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Be not conformed to this world. Rom. xii. 2. Lore not the world, neither the things that are in the world, &c. He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John ii. 15, 17.
READER, whose will dost thou do? Examine thyself. Perhaps thou thinkest, to love the world and to do its will cannot be a great sin, because many reputed honest men and good Christians do the same. Nay, but for thy soul's sake consider what the scripture says, If thou "lovest the world, the love of the Father is not in thee;" and without this love of the Father, thou hast no faith; and, being destitute of faith, thou hast no CHRIST, and consequently no life and salvation. Consider further, whether thou dost not love the world above either God or thy own soul. Hast thou not a hundred thoughts about the world for one of God or thy soul? Dost thou not talk a hundred times more about the world, and is not thy pursuit continually after it, to the neglect of God and thy soul? Then, the world is thine idol; thou lovest not God, and art murdering thy soul. The Lord have mercy on thee!
I send the things of earth away;
And empty as the whistling wind.
Down to the gulf of black despair;
Your streams had near conveyed me there.
That warned me from the deep abyss;
I stretch my hands and glance my eyes;
To bear me to the upper skies!
Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he who has called you is holy, so be ye holy (Note) in all manner of conversation. 1 Pet. i. 14, 15. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, &c. 1 Pet. iv. 3.
NONE can be so sure of salvation as to be for ever free from fears and doubts; for there is no assurance without conflicts: therefore all diligence is required to be evermore sure of it, so as to have boldness, even in death. But let us take heed of presumption, since we do not know what may befall us at last; and be careful not to despise or overdrive the weaker sort of Christians, nor make our own experience a general rule for others, lest this comfortable doctrine of assurance prove a torment to them who have not yet attained it. Let all who have received a measure of grace be thankful; yet not rest in it; but press forward, fighting the good fight of faith, till they lay hold on eternal life.
How short and hasty is our life!
God from on high invites us home,
How we deserve the deepest hell
What chains of vengeance should we feel
Draw us, O God, with sov'reign grace,
For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke xix. 10.
WHOEVER sericusly seeks to be saved both from the power and punishment of sin, and seeks deliverance only through CHRIST, should not give way to heaviness of heart; for consider, Art thou a lost sinner? CHRIST'S salvation is brought to such. Art thou seeking his salvation? This is a good token that CHRIST has sought thee, else thou wouldst not seek after him. Whom CHRIST seeks he saves. Now, therefore, call upon him diligently to set up his kingdom in thy bosom, and say to thyself, O my soul, it was the very purpose of CHRIST'S coming into the world to save sinners circumstanced just as thou art! yea, though thy sins be as scarlet, be not thou cast down, O my soul, and be not disquieted within me, but encourage a cheerful hope in thy Covenant God, and instead of poring only upon thy sins, consider the exceeding love of CHRIST in dying for them; and, constrained by a sense of that love, do thy diligence to live unto him; and for this he will enable thee by his Holy Spirit.
The Lord of life and glory stands;
"An ample pardon here I give,
O Jesus! let me doubt no more;
Repent ye (O change your minds) and believe the gospel. Mark i. 15. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt. iv. 17. Repent ye therefore, and be concerted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts iii. 19.
REPENTANCE, or a godly sorrow for sin, is the doctrine of the Gospel. This is absolutely necessary to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and a life of union and communion with him. O reader, the Baptist calls thee to repent; Jesus calls thee to repent; the God of heaven and earth calls thee to repent and without it thou wilt perish eternally in the flames of hell. Canst thou not give thyself the grace of repentance? Thou canst not. O then pray and cry to the blessed Jesus, that his Holy Spirit may produce this saving change in thee. Pray to him that he would give thee a living, justifying faith in his blood and righteousness, and that thy heart may be filled with real sorrow for sin, with holy indignation against it, and with a sincere and active departing from it. O pray that you may walk by faith and not by sight, as seeing him continually, who to the natural eye is invisible.
Mistaken souls, that dream of heaven,
While they are slaves to lust!
If faith be cold and dead;
To Christ, the living head.
'Tis faith that works by love;
What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch. Mark xiii. 37. See also ver. 3, and chap xiv. 38.
ON a day set apart for the celebration of some great event, how anxious are the people to get in time to the place appointed. What earnestness is to be seen in their looks. As earnest should we be in watching for the hour in which our Lord shall come, that we may not be ashamed before him. A heart deceived by sin may suggest many arguments against this holy earnestness; but they are the reasonings of folly. It is a general warning, "What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch." Almost every day affords an instance of some one hurried into eternity on a sudden. Was not hourly watchfulness necessary, a merciful God would not permit such sudden deaths. But he has sounded the alarm, "Ye know not what hour our Lord doth come."-Give me grace, O Lord, to live always as if I heard that solemn voice sounding continually in my ears, "Awake, ye dead, and come to judgment !"
Awake, my drowsy soul, awake,
And view the threat'ning scene;
And treachery lurks within.
Now to the work of God awake;
The awful register goes on;
Th' account will surely come;
Tremendous thought, how deep it strikes!
Till God's own voice the slumbers chase