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and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” And again:" The Lord's portion is his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." And as he highly values them, so he will preserve them from all their enemies: While they obey his voice, and put their trust and confidence in him, no real evil fhall befal them: but “goodness and mercy shall follow them all their days, and they shall dwell in his house for ever.” And in that tremendous day, “when the thrones shall be cast down, and the Ancient of Days shall fit, whose garment is white as snow, and the hair of his head as the pure wool, whose throne is as the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire, a fiery stream shall issue and come forth from before him, thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him, the judgment is set, and the books are opened.” In this awful day, shall the righteous, stand forth with boldness in the presence of him who hath loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and he will make them kings and priests, and they shall reign with him for ever. They shall sppear to be his precious jewels, when the book of remembrance is opened, and their names are found written there, and he will
say runto them; “Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." "Then they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that have turned many to righteousness, as the stars, for ever and ever.” Such honour will God put upon his despised followers, to the everlasting confusion of their enemies.
The Prophet adds, “ And he will spare them as a man spareth his own son, who serveth him." These words are remarkably expressive of the sincerest, warmest, and tenderest affection. The Lord will spare them as a man would spare his own son, the son of his own bowels, whom he knows to be his own flesh and blood, a part of himself, designed to be transmitted down to posterity; and not a disa obedient, an ungrateful son, but “ his own son who serveth bim:" who honoureth and cheerfully obeys his voice on all occasions, and who never willingly offended him, at any time. What would not a tender-hearted, and an affection pate father do for such a son? What would he not suffer for his sake, was he called to it? Would he not bear his griefs, and carry his sorrows, was it in his power; and even lay down bis own life in his stead, supposing there was a necessity for it? Thus our heavenly Father expresses his tender regard for, and his sincere love to his children:
* Behold, as a father pitieth his children, so hath the Lord pity upon them who fear him." And how abundantly are these words verified in the conduct of God towards his children, throughout the whole course of their pilgrimage here below How mercifully does he spare, how powerfully does he preserve, how graciously does he support and comfort, and how bountifully does he deal with them on all occasions. And as it is said of our blessed Redeemer, respecting his disciples; “Jesus having loved his own, who were in the world, he loved them to the end of his life :” So here, at the final close, or consummation of all things, the Lord declares that “ he will spare them as a man 'spareth his own son, who serveth him.” “ With thine eyes," saith David, “ shalt thou behold the destruction of the wicked, because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High thy habitation, there shall no evil befal thee, neither shall any plague come near thy dwelling." Before assembled worlds, in the presence of angels, devils, and wicked men, will the Lord spare his obedient children in that day; and not only spare or preserve them from punishment, but will crown them with glory and honour, and they sbali live in the full enjoyment of himself for ever. And are these things so? Then how astonishingly do the men of this world manifest their folly, in neglecting, yea, despising all this glory and blessedDess! They have their portion in this life, such as it is, and it must be acknowledged many of them are highly favoured with the abundance of teniporal good things : But alas! how unmindful are they, of tbe hand that bestows these blessings upon them; and how do many of them heighten their everlasting condemnation, by abusing these gifts of God! These profoundly wise, these great and rigbt-honourable men, are ten thousand times more careful of a poor, perishing body, than of a precious and immortal sout! They are abundantly more concerned respecting time, short as it is, than eternity! And to the utter confusion of the wisdom of this world, they set a far higher value upon the perishing, transitory, things of this life, than upon things of an everlasting duration, the things of the Spirit of God, which are confessedly, of infinite value ! And what is still more to be lamented, if possible, very many of the lower rank are equally foolish with them; and though they cannot swim in those rivers of carnal pleasure which the rich do, but are obliged to endure ten thousand
hardships, through the whole course of their lives ; yet they will not hear the warning voice of God, nor to turn at his reproof; but by their wilful rebellion against him, bring everlasting destruction upon themselves. Here, if ever, we may take up a lamentation, and with the weeping Prophet cry out : “ Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes fountains of tears, that I might weep day and night,” for these unhappy men; whose life in this world is attended with so much toil and labour, sorrow and suffering, and whose portion in the next must be everlasting weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth! O that these miserable men would at last hear the voice of the Son of God, and turn to him and live.
And notwithstanding the example of the primitive christians, of whom it is said, “They continued stedfast in the apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship, as well as in breaking of bread and in prayer; and although the reasonableness, as well as the unspeakable advantages of christian society so evidently appear: Yet, there are not a few, who look upon themselves to be friends to religion, who willingly neglect all those excellent advantages which they might enjoy. How often are the people of God met together, when these persons might he present if they would.How many precious opportunities for social prayer and mutual edification do they willingly deprive themselves of? Is it because they suppose themselves so wise, that they have no need of in. struction from their christian friends; or so pious, that they have no occasion for so much prayer? If they apprehend themselves to be so established in grace, that they are under no necessity to use those helps wbich weaker christians want; then should they not for the honour of God, unite with their weaker brethren, in order to assist, encourage and strengthen those who want all the assistance which they can give them : But there are too many who although they wish well to the cause of God, stand neuter, and do not set their shoulder to the work. Would it not be well for all such to consider that awful word, “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants there. of, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." But why must the inhabitants of Meroz be thus cursed ? · Were they the avow. ed enemies of the people of God ? Not so, but they only looked on with a favourable eye and wished them good suc. cess, but did not unite with them in the great work in which
they were engaged; they came not up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Many there are of this description at this day, but should not such people consider, that the cause of God in every place hath few friends, and many enemies; and for this reason, if they believe it to be the cause of God, should they not give it all the support in their power ! If they do not, supposing it should be asked at the last day: Did you (like iny servant David) esteem niy Saints as the excellent ones of the earth, did you join heart and hand with them, did you thankfully use all the spiritual privileges, which a kind and gracious providence put in your way? What good reason could such people give for their veglect? The awful words of our Saviour are well worthy of our serious consideration. "He that is ashamed of me or of my words before this crooked and perverse generation, of him will I be ashamed before my Father and his angels. Does it not follow, that he who is ashamed of the ministers of Christ, is also asharned of their Master? And those who are ashamed to own and support the gospel, are ashamed of: its author ? And surely such men will not find themselves so well as they could wish at that day. There are many. who would be glad to sit down in the kingdom of God, with those whom the world despise, who through fear or shame, lest they should be reproached for the sake of Christ, will have no fellowship with them in this world. What would such people do, were they in danger of being spoiled of their goods, and of going to prison or to death, for righteousness sake, when they cannot bear a little reproach, cannot endure to be lightly thought of, for the sake of Christ! Will they not be numbered among the fearful and unbelieving, mentioned in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, who will be cast into the lake which burneth with fire and brim. stone; Rev. xxi. 8.
What a wonderful difference do we see between those who cordially close in with the gracious designs of God, and those neutrals before described? The one is heartily praising God that their lot is cast in a gospel-day, that he hath accounted them worthy to have a name and a place: among his people, and that they are favoured with all the privileges of his house. While the other willingly deny themselves of all these advantages; only they attend upon the ministry of those whom God hath sent, when they think it convenient so to do, and wish them good success in their pious labours, and assist a little in supporting them. Should not all who profess to love the gospel of God our Saviour,
unite heart and hand against the common enemy, and do.. like the Israelites when engaged in building the Temple. Did not every one, both rich and poor assist according to their ability - The rich contributed largely, they brought their silver, gold and precious stones, and the poor brought things of less value, but all set their shoulder to the work. So let those who are wise and learned, who are men of extensive knowledge and of deep understanding, use those precious gifts of God to the honour of bis sacred nagre. Let them, as they have freely received, freely give, let them instruct, and strengthen the bands of their weaker brethren: And let the poor who are rich in faith, pray down an abundant blessing from the Lord, so that bis work may prosper, and his saving truth may spread far and wide.
What infinite reason have the children of God to rejoice, and to give glory to his holy Name, who hath made them to differ, from these men. () ye highly-favoured followers of a once despised Saviour, how ought you to value, and how diligently should you improve, your many and great privileges! Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, brethren, as the manner of too many is; but exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, and take care that none of you are hardened, by the deceitfulness of sin. Set a very high value upon your fellowship meetings, and be not ashamed to acknowledge that you are despised Methodists, that you belong to a class, and that you meet in a band: But take care at the same time, that you turn all these blessed privileges into a sanctified channel, and that you constantly draw the water of life from these wells of salvation. You are favoured with all the ordinances of God, with all the spiritual helps which you can possibly bave; therefore you will be inexcusable, if you do not prosper, and bring forth fruit to the honour of God, who deals so bountifully with you.
And have you the happiness to be numbered with those who fear the Lord, so that you have good ground to hope you shall stand in your lot, and be found among his jewels in the great day! Then, brethren, be careful to shew that you are jewels indeed. Jewels, you know, are accounted precious things, by those who have them in possession; take care, then, you unreservedly devote yourselves to God, and so walk with him, that your souls may be precious in his sight, and that he may own you as his chosen people, at the last. Jewels, you knos, are exceedingly valuable,