to receive the riches of God's goodness by living as the Gospel requires us to live—“ soberly, righteously, and godly" Be Christians, not only in name aod in profession, but in deed and in truth. Conform yourselves to the precepts, and imitate the example, of Christ. Be punctual in the duties you more especially owe to God. Approach him in prayer through the mediation of his Son. Exercise yourselves in the study of his revealed will. Reverence his ordinances : despise not his Sabbaths. Seek to obtain from the Spirit illumination to your minds, and a right judgment in all things. Pray to him to warm your hearts, to elevate your devotions, to help your infirmities, to further your endeavours. Let the love and the gratitude you owe to God your Redeemer, make you zealous for his honour, which is despised by the ungodly and profane. Let it incite you to the desire of uniting yourselves more closely to him by participating of the sacrament of his body and of his blood.
And, while you endeavour to fill your hearts with the love of God and your Redeemer, let this love be manifested towards your
fellow-creatures ; say, “ I love God," and hate his brother, that man is a liar. Follow, then, peace with all men : think no evil of, speak no evil of, do no evil to, your neighbour. Let not strife or malice, unkindness or severity, sully the temper, and throw a shade over the lives of those who have received the Gospel of peace: and while Christian charity influences your temper, let it shine forth also in deeds of mercy and compassion to those whose unhappy lot it is to struggle with poverty and distress.
While, however, you forget not to display all those kind offices towards your brethren, which either Christian charity or Christian courtesy may dictate, be careful likewise to exercise a strict control over your own hearts, lest their ungoverned lusts should lead you into all manner of sin and impurity. Let not lasciviousness, drunkenness, or any riotous excess, be allowed to defile those bodies which have been consecrated as temples of the Holy Ghost. And, my brethren, let not your attention to the duties you owe to God, your neighbour, and yourselves, be postponed. Let not any article of your conduct that you feel to be offensive to God, injurious to your brethren, or destructive of your own soul's purity, remain uncondemned or unrenounced. On this, most frequent and earnest exhortations are especially necessary. We all-those at least who habitually partake of Christian ordinances—are aware of the great importance of “ the one thing needful;" can all feel the force of the question, “ What is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?" But we are all too apt, under the absorbing influence of present and worldly objects, to defer acting as our sober conviction would require us to act. My brethen, let us not, by thus trifling where life and death are at stake, put our souls in jeopardy. We are continually reminded, by a variety of events, that here we have no abiding place. We believe that the world passeth away, and the .asts
thereof; and that the time is approaching when “ all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth ; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation."
My brethren, let these considerations excite us to “ look diligently, lest an, of us fail of the grace of God." The goodness of God calleth us continually ti. repentance: let us see that we refuse not him that calleth. God's Spirit will not always strive with us. If in obstinacy and indifference we reject his gracious invitations, death will at last overtake us; and we shall have to encounter the judgment of a God whose mercies we have exhausted, and whose wrath we have wilfully invoked. Now, therefore, my brethren, let us make haste to make our peace with God; for “ now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.'
I should now, perhaps, conclude: but ere I do so, I hope I may be permitted to say, that I feel thankful to God for having enabled me to discharge, as I trust, not unprofitably, the duties of the Christian ministry. "I hope the circunstances under which this discourse is delivered will be an excuse for what otherwise I should not have indulged in-personal reference to myself. To the many imperfections with which the discharge of my ministerial duties has been accompanied, I am not insensible: but I may venture to say, that I have not attempted wilfully to mislead, nor to impose any thing upon your consciences which Scripture authorizes not, nor to conceal any thing which it requires ; but have tried, in all godly sincerity, to set forth among you the doctrine of Christ crucified. And if, through such humble instrumentality, the seeds of Christian faith have been scattered amongst you, may He who alone can give the increase, cause them to bring forth fruit unto holiness, that so the end may
be everlasting life. Nor—although it would ill become the sanctity of this place to utter from it the language of worldly compliment—should I do justice to my own feelings, were I not to express the satisfaction I have felt from the manner in which my ministry has been received amongst you; were I not to acknowledge that I have uniformly experienced respect and kindness from all with whom I have been brought into contact. Whatever, brethren, may be my future lot, my connexion with this place will ever be amongst my most grateful recollections. That Almighty God may bless you with all temporal and spiritual blessings, is my earnest prayer. That you may not fail of those blessings, that you may enjoy the favour of God here and hereafter, and become partakers of the inheritance of the purchased possession; let me once more affectionately exhort you not to be content with the name of Christian, but to endeavour heartily to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let me exhort you, as you wish to secure to yourselves the peace and happiness of heaven, to follow peace with all men, and purify yourselves even as Christ the Lord is pure.
Finally, brethren-to cite the beautiful language of the Apostle“ Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think of these things."
“ And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among them that are sanctified.” And “ may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord: to whom be glory for ever and ever." Amen.