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şies; whilst it takes off those moral restraints which are necessary to bridle the passions. For if men can but persuade themselves that any form of religion will be equally acceptable, to God, with that which He has appointed for our adoption, they will soon become indifferent to every kind of faith and worship, and relax into negligence and impiety and scepticism.

The Bible, whilst it prescribes an exclusive religion, does not give the least encouragement to such à latitude of opinion. It positively assures us, that "he who believeth not the Gospel of Christ, so as to frame his life according thereto, shall be damned";"

that there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, but that of Christ*;" and finally, that if we reject His atonement," there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking-for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."

3. Examine yourselves. Have you been accustomed to treat the peculiar doctrines of Christianity with infidel indifference, or with proud disdain ? Have you indulged the impious thought, that those holy truths are superfluous, and that you will neither be better nor worse for what you believe? Then have you

dishonoured God, and cast an unjust reflection upon His wisdom and goodness ; as if, by making Christ known to us, as“ the way, the truth, and the life," he had done what is unnecessary or useless.

How presumptuously wicked is it for guilty creatures thus to sit in judgment on God, and to censure his wise and merciful dispensations! As he will & Mark xvi. 16.

e Acts iv. 12. 'Heb. x. 26-30.

# John xiv. 6.

punish the impenitent despisers of his grace

with éverlasting destruction, it is expedient for you to be humbled for your past contempt of his Gospel, and to pray, “Let my heart be sound in Thy statutes, that I be not ashamed b!"

4. The doctrines of Christ, then, must not be held as matters of speculation, which we are at liberty to treat with the same freedom as the idle conceits of fallible men: for it is not likely that our hearts and conduct will be much affected by any system of religious principles which we think we have authority to entertain or reject at our own discretion. Every thing unanswerably proves that we need a specific rule of faith to which we may conform, and a certain standard of morals by which our actions may be regulated, before our minds can be brought into that state of submission to the will of God on which our happiness in both worlds so much depends. They must, therefore, be received into the heart, and be sincerely embraced a's articles of faith, if we desire “ to pull down the strong-holds of sin and Satan, to cast down every towering imagination, and every high 'thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ'."

“The word of God worketh effectually in all them that believe".” In whatever heart “ the good seed is sown, and takes root, it brings forth fruit to perfection,” producing love to God, and a constraining desire to walk agreeably to his directions. But when faith is not mixed with the Divine word, so as to ineorporate it with the soul, no such effects attend it. We see no symptoms of true contrition, of love to God, of gratitude to Christ, and entire devotion to

Psalm cxix. 80. 12 Cor. x. 4, 5. i 1 Thess. ii. 13.

His service, where the awful verities of the Gospel are treated as speculative opinions ; but, on the contrary, all those fruits of impiety which naturally spring from a fallen undisciplined mind.

But, whether men know it or not, God has dis closed the sacred truths of the Bible for the most important purposes : first, that we may learn, from dem, what we should believe; and, secondly, what we should practise. The Gospel is designed" for obedience to the faith, among all nations." They, who embrace it, and act conformably to its dictates, are and will be blessed: but they who disparage or undervalue or disobey it, are in a state of condemnation already; and, unless the mercy of God interpose, they will become monuments of his wrath, through all eternity! “ Blessed are they who hear the Word of God, and keepit. "!" “ Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, (that is, the Gospel, which liberates the soul from the bondage of sin and the malediction of the violated Law,) and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

5. Let it never be forgotten, that the doctrines of the Christian religion inust be received as indispen, sably necessary to salvation. There is no Royal road to heaven-no privileged and convenient path to celestial glory, in which we can hope to be exempted from the trouble of “taking up the cross of Christ, and following him in the regeneration'.". "Strait iş the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it P.” "I am the way, the truth, and the life : no man cometh to the Father, but by me."

Rom. i.5. John iii. 36. m Luke xi. 28. James i. 25. • Mat. xvi. 24. Pib. vii. 14. 9 John xiv. 6.

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The knowledge of Christ does save all who attain it. Numbers in every age can attest that the grace of Jesus has illuminated, sanctified, and blessed them. Before their conversion, they were covered with darkness, laden with guilt, and oppressed with fear. But, on their reception of the Gospel, they became pious, devout, and happy.

Would you experience its saving power? Then admit the word of salvation into your heart. Submit to its gracious influence, that it may purify your affections, and fix them upon the heavenly Canaan, "where true joys are only to be found.”

LECTURE LXXII. THE CONSCIENTIOUS USE OF THE MEANS OF GRACE. Ezekiel xxxvi. 37. Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for

this be inquired of by the House of Israel, to do it for them. God could, we are sure, accomplish his designs, and bestow spiritual blessings upon us, without the intervention of means and instruments. He created the world by his Sovereign fiat. “ He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast*.” “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth b."

Such a display of Omnipotence might be expedient at first, to evince the uncontrouled power of the Lord, and his independence of finite things and creatures : but now we see that Jehovah, in his general operations both in nature and grace, condescends to accomplish his purposes by the means, to which he gives a fitness to answer some valuable end. We may trace this wise appointment throughout • Psalm xxxiii. 9.

• ib. v. 6.

agency of

all nature. The earth is warmed by the genial influence of the sun, and rendered fruitful by the refreshing shower. Day and night are occasioned by the rising and setting of the sun.

The due circulation of the blood through the arteries and veins is the cause of continued life and health ; whilst the vital fluid itself is produced and made fit for its purpose, by means of food digested in the stomach.

God acts in this manner to set us an example of industry in the use of means adapted to answer the proposed end. Perhaps he saw that, in our present imperfect state,we should not rightly esteem his mercies, if we could gain them without care and labour.

As matters now stand, the necessity of exerting ourselves to secure what will conduce to our wellbeing is productive of real benefit, by calling our faculties into exercise. We cannot obtain a blessing from God on our souls, without we have recourse to those very nieans which he has instituted, and which, we may rest assured, are founded in the most perfect wisdom: and they must be employed with sincerity and be persevered in, and prayer must be offered for the Divine blessing, to make them effectual.

1. Then use all the means of grace, with a sincere desire that they may be made profitable to your souls. In all transactions, honesty is the best policy;" because it proceeds in a straight course to its object, and is always fraught with most real advantage. But deceit fears detection, because it is conscious of acting dishonestly.

Now, where can integrity be so necessary, as in our intercourse with the all-seeing God, who is acquainted with every design we entertain. It is not difficult, at tiines, to impose on our fellowcreatures, by, a specious shew of piety; but to

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