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declares sin to be so enormous and malignant an evil, that, rather than leave it unpunished, " God "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up "for us all." How can an enlightened believer look to the cross, without mourning for his sins, abhorring them as the murderers of Christ his Lord, and earnestly longing for the destruction of every evil propensity from his heart and nature?
Various other subjects might be mentioned, but they frequently call for our attention. The worth of an immortal soul, the ruined state of mankind, the vanity of worldly prosperity, and many similar instructions, emphatically conveyed to us by the gospel, are exactly suited to form the believer to a holy and heavenly temper and conversation.
The knowledge of our duty, and of the divine authority by which it is enjoined us, is not sufficient for practical purposes in the present state of human nature: our affections must also be influenced by such powerful motives, as may preponderate against all that can be cast into the opposite scale. But proximity gives earthly things an immense advantage. As objects appear large when near, but seem to diminish when removed to a distance: so present things are considered as important beyond all proportion; while things future, though immensely more valuable, are thought to be of little consequence, and scarcely possess any influence over the minds of men in general. But faith (like a telescope,) brings objects invisible to unbelievers near to the soul; and enables us to contemplate, as real and of infinite magnitude, those things which other men consider as doubtful, remote, and uninteresting: while the Holy
Spirit, producing in us a new and heavenly nature, makes us capable of perceiving the glory, and relishing the excellency, of spiritual blessings. Thus they obtain the ascendancy in our judgment and choice; we become spiritually minded, and savour the things which are of God; bonds which fastened our hearts to earthly objects are broken; the balance turns the other way; and we set our "affections on things above, not on things on the "earth."
"Fear not," says our Lord to his disciples, "Fear not them that kill the body, and after that "have no more that they can do: but fear him "who is able to destroy both soul and body in "hell."-When the gospel is really understood and believed, we "fear, lest a promise being left
us of entering into heavenly rest, any of us "should seem to come short of it;" and this apprehension prevails over our dread of labour, reproach, scorn, self-denial, or persecution: yea, the fear of divine chastening, of grieving the Spirit, of a wounded conscience, or of dishonouring the doctrine of Christ, is a powerful motive to watchfulness and prayer. The desires of everlasting felicity in the favour of God, and of the present consolations found in communion with him, subordinate our hungerings and thirstings after earthly objects." A kingdom that cannot be moved;" "glory, honour, and immortality;" "treasures in "heaven that fail not ;" and " pleasures at God's "right hand for evermore;" are blessings commensurate with our largest wishes and capacities, and durable as our immortal souls: and the lively hope of this incorruptible inheritance, grounded
on the sure word of God, and sealed by his sanctifying Spirit, is capable of triumphing over all our expectations of temporal advantages, distinctions, and gratifications; and of animating the soul to "patient continuance in well-doing." Love to our God and Saviour, likewise, unites its powerful influences and, while we cleave to him with fervent desires, rejoice in him with admiring gratitude, and are fervently zealous for the honour of his name, we shall feel constrained by this supreme affection" to live no longer to ourselves, but to "him who died for us and rose again." Thus we shall be prepared to venture, suffer, and labour, in seeking to glorify his name and recommend his precious salvation.
The encouragements of the gospel also are very efficacious. The sinner who attempts to amend his life, according to the word of God, is very liable to grow weary in his attempts. The law seems to say to him, " Pay me that thou owest; and he appears to himself further and further removed from the righteousness which he went about to establish, and from that victory over his passions which he expected speedily to accomplish. On the other hand, if he make the principles of morality, or some mitigated law, his standard, he is at a loss to determine how much obedience will entitle him to acceptance; and uncertainty tends to discouragement. For the diligent and conscientious are in this case always harassed with doubts; and none but the heedless and self-confident think themselves good enough to be the objects of the divine favour.
But Christ invites all that are athirst to come
to him, and " he will give them of the fountain "of the water of life freely;" and assures the trembling sinner, that " he will in no wise cast "out any one that comes to him." It runs in this gracious tenour, "Ask, and it shall be given you; "seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be "opened unto you: for every one that asketh re"ceiveth." As therefore every blessing is freely given, for Christ's sake, to the poor supplicant, however unworthy; nothing but pride, unbelief, contempt of heavenly things, aversion to God and religion, or idolatrous love of the world, can exclude any sinner from this "great salvation." Every part of the plan is free from ambiguity: our wants are distinctly stated; promises are given exactly answering to them; means are appointed, in which we may apply for the performance of these promises; and God pledges the honour of his faithfulness, that every one, who seeks the blessing in the appointed way, shall certainly obtain it. Delays and difficulties may intervene to prove our sincerity; but sooner shall heaven and earth pass away than any word of God shall fail of its accomplishment.
The assistance likewise, proposed by the gospel, tends to produce a peculiar conduct and conversation in the true believer. Evil habits, corrupt propensities, bad connexions, and strong temptations are not easily broken off and mastered; and our resolution is found by experience to be unequal to the conflict: but the promised assistance of the Holy Spirit enables the Christian to surmount every obstacle, and to resist and overcome all his
enemies. He feels that he can do nothing of himself; but he finds "that he can do all things "through Christ who strengtheneth him."-Thus by "waiting on the Lord he renews his strength," and rises superior to those difficulties which all other men find in the event to be insurmountable.
The assurances made of an abundant present and future recompense, to those who renounce temporal things for the sake of Christ and the gospel; the supports afforded in seasons of trial and affliction; the authoritative and perfect example set before us; the obligations conferred upon us; and the glorious prospects that open to our view; are all of them exceedingly influential on the believer's spirit and conduct.-But we must proceed,
III. To mention some leading particulars in which "a conversation becoming the gospel of "Christ," more especially consists.
Every doctrine of the gospel requires, and is suited to produce, humility in all its variety of exercises. The whole seems arranged on purpose to lay us low in self-abasement, to exclude all boasting and glorying in ourselves, to produce deep repentance, to render us poor in spirit and contrite in heart, and to form our dispositions teachable, lowly, unambitious, and unassuming. When therefore we speak and act in this manner, our conversation is consistent with our principles, and "becomes" our profession: but self-confidence, self-importance, vain-glorious vaunting, desire of praise or pre-eminence, and an unteachable, dogmatizing, or overbearing deportment,