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imparted to those who follow his drawings, and comply with his design. For this Spirit of light and love does not operate upon us as if we were inanimate matter, lifeless and inactive, but as rational creatures, endowed with a power to yield to, or resist his sacred operations. Accordingly, we are exhorted not to grieve nor quench the Holy Spirit of God, by opposing his work ; but, on the contrary, working with him, “to mortify the deeds of the body, that we may live." And “living in the Spirit,” we are further directed to “walk in the Spirit,” that is, to suffer ourselves to be led by him into all truth, holiness, and happiness, that we may bring forth all his blessed fruits, and abound in every holy temper, word, and work.--- And this is the very thing implied in obeying the gospel in this second view of it, as it is a dispensation of the Spirit.
. Thus shall we be obedient to the gospel in every other respect. We shall be delivered (as it were) into the mould of its doctrines, every feature and lineament of it being inscribed upon us. We shall revere its threatenings, and steadily guard against that temper and conduct which would expose us to the execution of them. We shall obey all its commands with fidelity and cheerfulness, rejoicing hereby to show our love to our glorious Redeemer. We shall cordially embrace its exceeding great and precious promises, earnestly desiring and expecting their full accomplishment. And in the meantime, we shall calmly, yea, and joyfully, suffer all the obloquy, reproach, and persecution, to which our profession may lay us open, “knowing that our reward is great in heaven.” Lastly, for this reward, with all the bliss and glory prepared for the children of God, we shall patiently wait, longing and looking for the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, to put a final period to our time of trial and suffering, and “receive us to himself, that where he is we may be also.”
These particulars might have been enlarged upon for the further illustration of this head; but as this would open up too much matter to be comprised in one sermon; I beg leave to sum up what has already been advanced by way of inquiry, and so to conclude this plain but interesting discourse..
1. I ask thee, then, whosoever thou art, that readest these lines, hast thou the foundation of all true religion ? Dost thou know the only true God ? Has he been revealed to thy inmost soul by his Holy Spirit in all his divine perfections ? And has this manifestation of him been effectual to transform thee (in some measure at
least) into his image, and render thee a true follower of God ? Has so it humbled thy pride and covered thee with shame, scattered thy fears and inspired thee with confidence, destroyed thy idols, and united thy heart to the source of all beauty and goodness ? Dost thou know him in his holiness and justice, and art thou convinced of sin? In his mercy and love, and art thou reconciled to him? Has he discovered himself to thee as thy Friend, who is pacified towards thee after all thou hast done? As thy Father, who has made thee his child, and given thee the Spirit of adoption in thy heart? And as thy God, who has taken thee into covenant with himself, through Christ, and is become thy portion and treasure in time and in eternity ? ,
2. I ask further, Dost thou not only “ know the only true God," but “ Jesus Christ also, whom he hath sent," the only Mediator between God and man, in whom dwelleth the fulness of the God. head, and in whom alone there is salyation for a lost world ? In other words, Dost thou obey the Gospel, and is it become the power of God to thy salvation ? Hast thou seen and felt thy absolute need of the incomparable blessings it offers, free justification through the blood of Christ, and entire sanctification by the Spirit of God? And hast thou accounted tidings of these unsearchable riches of Christ; “ glad tidings of great joy?" Hast thou beheld thyself to be a guilty, helpless, perishing sinner, condemned by thy own conscience, accursed by God's holy law, exposed to his fierce wrath, and obnoxious to eternal misery ?-In this wretched situation, hast thou eagerly heard, and joyfully believed, the most gracious proclamation of pardon, made by the ambassadors of the King of hea. ven? Hast “thou believed in Christ, that thou mightest be justified by the faith of Christ ?” And dost thou daily evidence the truth of thy faith by thy works ? Prosessing “to be justified by Christ," art thou not“ found a sinner," continuing in sin, but being “made free from sin, art thou become a servant to righteousness ?" Hast thou received the Holy Ghost since thou believedst,” and has that Spirit of grace enlightened, quickened, and purified thy soul ? Dost thou “ live and walk in the Spirit," and is thy“ conversation such as becometh the gospel ? Dost thou " walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God ??? : :
3. Be it known unto thee, whosoever thou art, of whatever sentiment, of whatever denomination, of whatever party, if thou canst not answer these questions in the affirmative, if thou dost not know God and obey the gospel, as has been described, thou art at present most certainly one of those upon whom Christ, when he cometh, will take vengeance. But blessed be God, thou dost not need to
remain such. Thou hast it in thy power, through the tender mercy, of our God, to “ acquaint thyself with him, and be at peace,” that after all, “ good may come unto thee.” Only let there be no delay: forthwith “come out from among the wicked, be separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and he will receive thee, and will be a Father unto thee.” “ Draw nigh to God," through Christ,“ in that new and living way” of faith, “ which he hath consecrated for thee,” and he “will draw nigh to thee:" he will show thee his glory: will “ manifest himself to thee as he does not unto the world;" and thou shalt know him, whom to know is life eternal, while the gospel of Christ becomes the very gate of heaven to thy believing soul.
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty
angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. 2 Thess.
i. 7, 8, 9. , .
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1. It is remarkable, that in the account here given us by the apostle, of the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the eternally awful consequences of it, he represents our Lord's second coming to be rather in order to the salvation of his own people, than the punishment of the wicked. For although he mentions his taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel, he declares in the 10th verse, that the end, the principal end, of his coming is, that he - may be glorified in his saints, and admired of all that believe.”
2. How plain is it from hence, as well as from a thousand other considerations, that mercy is our Lord's darling attribute, and that judgment is his strange work. He delights to dispense pardons and confer rewards ; but it is with reluctance that he passes sentence of condemnation, or inflicts punishment on any. From the apostle's manner of representing the matter, one would conclude that he would much rather pass the ungodly by, did not the unchangeable perfections of his nature, the divine authority of his
chanbe would much rathesenting the matter on any. From