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for it is God that worketh within us to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

2. We infer that the use of religious means is no less innocent and safe, than obligatory. They tend, as we have seen, to call our minds from vanity and vice, and to prepare us for the reception of divine light and aid. Now in all other cases, we scruple not to adopt and pursue the measures which are evidently conducive to useful achievements. Their natural connexion with the end proposed, is justly considered a clear intimation of heaven, that they are lawful and right. Can it then be an aggravation of the sinner's guilt, to take the only steps, which offer him the prospect of divine forgiveness and favour? To say that he does not take these steps in the exercise of love and devotion to his maker, is but saying, in other words, that he is yet destitute of what he is commanded to seek, which, far from a valid objection, is precisely the reason, which binds him to strive for its attainment. However opposed to the authority and will of God, would he commit an additional crime by inquiring into the grounds of this opposition ; by investigating the doctrines and precepts of christianity ; by receiving the word with all readiness of mimd;" and by “searching the scriptures daily whether these things were so ?” For this conduct the ancient Bere. ans are commended by the sacred historian, as «« more noble than those in Thessalonica :" and who does not feel the justice of the commendation? As rational and accountable agents, what else could they have done with equal innocence and advantage ? In what other way could they have contributed so effectually to their conversion ? The consequence of their attention to means is a sufficient answer to inquiries. “ Therefore,” as we read in the words immediately following, “therefore many of them believed."* .

3. The intrinsick excellence and importance of religion suggest the strongest motives to“ go and do likewise. If,” said our blessed Lord to the woman of Samaria, “ if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living waters.” Could we persuade mankind to realize," that godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come;" could we place in a true light the "joy and peace of believing ;" could we communicate proper

* Aas xvii, 12. . ;

sentiments of the support and happiness to be derived from the testimony of an approving conscience, and the anticipation of future glory, none surely would be indifferent to that good part which can never be taken away. AU would importunately demand, “ what shall we do, that we may work the works of God ?” Direct your thoughts then to this interesting subject. Contemplate the inestimable privilege of a restoration to the image and complacency of him, whose “ favour is life and whose loving kindness is better than life.” Call to mind that the “ world passes away, and the lust thereof, whilst he that doth the will of God abideth forever.” Antedate the approaching hour, when you shall stand on the verge of the eternal state ; and when the inscription of vanity on every thing below the sun must be read and felt. Convinced that then, at least, it will be the prayer of your heart, “let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his, seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.”

This leads,. 4. To remind you of the am ple encouragement and assurance of success, with which you are furnished. “God hath a

tender regard to the souls of men, and is in. finitely desirous to promote their welfare. He hath coridescended to our weakness, and declared with an oath, that he hath no pleasure in our destruction. There is no such thing as despite or envy lodged in the bosom of that ever blessed being, whose name and nature is love. He created us at first, in a happy con. dition; and now, when we have fallen from it, he hath laid help upon one that is mighty to save. Did not the son of God come down from the bosom of his father, and pitch his tabernacle among the sons of men, that he might recover and propagate the divine life, and restore the image of God in their souls? All the mighty works which he performed ; all the sad afflictions which he sustained had this for their scope and design. For this did he labour and toil; for this did he bleed and die."* For this too, did he burst the bars of the grave, “ ascend on high, lead captivity captive, and receive gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Fear not, therefore ; for they that be with us are more than they that be against us.” Suffer no obstacle, however formidable in human appearance, to dishearten you.' “ Every one that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.” A useful lesson may be learnt from the patience and resolution, with which the perishable possessions of time are pursued. For these, multitudes “rise up early, sit up late, and eat the bread of carefulness.” No expedient is left untried, which offers aid to the favourite purpose. Is it not unspeakably more important and reasonable to be unwearied in prosecution of that “ inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away ?Content not yourselves, then, with a languid or partial application to the necessary means. Not only hear, but read the lively oracles of God : not only unite in the devotions of the sanctuary, but perform those also of the family and closet : not only consecrate the holy sabbath to religious meditations and exercises, but habitually guard your hearts, your lips, and your lives : For “ then shall you know, if you follow on to know the Lord.”

* Scougal, ut supra, p. 57, &

The spirit of the gospel is to be cultivated and improved by the same means, which are prescribed for its production : and “it is with the christian as with the man in trade; the more he acquires, the more he is enabled to

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