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SERMON XXXIII.

COLOSSIANS iii. 2.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

By the favour and goodness of Almighty God, we, poor sinners, who are nothing of ourselves and have nothing that we can call our own, are permitted to look forward after a few years spent here on earth, to a world of blessedness and glory, where all is joy, and sorrow cannot come. Every thing has been made known to us in the Bible concerning that happy world which is prepared for the souls of the faithful, to make us desire to obtain it. If we would be perfectly happy, perfect happiness is only to be found in heaven if we

would be perfectly free from sufferings of the body, and sorrows of the soul, perfectly free from pain and sickness, from trouble and from sin, that perfect freedom is not to be known here on earth: it can only be hoped for, can only be enjoyed, in that world where misery cannot find an entrance, and where Satan has no power.

That we might enter into that blessed kingdom God has placed us here; upon our trial that we may give proofs to Him of our obedience, our love, and gratitude; and that having shewn ourselves faithful servants in this world, we may be received as sons into a better. When men by their sins had forfeited all hopes of the happiness which was thus prepared for them, and were all lost in the darkness of ignorance and wickedness, it pleased God in His Fatherly goodness to give us a Saviour, who came into the world to die for our sins, to deliver us from everlasting punishments, and to restore us again to the favour and the love of our offended Maker. How great, how unspeakably great has been His goodness to mankind! First, making

us without sin and preparing heaven for us, and then, when we had sinned and gone astray, giving His beloved Son to bear our sins, and reconcile us to himself, that we might by no means perish, by no means be cast out from the happiness which he had in store for us!

Can we wonder then, that after all which He has done for us, God should expect to see us grateful? that, after all the sufferings which Christ with patience bore that we might enter into heaven, God should expect to see on our parts that we both earnestly desire to get there ourselves, and to become fit for, and worthy of it? Can we conceive a greater affront offered to the Almighty than that which, I fear, He receives from too many amongst us, namely, that we should love this world of sin and vanity more than that better one of righteousness and glory, which has been opened to us by the precious blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ: that we should desire more to continue in a world where Satan lays so many snares, and gains so many victories over our souls, than to be

removed to heaven, where all is peace and joy; and where the love, the glory, and the goodness of God shine forth without change or interruption? Why is it that men who have souls to save should live as if they had none? that believing in a day of judgment and another life to come, we should pass our days as if these things had never been made known to us, too eagerly following the pleasures, coveting the riches, and yielding to the sins of this wicked world?

Our most Holy Saviour and His apostles have cautioned us most earnestly against conduct so unwise and so unsafe; and the words of my text point out to every Christian where he ought to fix the best affections of his heart: Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth. We are not to suppose that there is any thing meant in these words. that is against nature: we are not forbidden to love those who are justly dear to us; we are not forbidden to love our parents, our husbands, wives, or children, our sisters, our brothers, or those kind

friends who have comforted us in our sorrows, or cheered us in our afflictions, and have stood by us even in our sins and faults, with the blessed intention of doing good to our souls, and restoring us to peace. No; we are not men, we are not Christians, if we love not those who are related to us by blood, or made dear to us by kindness. Nay, we are not Christians unless we know what it is to have love and charity towards all mankind, even towards those who, in the blindness and foolishness of their hearts, may have thought it worth their while to do us an injury; for this commandment have we from God, that if we pretend to love Him, we must love our fellow-creatures also. There is therefore nothing meant to be taught us against nature in the words of my text: on the contrary, what ought to be so agreeable to nature as this?-that our affections should be fixed in a place where only we can expect to be truly happy, and upon a Being to whom we owe every thing that we have now and dare hope for hereafter? What ought to be

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