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for grace. I earnestly seek the supply of the Spirit, and dread, above all things, grieving him by whom I am sealed to the day of redemption. I look off from visible shadows to invisible realities ; looking for, and hasting to, the day of the Lord.
THIRDLY: What do you live for, if this be not your case ?
Have you a nobler end, a more rational end, a pleasanter end in view ? An object that will make your life more useful, that will better bear reflection, and yield more comfort on a dying bed ? If a statesman could say, I live not to the Lord, but I live to my country; would he be superior to the Christian, even if his words were true? Or would living to the Lord, have made him less a blessing to his country? If a man should say, I do not live to the Lord, but I live to my family; is he better than a Christian ? Would living to the Lord, render him less a blessing to his family? If he cared more for their spiritual and eternal welfare, would they have less cause to be thankful for him? If another should say, I live neither to the Lord, nor to my family, for I have none; but I save a good deal for my distant relations, who will be glad of it when I am gone,-is he better?
If a man say, I live not to the Lord, but to myself; I spend for myself, or I hoard for myself, I do all for myself; is he better ? is he happier ? or will he be ?
FOURTHLY: What will be the consequence, if you neither live to the Lord, nor die to him, nor are his?
Answer this for yourself. How will you live? How will you die? Where will
Where will you be ?
Rom. xiv. 12.
believe this assertion, my hearers ? Can you disprove it? Is there any probability of its being found true ? Do you realize the thought? How often does it recur to your mind? What effect has it ever had on your conduct ?
Is not this a reasonable doctrine ? Consider the wonderful frame of your body, the powers of your mind, and the provision God has made for you. How evidently is man at the head of this world, capable of knowing, loving, glorifying, and enjoying God. Can God be content, that rational creatures should live like brutes, only being more mischievous? How much good or evil may one man do in a short life! The effects are very extensive in some cases, and continue long after death. For example, Mahomet, or Paul.
Will God call none to account? The text says, “ He will call
every one.” He has an undoubted right to call every one to account. He is able to enforce it. Graves will not conceal you ; nor will rocks and mountains cover you. Adam could not be hidden amongst the trees of the garden-nor could you in Etna. It will be of no use to give a false account.
What account then can you give ? If to-morrow were the day, and you had only a day to prepare! What have you pursued as your chief end?
chief end? What has been made the chief business of your life? Whence have you chiefly sought to derive satisfaction ? Have you made it your great concern to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever ? Has God been much in your thoughts ? Is he often in them? Do your desires centre in him? Do you esteem his favor as better than life? Do you know any such thing as delight in God? Can you say, " How precious are thy thoughts to me, O God : great is the sum of them!” Had you rather have God for your portion, than any worldly possession ? Would you be satisfied, if
had a servant, who would mind your business no more than you have minded glorifying God? or a child, that would show no more affectionate regard to you, than you have shown to him? What regard have you ever paid to God ? Have you done any thing for him ? Or, forborne any thing because he disliked it, and had forbidden it? Thousands around you acknowledge the Bible to be a revelation from God, and you do not pretend to doubt it. How have you treated the scriptures ?
treated the scriptures ? Do you often read them? Do you ever read them with earnest prayer
would assist you to understand them? Do you read them with this end in view that you may know more of God? know his will; know what he requires of you ; know how you may glorify and enjoy him? Do you maintain any daily intercourse with God, by prayer ? Have you any desires which he alone can satisfy ? Are you aware that you are exposed to dangers from which he alone can rescue you? · Do you ever confess your sins before him, and pray against sin itself, as well as its consequences ? What account can you give to God at last, if you never had any thing to say to him till you were summoned into his presence? He has raised up ministers, and sent them to you, and you were taught from your infancy to attend them. What have you gotten by all the sermons you ever heard ? One hundred and fifty, or more, in a year! Are you ever the better for them? Did the word ever deeply impress your mind, and has it had any permanent influence ? Ministers have said much to you about the worth of the soul, the wants of the soul, the dangers to which sin has exposed the soul, the future state of the soul. What have you ever done for your own soul?
Which have you been most anxious about, your body or your soul? I have read of a woman, who, when 'her house was on fire, hastened to take care of the child's clothes, and forgot the child itself; and then in agony ran about, wringing her hands, and crying, Oh my child, my child, my poor child; I have saved the clothes and lost my child! Are not some of you under a worse infatuation ? How have you governed your own appetites and passions? Have you kept watch over them ? Have you been concerned they should not have the mastery over you, or hurry you into sin ? How have you felt and acted towards your fellow-men? Do you ever complain of the law of God, considered as the rule of others conduct towards you? And can you complain of it, as your rule to regulate your treatment of them? How have you discharged relative duties? as a child, parent, a servant, or a master ? Have you seriously examined the extent, spirituality, and strictness of the divine law? and thus been led to admit the humbling truths so plainly taught in the sacred scriptures, that you
have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God ? Has
your mouth been stopped, and every self-righteous hope ab
How have you treated the glorious gospel? Is it like cold water to a thirsty soul ? Have you fled for refuge ? Have you repented and believed the gospel ? Is Christ precious to you? Have you already received him as a Saviour, before whom you must appear as a Judge ? Have you received him in all his offices? Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious ? How do you prove your sincerity ? What influence has your faith and hope? Does your faith work by love, pacify the conscience, and purify the heart? Is your hope “ like an anchor to the soul ?” Does it excite you to purify yourselves, even as God is pure ? How are you affected by invisible realities? By heaven and hell?
In short, if you had this night to give an account of yourself to God, could you say, 'O Lord, thou knowest all hearts, thou knowest I am a sinner worthy of death; but though death is my wages, yet eternal life is what thou hast promised gratuitously to bestow on all that believe in Christ Jesus; and since thou hast so revealed his glory to me, as that I account all things but loss, for the exeellency of the knowledge of him, and hast drawn my soul to him, thou knowest that I have cordially coincided with this plan of salvation. Since I have tasted how gracious he is, it has been my chief concern to live, not to myself, but to him. “Surely I have loved the habitation of thine house, the place where thine honor dwelleth.” “I have longed for thy salvation, and thy law is my delight.” “I hate every false way.” I have maintained a constant warfare with sin. Too often I have been foiled, or overcome by temptation; but having obtained help of thee, I continued striving against sin, and I have been kept looking unto Jesus. So I lived ever since I was quickened by thy grace, and so I died, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Thou hast taught me, that by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous; and it was my highest wish to be found in him, having on his righteousness and not my own. Nothing can satisfy me but the everlasting enjoyment of God,
and perfect conformity to his image. Thou hast given me the earnest of the Spirit, and wilt not disappoint my hope !
Rom. xiv, 16. Let not then your good be evil spoken of. SURELY, if men would read the sacred scriptures, and especially the apostolic epistles, with any degree of candid attention, they must admire the excellent cautions and precepts therein contained.
How carefully are Christians warned against all appearance of evil; how earnestly are they urged and encouraged to follow after that which is good ; (Phil. iv. 8.) cautioned to walk honestly and in wisdom toward them that are without; and to walk in love towards each other! See xii. 9. 21. and 2 Cor. xi. 12. Gal. v. 13. and this chapter, verse 13. Let us consider,
First, The import and need of the exhortation.
It implies, that all real Christians are followers of that which is good. They serve a good God, walk by a good rule, aim at a good end, even the advancement of the divine glory; seeking also to promote each others good, and as much as it is in their power, the good of all around them.
At the same time, there is a disposition in many around to speak evil of them. Their principles and conduct condemn the world, and therefore the world would be glad to condemn them. As unrenewed men hate the humbling import of the gospel, and its holy tendency, so they would be glad to misrepresent those that profess it, and to conceive of them as hypocrites. Thus many felt concerning Noah, and thus many feel as to true believers now ; branding them as bigots, &c. The gospel plainly presupposes human depravity and guilt; and sets aside all idea of merit; and these things are very offensive. Yet it requires self-denial and devotedness to God; it will neither allow the lusts of the mind to be indulged, nor those of the flesh. Hence, opposite complaints