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which consigns mé over to these doleful regions of everlasting misery, where the worm dieth not, where the fire which confumes me is never to be quenched! Those happy fouls, whose lives of penitence, piety and devotion on earth I counted madness, are now numbered with the saints, and enjoy the bliss of heaven, while I am for ever excluded! I now find to my cost that the wages of fin is death. I am lost, loft for ever. Destruction is come upon me from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."
Perhaps some into whose hands these papers may fall, may be conscious within themselves that they have been hitherto indifferent about the favour of God. Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we would gladly persuade such to take this subject into serious consideration. It is not a vain thing, a concern of little moment; it is for your life; as it is only in the divine favour that life is to be enjoyed. How fhall ye escape eternal death, if ye negle&t the messages of salvation! Perhaps your language, your beha:viour, your whole conversation, and even your conscience bear witness against you, that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Permit me to ask you, Are your cares, your hopes, your fears, your exercises of mind employed about peace and friendship with God, through Jesus
Chrift? Do you seriously examine yourself whether you be in the faith? Can you, like the Psalmist, , address your Maker with sincerity, and say, “I entreated thy favour with my whole heart; be merciful unto me according to thy word.” Are your waking thoughts much employed about this greatest of all concerns ? What the Almighty once said concerning the Jews, deferves particular notice. " My people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me." They valued not my friend. ship or favour.
• So I
unto their own hearts luft; and they walked in their own counsels.” It is a dreadful judgment, when finners are left to themselves, to fill up the measure of their iniquity, and to perish in their own deceivings.
Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone."--It will be seen what his end will be; what efforts he can use to secure his heart from terror, and his soul from torment, in the day of awful visitation. Where will he then flee for help, and where will he leave his glory? I will laugh at his calamity, and mock when his fear cometh. . Then shall he call upon me, but I will not answer; for that he hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord; he would none of my counsel, he despised all my reproof.
I might, in the last place, address myself to those, who not only disregard the favour of God them. selves, but dislike and even persecute the men who profess their humble hope of interest in it. But I know there is little prospect of gaining the attention of such persons, or of convincing them of the evil of their doings. They, who are in the flesh, have, in all ages, been disposed, more or less, to persecute those who are in the spirit. They hate a man for his love to God, and ridicule him for his piety and devotion. When Stephen the martyr said, I see the heavens opened, and Jesus ftanding at the right hand of God, the frantic Jews, with satanic rage, exclaimed against him, stopped their ears, ran upon him like madmen, and stoned him to death.
Those who make it the business of their lives to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, to pursue with becoming ardour the one thing need. ful, and to give diligence to make their calling and election sure, are often branded with the name of hypocrites or enthusiasts. What Jesus said to his disciples is found to be true, “ Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. Men shall revile
you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil I against you; but rejoice ye in that day, and be exeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven;
for so persecuted they the prophets which were be.
Men of a perfecuting spirit should beware left they be found fighting against God. It is awful, not only to be regardless of the divine favour themfelves, but to take up arms against all those who are seeking to know their own personal interest in it. Let such consider what the gracious Redeemer said to Saul of Tarsus, “ Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the goads." Our divine Mafter will take the part of his servants, and vindicate their cause against all their opposers.
Lord, my wild passions rage within,
Nor thy commands obey;
Draw my best thoughts away.
Do thou create
And take the mould divine.
Seize my whole frame by thine own hand,
My pow'rs to thee I bring; Manage the wheels by thy command, And govern ev'ry spring.
The Subject improved by Way of Convitlion to the
real Children of God.
HAVING, in the preceding chapter, addressed
those who are in a state of unregeneracy, I shall now turn myself to such as have been called by divine grace, out of darkness into the marvellous light of the gospel. These are in a fate of reconciliation and friendship with God; they have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and can bear witness, by their own experience, that a sense of the favour of God is a privilege which may be enjoyed. Yet, as they have within them the depravity of nature, and are prone to go astray from the path of rectitude, it may be necessary to attempt fome improvement of the subject by way of conviction to them. The word of God is profitable, not only for doctrine, but for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.
It is possible for you, my dear friends, to undervalue the privilege of friendship with your Maker. His favour certainly ought to be esteemed by you, at all times, above every thing else that can be thought of. You should have such a lively sense of 'N