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say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you, than you have received, let him be accursed. Gal. i. 8, 9. A bishop is to hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the gain-sayers. Tit. i. 9. Whoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning, shall remain in you, ye shall continue in the Son and in the Father. I John ii, 23, 24. . .
8. If we hold fast our profession, we must run all hazards both in our reputation and interest. The man who is not content to be called a fool or an enthusiast for Christ's sake, has more of fleshly wisdom in him, than the grace of God. All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Tim.ii. 12. A timorous cautious temper, that makes us afraid to speak what we think, and to testify what we know, does but prove that men are lovers of themselves.
There are riches, not only in the person and doctrine, but in the reproach of Christ. Moses thought so, when he had no other choice before him, but either of a palace or a brick-kiln. Heb. xi. 26. And the apostle took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. 2 Cor. xii. 10.
. It is a plausible excuse, but it will scarce ever hold, in a day of temptation, that we are to live in peace. Christ tells us, nay; he came into the world to send division; Matt. x. 35. that is, if men will separate you from their company, and speak all manner of evil against you for his sake, let them go on. Commit yourselves to him that judges righteously. I have been pleased with a passage in Dr. Owen, and hope I can adopt it in my own case. « I “ can freely say, that I know not that man in « England, who is willing to go farther in for“bearance, love, and communion with all “ that fear God, and hold the foundation, than .“ I am; but this is never to be done by a con« descension from the exactness of the least 6 letter of gospel-truth.”
9. Holding this fast, is promoting it to the uttermost. This is what you owe to Christ by way of homage, and to the souls of men by way of pity..
10. Endeavouring to be more established in it. We onght often to hear of those truths which we are always to use. This is like your daily bread. There is not a prayer that you put up, but it must regard three persons in one glorious nature. Thus, as ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in hini, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding there in with thanksgiving. Col. ii. 6, 7.
ension from hever to be dodation, than
The principles upon which people waver in the
faith. A conceit of our capacity to discover more of God than others. A modern instance of this in our scheme-makers. A fancy that we have found out the great secret. Human inventions as bad in doctrine as in worship. Calvin and Dr. Owen, compared with another author. A supposition that God wants our help to clear up his revelation. A love of praise. An ungodly charity. A wrangling humour. An indifference. An Independence
upon divine teaching, III. The Apostle has told us with what an unity of conduct, what temper of mind, and stability of soul, we are to hold fast this profession of our faith and hope. It must be done åxhañ without wavering. We are not to waver either about the faith itself, that God has delivered to us, or the profession in which we deliver it to others. The faith is to be kept pure and uncorrupted ; our profession of it open and unconfounded. Each of these,are to be held fast with steadiness and resolution. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit yourselves like men, be strong. 1 Cor. xvi. 13. It is in profession as it is in practice; we have but one rule for them both. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eye-lids look straight before thee; ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established ; turn not to the right nar
to the left ; remove thy foot from evil. Prov. viii. 25, 26, 27.
You see by this caution, that it is not enough we do not deny the truth. We are to hold it fast, without any posture of cowardice; not like the double-minded man, who is unstable in all his ways ; James i. 8. not allowing oura selves in the least, an appearance of a departure from the things we have received and been assured of.
There are several ways of shuffling and wavering, that do not amount to a gross infi. delity, (i, e, there are hypverites as well as unbelievers) but they bring us into the danger of going farther. A man may indulge himself in the humour of a querist, so long until he grows an apostate. There are profane and vain babblings that will increase to more ungodliness. 2 Tim. ii. 16. The principles by which many are defiled, you see in the following collection. : . 1. A conceit of our own capacities, as if by searching, we could find out the Almighty un. to perfection. This boldness makes us venture, where humility would make us tremble, to unravel mysteries, and arraign the things of faith at the bar of reason. 1.2. Another root of bitterness is, an opinion that we have found out the great secret of knowledge, which other ages have laboured at. in vain.
3. There is the vanity to suppose, that God stands in need of our help, to make what he says, more easy and evident.
4. There is a love to carnal ease and worldly reputation ; a delight in the praise of men.
5. There is a false ungodly charity; a strange fire that proceeds not from the Lord; a charity that gives up the honour of religion, merely because we will not be at the pains to defend it.
6. There is the pride of a wrangling humour; as if the Church of Christ was only a stage of battle, and his name no more than an engine of reputation.
17 Aboye all there is an indifference, or chilness of conscience to the great dootrines of godliness, by which they lose their own nourishing quality, and turn all into phlegm and
choler. There is be taughuth, and
8. There is an insensibility of the need we are under, to be taught of God, enlightened with the Spirit of truth, and trained up in what we have attained to.
These are the things that make us waver, either in the faith itself that is revealed to us, or in the profession that should bold forth the word of life. You will easily see upon them all, that when religion comes to be our own concern, when it is experimental, practical, and inward, when the heart is established with grace, when we receive the love of the truth in order to be saved, then are we rooted and grounded in the faith, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel.
1. One principle that keeps us wayering, is a conceit of some capacity in ourselves, to make greater discoveries in the divine nature.