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ceived it? [1 Cor. iv. 7.] Whatever we are, it is by the grace of God we are what we are. [1 Cor. xv. 10.] We are his workmanship." The whole is from him, by him, and must be ascribed to him. Besides, the remainders of our old nature afford us daily cause of abasement before God, and call upon us to say continually, even in our highest attainments, 'I am nothing.'
Secondly, Zeal. For when holiness is the aim, we cannot be too zealously affected. We need not fear excess here. We cannot love God too much, or serve him beyond the bounds of duty. An unbounded field is before us. 'God's commandments are exceeding broad.' [Psal. cxix. 96.] Blessed are they who keep them with their whole heart, [Psal. cxix. 2.] and labour for this as the one thing needful,' that every hour they advance towards the kingdom, they may grow into a greater meetness for it; until all their fervent effectual prayers and labours are answered, the kingdom comes;' and perfect holiness and perfect happiness, in God and with' God, become their everlasting portion.
2 PETER I. 10.
GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.
I HAVE been endeavouring to set before you the nature, and to convince you of the necessity of holiness. A task in these days the more needful, when by some persons vice is called. virtue; when in others Satan is 'transformed into an angel of light; and when most people act as if indeed heaven was open for all men,' and
the gate no longer strait or the way narrow.Beware that ye also be not led away by the error of the wicked. (2 Pet. iii. 17.) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.' (Col. iii. 16.) Bring. every assertion to be proved thereby; every doctrine to its test; every prescription for your conduct to its commands. "If any speak not according to this rule there is no light in them.’ (Isa. viii. 20.) You will then find that the great end God proposes is, "that the man of God should be perfect, throughly furnished for every good work; (2 Tim. iii. 17.), and you will receive kindly the exhortation and set diligently about the practice of his commandments; and earnestly endeavour to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, Phil. 1. 12.] giving, all diligence to make your calling and election sure.' (2 Pet. i. 10.) The means and the end are
inseparably connected. Though 'God worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure, [Phil. ii. 13.] and every good and every perfect gift cometh from above; [James i. 17.] yet must we 'be workers together with God.' He does not act upon us as machines, but as men stirs us up to labour, strive, wrestle, press towards the mark. Our diligence must not be the less, because it is his power alone which can strengthen our weakness; but the greater, because he will give more grace to those who improve the measure he hath bestowed on them. "Be strong therefore in the Lord, and in the power of his might.' [Eph. vi. 10.] God hath himself pointed out the way wherein we should go, and promised his blessing upon the diligent use of the means. Our business therefore is to be found waiting upon God in his instituted way. And so doing we shall not fail to 'grow in grace, through the more abundant supply of the Spirit of Christ ministered unto us, [Phil. i. 19.]
Whoever then would increase in holiness, and be growing up into his image in all things, 'who is our head, even Christ,' [Eph. iv. 15.] must be found in the use of the following means of grace; namely, diligent attention to God's word, meditation upon it, examination by it, prayer, mutual communication, and solemn covenanting with Christ at his table.
First. A chief means of grace is the word of God heard or read. Its promises must constrain us, its threatnings over-awe us, its commands direct, its prohibitions restrain us. But this effect cannot be produced farther than our hearts are attentive to it. If then we know not the scriptures, we must err from the way, and our conduct be guided by other maxims than the truth of God, And this is indeed the ground of
all our sin and misery, that we have left the ora cles of divine revelation, to follow the devices of our corrupted hearts. To the word therefore,
and to the testimony. Search the scriptures.? (John v. 39.) This is the way to eternal life.→ And this must be done diligently. The matters they contain are infinitely important to us, and deserve our deepest attention. When you read the scriptures therefore, you must seek for the truth as for silver, and search for it as for hid treasures.' (Prov. ii. 4.) Your eyes 'must pre vent the night-watches' to be occupied in the blessed work; that you may know God's will and walk in it. You should do it throughly.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God.' From the Alpha to the Omega we are to consider the precious truths, as all of them 'profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in right cousness. (2 Tim. iii. 16) And to compare spiritual things with spiritual.' (I Cor. ii, 13.) And this daily. The word of God must be our con tinual study. O how I love thy law, all the day long is my study in it.' (Psal. cxix. 97.) For this the Bereans were so highly commended, that they searched the scriptures daily. (Acts xvii. 11.) Indeed what is so proper, what so needful for us as this, that we should begin our days with inquiring at God's mouth, and conclude them with his counsel? For when thou sleepest it shall keep thee, and when thou awakest it shall talk with thee.' (Prov. vi. 22.) Add also, seriously. The matter is weighty; eternity depends upon it. It is God's voice is heard. Let the heart stand in awe of him. Mr. Boyle had so great a reverence for God's word, that he used to read it upon his knees. We should at least feel a temper as deeply serious as that posture implied; and withal rumbly." Speak, Lord,
for thy servant heareth,' must be our language. Not caviling, but obeying; not curious, but submissive; then shall we find the power of God present in his word, and its effects upon our hearts weighty and influential. We shall daily be cast into its mould; and God's holy word will produce holy tempers in us.
! Secondly. Let your meditations thereon be sweet and frequent, if you would grow thereby.. It is having the truth rooted in our hearts, (as the seed covered up fixes in the ground) that makes it bring forth fruit unto holiness. Many hearers of the word, like men beholding their natural face in the glass, go away straight and forget what manner of persons they were.' (James i. 24.) But we are charged to keep these words in our hearts, to talk of them when we sit in our house, and when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise up." (Deut. vi, 7.) It is by setting God in his word always before us, that we shall not be moved." It is for want of this that the devil so often cometh and taketh the word, 'like the seed which fell by the way side, (Matt. xiii, 4.) out of our hearts. Treasure up the truths you read and hear. Go forth with this for your meditation through the day. See whether you can say with the Prophet, Thy words were found by me, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.' (Jer. xv. 16.) What digestion is to our food, that is meditation to the word; it makes it incorporate into our substance, and minister nourishment, strength and conso
lation to us.
Thirdly, Call heart often to deep and se your rious examination by it. Prove your ownselves, know your ownselves," (2 Cor. xiii. 5. is the apostolic injunction, and most highly ne