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the dictates of reason, and follow that light which lighteth every man who comes into the world; if he will not weigh with candour and impartiality the pretensions of our holy religion; if he stifle the suggestions of that good spirit which prompts him to repentance; in the prospect of everlasting wretchedness, or inexpressible felicity, has no influence upon his conduct; he must not expect, that, for his sake, a miracle will be wrought-he must not imagine, that, like Elijah, he will be taken up to heaven by violence, in a chariot of fire. He resists the motives to obedience, which are best adapted to the nature of rational beings, who are to be responsible for their conduct. His condemnation, therefore, will be just. He will have no right to complain, when he hears that dreadful sentence, "Because "I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at "nought all my counsel, and would none of my re"proof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock "when your fear cometh."
If, therefore, it be left to our own discretion, either to receive or reject the offers of divine mercy; and if, consequently, we are proper subjects for reward or punishment; let us abhor that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good. Since we are called upon, in this day of grace and salvation, to choose whom we will serve, let us determine, with Joshua, to serve the Lord our God. Happy will be the result of this determination.
For we observe, in the last place, the gracious promise of our Lord, conveyed in the concluding words of the text; "If any man hear my voice, and open the
"door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, " and he with me." Blessed is that soul which enjoys this intimate communion with the greatest and best of all Beings! To be called the friend of God, was a distinguishing appellation of the patriarch Abraham ; but our gracious Lord has said to all his disciples, "Ye are my friends, if ye do what I command you." What manner of love is this! What astonishing condescension is here displayed to all those who receive and obey the Gospel! He who is the Head of all principality and power, reveals himself to us in the character of a companion, a friend, and brother. His faithful people are connected together in the bonds of unity and love: nor is the union less intimate with him, who is the Head of the Church, and from whom the whole body derives nourishment and strength. This heavenly intercourse is carried on by meditation; by prayer; by receiving the holy communion; by hearing the word of God and obeying it, from a real principle of piety. The requisite qualifications, on our part, are faith, humility, gratitude, and love. The happy consequences are these; we are more and more assimilated to the divine nature; the same mind dwells in us, which was also in Christ Jesus. We We grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. have a leader, under whose guidance our spiritual adversaries will in the end be effectually subdued. We have a friend to support us under every perplexity; and, in all our temporal calamities, to inspire us with an inward and spiritual joy, which is unspeakable and full of glory. This happy state of the saints and servants of God is thus described in the strong and
beautiful language of the Psalmist: "The Lord is "my Shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing. He "feeds me in green pastures, and leads me forth "beside the waters of comfort. He anoints my head "with oil, and my cup runneth over. His loving"kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord " for ever."
Since, therefore, the great Author of our religion continually calls us to serious consideration and amendment of life, by the manifestations of his power and goodness in the works of creation, by the admonitions of his word, by the suggestions of his Spirit, and by the daily dispensations of his Providence; let us be persuaded to attend to the heavenly call. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. Cherish every religious impression which may at any time be made upon your souls. When God speaks, be not so inconsiderate as to turn disrespectfully away. When he offers to weak and unworthy mortals, life and immortality, be not so thoughtless and ungrateful as to spurn the blessing from you.
Life and death are now placed before you. The way of virtue and piety leads to life; but, the wise man assures us, that the paths of sin go down to the gates of death. You may choose freely; and according to the choice which you make, you will be punished or rewarded; you will be miserable or happy for
Blessed is that man who, rejecting all other dependence, seeks the peculiar friendship and protection of
God, as his best portion, and most permanent inheritance. In life, he will want nothing that is really good; in the valley of the shadow of death, he will have a rod and a staff to comfort him; he will go from strength to strength, till he appears before God in Sion.
The Nature, Necessity, and Advantages of Trust in
PSALM xxxvii. 5.
Commit thy way unto the Lord, and put thy trust in him.
THAT we are creatures entirely dependent upon God; that in him we live, and move, and have our being, and that we ought to be sensible of this our dependent state, is a truth which, it is to be supposed, none of us, in a moment of serious consideration, will be inclined to deny. Whenever they speak of their creation, preservation, and the various blessings of this life, all the holy men of old, whose praise is recorded in Scripture, ascribe every blessing to the superintending care and goodness of God: their common language is, "He hath given me life, and his visitation hath pre"served my spirit. It is of the Lord's mercies that we "are not consumed. He openeth his hand, and filleth "all things living with plenteousness. Trust in him "for ever, and he will be thy strength.
Cast thy care
upon him, for he careth for thee. Commit thy way “unto him, and he will guide thee by his presence, "and conduct thee to glory."