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tivity.” Yet“ he walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” “ he sows to the Spirit, has his fruit unto holiness," and strives to walk in the ordinances and commandments of the Lord in a holy and blameless
In short, he is both inwardly and 'outwardly changed. He dwells, as it were, in his Father's house, while “ the law of the spirit of life in Christ has made him free from the law of sin and death." Religion is his main business; for he is “ created unto good works,” and therefore he seeks to please God in all things. Prayer is his daily employ, he denies himself “ ungodliness and worldly lusts," he goes about doing good, as he has opportunity, visiting the sick and dying, teaching the ignorant, and endeavouring to direct all into a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. He walks in the valley of self abasement, he is humbied in the very dust before God, and views himself as the chief of sinners. Still he is wonderfully adorned in “the robe of righteousness," wought out, and brought in, as “an everlasting righteousness,” in which he is justified and accepted in the sight of God. This is '“ the wedding garment, the white linen, the righteousness of the saints,” in which the true believer appears betore God,“ without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." He who by nature was loathsome and defiled, is now comely and fair; and though he does not always see it, he shines with the purest lustre, through his Redeemer; and is never more fair, than when he judges himself to be most deformed. In himself he is low, in Christ he is exalted; weak in himself, but “ strong in the Lord and in the power
of his might.” As all light and heat are from the sun, so he has every thing in Christ.
All his springs are in his Redeemer. In him he finds a sea of delight without a drop of gall. Christ is “the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley," and the believer's everlasting "all in all.” Such a soul may well say, “ I have enough;" if not at present, in full possession, yet in sure and well founded prospect. His happiness is suited to fill all the powers of his mind, however large ; and in order to hold fast his treasures, he keeps close to God, and serves him in newness of life, by carefully doing whatsoever is pleasing in his sight.
Prosperous souls are seldom very rich in this world. But should they be intrusted with a considerable share of this world's wealth, they are faithful in “ the unrighteous mammon.” They trade with their Lord's talentz, and consider themselves only as stewards that must give an account. Many poor cottagers around them, perhaps, are their dependents, and they cannot see thela want either food or fuel, while they have an abundance. Nor they be easy in possession of the Bible, if they know their poor neighbours are without it, but will seek to supply them with that bread of life, by conneeting themselves with some Bible Society, and aiding its operations for that end.
But the prosperous soul may be in great poverty, as to this world ; and it is certain that “God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven." But should the christian be as poor as Lazarus, still his soul may prosper, and he may, in the best sense, be richer than king's
and princes. He may have a large freehold in christian contentment; and though he has nothing, he may possess all things." "He knows how to be full and to be hungry, to abound and to suffer need.” He walks with God, and lives on the borders of that kingdom, in which he expects a gracious reward, and where, through the life and death, resurrection and intercession of Christ, he expects an“ inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation." He is often filled with joy and peace in believing, and sometimes tastes of those felicities that a stranger to Christ intermeddles not with. He pities the ungodly world, he prays for their conversion, and is ready to say to all that are careless around him, “ Come thou with us and we will do thee good.” As to the men of the world, they know him not. His soul prosperity lies not open to common observation. is dead, and his life is hid with Christ in God." He resembles a jewel which lies now amongst the common rubbish, but shall soon be gathered up, be polished to a heavenly lustre, and be put into the cabinet for ever. His treasure and his heart are both in heaven; and, whether he be at home or abroad, he is the same man. He wears no cloak of disguise, but is sincere and upright; and it may be said, in reference to such, by holy angels and men, “ Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon his beloved ?"
Contrast such a man with the unregenerate sinner, whether he be moral, or profane; a professor, or a profligate. “There is no peace, saith my God, unto
the wicked.” The unconverted sinner is the willing servant, or rather slave,“ of divers lusts and pleasures." Sin reigns in him, and over him, and he is under the wrath and curse of God. How great is the difference between such a man and a true believer! (1.) In the hour of death. They both must die. From the believer the sting of death is taken away, and the well-founded hope of everlasting life cheers him in the solemn and trying moment. But the sinner hardened and impenitent is ripe for endless woe.
No righteousness to cover him, no Saviour to smile upon him, no angels to protect, and to conduct him to rest, no promises to cheer him by the way, but he is left to the terrors of a guilty conscience, to the curses of the law, to the just vengeance of God, and to the damnation of hell. (2.) There will be an awful difference in judgment and eternity. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”
A LAMENTATION OVER LOST SOULS, IN WHICH THEIR
STATE IS CONTRASTED WITH THE HAPPINESS OF SOULS REDEEMED AND SAVED FOR EVER.
Alas! what catastrophe can be equal to that of an immortal soul sinking into endless ruin! A man may lose many things; nay, he may lose his all in this world and yet be borne up under the deepest poverty and the keenest adversity: but if the immortal soul be lost, it is followed by the loss of all happiness, and by positive sufferings, inexpressible and eternal. The ruin of cities, the laying waste of countries are tremendously dreadful, as they carry desolation far and wide. But who can bear to think of thousands of immortal souls, on such dreadful occasions, sinking down into eternal misery? In this world, they were gay, and giddy, and thoughtless : they trifled, it may be, with religion," the one thing needful,” and lived without prayer, “ without hope, and without God in the world," but now, alas! they are cast into the eternal burnings, with no prospect but that of aggravated and eternal misery.
God made man upright: but, alas! be sinned and fell, and lost the divine image, and all fellowship with God. He became a slave to sin, and a vassal of the enemy of souls. Every man is a sinner, is loaded with guilt, and is under the wrath of an offended God. So sunk, and miserable is man by nature, that all real happiness is fled from him for ever, unless it be implanted by divine grace. cept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Yet alas ! how many die without giving any evidence of such a change! If any be saved, it is as by a miracle of mercy and grace. Nothing can save us from “everlasting burnings" but an interest in Christ. Those that are once cast « into outer darkness," must remain for ever, yea, for ever and ever, in that terrible condition. The loss of the soul can never be repaired. Well, therefore, might he who knew the worth of souls, say, “ What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul !"
Alas! how are the consciences of men benumbed and stupified, as by some fatal opiate! On the very brink of eternal ruin, they are heedless and unconcerned. It must be from some strong delusion of