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but of those who were on the confines of eternal misery ; of those who would soon have been in hell, had they not been saved by grace, had they not been snatched as brands from the burning. The Ephesians, in their state of heathenism, before they heard and embraced the gospel, are said to have been“ without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Having no hope. And are they who hear the gospel and reject it, any safer or happier? Is not this description equally applicable to all who are in an unconverted state? Surely it is. You may know more of Christ than they once did, or than heathens do; but if you love him not, you are exposed to the same doom, or rather to one more aggravated than theirs. You know there is a future state, and have some better ideas of it than Pagans; but if you have no faith in Christ you have no title to heaven : if you are not born again, you have no meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light; and thus remaining, you cannot see the kingdom of God, but his wrath abideth on you. How needful is it then, for such to be excited to flee for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel. And with what gratitude should those who have done so, look back on their former hopeless state, and admire that sovereign grace which has effected so blessed a change.

First: Those may well be described as having no hope, whose attention is not fixed on any object worthy the hope of an immortal creature.

Man alone is capable of anticipating distant objects, of looking forward into futurity, of forming an idea of another state of existence in the invisible world, and of receiving the testimony of God concerning such a state. He can aspire after immortality and eternal life. But they who do not enter into any such idea, or who have no just conception of it, have no hope worth the name. Hope is the

Hope is the expectation of future good. But what is the hope of the Christless sinner? Generally, his hope terminates on earthly things ; mere trifles, unworthy the anxiety of a rational, immortal creature. It is very uncertain whether they can be attained.

If they should be once gained, yet they may soon be lost. They will not truly satisfy the mind, even while possessed. They must certainly be parted with at death, and the loss of them may make death the more painful. Such objects of hope are temporary, deluding, degrading to a being really formed for eternity. Or, if the Christless soul indulges some hope respecting the other world, still the object is but vague and indistinct, or unworthy of God to bestow. Such was the hope of the heathen : it was uncertain, unworthy, not suited to glorify God; nor to elevate the mind to its highest pitch ; nor to unite the truly virtuous of all nations. The North American savage hopes to enjoy the pleasures of the chase, to meet his dogs, and exercise his bow. The hardy warrior of northern Europe expected to dance in the hall of Odin, and quaff delicious wines from the skulls of foes. Cicero represents Cato as hoping to join an assembly of the wise and virtuous ; but closes his discourse with great hesitation. The Hindoo's heaven is sensual, and unworthy of God: so is the Mahometan's paradise. The hope of nominal Christians is, for the most part, merely negative, not corresponding with the sublime expectations excited by the representations of the Sacred Scriptures, nor suited to the holy taste of true believers.

SecondLY: They may be described as having no hope, who have no ground of solid hope.

They have no express revelation of future bliss. Whatever conjectures might be formed by reason, divine revelation alone can ascertain this point. They have no knowledge of the way in which guilty sinners can hope to become partakers of future blessedness. This is brought to light solely by the glorious gospel. Without Christ, the more justly we think of God, the more reason must we see for fear, rather than for hope. Exemption from just punishment must be optional. Who can tell whether God will grant what he might refuse ? Nay more, Can he consistently treat the sinner as just? No creature can answer this important inquiry. But Christ's mediation completely solves the difficulty. His obedience unto death removed whatever hindrances were in the way of God's bestowing eternal life on a sinner. They

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that are without Christ, are indeed without hope. But the Lord Jesus Christ is the hope of the returning sinner : he that believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. None, however, who hear the gospel, can be entitled to life, while they reject and oppose this method of salvation. If we would have the benefits of Christ's redemption, we must cordially embrace him as the only Saviour, receiving him as worthy of all acceptation. If we are partakers of vital faith, Christ will dwell in our hearts by faith, and be in us the hope of glory. Thus, though our title to life and preparation for it, are distinct, yet they are closely connected; and they who possess the former, do certainly experience the latter.

THIRDLY: They must be described as having no hope who can give no evidence of their possessing a hope worth indulging.

What can mere worldly hopes do for a man, in the day of adversity or death? only deceive and delude him. What can the hope of unconverted sinners do for them—who say, they hope to be saved, though they are without the experimental knowledge of Christ, the only Saviour, and without God in the world? Does your hope purify your heart ? (1 John iii. 3.) Do you long to live the life on earth, which you hope to live in heaven? to glorify God here, and do his will cheerfully, as you hope to do there? Does your hope moderate your worldly pursuits ? cause you to live in the world, as not of the world ; and make you careful to use it, as not abusing it? Is it like an anchor to your soul in the day of trouble? Can it support you under the trials of the present life? Have you such a hope of happiness after death, as can reconcile you to a departure from this world, and support you in the near prospect of dissolution? Do you ever so rejoice in the hope of future glory, as to find the commencement of heaven below?

Oh! I fear, lest due examination should find too many of my hearers still in an unregenerate state: and I pray God they may be convinced that it is a miserable state, and may be brought out of it into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Surely it is dreadful to live without God in the

world, without Christ, without hope ; and more dreadful still not to have hope in your death. But it is most dreadful of all to indulge a false hope : to die with a lie in your right hand; to feel that you have held by a spider's web, while you attempted to spring over the mouth of Tophet by its assistance ! How awful is this! Yet this is the case of all who reject the mediation of Christ; or who, while they pretend to rely upon him, attempt to separate his offices, and hope to derive benefit from one, while they utterly reject him in another. Oh ! let none try this desperate experiment.

But to many now present I hope this discourse may afford evidence that they are begotten again, to a new and lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. May they be enabled to demonstrate that theirs is a good hope, through grace. Its object is truly worthy of God : the perfect dominion of holy love; or complete conformity to the blessed God; seeing God eternally glorified, in their own salvation, and in that of millions more, all saved in a way of righteousness, and perfectly freed from sin, as well as from its awful consequences; who shall spend eternity together in a holy society, rejoicing in each other's felicity, and praising God and the Lamb for ever.

Dear brethren, if we are partakers of this blessed hope, must we not long for others to be made acquainted with the same object, and ground of hope ? Shall we not pity the heathen afar off, who are absolutely strangers to the hope of the gospel ? Shall we not earnestly wish for the only Saviour to be made known to the ends of the earth ? And if many

own countrymen, yea, even of our own neighbours and friends, are no safer than heathens, who know not God, shall we not feel compassion for them also, and sincerely seek that they may be brought to the knowledge of Christ Jesus? Will you not use every means in your power to spread the gospel of Christ, and to excite the attention of young and old to the glad tidings it contains ?

of our

CXVII.

THE INDWELLING OF CHRIST.

Eph. iii. 17.
That Christ

may
dwell in

your hearts by faith. We cannot have a better directory to inform us for what blessings we should ask in prayer, than the requests which the Apostle, under the immediate direction of the Holy Spirit, preferred unto God; and we can scarcely have greater encouragement to believe, that, if we are but sincere in our petitions, such blessings shall assuredly be granted.

We have time, now, only to notice one clause of this most excellent prayer, which is very significant, and which shows the value of that blessing which is the subject of the request, and the infinite dignity, as well as the condescending grace, of the Redeemer.

It would not have been so much for the Apostle barely to have spoken of Christ's dwelling in his people's hearts, as it is to make this the object of a solemn prayer, and to represent the granting of it as a display of the riches of his glory, the principal work of his Spirit, the root and foundation of all religion, the means of that extensive acquaintance with it which is peculiar to saints, but common to all of them; and the means of their being filled with all the fulness of God, and an evidence that God can abundantly exceed all our requests and conceptions.

I would inquire,

First, What is it for Christ to dwell in our hearts ?

It cannot be understood in a gross and carnal sense, but spiritually. It is not merely for him to inspect and know our hearts; though he does know the hearts of his people ; and so he does all hearts. Nor merely for him to influence our hearts, as he did the hearts of Laban, Esau, and the owners of the ass on which he entered Jerusalem. Nor is this any thing wherein we are merely passive. Though we may have been so in his first taking possession of the heart, yet the immediate effect of divine operation is activity, nor can it be known antecedently to holy activity. This dwelling

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