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gift in itself, is a gift we possess in common with the worst of our own kind, and with the meanest and most noxious of the inferior creatures. Nay, devils partake of it in a higher degree than man. Besides, the life of man, since the apostasy, is become short and precarious; and though it holds true in general, that “ skin for skin, all that a man hath will he give for his life;" yet the bitterness of affliction hath caused many to grow weary of it, insomuch that their souls have chosen strangling and death rather than life. But in all these respects, the life of the soul is entirely the reverse. It is not a privilege common to all, but the gift of special distinguishing love. It was purchased for condemning sinners by the blood of Christ; and is produced in dead sinners by his renewing Spirit. So far is it from being short and precarious, that its duration is eternal. It is a " life hid with Christ in God; and because he lives, all who believe in him shall live also.” The longer it is enjoyed also, the more it is esteemed. Who was ever heard to say of spiritual life, “ I lothe it-I would not live always ?” Nay, it is the life of the soul alone that gives a relish to the life of the body, and enables the believer, under the heaviest pressure of affliction, either to possess it with thankfulness, or to resign it with joy.
This was the life for which David prayed; a confirmed sense of pardoning mercy, larger mea
sures of sanctifying grace, communion with his God in a present world, and the full and everlasting enjoyment of him in heaven. The life for which he prays, is no other than the salvation for which he longed. He had tasted of its sweetness, and he thirsted for more. “Let my soul live,” saith he; to which he subjoins, “and it shall praise thee.” From which words we learn, for our farther direction,
3dly, The ultimate end for which David was so earnest in his requests for help and life, and the improvement he proposed to make of both. They were no doubt blessings that would greatly contribute to his own honour and comfort; but every private and personal interest was in him subordinated to the glory of God. He prayed for upholding and quickening grace, that he might be better qualified for the service of his God, to whom he had devoted himself and his all. Thus he prays, Psal. li.“ Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me by thy free Spirit; then will I teach transgressors thy way, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” And the principal reason for which he was desirous to obtain divine consolation, appears from the use he intended to make of it, (ver. 32. of this Psalm), “ I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart."
I shall therefore make this my concluding ex. hortation to you. By your solemn profession at the table of the Lord, you have publicly acknowledged that you are not your own, but bought with a price ; in consequence whereof, you are strictly obliged to live not unto yourselves, but to him that bought you ; to glorify your Redeemer, both with your bodies and spirits, which are his. He says concerning you, “ This people have I formed for myself, to show forth my praise." He calls the world to take knowledge of you, as the persons by whom he expects to be honoured. “ Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowli. ness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love. Adding to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity:"-abounding in all those fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God; shining as lights in the midst of a perverse and a crooked generation; holding forth the word of life. After this manner im
prove the help and life you have received, in your attendance upon this precious means of grace. “ Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” And“ let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Amen.
Preached at the Celebration of the Lord's Supper.
JOHN xvi. 26, 27.
At that day ye shall ask in my name : And I say
not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you ; for the Father himself loveth you,
have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
THESE words spake Jesus, to support the drooping spirits of his disciples. We are told, in the 6th verse, “ that sorrow had filled their hearts.” Although they did not fully understand the intimations he had given them of his approaching sufferings and death, although their warm affection for him made them slow to believe an event so contrary to their expectations and desires; yet the manner in which he had been speaking to them for some time past, and the unusual tenderness which had of late appeared in his discourses to them, left them no room to doubt, that some sore