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In the gospel of CHRIST “all things are ready" for the sinner's reconciliation to God, and for his complete salvation. The feast is prepared, and we are sent to invite the guests; the provision is most rich and abundant; the invitations most urgent, and again and again renewed: “ But all with one consent begin to make excuse:” One must go to his farm, his oxen, his commerce, or estate; another to his pleasures and gratifications; another is so eager in pursuing and courting the praise of men, or the honour of high stations and connexions, that he cannot find time to seek “glory, and honour, and immortality” from God." LORD, who hath received our report?” This has been the complaint and the distressing enquiry, of the ministers of God, in every age; and may pe. culiarly be so at present. “A price is put into men's “ hands to get wisdom; but, alas! they have no heart

to it!"

Now what is the adequate remedy for this deplora. ble moral disease? the restorative from this death in sin, this love of the world, which is alienation from God? We answer, the life-giving regenerating Spirit of God, who is promised to all that ask the Father to bestow upon them this inestimable benefit.

As the ministers of God, we exhort and command you in his name, to repent, to forsake sin, to renounce your worldly idols, to break off your evil habits, to separate from ungodly company, to believe in Christ, to join yourselves to the LORD, and to walk in newness of life. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the un" righteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto " the Lord, and he will have mercy on him.” But you find a strong, and what some of you perhaps think an insuperable, reluctancy to all these particulars.--Now, you evidently want both will and power to do that, which yet your own consciences often suggest to you ought to be done. How exactly suited then is the promise of the text to your case! It is by the Holy Spirit that “God works in us to will and to “ do of his good pleasure," and, depending on his powerful aid, we call on you to “ work out your own sal"vation with fear and trembling.". You can do nothing effectual of yourselves, but you may “ do all

things through CHRIST thus strengthening you.

You often find much difficulty and perplexity respecting several doctrines of Christianity, and the controversies which are carried on about them; and

you are ready, if seriously enquiring after truth, to wish for an infallible guide. Behold then the Guide you wish for! even the Spirit of truth, whose office it is to guide you into all truth! And will our heavenly Father indeed give this Holy Spirit of truth and wisdom to any, to every one, that asks him? And is not this the

very thing you want, that you may understand the truth as it is revealed in Scripture, and be preserved from every delusion?

Even they, who by the grace of God, have surmounted these first hindrances, and are seriously endeavouring to walk with God, through Christ JE. sus, in all his holy ways, find great weakness and im. perfection in their endeavours: sin yet dwells within them; darkness and uncertainty oppress them; they are liable to many discouragements, and harassed by many temptations; in short they feel, painfully feel, their need of more complete sanctification, of clearer views, and a more established judgment; of greater strength against temptation, and of consolation under trials; indeed of every thing for which the Holy Spirit is here promised.

Now, if this be the case with you, I need not endeavour to prove, but only to remind you, that the promise is exactly what you want; and in proportion, as you experience its accomplishment, your light, and strength, and holiness, and joy will be augmented; you will be endued with wisdom, walk at liberty, obtain victories, abound in hope, and anticipate the felicity of heaven.

And now, in attempting a short application of this important subject, I would observe, that while a man continues hardened in pride, or disposed to scoff at these subjects, or to revile those who speak upon them; it cannot be expected he will pray for the Holy Spi. rit. Yet we must not limit the exhortations and invitations of the Gospel. We therefore call even on such characters as these, in the words of Wisdom, or of CHRIST, '“ How long, ye simple ones, will ye

love “simplicity, and scorners delight in your scorning, “ and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof. I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make “ known my words unto you.” But take heed that

you refuse not himn that speaketh,” lest he should be at length provoked to add; “Because I called and

ye refused; therefore ye shall eat of the fruit of your "own ways, and be filled with your own devices.”

Our business, however, my brethren, is to pray for you: and we call on you all to pray for yourselves, for each other, for the unconverted part of the congregation; for your children, servants, relations and neighbours, that “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus may “ make you free from the power of sin and death.”

But suppose a person convinced, that he must be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit, though not conscious that any change has been begun: for a man's understanding may be convinced by argument, that “ without holiness no man shall see the LORD," or enjoy a holy heaven, though he be still entirely destitute. of holiness. He may see the doctrine exemplified in some neighbour, friend, or relative; and admire, though he dislikes, the change. And he may apprehensions, that without a similar change he cannot be happy. Let then, I say, such an one not give way to temptation, not indulge prejudice, not smother his convictions, not quench the Spirit who is striving with him by these means: but let him without delay lift up

his heart to God, and plead the promise of the text: let him go home, retire to his closet, fall low on his knees, and earnestly and importunately renew the same request; beseeching God to give him his Holy Spirit, that he may be made wise, holy, and happy, by his new creating grace. Let him persevere in this course, and he will find his mind open, his heart soften, and his dislike to spiritual employments give VOL. 11.

II

also have uneasy

place to pleasure and satisfaction in them: for his nature being changed, he will then enjoy that element in which he could not live before,

We cannot go too low, in thus bringing the subject home to the hearts and consciences of sinners. From the first rising desire of knowing the way of salvation, and obtaining the favour of God, through all subsequent difficulties, perplexities, and trials; this promise should be depended on, and pleaded in earnest prayer: and we may without hesitation assure you, that thus you will find light and comfort, and relief, in every possible case. “ If any man will do the will of GOD, “ he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, “ or whether men speak of themselves.” If, there. fore, you desire to know and do the will of God, but are perplexed by the discordant opinions of those you converse with: practise what you now consider as your duty, and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you “ in the midst of the paths of judgment;” and you shall not pray in vain.

Perhaps some of you are convinced, that certain parts of your conduct should be altered; this or the other interest or indulgence given up, or self-denial exercised: but your passions are strong, and habits are not easily conquered; you form resolutions and break them; and at length you are ready to think“ repent“ ance, and works meet for repentance,” in your peculiar circumstances, at present impracticable. This, I apprehend, is no uncommon case; and many neglect religion on this ground, waiting perhaps for a more favourable opportunity, or thinking the difficulties is

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