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then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."
Lastly. How can you determine your actual interest in this redemption, unless you have dedicated yourselves unto God? Who are the persons our Saviour will render eternally happy by his death? Not the righteous, but sinners. This is true. But what sinners? Those that remain in their unbelief and impenitence?-Can the profligate; can the sensual; can they who mind earthly things, however orthodox; can such men say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth; and that in my flesh I shall see God?-They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. He is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him." He groaned, and bled, and died: but this does not, cannot render it less true, that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."-"This," says John, "is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." What is the experience of a man who can claim all the benefits of the cross, and who will never be confounded? "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
or as taking an improper method to produce it? He values his system because of its prac tical bearing; because of its sanctifying influence; and affirms constantly, that they which have believed in God, be careful to maintain good works. He abhors the imputation of doing evil that good may come; or of sinning that grace may abound. But he does not rear a superstructure without a foundation; neither does he lay his foundation in the sand. He does not expect spiritual motion without spiritual life. He does not look for good fruit from a bad tree. His concern is, that the spring may be healed, and then he knows the streams will be wholesome.
Oh! Christians, let it appear from your practice, as well as from your argument, that the doctrine we preach is according to godliness. Let your lives furnish us with our best defence. "Be our epistles known and read of all men." The eyes of many are upon you, not that they may find reason to remove their unhappy prejudices against the Gospel, but to confirm them; and though we quote Scripture, they will appeal to you; and perhaps all the notions they form of evangelical religion will be taken from the representations you give, and the impressions you make. May these representations be accurate! May these impressions be just! May you "put to silence the ignorance of foolish men," and "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." I,-"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
Thus if we consider the claims of justice and of gratitude; if we would meet the design of God in the dispensation, or know that we have eternal life abiding in us as the consequence of it; the inference strongly results -"ye are not your own, but bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God's."
If I had been addressing persons, who, like the Athenians, can only be charmed in hearing some new thing, I should not have chosen the subject on which I have been speaking. It pretends to no novelty: but it possesses importance; and to those who are in a proper state of mind, it will always prove interesting. It clearly shows us that the doctrines of Christianity are derived from its facts; and that its duties arise from its doctrines. These doctrines therefore are not, as some would suppose, mere opinions, or speculations, but are necessarily connected with experience and practice. The Christian's consolations and motives are supplied and maintained by his principles. Is it not therefore astonishing, that the preacher who inculcates these principles is to be considered an enemy to holiness,
As for those who are living without God in the world, and who feel no concern to glorify him, let them remember that God will be glorified even in them-though not willingly, yet by compulsion; though not intentionally, yet by his overruling providence; though not in their salvation, yet in their destruction. His power, his truth, his holiness, and his justice will be displayed in their misery. The grace that should have been the savour of life unto life, will become the savour of death unto death. It cannot be otherwise. They are exposed to a twofold condemnation; one from the law which they have transgressed, and another from the Gospel which they have neglected. And how can they escape? "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"
LIFE ENJOYED AND IMPROVED.
"I LEAD," says Wisdom, not only--" in the way of righteousness," but "in the midst of the paths of judgment:" that is between the extreme on each side of the road, and into which we are so liable to run. Indeed, moral duty always lies in the middle of two opposites. Patience is equally remote from stupidity and excessive sensibility: it is alike destroyed by feeling too little or too much. True courage is ashamed of rashness as well as of fear. Real economy shuns parsimony and meanness, as well as profusion and waste.
is bribed to acquiesce in the hardness of their
Let us see whether life will not yield
I. TO REJOICE IN THEM. II. TO DO GOOD
I. Let me call upon you TO REJOICE IN
Let us apply this to the subject before us. It is desirable and necessary to form a proper estimate of our present condition; so that we may use this world as not abusing it. We are prone to value it too highly; to acquire too keen an appetite for its pleasures; to lay too great a stress upon its riches; and to rest
The first regards justice. See that what
signed for our passage. Yet it is possible
in that, as our home, which was only de-scious, at the time, you are unable to pay for? Yet there are those, who are determined, that, whoever may suffer, they will enjoy themselves; who have not only every thing comfortable, but often luxuriant, in food, in apparel, in furniture: while their tradesmen's bills give them not a moment's uneasiness; or the prospect of failure, the least sentiment of disgrace. It was well said by Lord Mansfield, that "for one cruel creditor, there were a hundred cruel debtors." Upon this head our laws are far too lenient for the sup port of the public welfare. But what can we think of professors of religion who can gratify themselves at the expense of others, and involve themselves in debt, rather than exercise the least self-denial! There may be honesty without religion; but it is a strange kind of religion that can subsist without honesty. A real Christian should blush, not to be seen in a threadbare, mended garment, that is his own; but in a goodly and splendid one, that belongs to his tradesman! Poverty is not disgraceful; but sin is. Jesus and his Apostles were poor; but they were not unjust: otherwise, He might have had where to lay his head, and they would not have complained of nakedness and hunger.
There are some whose liberality trenches on their allowed enjoyment. The case, indeed, is not very common; and there is something noble in the principle, when it does arise from principle, for it may arise from vainglory, when a man denies himself for the sake of usefulness. Yet it should be remembered, that God "giveth us richly all things to enjoy;" that, as Christians, we are not to suffer our good to be evil spoken of;" that, if we refuse ourselves such accommodations and comforts as our station in life permits, we shall appear sordid and avaricious to those who, while they witness our savings, are not acquainted with the use we make of them; and, that what is expended upon ourselves, in the hire of servants, the employment of workmen, and the purchase of articles in trade, is one of the ways in which we can "serve our generation." This, however, though a mistake, is an error on the right hand: the greatest danger lies on the left; and arises from the self-indulgence that trenches upon the claims of charity. For there are persons who give way to so much needless gratification, as to have no ability with which to answer the calls of misery: they are wrapped up in selfishness, looking every man on his own things, and not on the
The second regards moderation. You can never suppose that God requires, or even allows intemperance. Reason does not allow it; health does not allow it; enjoyment does not allow it: for it is verified by experience, that the moderate use of all earthly good, is productive of the greatest degree of pleasure.
things of others; while their conscience" Let your moderation, therefore, be known gives them no alarm, and their very religion unto all men;" and, while alive to the beau
ties of nature and the bounties of Providence, | favours; that one trifling event not according beware of losing the heart of a stranger. to your mind, but upon which your real welThe danger lies on the side of gratification. fare has no dependence, should deprive every Therefore, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter thing else of all power to interest you! Did into temptation." Never be so absorbed in you never think Haman a fool? "He called any present indulgence, as to be careless of for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And the voice that will summon you to "arise Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and depart hence, for this is not your rest, and the multitude of his children, and all the because it is polluted." things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to-morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate." It is to no purpose to exempt some even from real evils; they will be sure to conjure up imaginary ones. It matters not what is done for them; they are incapable of being pleased. It matters not where they are placed; it is impossible to make them happy. How must it shock an angel, to see a man, notwithstanding his unworthiness, surrounded with every wish, every comfort, and yet made up of fretfulness and complaint, a torment to others, and a burden to himself! He is far worse than his brethren in the field: "Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?"
After having cautioned you, allow me to admonish.
And First. If you would rejoice in the good things which God gives you under the sun,
Cherish a grateful sensibility. Some receive all their mercies like the beasts that perish. The animal only is gratified in them. There is nothing to refine the grossness of appetite, or to increase the relish of possession, derived from the mind and the heart. How much in passing through life, does he lose who regards all its blessings as the effects of chance, and is not led by them to an intelligent Author, and an indulgent Benefactor! He has the secret of adding a hundred-fold to his enjoyment who connects all his advantages with the agency of his God, and feels his obligations to his bounty. He has the highest relish of every thing who, instead of "sacrificing to his own net and burning incense to his own drag," realizes the sentiment of Solomon, "The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Gratitude is a lively and cheerful feeling, even where it regards a creature only; how much more when it respects the God of love! The man who lives a stranger to it can never rejoice in his mercies, and is comparatively a wretch in all his abundance.
Secondly. Guard against habitual discontent. To possess is not to enjoy. Many possess much and enjoy nothing. We cannot judge of a man by outward appearances. His grounds may bring forth plentifully. He may fare sumptuously every day; he may have servants to anticipate all his wants; he may have more than heart can wish; and yet if we could look within, we should see his soul a prey to dissatisfaction. An ability to relish our mercies is considered by Solomon as the gift of God: "Also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God." But this gift of God comes to us like other gifts, in the use of means, and is increased by them. You should, therefore, sanctify reason and ex-riod that flatters him, and if he does, he may ercise thought. You should compare your be incapable of relishing what he has laid up, circumstances with the state, not of those owing to bodily infirmities and disease, the above you, but of those below. As soon as removal of relatives and friends, and the force you are placed in a condition, you should shut of habits deprived of their proper objects. your eyes and ears against all its disadvantages, and dwell only on the good and improvable. You should often inquire, what it is that keeps you from taking comfort in your portion; and be ashamed to think, that one trial should make you insensible to a thousand
Thirdly. Shun avaricious and distrustful anxiety. This will produce excessive exertion, and make you forget that "the life is more than meat, and the body than raiment." Diligence is a duty, and employment is a privilege. But this cannot be said of drudgery or bondage; these are incompatible with comfort. And why is the man a slave and a drudge? Has he not often prayed "Give us day by day our daily bread?" Has not God promised that he shall eat the labour of his hand? Yes-but he must make haste to be rich; he must gain, not a substance, but a fortune; he must, not continue in his calling with God, but, retire from it, to live in a state of independence and inaction: hence, he has not a moment that he can call his own; hence he denies not only recreation, but rest, to body and mind; hence he is afraid of every present expense and gratification; and loses the best part of life, in providing for the worst! He may never reach the pe
Fourthly. Entertain no harsh and superstitous views of Religion. "Touch not, taste not, handle not: which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
But where has God prescribed bodily flagellations? Where does He require us to withdraw from society? to turn mendicants? to live in deserts and caves? to go barefooted? and sleep on the cold ground? Is God pleased only as we are tormented? does He surround us with enjoyments only that we may not taste of them? To enjoy is to obey, because it corresponds with the obvious will of God. What says Paul of those who "forbid to marry, and command to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thankfulness, of them which believe and know the truth? They preach the doctrine of devils." And what says the wise man in this book? "Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun."
is not safety. And the thought cannot be
Having called upon you to rejoice, let me exhort you also, with the royal preacher,
II. TO DO GOOD. "I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life." Here let us inquire, What is the good these things will enable us to do? How we are to perform it? and, Why we should be concerned to accomplish it?
What good can these things enable us to do?-It is of three kinds.
Some Protestants have had a tinge of Popery, and have enjoined themselves austerities which God has never required. Their motive, perhaps, in some cases, has been good; and they adopted these mortifications, not to recommend them to God, so much as to promote their sanctification. But God knows our frame. His own means are the best; and we ought not to distinguish ourselves by morals and self-denial of unscriptu-is conferred upon property, that by means of ral devisings; but, remembering that we it you can be instrumental in the salvation of serve a good master, gratefully use what his sinners, in the diffusion of the Scriptures, in providence supplies. "For every creature the preaching of the Gospel, and the extaof God is good, and nothing to be refused, if blishment of the Redeemer's empire! But so it be received with thanksgiving: for it is it is; and every thing, under God, depends sanctified by the word of God and prayer." upon the pecuniary resources of his agents. What, at this hour, hinders, or limits, a thousand exertions in the cause of truth and of righteousness-but the want of "silver and gold," to replenish the funds of wisdom and zeal? "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest:" by which we mean, not ministers only, but men of independence, who will say, Lord, I am thine, and all that I have: men of trade and commerce, who will gain, not to squander away in extravagance, or hoard up in the miser's bag; but to honour the Lord with their substance, and to realize
Lastly. Seek after a knowledge of your reconciliation with God. It is your mercy that you know how this is to be obtained. Jesus is the only Mediator, and he made peace by the blood of his cross. He "once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God." Through him, "God, now waits to be gracious, and is exalted to have mercy upon you." You are allowed, you are invited, you are commanded to "seek him, while he may be found, and to call upon him, while he is near." And can you be happy without any well-grounded hope of your pardon and acceptance with the prediction concerning the deliverance God? Could a man enjoy a feast if a sword and conversion of Tyre: "And her merchanwas suspended over his head by a hair?-dise and her hire shall be holiness to the Could he be charmed with the finest music Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; if he knew he was hanging over a bottomless for her merchandise shall be for them that pit by a rotten thread? Can you enjoy life dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and while you know-that death is certain-that for durable clothing." it cannot be far off-that it may be very near -that after death is the judgment—and after the judgment the sentence, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared pose—who plead that because a man is born for the devil and his angels?" You may, in- to poverty he is born to ignorance, and will deed, banish the thought; but forgetfulness | fill his place the better the less he knows; no
They enable us to do religious good. This is the chief. No charity equals that which regards the souls of men; and what an honour
They enable us also to do intellectual good. This takes in education: and whatever the advocates for mental darkness sup
property can be better expended than that which is laid out in the instruction of the young. A little education gives a poor child the use of his understanding. It opens to him a thousand sources of pleasure, to alleviate his condition. It prepares him to support himself, and to be useful to others. While it is friendly to religion, by teaching him the nature and grounds of his duty, and enabling him to read the word of truth.
They enable us to do corporeal good: by which we mean, that which immediately regards the body, though the mind will also derive comfort from it. Here we can never be at a loss. We are surrounded with the defenceless, the hungry, the naked, and the sick. We live in a world full of misery, and whatever be our situation, it is impossible to elude cases of distress. But are we to elude them? Are we to hide ourselves from our own flesh? Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Secondly. In what manner are we to do it? We are to do good
Immediately, and with diligence. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee." He may be dead before to-morrow, or you may be dead; and thus the action will be lost for ever. For the saints on earth have one privilege above the saints in heaven; it is the opportunity of doing good; but this opportunity, we should always remember, is as short and precarious as it is precious: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." We are to do good
Extensively, and with impartiality. Some cases indeed will have stronger claims than others, and the most generous ability cannot reach every case. But it is only preference not exclusion, it is only want of means not indisposition, that must limit our exertions. We are not to be restrained by relationship, or country, or religion, or even personal injury-yea, says our Saviour, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." We are to do good
Perseveringly, and without declension. We must reckon upon encountering much, very much, that will try us. We shall often meet with very unworthy returns. We shall frequently seem to labour in vain. The
harvest will very slowly follow the seed-time. Zeal, without patience, will do nothing. "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due time we shall reap, if we faint not."-Let us inquire,
Thirdly. Why we should be concerned to accomplish it.
Why? Because the bounties of Providence were conferred upon us for this very purpose. The Donor looked beyond ourselves in communicating them. He designed them to be not only indulgences, but talents; he constituted us not so much the proprietors as the stewards; “and it is required in a steward, that a man be found faithful."
Why? Because God hath commanded it. He is our sovereign master; and if we are servants rightly disposed, we have often asked, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And has he left us ignorant of his will? Did you never read, "as we have opportunity let us do good unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith?" Can any reason be assigned why he is to be obeyed, when he commands us to believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and when he enjoins us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together-and despised, when he issues the charge, "Charge them that are rich in this world that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate?"
Why? Gratitude requires it. How much has God done for us, notwithstanding all our unworthiness and guilt! What an instance of unparalleled goodness does the Apostle of love mention with rapture; and how natural, how forcible, the inference he draws from it, while teaching us to derive Christian morals from evangelical motives; "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." Gratitude consists in a disposition to return a favour received: and from man to man, it may be so expressed, as that a compensation may be made, yea, and even more than an equivalent be returned. But we can never discharge the obligations we are under to God. Let us, however, show that we are sensible of them. Let us ask, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?" And if He is exalted above all blessing and praise, and our goodness extendeth not to him, let it extend to those who are appointed to receive, as his substitutes, the acts of our beneficence. He will judge of our disposition towards himself, whom we have not seen, by our conduct towards his creatures, and his children, whom