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If we cultivate the religion of Christ in our own hearts, we shall enjoy the peace and hope which spring from it here, and be entitled to the happiness, which is the reward of it hereafter. If we promote this religion among others, we shall experience the fatistaction of dwelling in the midst of just and good men-kind and friendly neighbours. If we train up our children in the knowl, edge and practice of this religion, we shall have the joy of seeing them wise, virtuous and useful on earth, and the superior joy of believing, that they are entitled to a rich inheritance in heaven.

Every thing which we do for our Lord, will return to us bringing a reward with it.

When we give to Christ what he has need of, we are sure it is well bestowed. Our charities to men are sometimes misapplied. But our services for Christ are not only well accepted by his good. ness, but well directed by his wisdom. He will {mile on our labours in his cause, and make them, in some way or other, fubfervient to his glory and our felicity. “Be ye therefore stedfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; for as much as ye know, that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that of the Lord ye fall receive the reward of the inheritance ; for ye serve the Lord Christ.” This we ought to regard as a sufficient motive to cheerful diligence in the work appointed us, that we serve the Lord Chrif. “With good will do service as to the Lord, knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same Thall he receive of the Lord, for with him there is no respect of persons. His word is sure, his promise faithful, his reward glorious. None who ferve him, will labour in vain.


The Gate of Heaven strait, and many shut out of it.

LUKE xiii. 24.

Strive to enter in at the frait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to en

ter in, and shall not be able.

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our Lord passed through several cities and villages of Judea, on his journey to Jerusalem, teaching by the way, there attended him a considerable number of people, who, some for one reason, and some for another, gathered around him to hear his discourses. Somewhere in his journey, a person came to him with this question, “ Lord, are there few that be saved ?" From the question and our Lord's answer it seems, that the man was a Jew, tinctured with the common na. tional prejudice, that the Jews, by their covenantrelation to God, were entitled to salvation ;

but the gentiles, being strangers to the covenant and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, would be rejected. Often, no doubt, had he heard this doctrine asserted among his countrymen ; and he wished to know Christ's opinion upon it. As the question related to the prevailing sentiment of the day, Christ directed his answer to the body of the people who attended him. He firft rebuked this

useless curiosity concerning the number of the saved, and called their attention to a matter, which was to them of more immediate consequence. “ Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” “Whether few or many will finally obtain falvation, take care to secure your own share in it; for this will not depend upon the number of the saved, but upon your own fervent and seasonable application.”

Chirst here alludes to a custom then observed in attending feasts and marriages. The guests were early invited, and the door of the house was kept open, or opened occasionally, for their reception; but when the bridegroom arrived with his attendants, or the master of the feast had waited the

appointed time, the door was shut, and after this no more were admitted. Alluding to this usage, Chrift, in the parable of the virgins, says, “While the foolish virgins went to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then they who were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. Afterward came those foolish virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; but he answered, I know you

In the words which follow our text, Christ cor. rects that prejudice of the Jews, which

gave rise to the question proposed to him. He tells his hearers, that external privileges would intitle no man to salvation ; that though the Jews enjoyed peculiar religious advantages, many of them would be exclụded from the kingdom of heaven as workers of iniquity, while the gentiles, whom they despised, would come from all parts of the world, and be made the happy subjects of this kingdom. Though our Lord waves an answer to the question, as it respected the whole number of the saved, yet he answered it, as it concerned the Jews, warning them that their general impenitence would be


their destruction, while the faith of multitudes a mong the gentiles would be their salvation.

When a question of mere curiosity was started in our Lord's hearing, it was his usual practice, to give it a religious turn, and raise from it some profitable refle&ions. This he did in the case before us. Taking occasion from the question proposed to him, whether few would be saved


be exhorted his hearers to strive for their own falva. tion; he fhewed that many would fail of this object : he pointed out the causes.of their fail. ure: he explained the necessary qualifications for heaver. ; and he represented the awful condition of those who should finally be fhut out of it.

The discourse of our faviour on this folemn subject, which is contained in our text and the words following, I shall endeavour to illustrate and apply. It deserves the attention of all ; for it is as impor. tant now, as when it was first spoken, and as interesting to us, as it was to those who heard it from the redeemer's mouth. You will observe

i First : The entrance into heaven is by a frait gate. So our Lord describes it in our text, and also in the VIIth chapter of Matthew, “Strait is the

gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life.”

This metaphor is designed to express the diffi. culties which attend a religious course, and the opposition which may be expected in the way to heaven. It may more immediately regard the peculiar difficulties of the time when the gospel was first published. It was then eminently true, that through much tribulation the righteous entered into the kingdom of God; and they who would live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer perfe. cution. The way to heaven was then rough and

dangerous; and they who pursued it, put their réputation, interest and life to hazard. Hence many were deterred from entering upon it; and many who had entered upon it, were discouraged and turned back,

Through the goodnefs of God, the path of religion is now free from those dangers, which have at some times attended it ; but still ftrait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leads to life. There are, and there ever will be difficulties to ens counter, and obstructions to refift ; and therefore our Lord's direction is, at all times, important ; “ Strive to enter in at the strait gate.”

1. The terms of eternal life are strict and indic. pensable. In this respect the gate of heaven is called strait.

Such is the corrupt and depraved state of mankind by nature, that nothing less than a new creation, is required to fit them for the pure and fublime enjoyments of the heavenly world. So opposite is the holiness of heaven to the corruption of nature, that this new creation, this renovation of the mind, cannot be difpenfed with. Old things must pass away, and all things must become new, The whole spirit, foul and body must be fanctified. There muft be a full persuasion of the truth and authority of the gospel, an influential belief of its important doctrines, and a hearty fubmiffion to its facred precepts; there must be a deep senso of, and godly forrow for sin, and a humble application to, and reliance upon the mercy of God for pardon ; there must be a temper to hate fin in all its forms, and to love God in his complete character; there must be an actual renouncing of all known wickedness, and a deliberate choice of the fervice of God as the great business of life. And in this course of obedience, the great motives of

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