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salvation is in Jesus; and if he pursue the light which, through Christ, is communicated to him, he will at last see the King in his beauty, and the land that is afar off. And perhaps the great multitude, which no man can number, may be such as were without the pale of the visible church; and yet, may have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb. (a)
But pure gospel faith speaketh on this wise, If thou shalt confess the Lord Jesus with thy mouth, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, that is, to be made righteous; and with the mouth confession is made unto Salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded. (b) This faith brings peace and assurance to the soul, and is productive of all the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
3. HENCE we must have the mind of Christ in order to our present and final happiness. The mind of Christ is a concise term for all the tempers of a christian. It takes into its composition, love, joy, gentleness, meekness and fidelity. The king's daughter must be all glorious within. The pure in heart shall see God; and none else shall see him with comfort. This is that
(b) Rom. x. 9, 10,
(a) Rev. vii. 14, to the end.
heavenly adorning, that wedding garment which we must put on that we may attend the supper of the Lamb. The heart of stone must be taken away; we must be cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, that we may perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. To this end there is a fountain open for sin and uncleanness; so that all our filthiness may be washed away, and the sinner made a meet partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.
4. But I must remind you, that this purity will necessitate you to deny yourselves and take up the cross; or, still, you cannot be disciples of a crucified master.
THESE are hard conditions to such as are at ease in Zion; or to such as remain still in the oldness of the letter. But the new man can comply with the command; nay, it must; for as all self centers in self will, this self will must submit to the will of God. Indeed it is our happiness to have no will of our own; but in all things, little or great, to say, thy will be done. What is it which makes heaven? it is that the will of God is compleatly and constantly done; and therefore the saints in glory enjoy the beatific presence; the Lord God and the Lamb are the light of the heavenly region. What is it which constitutes hell? A number of rational beings tormented in living in their own will, which is in direct opposition to the will of God, and that continually encreasing their own and each others misery. The very same is the case with multitudes on earth; yea, with every child of man who walks after the flesh, he walks in and after his own will, and therefore cannot be our Lord's disciple. 'Tis this self will which fills the world with mischief; with noise and uproar, battles, murders, and sudden deaths. Therefore to carry our self will into heaven would be to carry all these calamities thither, and turn heaven into hell.
THE cross is undoubtedly any trouble, or difficulty, which God in his providence may lay in our way, for the trial of our passive graces, such as patience, resignation, meekness, fidelity and the like; things that are little regarded by multitudes who profess religion ; but must be regarded by such ss follow the lamb of God. In many cases it may be at our option to sin or suffer; if we choose sin rather than suffering, we renounce the cross of Christ; but if we will suffer with Christ, we take up the cross, and we shall reign with him. There is no age, rank, or station in the world which will exempt us from the cross, if we are the followers of a crucified master. This often proves a touch-stone, a trying circumstance, and in which many stony ground hearers fall away; and therefore observe,
5thly. We must endure the cross and despise the shame, if we mean to die comfortably: for he that endureth to the end, the
same, and none else, shall be saved. To them, who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honour, and immortality, eternal life shall be granted. (a) He who runs the race for eternal life, must hold on his way; must so run, and continue to run, that he may obtain the prize. Indeed there is much need to fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it. Too many there have been, and still are, who make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Among the many myriads who left Egypt, and passed through the red sea, how few entered the promised land! They fell through unbelief, and thou standest by faith; be not high minded, but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold, here the goodness and severity of God: on them that fell, severity; but on thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness ; otherwise thou shalt be cut off (b) Therefore be thou faithful unto death, and thou shalt receive a crown of life. (c)
6. How amazing little is the world? How short and uncertain? How soon will it be gone? We see every thing in it proclaims, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. All the hurry and uproar which is in the world plainly evidence that it is in a disor
(a) Rom. ii. 7. (b) Rom. xi. 20, 21. (c) Rev. ii. 10.
dered state; and our dearest comforts hang upon a very feeble tie, liable to break at
“ Lean not on earth, 'twill pierce thee to the heart ; “ A broken reed at best, but oft a spear; “ On its sharp point peace bleeds and hope expires."
It has been observed, that we see death before our eyes in various forms; in the grass which perishes, in the animals which die before our eyes; in that of our fellow creatures, yea our dearest acquaintance who are daily dropping off. What manner of persons then ought we to be in all manner of conversation? I have described what we ought to be; yea, and what we must be, or we cannot enter the kingdom of God. This day is said to commemorate the painful rite of circumcision, inflicted upon our blessed Redeemer, when he was eight days old, that he might fulfill all righteousness, being made under the law, that he might redeem us who are under the law; that we might put off all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. He had no filthiness to put off, being holy, harmless and undefiled; but being in the likeness of sinful flesh, he submitted to all the painful inconveniencies, that we might be the circumcision which worship God in spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
7. AWAKE then, ye careless triflers with