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of his divine character, and to follow him in his imitable examples of perfect obedience. They that exalt him, will be exalted; but they who refuse to have him reign over them, will be confounded. Whilst all the angels of God worship him, may it ever be our chief study, to know, to love, and serve him.
4th. Some persons are fond of proposing queries concerning the state and condition of the Heathen world, who appear to have but little concern or anxiety for themselves as sinners, and exposed to destruction. But this is certain, that they, who do not feel deeply interested for their own salvation, cannot have much concern or regard for the salvation of others. Hence cavils arise, Why the Lord did not, even by miracles, have the gospel preached to all nations? or why are so many of the human race left in Heathenish darkness? But they, who thus cavil, do not daily address the throne of divine grace in their behalf; and perhaps they have never contributed one cent to assist, in sending the gospel to them. Now what profit can there be in such queries? If any feel interested for the welfare of Heathenish nations, let their prayers and alms ascend up as a memorial before God, that the Sun of righteousness may arise and shine into those dark and benighted corners of the earth.
Whatever conjectures any may form concerning their condition and prospects, they can be of no avail, unless they influence to exertion to send them the gospel means of salvation. The first and immediate concern of those in gospel lands should be to embrace and profess the gospel ; for then they may feel deeply interested that others also enjoy its inestimable blessings. And this thought should deeply affect the minds of those who cavil, that if those who enjoy the meridian of gospel light, are not saved through its influence, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nations of the Heathen, in the day of judgement, than for them. 'How inconsistent is the conduct of those who do not wisely improve, but abuse their own exalted religious privileges, that they be often proposing queries about the state of those who are not thus highly axalted. They who are destitute of the light of the gospel, do need the pity of those who live in gospel lands; yea, they are in perishing need of gospel light and means. But let us be merciful to our own selves; let our own hearts be imbued and influenced by the benevolent spirit of the gospel ; and then our cavils will be turned into the most solemn inquiries, how we shall reach forth to them the word of God, and be the happy agents of sending the bread of life. Whilst we weep for ourselves and those around us, let our queries be turned into fervent prayers; and our idle wishes, into acts of charity, for the destitute and wretched Pagans. Then may we hope, that they will participate in like glorious privileges and blessings with us. Yea, we may see some, who, in the last great day, will rise up as saved through our exertions, and call us blessed.
5th. Some persons are apt to inquire concerning the future condition of infants, whether they are all to be saved or not. But this is a subject, in which
a they are not immediately and deeply interested ; for all they can do, is to commend them to the grace of God, and implore his blessing. They may propose many queries, and indulge in trifling speculations; but to what profit? If the lives of infants be spared, they, who have the care of them, may bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, at a very early age. For this duty and privilege they should feel a deep and lively interest. We may converse and receive instruction concerning the state and condition of infants, if we take the scriptures for our guide. But skeptical disputes and angry contentions concerning them, are injurious and to be avoided. The inquiry may be, Are infants born in a state of perfect holiness ? I answer, no. For David says, concerning himself, Behold, I was shapen in
iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. And
, from inspiration we are taught, That all are estranged from their birth. The scriptures no where teach us, that mankind by nature are holy, but sinful. But are all who die in infancy, through the grace of God and the atonement, to be saved? Whether the word of God is sufficiently full and decided on this point as to furnish a positive answer, I cannot tell. But suppose it is not?
What is that to thee? They very fully teach parents their personal duties, and those which they owe their tender offspring, which is all that immediately and deeply concerns them. But how foolish and inconsistent to hear parents engage in warm disputes and bitter contentions respecting the condition of infants, who, instead of teaching their children of understanding, the ways of godliness, by their examples, are leading them in the
ways of ungodliness and perdition. Such are more concerned for queries and disputes, than for the dearest interests of their children. Their inquiries are into those things in which they are not immediately concerned, rather than into those in which they and their offspring are most deeply interested.
6th. The inquiry is frequently made, whether the greater part of the human race will be saved or lost? A certain one asked the Saviour, Are there few that be. saved? And he said, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. The man does not appear to have had any ill design, although he proposed a curious question. Our Lord, therefore, did not give him a direct answer; but took occasion to inculcate this important exhortation, that mankind should not be solicitous to know how many will be saved, but to secure their own salvation. In the thousand
years of the millennium, doubtless the chief part will be saved. But in that period, a far greater number will people the globe, than all who shall have existed before. The consequence must be, that a far greater
number of human beings will finally be saved thali lost,
7th. Another inquiry is often made, in what part of theuniverse are heaven and hell? Some conjecture, that one of the planets or fixed stars is the place of the blessed; others, that it is far beyond the starry heavens, and that this earth will be the final abode of the wicked. But to every query of such a nature, the proper answer is, What is that to thee? The Lord has not revealed this, and we are not immediately concerned to know, where is the place of final destiny either for the righteous or wicked. The doctrine of future rewards and punishments is fully made known, and we are deeply interested in these solemn truths. Then our serious inquiry should be, to know how we inay avoid the second death, and inherit eternal life. It is of the utmost importance for us, to be delivered from the bondage of sin and death, and to obtain that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. To follow Christ is both our duty and our immortal interest. There is such a place as heaven, and also a hell. To be an inhabitant of the former, will be infinite gain ; but of the latter, infinite loss. Where these places are, availeth not; but to know what manner of spirit we possess, is to foresee our eternal doom. In the word of God we may behold, as in a glass, our own character as saints or sinners; and discover our future glorious recompense, or dread inheritance. He that hath cars to hear; let him hear, from the several views which we have taken of this subject, What is that to thice? follow thou me.
1st. i'rom this subject we may conclude, discourses of a novel nature are calculated to please some, although they may not feel deeply interested. A spirit for novelty is in some degree cominon to all men; and to some, peculiarly so. Such, like the Athenians, would spend
their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing. And should such be gratified, their imaginations would be entertained, but their understandings would not be edified with the most solemn and important truths. To grow in knowledge, seems to be natural to the mind of man. But he should be careful not to indulge a vain curiosity for mere novelty ; but to add to his stock of knowledge, by treasuring up new ideas from the many varied and interesting truths, which relate to present usefulness, and future felicity. The field is so vast from the works, the word, and providence of God, that we may ever be improving in the knowledge of those things, which are suited to the dignity of rational and immortal beings. New and interesting scenes and events will ever be before us, and we shall never be circumscribed for the want of proper objects to excite our wonder and admiration. Then may a taste for novelty be in subordination, and the queries of a lively imagination in subjection to the nobler powers of reason and understanding, that our inquiries and improvements may be suited to the dignity of our nature and high responsibility.
2d. Then may we search the scriptures, and grow in the knowledge of those things, which the Lord has abundantly and clearly revealed. Whilst in the suit of any other knowledge to the neglect of this, we are only catching at shadows, but loose the substance. We are not made merely to amuse ourselves, but to grow wise for eternity. Every doctrine or truth, contained in the sacred pages, and which is peculiar to revelation, is new. None of the human race could ever have discovered them, had they not been blessed with a divine revelation. The particular account of creation and the fall of man, the work of redemption and way of salvation through Jesus Christ, are peculiarities of revelation. Hidden beauties, new and rising wonders, are concealed from the view of many of the curious between the lids