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eyes of God or man.-In believing that there is one God, we have done well;— but the devils also believe and tremble.In acknowledging Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, -the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world—the Redeemer, - we have done well too,-but we know that the unclean spirits made the very same confession, and yet they are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.-Shall we place any secret confidence in that which might be pleaded by the infernal spirits as well as by ourselves ?-All this is, in fact, the mere“ form of godliness,”if we are really imbued with the “power” of it, very different will be the emotions with which we shall reflect upon the great mystery of the atonement.-It was “ for us men, and for our salvation,” that Christ came into the world. It was for our transgressions that he was wounded, “ he was bruised for our iniquities.”It was our griefs that he bore-our sorrows that he carried and the true Christian, while he estimates the heinousness of sin, by the costliness of the sacrifice it required, -will not fail to allow that in his own person, and in his own acts, he has himself “ crucified the Lord afresh.”
Now, how often, my brethren, do these thoughts occur to us !-How many are there among us, who can be said to feel what is justly called a personal interest in the merits of Christ ?- That is to say, how many are there who really have a practical conviction of their own unworthiness ;—who are aware that they are poor, and blind, and naked;— that for their “ evil deeds they do worthily deserve to be punished,”—and that it is only through the merits of Jesus that they can hope for pardon and favour?
No one can assert that such a conviction as this is universal,—no one can aver that the generality of mankind have any adequate idea, either of their natural depravity, or of their own individual guilt. -For where can we recognise the humility—where the self-abasement, where the utter abandonment of all reliance
upon self,—which such a belief must inevitably produce ?-We may allow that we are sinful—but so also are our neighbours :-we may grant that we are licentious-but then, our nature is weak: we may confess that we have broken God's laws—but then, they are too pure and spiritual to be strictly obeyed by any mere mortal and in this manner, by crying “ Peace, peace—when there is no peace"-we contrive to move smoothly down the broad way which leadeth to destruction, rather than encounter the temporary difficulties and trials of that narrow path, which would conduct us to everlasting life.
And now-why is it, let us ask ourselves, that we indulge in such destructive folly !_With the full knowledge of the service which God requires, and the conviction that it is our unquestionable interest to render that service, why do we hesitate one moment ?—Why do we not now-even now turn unto the Lord our God with sincere repentance and true faith ?- Are the consequences
trifling ?-Is it of little importance whether we do or do not serve him ? If the sufferings of eternal agony by a body made exquisitely sensible of pain - be a punishment we would wish to avoid,-- if the enjoyment of eternal and unmingled bliss by a spirit rendered susceptible of the most exalted happiness, be a reward that we should eagerly covet --then is our present lukewarmness and indifference worthy only of the irrational brutes.
But perhaps we have not the ability to do better ;—“ the spirit,” perhaps, “ is willing, but the flesh is weak.”— My brethren, let us not deceive our own souls. True,
“ we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves,”—but is there no one who has promised to keep us outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls ?—True, that by our own strength, we cannot one moment stand upright ;- but has not our God said that his grace shall prove abundantly sufficient for us?-Away then with every excuse, with every vain pretext. There can be none will bear the inspection of the Almighty,—none that will endure the scrutiny even of our conscience, if we will but give it fair opportunity to inquire.—Religion ought to be the first consideration of our lives :—that it is not so, we shall most of us be obliged to confess. Let it be our immediate
are to supply what is wanting. The days that are gone are sufficient to have spent in heedlessness and sin ;-let us now awake out of sleep and call upon our God, “ if so be that God will hear us, that we perish not.”
Christ, and Christ only, has the words of eternal life.—To whom should we betake ourselves but unto him ? -And how should we betake ourselves unto him, but by an entire surrender of ourselves, our souls and bodies, to his service ?—By renouncing every thing that is contrary to his law ;-by cultivating everything that is in conformity with his Gospel ;-by. imitating