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envies, and evil-speakings; and as new-born babes to desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

III. Which brings me to consider the reason for so doing, or the only ground on which it can be done, contained in these words, “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”. O! that if! it is a little word, but has a great weight hanging upon it. “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious ” — if you have any sense or

understanding of the grace of Christ, of the great deliverance which has been wrought for you, and of the happy change in your condition, any real belief of it, any value for it, any desire to keep it, you must, you will consider and lay to heart what return is required of you for so inestimable a benefit. You will think it the strongest of all arguments for doing what you are here called upon to do. You will endeavour, as much as possible, “to lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and evil-speakings.” You will avoid and renounce them, as the bane of your hopes, and utterly inconsistent with your new state. You will now give yourselves up to God, to be renewed to his image in righteousness and true holiness; and you will. also, “as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.?. You will receive it as the proper food of your new life, with many thanksgivings to God, for giving and appointing it for that purpose, and working with you in the use of it; and you will no more expect that your souls should thrive and be in health without it, than that your bodies should without suitable nourishment. But what is it to taste that the Lord is gracious ? Certainly it can mean nothing less than a real, unfeigned, heartfelt sense of his grace and goodness, in delivering us from the misery of our condition in sin by dying for us, and recovering us to a state of favour with God, as well-beloved

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children, and to the promise of an eternal inheritance in heaven, together with a belief and persuasion of our own interest in all he has done and suffered for us ;'we having come in upon his call, taken our vow in baptism upon ourselves, given up our names to Christ, and trusting only in his meritorious blood-shedding and all-sufficient righteousness, for the pardon of our sins and eternal justification. And this, in all who are sincere with God, and believe to the saving of the soul, is accompanied with a farther taste and experience of the Lord as gracious to them, in bringing their wills over to his obedience, and inclining them very highly to esteem that. other part of God's covenant in him, and receive it as another precious gift from him, that he will “put his laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." Read the whole of it in Heb. viii. And if your hearts can bear witness to the grace and truth of it, and you find in yourselves a desire and will to live to God according to it, you may be sure that he has been working in you, to raise you out of your dead state, and that you are of the number of those, who “ have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” On the other hand, it is evident at once, that those who never were convinced of sin, the accursed nature of it, and their own danger in it, can have no such taste. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is nothing to them; they value it not, they believe it not, whatever they pretend ; they are yet in their sins, without God and without Christ; they are not the persons here spoken to. They know they do not desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby. And as to

laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings,” they could as soon make a world. For without faith there can be no obedience, or at the best only an outward show of it; but ņo working with the Spirit in the heart, no sincerity with

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God, no will to choose him for our portion, no settled purpose of living to his service, nor prayer to be “ filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God;" Phil. i. 11. But if you so believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as to come unto God by him, to look for the pardon of your sins through him, to venture all your hopes upon him, and sincerely purpose to walk with him as all his disciples do, in the way of his holy commandments, whether your faith be weak or strong, in a higher or lower degree, you can say you have « tasted that the Lord is gracious :" a great work

" has been wrought in you, and the Spirit has opened your hearts to attend to the things which have been spoken” to you in the name of the Lord, for your present comfort and everlasting salvation. You are upon the one right ground -- the Gospel foundation of a pure obedience in love and freedom of spirit; and can perceive a marvellous force of reasoning, a sweet attractive and powerful call to sincerity with God in the inner man in these words, “ If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." If your faith is weak, yet do not deny what God has done for you. Let not any man, let not your own fears, prevail with you to question the reality of it; but be thankful for it, as you well may, put it in exercise, and pray to the Lord to increase it. The man who said, “Lord, help mine unbelief,” could say at the same time, that he did believe, was treated by Christ as a believer, and bad his request. Mark, ix. 24. You want more joy, more assurance of faith; your desire is good; and that very desire is a stronger proof of the truth of your faith, than you are willing to think it. And if you would but make use of it, and proceed to build upon it, and encourage yourself in the Lord, and patiently wait his time for greater manifestations of his peace, the hope you have will assuredly support and carry you on in the work you

have to do. Whereas, by always doubting of your faith, and concluding against yourself that God has given you nothing, because he has given more to others, you will be heartless in his service, think your time for working with him is not yet come, and sadly hinder your progress. St. John has an engaging comfortable word for those whom he calls little children, and says, "he writes to them because their sins are forgiven them for his name's sake, and because they have known the Father," in his grace and love, and as a reconciled Father in Christ; 1 John, ii. 12, 13. Call upon your hearts to answer and say, “ Abba Father," as you believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God, and in him are received to the adoption of sons; to the end you may keep yourselves in the love of God, and show whose children you are, “ by laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings, and as new-born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” If you are strong in faith, and find yourselves refreshed with abundance of peace, prove it to yourselves, prove it to all about you, by its fruits. You know the glory of it belongs to God, and that he expects you should " show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light, by being the salt of the earth, and shining ás lights in the world ;” 1 Pet. ii. 9. Matt. v. 13, 14. As you have tasted the sweetness of Christ, you will long for more of it ; and desire nothing so much as to be confirmed in his love, and show your love to him in the way he so earnestly and affectionately requires it of you, by keeping his commandments. You will have a tender regard for the weak of the flock, and not despise the day of small things in any. You will be humble, you will be vigilant, you will be circumspect, and very much concerned for the honour of your Master. You will endeavour, as much as possible, not to disgrace your holy profession in any one instance of outward behaviour; “ if you have” indeed“ tasted that the Lord is gracious," you will follow St. Peter into the depth of your hearts, to strike at the root of all inward corruption; you will meet the Spirit there for a true work of grace, and for ability to make the tree good, that the fruit may be good also. And especially that word by which you have been taught to know your fall and restoration, the mercy and truth, the justice and love of your God, to call upon him

, in the name of Jesus, and give yourselves up to the guidance of the eternal Spirit; which is God's covenant of peace to you, brought down from heaven, confirmed by his oath, sealed with the blood of Christ, and written in your hearts by the Holy Ghost; that word, I say, which is the record of all your mercies and all your hopes, you will value as your birthright, and greatest earthly treasure, and above all things desire the sincere milk of it, “ that ye may grow thereby in the knowledge of the Son of God, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness in Christ;" Eph. iv. 13. The Lord grant it may be sealed to you in all the riches of its grace, that you may abound in thanksgivings to God for it, and say

in your day, of the fulness of Gospel light, what the psalmist said in the spirit of prophecy, “ Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise his holy name. "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thy sin, and healeth all thine infirmities.” Ps. ciii. 1-3.

" I would now gladly bespeak the attention of all to the doctrine and exhortation of the text. My brethren, the Lord is very gracious. He left the glory he was pos: sessed of at God's right hand, and came into this world to be the most despised suffering man that ever lived in it; that he might redeem us from our sin, misery, and death,

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