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himself: yet he spake to those among whom some persons seem to have had a few feeble sparks of grace, as fire covered and almost extinguished by
But some perhaps continue to quiet their minds, by thinking that they make no pretensions to religion, and are not therefore concerned in the rebuke. Let me however demand of you, whether you have not been "baptized in the name of the "Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost ?” Have you then openly renounced your baptism, and abjured Christianity? Or do you expect to be called Christians? If you do, this implies a profession of religion, however unmeaning and hypocritical and your indifference about these subjects proves you the most lukewarm of all that bear the name of Christ. And is this your confidence? or do you intend to plead this before the tribunal of your judge? Would not such an excuse then prove before men and angels, that you had "crucified "Christ afresh and put him to open shame?" and that you had " done despite to the Spirit of grace," by a course of conduct diametrically opposite to the religion which you professed?
Should these solemn reflections excite any of you seriously to inquire what you ought to do, the answer is obvious, Consider the salvation of your souls as your grand concern: forego or postpone all other pursuits, rather than suffer them to retard your course in seeking an interest in the Saviour of sinners. Be diligent, earnest, and persevering in attendance on all the means of grace. Repent, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Se
parate from the world with all its sensual pleasures and stupifying dissipations: and seek your present happiness, as well as future safety, in the favour and service of our gracious God and Father.
If you doubt whether all this be necessary, I appeal "to the law and to the testimony." "Search "the scriptures:" see whether they do not require us to give the Lord our hearts and devote ourselves entirely to him: and whether the language of Christ, concerning self-denial, renouncing the world, enduring the cross, labouring and striving to enter in at the strait gate, be not much stronger than any thing here stated. If any of you should not be able to reconcile these passages to your views of salvation by grace; be assured that your views are unscriptural; and beg of God to open your understanding that you may more clearly discern the truth as it is in Jesus. But beware of indolence and partiality in reading the scriptures: do not select a few passages, and pass over the rest, as unsuitable to your system, or uninteresting to you; for this springs from lukewarmness, and tends to its rapid increase.
But are any of you convinced that you have hitherto been infected with this Laodicean spirit, and almost ready to tremble for the consequences? Let me call your attention to the subsequent part of our Lord's address to such lukewarm professors. He condescends to say even to them, "I counsel "thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that "thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that "thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of
thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine
eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zea"lous therefore, and repent."
Think then frequently and intensely on eternity and its infinite importance: meditate seriously on the death of Christ; the design, manner, causes, and effects of it; the instructions conveyed, and the obligations conferred, by that great event. Pray earnestly for the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, which alone can prevent or cure lukewarmness, and maintain the life and power of godliness in the soul. Examine particularly every part of your disposition and conduct: be willing to know the whole of your case as it really is. Withdraw from the company of the lukewarm, and associate with zealous Christians: and never admit a doubt, but that the more fervent, diligent, and fruitful you become, the greater will be your peace and comfort in life and death, and the more abundant your gracious recompence in the realms of blessedness.
We have all of us, my brethren, considerable cause for humiliation in this matter; and have need to redouble our diligence in using all these means, that we may make progress, and " grow in grace." But while the Lord says to all," Be"hold I stand at the door and knock; if any man "hear my voice, and open the door, I will come "in to him, and will sup with him, and he with "me:" he adds, for the encouragement of those who are "fighting the good fight of faith," perhaps with conscious feebleness and many fears, "To him that overcometh will I give to sit down
"with me upon my throne; even as I also "overcame, and am set down with my Father "on his throne." "He" then "that hath an ear "let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the "churches."
MATTHEW V. 16.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
OUR blessed Lord just before his ascension into heaven, thus addressed his apostles: "All power "is given unto me in heaven and in earth: go ye "therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and " of the holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all "things whatsoever I have commanded you.' Hence we learn, that there is a measure of instruction which precedes an intelligent profession of the gospel, comprising the first principles of the doctrine of Christ; and that there is also a more particular and exact instruction, by which ministers should endeavour to form the judgment, and direct the conduct of believers, in all the several parts of Christianity. This distinction ought to be carefully remembered; that we may not suppose the practical exhortations given to believers supersede the necessity of regeneration, repentance, and faith in the Son of God, as numbers seem to think; nor yet deem it inconsistent with the purest evangelical views, to explain particu
Matt. xxviii. 18-20.