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noblest exercise of the mental powers ; to mind only earthly things, and to sink into sinful selfishness; while others amuse themselves with investigating the works of God, but shun all intercourse with God himself. The knowledge of the works of nature tends indeed to enlarge the mind, as we read of Solomon. 1 Kings iv. 30. 34. But how much more the knowledge of God, especially as revealed in the gospel of his Son! It is happy where the soul is engaged to contemplate the glory of God, as displayed in his works and word. When he is viewed as the great first cause, and last end of all creatures ; their maker, preserver, benefactor, ruler, and disposer. How happy to realize his power, his wisdom, his goodness, his infinite perfection and blessedness; and to own him as the only fountain of happiness to his creatures ! To view him as the moral governor and legislator of all intelligent beings; to realize his inspection and perfect discernment of our actions and hearts ; and to be impressed with a sense of his purity, justice, and truth.

It is highly beneficial to know the extent of human obligation, and to see the exceeding breadth of the divine law. True, this might well excite an awful apprehension of God's displeasure, on account of the evidence of our deficiency as to every part of duty; and of our great guilt and depravity: and might lead us to dread his displeasure, to endure which, in a future state, would be still worse than the loss of being and consciousness; but then, the gospel affords ample relief, as it discovers God's secret designs of mercy to sinners; and the way his wisdom has planned to exercise mercy, in perfect consistency with justice. Thus, exalted ideas of the person of Christ, and a sense of the suitableness and fitness of his mediation, and of the plan of redemption, as adapted to glorify God in the highest, while peace is published on earth, tend to enlarge the soul. “He that spared not his own Son, , how shall he not also with him freely give us all things ?” Rom. viii. 32. v. 9, 10. Phil. iv. 13. 19. Eph. iii. 20. Well may believers enlarge their expectations. To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, is the way to be filled with all the fulness of God; to know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his

inheritance in the saints, tends to enlarge the soul. To know the efficacious power of his grace to renew and sanctify the soul, will surely enlarge our desires after personal conformity to him. To have enlarged views of his avowed design to bring all nations to the obedience of faith, and cause all flesh to see his glory, should excite to correspondent exertions, that we may share the honor of extending his kingdom, How should we be concerned to have enlarged ideas of the perfection and perpetuity of future happiness, when an innumerable multitude of redeemed souls shall unite in the praises of God and the Lamb, and appear spotless and faultless before the throne !

Holy beings, who never knew sin or misery themselves, shall learn more of God, by contemplating the work of human redemption, than from all his other works, and will unite their praises with ours. Oh then, let all believers realize the propriety of this apostolic charge. “Be ye also enlarged.” Be enlarged in your views of the divine glory, and in your concern for its fuller display; in bringing you even on earth to much greater conformity to God ; that

you may love him more, delight in him more, admire him more, serve him more, resemble him more, glorify him more, and enjoy him more. You are not straitened in him; he has not said, You shall never be more spiritual, more devout, more heavenly-minded, more holy, more happy. But, he has said, “ Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

To him that hath shall be given.” “Open wide thy mouth, and I will fill it.” Christ's fulness is inexhaustible. Out of that fulness may you receive, and grace for grace. larged in your active benevolence; in your zeal for the honor of Christ, and love to precious souls.

It is a blessed thing that you ever received the gospel from the East; it is a more blessed thing to send it back to the remotest regions of the East, and spread it further West; for “ It is more blessed to give, than to receive.” Surely, if

you love Christ, you will want greater numbers to know him, love him, and enjoy him. Can you think your salvation will be honor enough for him? Do you not want him to be

Be en

honored in the salvation of millions more? Can

you

find more noble and delightful employment for what he has given you, than to give it him again ? especially, to be used in a way more to his honor than the gold and silver which built Solomon's temple. He does not need your services ; but he will graciously accept and reward them. It is an honor to be numbered with his loyal subjects and cordial friends. Is it not enough to enlarge your expectations, and animate your exertions, to be assured that one in your nature is seated at the right hand of God, and has all power in heaven and earth? Dread the curse of Meroz. He that is not for God is against him. Come up then, to the help of the Lord; to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

CVIII.

SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD.

2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The Apostle, in the preceding context, is warning Christians especially, against entering into the closest of all civil connexions with unbelievers. He had, in his first Epistle, (Chap. vii.) given directions to those who were married before their conversion to Christianity, and taught them that they were not obliged to separate from an unbelieving partner, as the Jews had been under the Old Testament. Ezra x. 3. This was not required, now the gospel was sent among all nations, on account especially of the consequences as to children. But as to forming new connexions, he exhorts not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This would doubtless be most of all improper, in case of absolute idolatry ; and would be almost as bad with avowed rejectors of revelation in the present day, or with the despisers of serious religion, or enemies to the most important truths of scripture. Yea, if the case were not so bad as any of these, a connexion

between a real Christian and one destitute of the

grace

of God, is likely to be uncomfortable and injurious to the believer. If affection be not injured by the difference of taste, the enticements of the unbeliever will be likely to be more ensnaring. If a strong opposition is not made to duty, yet the want of all delight in it must be some hindrance. There can be no thorough co-operation as to family duty ; no strengthening of each other's hands in God; no confidence of attention to the best interests of children, if the believer dies first; and a dismal, painful fear of an endless parting. If there had been no absolute rule, these considerations might almost supply the place of one.

But here is a rule, which if it be wilfully disregarded, it is well if plenty of trouble and sorrow be the worst part of the consequences. The excuses of those who wish to violate it are very frivolous. But the Apostle appears to extend his caution in these words, and to inculcate a more general separation from the world, alluding, I suppose, to Isaiah lii. 2. and enforcing the charge by a gracious promise in the name of the Lord.

Let us consider the words as containing, First, A solemn charge. “Come ye out from the midst of them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing.”

What is the import of this charge, and how far does it extend ? It never was the design of our Lord to enjoin it on his disciples to forsake society, and to retire into deserts, as some began to do in the third century; nor yet that they should dwell together in separate cities or settlements of their own. The Christians,” said Justin, “in the middle of the second century, are distinguished from the rest of mankind ; neither by country, nor by language, nor by civil customs. They neither dwell any where in cities of their own, nor do they use any particular dialect, nor lead any peculiar course of life ; but, inhabiting both Grecian and Barbarian cities, as it is the lot of each, follow the customs of the natives as to clothing and diet; and in the rest of life they manifest the marvellous and confessedly paradoxical state of their polity. They dwell in their native countries, but as sojourners. They take their share in all things like citizens,

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and they endure all things like foreigners. Every foreign clime is their country; and every country where they were born, is a foreign clime. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh ; they pass their time upon earth, but they have their citizenship in heaven. They yield obedience to the appointed laws, and in their own lives they surpass the laws; they love all, and are persecuted by all; they are dishonored, and they glory in those disgraces; they are reviled, and they are justified; they are slandered, and they bless. Doing good, they are punished as evil; being punished, they rejoice as if it put new life into them,” &c. Epistle to Diognetus. They are not taught to disregard the civil interests of the country in which they dwell. The Jews were commanded to seek the welfare of Babylon ; much more are Christians. Yet there is a patriotism which is inconsistent with true Christianity, no doubt. They are not to show a morose, unfriendly disposition to individuals ; nor to neglect acceptable duties. But they are called to withdraw their affections from earthly objects, to mortify the love of worldly enjoyments, and conquer the fear of temporal sufferings. They are to bear testimony against the idolatry, the wickedness, the opposition to God, which abounds in the world ; to avow their belief of the humbling truths of the gospel ; their heartfelt union to Christ; their readiness to obey his will in all things. They are authorized and directed to form separate societies, for the purpose of honoring God, and edifying one another. And to these should each individual join himself, who has opportunity. It becomes them to act toward each other, as those who are united by peculiar affection, and in a

It becomes them to conform to nothing which the word of God condemns; however common, fashionable, or reputable ; and to neglect nothing which their Lord has enjoined, however singular, unfashionable, or despised. They must treat sin as the most polluting thing in the world, and abstain from whatever would tend to defile their minds, dishonor their profession, or grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom they are sealed to the day of redemption. They must remember continually, how soon all that is on earth will come to an end. This is not their rest, but a rest remains, a holy rest;

common cause.

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