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implanted in the soul, grace can neither be observed nor maintained without much care and pains. There is such a mass of corruption, such a powerful principle of unbelief and legality, as tend to keep faith out of view. Satan's temptations, like thick clouds, so darken the mind as to render it unfit for observing the workings of faith. The great duty of self-examination is necessary. Without this we can scarcely expect to know ourselves aright. Paul frequently enjoined it, and diligently practised it. Most memorable is his exhortation to the Corinthians, “ Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves : know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" Peter urged the same duty, “ Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:” and points out the happy effects of it, “ for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” We cannot expect the end without using the means.
If we would have the apostle's attainments, we should walk in his steps. Our duty and interest, our peace and consolation, loudly call us to strict examination of our own hearts. Habitually neglecting this duty, no one has present evidence that he has committed his soul to Christ, and cannot appropriate the words of the text.
He must be acquainted with Christ. His knowledge of the Redeemer must be in the light of the Scriptures. He must have an inward revelation of him, as well as an outward. He must be acquainted with him in the light of the Holy Ghost. No man can
call Jesus Lord but by the Spirit, or see him worthy of being entrusted with the soul. However much Gospel hearers have heard of Christ, when the Spirit makes a discovery of him, it will be new and astonishing, inviting and refreshing. Then they may say with Job, “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee.” They will be sensible that flesh and blood could not reveal the Redeemer. Their acquaintance must be experimental. All who have resigned their souls unto Christ, have deep experience that they need him, and that he is suited to their condition; that they are weaned from every other refuge, and ardently desire him. If they are believers of any standing, they will have some experience that he answers to the gracious characters of the Priest and Prophet of his church, and the King and Keeper of his people.
He must presently believe. No man can know in whom he has believed, and be persuaded that Christ was worthy of former trust, without seeing him deserving present trust. He who has formerly resigned his soul to Christ will see present faith to be his highest interest, as well as duty. Former faith lodged the soul in the Saviour's hands, and present believing recognizes the former deed, and, if we might use the phrase, keeps it there.
He must have great gratitude. The man who gives his perishing soul to be kept and saved by the Redeemer, must be thankful that he receives it. Faith never speaks of Christ but in the language of gratitude. It receives him as God's unspeakable gift, and stirs up all that is within the soul to bless the great Giver. Praise is the chief exercise of heaven,
| and will be attempted here by all who know whom
they have believed. The song above is, “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever:" and it should be begun below. There, they are in full possession. Here, saints of the apostle's attainments have absolute certainty of complete salvation.
Believers, you have resigned your souls to Christ. He has received them. He will be faithful to his trust. The Lord is honoured. You are happy. Your enemies are foiled, and salvation is sure. Rejoice in the Lord. Again I say rejoice. You will never find the Redeemer's kindness decrease. The creatures are fickle. You can never be certain of finding them as you left them. You will always find him full of grace and truth. He is immutable, and rests in his love. He says (and you should believe it) “ with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you: the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you." His gifts and callings are without repentance. If he frowns, it is because he loves you. All things shall work together for your good. Never distrust him. Rely on his word. Faithful is he that has promised. He has given grace, and he will give glory. You should do something for him, who has done so much for you. Walk worthy of him. Submit to his will. Put no harsh constructions on his conduct. Prize his ordinances. Press after communion with him. Commend him to others. Pray without ceasing for
the prosperity of his interest. Give him no rest till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Be strong in faith. Trust him in views of every trial, and death itself. Comfort yourselves with those words, we shall be ever with the Lord; for he is able to keep that which we have committed to him.
And what are you to do with your souls, O sinners! The Redeemer has sought them, and you have refused. He beseeches you now to be reconciled. He stands and knocks, seeking access to your hearts. Will you always oppose his gracious design? Will you always destroy yourselves ? What will you do in the hour of death ? How can you dwell with everlasting burnings! Satan now lulls you asleep. Continuing in your sins, he will eternally upbraid and torment you. For the Lord's sake believe. Commend your souls to Christ without delay. Take the relief the Gospel offers. Cast yourselves at the Saviour's feet; and cry for mercy. Do not delay till you are better prepared. Come as you
However great your sins may be, he will blot them out as a thick cloud. If you still refuse, there will be a melancholy and irremediable difference between you, and such as have resigned their souls to Christ in the important and critical hour of death. You will have nothing but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation. They will gently fall asleep in Jesus, and enter into endless rest. Therefore mark, and timeously imitate the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; but the transgressors shall be destroyed together. Sinners, think on THAT DAY!
ZECHARIAH IV. 6.
This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying,
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
THE Jews were at this time building the second temple. The work met with great opposition; but the builders were indefatigable. Constrained by love, they submitted to the greatest hardships with alacrity, and their diligence was invincible. The Lord encouraged them. He commissioned this and another prophet to speak a word in season. They assured the builders, in the name of the Lord, that the work should be finished, and that the Messiah would dignify the temple with his own personal presence. Living nearer the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, they prophesied about him with increasing perspicuity. Haggai designed him the Glory of the latter house. Zechariah pointed him out as the Branch ever green, and flourishing—able to build his temple, and defend all who would come under his shadow. This prophet had different visions. Some were directed to Joshua, and this to Zerubbabel. The great design of it is, to assure the prophet, and