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you? The Lord himself has spoken, and he will do it.

7. Our Saviour adds, " Ye fhall fee Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God; and you yourselves thruft out. And they fhall come from the east and from the weft, and from the north and from the fouth, and shall fit down in the kingdom of God." The rich man, in the place of torments, "faw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bofom." The wicked in a state of punishment will have a distant, but mortifying view of the righteous in the regions of blifs. Through the gloomy fhades of the infernal world, they will behold the fons of virtue gathering from all quarters under heaven, and taking their feats, with fongs of triumph and joy, in the realms of eternal glory. There they will fee not only the patriarchs, prophets, apoftles, martyrs and other distinguished faints; but many of their contemporaries and acquaintances-many whom perhaps they defpifed as their inferiors, or reprobated as outcafts here on earth-and multitudes from unexpected parts of the world, who never enjoyed the advantages indulged to them.

If it thould be your awful doom to be fent into this place of punishment, what pungent and tormenting reflections will arife from the distant fight of that glorious world with all its bleffed inhabitants. There There you will fee fome, who were your dear companions on earth, now for ever feparated from you, no more to mingle in your company-fome who fet out with you in the religious life, but who preffed forward with ardour, when you turned back to the ways of fin, which have led you down to deftruction-fome who urged and encouraged you to perfevere and hold out, but whofe counfels you defpifed and rejected

fome whom you endeavored to corrupt from truth and virtue, and feduce into error and vice; but who, by the grace of God, delivered themfelves from your fnares-fome, who never enjoy. ed your privileges, but made a far better ufe of those which they had-fome whom you regarded with contempt for their small abilities or obfcure condition; but who now are far above you mingling with angels and fhining in glory-fome whom you rediculed for imputed fuperftition, precifeness and hypocrify, but who receive from God the reward of their ftri& unyielding virtue, and humble unaffected piety. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, when you fhall behold them in the kingdom of heaven, while you, who had equal, or fuperior profpects, means and opportunities, are thruft down to the regions of darkness. But, beloved, let me hope better things of you, and things which accompany falvation, though I thus fpeak.

8. Our Lord clofes this folemn fcene with an obfervation, which he often made. "Behold there are last, which fhall be firft; and there are • first which shall be laft." Many who enjoy the greatest privileges, and feem to ftand faireft for heaven, will be excluded; while others, who ap peared to be under peculiar disadvantages, and were thought far from the kingdom of God, will be admitted into it. God's thoughts and ways are not as ours.` Christ here has a primary reference to the Jews and gentiles. The former were God's people, and to them the gospel was firft fent; but they rejected it, and with it the falvation which it brought: but the gentiles, to whom the gospel was preached after the Jews had reject. ed it, embraced it, when they heard it, and entered into the kingdom of God.

The observation has a ftill farther intendment. Many, who stand high in the charity of men, wilk be caft out of God's prefence, as vile and abominable; while others, whose characters seem doubtful, or who are condemned by a cenforious world, will be found to glory, honour and praise at the coming of Chrift. Some boafting, felf-confident profeffors will be driven away as odious hypo-crites; while diffident, doubting, trembling fouls, will be received as pure and upright before God. Some who have been favored with good inftructions, virtuous examples, and every advantage of a religious education, will be excluded from heaven; while others, furrounded with difficulties, opposed by temptations, and almost unaided by human means, will fo ftrive as to prefs in at the ftrait gate. Some, who fuftained a fober character, and regularly attended on the ordinances of God's house, will be found but formalifts and hypocrites; while others, whofe visible character was for a time far more exceptionable, will by the renewing and fanctifying grace of God be brought to glory.

Truft not then in the opinion which men may form of you, or the applause which they may beftow upon you truft not in your external advantages, your good education, or your regular and orderly manner of life. See that the love of religion poffefs your hearts, and the fear of God govern your actions. Paul fays, "To me it is a fmall thing, that I fhould be judged of man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own felf; for he that judgeth me is the Lord, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifeft the counfels of the heart."

It is an awful thought that any, who have enjoyed your advantages and opportunities, and

who, in addition to thefe, have experienced the inward awakenings and excitations of the divine fpirit, as has been the cafe with fome of you perhaps with many, fhould, after all, be fhut out of heaven. Some fuch unhappy inftances, doubtlefs, there will be. Take heed that you add not to the number.

How you shall enter in at the ftrait gate, the Saviour himself has taught you. His command is, "Strive to enter in." This ftriving, you have feen, is fomething more, than. afking for admif Gon; for fome who thus feek to enter, will not be able. It is fomething more, than hearing Christ teach, and eating and drinking in his prefence; for fome who can plead this, will be fhut out. What is it then? It is renouncing all iniquity with godly forrow, devoting yourselves unreferv. edly to a holy life, and pursuing this life faithfully to the death. The workers of iniquity muft depart from Chrift. They who do the will of God, will be received into the heavenly kingdom.

Some, when they hear that they must strive, entertain, too limited an idea of the matter, as if ftriving confifted in fervour of prayer, and extraordinary attention to certain devotional exercises. If these were all, why were the perfons mentioned in our text repulfed? Prayer and attendance on ordinances are but a part of the business. They are means, and useful means when applied in feafon, and with a view to the end. But to complete the idea of ftriving, there must be a steady perfevering engagedness in the whole work of religion, without exception against any part of it. The word rendered, Strive, is borrowed from the publick games then in ufe. It alludes to the exertions with which combatants in a race or conflict, ftrove for the maftery. How did racers VOL. V.


ftrive for the prize proposed to them? Was it merely by earneft intreaties to the mafter of the games, that he would adjudge the prize to them? No it was by entering the lifts with resolution, throwing off every weight that might impede their running the race with activity and conftancy, and pursuing it to the end. "Know ye not, that they who run in a race, run all; but one" only "receiveth the prize?" In the Chriftian race, there is a prize for all who will run: “So run that ye may obtain." "Every man that ftriveth for the maftery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but you an incorruptible. Run not as uncertainly; ftrive not as one that beateth the air. But keep under your bodies and bring them into fubjection, left, after all your hopes and profpects, you fhould be caftaways."

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