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wherever they are found, be gracious evidences that you are not christians "in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth." For if you are such,
(1.) You will have a hearty approbation of the holy law of God. Though it cannot be a covenant of life to you, it ceases not to be a rule of obedience, and you will acknowledge it to be "holy and just and good," however contrary to your “carnal mind, and the law of your mem bers which warreth against it." (Rom. vii. 23.) Far therefore from esteeming its prohibitions ar bitrary, its commands severe, or its sanctions rigorous, you will say with the Psalmist, "I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right." (Psalm cxix. 128.) And this view will make you "delight in the law of God after the inner man." (Rom. vii. 22.) so as to count it your greatest joy could you wholly be conformed to its blessed precepts. Your language will be, "O that my ways were made so direct, that I may keep thy statutes." (Psalm cxix. 5.)
(2.) You will have a single eye to please God in all you do. This shews there is written upon your heart, Holiness unto the Lord." If you are Christ's, you will have the simplicity which is in Christ.". An eye directed straight forwards, and examining, "what will the Lord have me to do?" A sincere desire to please him in all things a constant regard to the prints of his feet, and a purpose of soul to follow him in the narrow path of strict universal obedience. For "he that saith he abideth in him, must himself walk as Christ also walked." (1 John ii. 6.) And where this is the case, you will find a daily increasing victory over the world; and a grow ing purpose never to turn to the right hand or to N 2
the left after any of the golden baits, which plea-' sure; gain or honour may strew around you, in order to catch your eye and ensnare your heart. And hereby you will keep a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man ;" (Acts xxiv. 16.) at least it will be your daily study to do so. In order to which you can allow yourself in the commission of no known sin, or the omission of any known duty, but inquiring "what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God;" [Rom. xii. 2.] you will be not only a hearer, but a doer of it.' [James i. 25.] You will be able to appeal to the heart-searching God, that his law is your delight.' [Psal. cxix. 70.] You will have confidence towards him, in the consciousness of an unfeigned inten-' tion to please him; and it will give you habitual satisfiedness that your soul is right with him, whilst you can thus say, "Search me, O Lord, and try the ground of my heart; prove me and examine my thoughts: look well if there be any way of wickedness in me; and lead me in the way everlasting." [Psal. cxxxix, 23, 24.] Yea it will be the very "joy and rejoicing of your heart," to be assured, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, you have your conversation in the world." [2 Cor. i. 12.]
(3.) If holiness be in your heart, then you will feel with a most tender sensibility the least thing which would grieve God's holy spirit in you. Your conscience will be as the apple of your eye. Have you never felt the acute pain that but a particle of dust occasions, when irritating the coats of that tender organ, and observed the carefulness you used to prevent such an accident, or your solicitude to remove it ? Such is the sensibility in the soul of a believer
with regard to sin: the eye of his spiritual mind cannot suffer beams there; it must destroy his faculty of vision soon: no outward notorious sins can possibly be indulged. If a " presumptuous sin ever gets dominion over him," it darkens all his hopes towards God, and its dire effects within are too sadly evident. It usually for the time blinds the eyes and hardens the heart but a mote will be grievous to the holy soul. He counts nothing little which is offensive to the pure "" eyes of that God with whom he hath to do." Hence the very thoughts of his heart are under restraint. A sudden evil imagination afflicts him: "If," says he, "I regard iniquity within, shall not God search it out? For he knoweth the very secrets of the heart.' [Psal. xliv. 21.] He fain would keep himself. pure in heart, and have "a house swept and gar nished," continually to welcome the divine inhabitant of his soul.
(4.) This will make you, if you are true-hearted, very careful to "abstain from all approaches to evil. [1 Thess. v. 22.] Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned ?" [Prov. vi. 27.] No more may you presume to put yourself into the way of temptation. The vices themselves may shock you, when the steps which lead to them appear innocent. innocent. It is often said, It is often said, "What harm can there be in this?" When, in fact, all the harm which usually overwhelms us comes from small and unperceived beginnings. beginning of sin is as the breaking out of water." [Prov. xvii. 14.] If once a small. breach is made, every drop which passes through widens it. The innocent amusements, as they are called, the necessary business of the world, and customary civilities of it, seem very allowable, nay laudable; and yet I may venture to affirm,
that more souls perish by what appears to be lawful, than by what is acknowledged to be vicious. If you would be pure in heart, therefore, the pleasures of sense, however innocent; the things of the world, however needful; and the respect of it, however desirable, must be regarded with a jealous eye. We may not go out of the world" but we can be scarcely too sparing of the pleasures of it; too careful over the engagements of it; and too much weaned from its regards. We must be in the world ;" but the believing soul will not "be of the world."
(5.) Where true holiness is in the heart, there will be an abiding desire after its increase and perfection. Wherever a soul begins truly to love God, he will desire to love him more; and as he advances, his longings increase. A heart united to Jesus never thinks he can love him too much, or serve him too well: but he pants after higher degrees day by day; forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forward to those that are before." (Phil. iii. 13.) It is true, that "through the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright;" "we know but in part;" (1 Cor. xii. 9.) we love but in part; we obey but in part; but this our state of imperfection is our grief. We would be like God. We would be no longer ungrateful to him. We would be holy as he is holy in alk manner of conversation.' This is the spring of all those ardent prayers, that jealous self-examination, that desire of reproof, that serious inquiry into God's mind and will, which is the christian's daily walk. And so doing he doth "increase with the increase of God, going on unto perfection." (Coloss. ii. 19.)
(6.) The soul renewed in holiness aspires after its absolute and intire completion in heaven.
Heaven is the place of holiness it is the essence of that happy state, that there all "that is in part is done away, and that which is perfect is come." (1 Cor. xiii. 10.) We therefore that are in this tabernacle do groan earnestly, desiring to be absent from the body, that we may be present with the Lord. [2 Cor. v. 4, 5, 6.] For then seeing him as he is, we shall be like him. (1 John, iii. 2.) The man after God's own heart, shews how he was, and we ought to be affected: "My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God; when shall I come to appear in the presence of God?" [Psal. xliii. 2.] The chased roe, panting before its pursuers, and parched with heat and thirst, longed not more for the cooling stream, than his soul longed for this blessed state of happiness. All besides was little in his eye; his crown, his victories, his wealth, his fame, his honours, were trifles compared to this; he was content to part with them; he found no satisfaction in them; they were not his portion; one mighty longing filled his soul; and it was this, to "awake up in the fulness of God's likeness, and then he knew he should be satisfied with it.' (Psal. xvii. 15.)
Happy will it be for you, brethren, if such as I have described be the temper of your soul. You may then be assured you are alive to God; or in the language of St. Paul, “ you live, yet not you, but Christ liveth in you.' (Gal. ii. 20.) This is true holiness, and as distinct from all the daubings of Pharisaical outside, or hypocritical delusion, as the genuine brilliant differs from imitative paste. These are the works which "God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
I would conclude at present with these two cautions,