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live a painful and unhappy life. That this is true; I appeal to such, as live in hope against hope, and in the habitual neglect of known duty.
3. While the subjects of special grace neglect to join the church, they live in a very sinful, as well as unhappy manner. They greatly injure both themselves and religion. They injure themselves, by depriv. ing themselves of that peace and comfort, which they might enjoy in communion with God and his people. They injure religion by neglecting to perform those peculiar and important duties, by which it is to be promoted in the world. They injure the friends of God by practically joining with the world in neglecting and opposing the cause, which they desire to promote, and have bound themselves to promote. They practically justify the impenitent in their impenitence and unbelief. They practically justify the penitent and believing, in neglecting to profess their faith and love, and to bind themselves to obedience. The more upright and amiable they appear, the more they injure the cause of God and the souls of men, by the weight and influence of their criminal example. There are no persons, perhaps, whose example the world more applaud, and are more fond of employing in excuse and justification of their own faulty negligence. It highly concerns these persons in particular, to prepare the way of the Lord, by giving up themselves to him and his people in a perpetual covenant If they would come out from the world, and appear against them, they would carry conviction to their consciences, and awaken them to flee from the wrath to come. It has always been found, that professing religion and entering into covenant with God has had a greater effect than almost any other
scene or circumstance, to awaken and alarm the careless and secure. And do the negligent subjects of special grace, believe this to be true? And can they with any inward peace and comfort, still continue to neglect a duty so important to themselves, to others, and to the cause of Christ ?
4. It appears from what has been said, that some who have long entertained a hope of being the subjects of special grace, must soon give up their hope, if they continue to neglect joining the church. A well grounded hope of the grace of God, has in all ages and in all places, led the subjects of such a hope to join themselves to the Lord and to his people. And if the hope of any does not produce this effect, have they not reason to fear, that their hope is built on a false and sandy foundation, and ought to be given up ? They have reason to fear, that they have mistaken nature for grace, and that they are still in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. If this be the case of any, their duty is plain and important, to renounce their self-righteousness and self-dependance, and cast themselves upon the unpromised mercy of God, and sincerely to commit their spiritual and eternal concerns to his wise and sovereign disposal.
Finally, it appears from the whole tenor of this discourse, that it highly concerns those, who have entered into covenant with God, to be stedfast in his covenant, and persevere in universal obedience. The bond, by which they have freely and voluntarily bound themselves, is extremely solemn, and infinitely and perpetually binding. It is death to go back from following the Lord, and it is highly displeasing to him, to become weary in well-doing. If you do not forsake him, he will never leave, or forsake you, but punctually fulfil the great and precious promises, that he has made to you, and bound himself by an oath to fulfil. Trust in him and he will keep you in perfect peace.
SAINTS DESIRE TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD.
Psalm XXVII. 4-One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
David was a man of war from his youth ; and during the greater part of his reign, his duty called him to head his armies and lead them forth against his enemies, who were almost perpetually invading his kingdom. And though he was willing to follow the voice of God in his providence, yet he sincerely regretted his necessary absence from the house of God.--Every revolving sabbath renewed and increased his strong desires after the precious privileges and enjoyments of the sanctuary. And he was led, on some saered day of rest, to compose this psalm, in which he expresses the pious feelings of his heart, and his ardent wishes to meet God in the place where he recorded his name, and displayed the moral excellencies of his character, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” It was his sincere desire, that his business might always admit of his being in the house of God every sabbath ; and he determined, as far as possible, to order his secular concerns so, as he might constantly attend the services of the sanctuary. For, he says, he viewed this the greatest privilege on earth. “ One thing have I desired,” that is, I have desired one thing above all others; and that is, to enjoy, without interruption, the public worship of God in his house. This he desired above all things, because it gave him the best opportunity of beholding the beauty of the Lord, and of knowing his mind and will revealed in his word. All good men feel as the King of Israel felt, and desire to behold the beauty of the Lord, as he displays it in the assembly of his saints, who have a spiritual discerning of spiritual things. This is the plain truth suggested to our present consideration ; That good men desire to see the beauty of the Lord. It is proposed,
I. To show in what the beauty of the Lord con
II. To show that good men are capable of seeing his beauty ; And
III. To show why they desire to see it.
I. Let us consider in what the beauty of the Lord consists. We call nothing beautiful but what is pleasing; and we call nothing pleasing in a moral agent, but what is morally excellent, or truly virtuous. The beauty of the Lord, therefore, must signify that in his moral character, which is pleasing to a virtuous and benevolent heart. His beauty is the beauty of holiness. There is no moral excellence in his necessary existence, independence, omnipresence, omnipotence, or omniscience. These natural attributes, separately considered, are neither morally good, nor morally evil ; and are either lovely or hateful, according to the heart that governs them. Under the influence of a malevolent heart, they would be infinitely odious and detesta