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guished eminence in the kingdom of God; and, in the wildness of your phrensy, call upon them by name, and beseech them, by former connections and all the intimacy and endearment that once, subsisted between them and you, to intercede for your admission. I can tell you, too, what answer you would receive: “ I know you not whence you are; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.”O my unhappy friends! what a pitiable situation would you then be in!-to be denied even another look at those you once so dearly loved ; denied the poor privilege of standing near the gate ! -to be driven away with a frown and a curse; and
I can go no further ; but I wish you would: for all this will as surely happen as the sun will go down this night. Look back on the glorious and blessed society you shall be shut out from; and then look down into the bottomless pit, and see the. wretches that you are to be shut up with for ever, -I hope the sight will shock you. I hope you do already tremble at the dreadful danger, and wish any one would advise you what you should do to prevent being shut out from God, and Christ, and angels, and saints, and all the glory and blessedness of heaven.--I will advise you what to do:
1. Associate with those now, with whom you would wish to live hereafter.
It is an ancient saying, and common to a proverb, that “a man is known by his company: and according to his chosen companions here, will probably be his appointed companions hereafter. It is a remarkable expression of Scripture to this purpose, that when any die, whether saints
or sinners, they are said to be “gathered to their people.” Thus, concerning pious, faithful Abraham, it is said (Gen. xxv. 8,) that “ he died in a good old age, and was gathered to his people”that is, he was added to the spirits of the just made perfect: and concerning Ishmael it is said (ver. 17,) that when he died he was “ gathered to his people” --that is, to those who, like him, had been scoffers and revilers of religion and its professors. affect the company of those only who are “ lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God;” if you " walk in the counsel of the ungodly, and stand in the way of sinners ;” and are happy no longer than whilst you are out upon some party of amusement;.--why then, these are your people; and to them you will be gathered when you
die. may not find their company so entertaining then ; for in the grave, and beyond the grave, there are no pastimes, no kill-times, to be met with. But, I repeat it again, and I would repeat it a thousand times over rather than you should not take notice of it, that if you will make these your chosen and chief companions here, you shall be shut up with them for ever.
You may not run with them to the same excess of riot; you may even shudder at the lengths that some of them go, and the daring liberties they take with God's holy laws and God's holy day,
No matter --- it is dangerous to be much with them; the “ companion of fools” shall be destroyed. - You know what God said to Israel concerning Babylon ; “Come out of her, my people; that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of ber plagues.” (Rev. xviii. 4.) So would I say to you, " Have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness." A separation there must be, or the consequences will be fatal. ' If you are determined to conform to the world, and run with the multitude, and do as the generality do now, you must be content to fare as they do hereafter.-In short, if you will spend all your time with them in mirth and jollity, you shall surely spend an eternity with them in weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
If you are shocked at the thought of this; if you would rather die the death of the righteous, and have your last end like theirs; you must live like them, and live with them. You must be companions of them that fear God, and of them that keep bis precepts. You must not only keep their compapany, but you must love their company. You must be able to say of the saints, as the Psalmist did,
They are the excellent of the earth, in whom is all my delight.” (Ps. xvi. 3.) You must be able to prefer an hour spent in social prayer, or serious conversation with a poor disciple of Christ, to a thousand merry-meetings with the carnal and profane. If this seem irksome to you, if you have no relish for such company; you would have no relish for heaven; and without a change by grace, you will never get there. Therefore,
2. Pray earnestly that you may be “ renewed in. the spirit of your minds."
For if you do not see these things through a glass darkly now, you will never see them face to face hereafter; if you die in all the blindness of your natural state, you will continue blind for ever. The cure must be performed here or not at all; for
Verily, verily, I say unto you," and it was
Christ himself that said it), "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John iii. 3.) You can have no more conception of the beauties and glories of heaven, than a man born blind can conceive of the beauties of a rainbow. Pray, therefore, for spiritual illumination : let it be your first and your last prayer, “ Lord, that I may receive my sight--that the eyes of my understanding being enlightened, I may know what is the hope of thy calling, and what the riches of the glory of the inheritance of the saints :"
“ O might I once mouut up
How despicable to my eyes!"
They would be so indeed. Could you, through faith's telescope, look within the vail, and see what God hath laid up for them that love him; could you see what shall be done to the man whom God delighteth to honour ; could you see the robes, the crowns, the thrones, the dignity and blessedness, of glorified saints : you would never relish the paltry profits and pleasures of this world any more: you would turn away from them with contempt and disgust as trifles not worth looking at. But this is not to be expected, without enlightening, purifying, renewing grace ; for the “natural man re. ceiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. ii. 14.) If, therefore, you have any desire to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light hereafter, you must be turned from darkness to light here: you must begin to see, though it be but im
perfectly; though you only see men as trees walking, yet something you must see ; you must be able to perceive a beauty and excellency in divine things, infinitely superior to any thing you had any notion of before ; you must have such glimpses and glances of spiritual objects, as shall make you indifferent to every thing else. It may give you pleasure to hear, that it is one part, and a principal part, of Christ's commission, to open blind eyes : and as he is now passing by, seize the precious opportunity, and cry, as blind Bartimeus did, “ Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Mighty Redeemer ? set me free
From my old state of sin :
my soul alive to thee;
And mould my heart afresh;
And turn the stone to flesh !
From sin, and earth, and hell,
I would for ever dwell.”
3. I observe that we are not to look for perfect knowledge, or perfect satisfaction, here :
For “ now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face !" In the present state, God doth not so much feed the senses, as exercise the faith, of his people. Somewhat, indeed, they have now; just enough to support and refresh them in the wil. derness; but it is at best but as “ the earnest and first-fruits" of their inheritance : “ for we are saved by hope ; but hope that is seen, is not hope: for