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revelation, and strangers to its influence over their passions and their lives. It is possible for men to abhor the imputation of infidelity, and loudly and zealously to asseverate their concern for revealed religion, while the testimony of that religion is in fact disowned, and while there remains within them unconquered, “ an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” Ye, who are the friends of the world, who are the lovers of pleasure more than of God, who do not crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts, and who strive not, as your great and first business, to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,- I tell you, ye have not yet believed the word of the Most High; ye have lived, and are living at this very moment, animated by the spirit, and ranged in the number of its foes! To the voice of revelation you have not listened, to its supremacy you have not bowed, its doctrines you have not embraced,—its requirements you have not fulfilled ; by you, therefore, revelation is impugned and insulted ; and against you, therefore, revelation utters its threatenings of condemnation and of woe. Deceive not yourselves with the notion that you live, while you are dead; think not that because you wage no open war with the ordinances of Christianity, and dare not labour for its destruction, you are guiltless and secure : because you have neglected, because you have forgotten, because you have not given your hearts to God, the brand of the infidel is
upon you ; you are.“ condemned already,” and
will at last, if you rise not to a new existence, be assigned to the “ place of torment,” where no drop of water will ever cool the scorching flame of the “ everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels !”
-Then, my hearers, the only conclusion to which you can come, a conclusion I now urge earnestly and finally on you all, is, that for the purpose of averting a doom of vengeance, and securing an immortality of glory, you must render a full and cordial credit to the divine counsel, and feel and perform all that is meant by receiving it “ not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God.” Obey from the heart the form of doctrine which has been delivered ; rest implicitly and solely for acceptance on the merits of that Saviour who is able to save to the uttermost; labour constantly that you may be holy in all manner of conversation, and walk blamelessly in the commandments of the Lord; prepare diligently for the coming of the Judge, who shall at last appear in his glory, and summon all nations to his bar. In the holy record whose verities you thus cherish, whose spirit you thus imbibe, and whose purposes you thus fulfil, you will find all that can direct, console, dignify, and bless, until you are fitted to associate with higher beings in higher regions, and are exalted to the enjoyments it has revealed,—the inheritance of “ everlasting life.” I do then conjure you, in one simple but emphatic exhortation, by all that is dear and valuable to your intelligent and immortal nature, believe and hold fast the testimony of God :—may the Spirit of grace put forth his might, to convince and control you, and guide you by his own truth, to the full salvation of the soul !
MATTHEW xix. 27-29.
Then answered Peter, and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee: what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
That it is of the first importance for man, to ascertain what is the precise character he sustains in relation to eternity, and by what attributes he may be prepared for future happiness, is a proposition which none can reasonably refuse to admit. Yet an observation of human conduct cannot but present to us the extended existence, as to spiritual subjects, of awful negligence, or of gross and fatal mistake. Man is apt to form an estimate directly contrary to that which ought to be deduced : to“ call evil good, and good evil; to put darkness for light, and light for darkness; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” His mind must be placed under higher direction ; he must
receive the guidance of Him who is the author of being, or he never will obtain the possession of real good, either for the life that now is, or for the life that is to come.
The communications of divine truth we possess, were given to supply our defects, and to prepare us, by purity and devotion on earth, for exaltation and happiness in heaven. This is the uniform design of the entire record; and in the dispensation introduced by the personal teaching and example of the Son of God, there is collected all that can regulate our principles and passions, and lead us in the
ways of peace. The events of his own life, and the intercourse he held with the beings among whom he for a season dwelt, were made wholly subservient to one great purpose. In the words now presented for attention, it is emphatically pursued; and to be rightly impressed with their contents, is to attain that state of mind, which secures for us the enjoyments of eternity. Regarding it as conducive to this momentous result, we shall be led to the consideration of three propositions : That to be the followers of the Saviour, is to sustain a character of high and essential importance:that in sustaining this character, painfulsacrifices must often be made :—and, that present sacrifices in the cause, and as the followers, of the Saviour, are to issue in a glorious reward.
I. THAT TO BE THE FOLLOWERS OF THE