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and thirsting after righteousness ; diligent in approaching unto God; walking “in newness of life ;” and discovering a spirituality of temper, a disposition for devotion, a deadness to the world, a benevolence, a liberality, such as we seldom find in those high toned doctrinalists, who regard themselves as the only advo. cates for free grace ? And by the way, it is not a fyftem of notions, however good, or a judgment in die vine things, however clear, that will constitute á chris. tian. It is a transformation by the renewing of the mind; it is a putting “ off the old man with his deeds, « and putting on the new man, which after God is “ created in righteoufness and true holiness ;" it is walking “ even as he walked.”_" If any man have “ not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
And to pafs to the opposite side, we should also remember, that men do not always live according to the natural tendency and consequences of their creed. Some hold fentiments very injurious to holiness, who are not wicked men; their hearts are better than their opinions ; their principles give their confciences a liberty to fin, which they refuse to take ; and their practice is adorned with good works, which their fyfa tem by no means requires. No one can imagine that I mention this with a view to countenance, or palliate the adoption of fuch sentiments. They blafpheme every line in the bible, and are always injurious in a degree ; but where they happen to fall in with a love of fin, the effect is dreadful ; where such a poisonous infusion is imbibed, and not counteracted by a singular potency of constitution, the confequence is certain death,
· FINALLY; many are excluded from the number of the righteous by PRACTICAL IMPERFECTIONS. There is a blemish in every duty, a deficiency in every grace, a mixture in every character ; and if none are to be considered as the people of God, who are not free from infirmity, you will easily be induced to take up the language, “ I am left alone ;" for who can say, “ I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my “ fin;" "I have attained, I am already perfect.” The best of men are but men at the best. “I am left alone.” Nay, Elijah, you are not left. Even you are "a man “ of like passions as we are.” With all your miraculous endowments, and religious attainments, you discovered the same natural feelings, the same moral defects. You feared Jezebel, fled dismayed from your work, impa-, tiently demanded to die, and drew a very erroneous and unworthy conclusion respecting the true worshippers of God. Yea, there NEVER was one left ; for to which of the faints will you turn? To Abraham ? he denies his wife in Gerar. To Moses ? he spake “unadvisably with his lips.” To Job ? he curses the day of his birth. To Peter ? he abjures his Lord. I know I tread on dangerous ground. The Antinomian drunkard may call in Noah as his companion ; and the unclean, who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, may plead the example of David's adultery. They may hope where they should fear; take for encouragement what was only given for caution; and resemble those in their fall, whose repentance they will never imitate.' And. “ thinkest thou, O man, who “ doest such things, to escape the judgment of God ?” Instead of raising thee up like these good men, as a
monument of mercy to future generations, he will harden thee into a pillar of falt.
God forbid we should plead for fin ; but let us not shun to declare a truth, for fear of a possible abuse of it. Severe in judging ourselves, let us endeavour to judge favourably of others, and place before our minds every confideration tending to aid that charity which “ thinketh no evil, believing all things, “ hoping all things, enduring all things.”
--That we are to learn of One, who will not break a bruised reed, or quench the smoaking flax, till he bring forth judgment unto victory. That there is a day of small things, which we are not to despise. That grace corrects, but does not eradicate nature; subdues, but does not extinguish the passions ; forms us christians, but leaves us men. That there are inequalities among the righteous ; that the good ground yielded in 'varied proportions, fome a hundred fold, fome fixty, some thirty. —That a prevailing holy disposition may have exceptions, and that a single action is not to be pleaded against a long continued practice. That persons who would abandon an unlawful pursuit, the moment they were convinced of its impropriety, may continue in it for a time, for want of knowledge or reflection. That as we entertain a confidence in our own salvation, though conscious of numberless imperfections, we should not require perfection of others. -That our failures, though not as gross, may be as guilty as those of our brethren ;-and, that we may sometimes entertain a hope which we are afraid to publish, and believe that some are in the way to heaven, whose fafe arrival there, we trust, will never be known in this world.
· My brethren, in our application of this subject, let us FIRST remark the use the apostle makes of it. « Even so then at this present time also there is a rem« nant according to the election of grace.” God never leaves himself without witness. He has always instruments to carry on his cause, and a people to show forth his praise. These are the pillars of a state to keep it from falling; the falt of the earth to preserve it from corruption; the light of the world to secure it from darkness; and as Efaias said before, s except the Lord of Sabbaoth had left us a seed, " we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto “ Gomorrah.” Relinquish diminishing ideas of the divine goodnefs; “his mercies are over all his works.” Look back to Calvary, and see Jesus bearing the fins of MANY; see him rising from the dead to receive có the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost 66 parts of the earth for his poffeffion.” “The pleasure “ of the Lord fhall prosper in his hand;" he shall 6 fee of the travail of his soul, and shall be SATISFIED.” Look forward, and behold “a great multitude which 6 no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, " and people, and tongues.” Behold even now “ the Captain of your salvation bringing MANY song " unto glory," and no longer imagine there is any danger of your being “left alone.” Rejoice, ye friends and followers of the Lamb ; you belong to no small family; you do not approach the throne of grace alone ; you are not alone in your hopes and your pleasures, or your struggles, groans, and tears. Far more than you have apprehended are on “ the “Lord's fide," attached to the same Saviour, travele
ling the same road, heirs of the same “ grace of eter" nal life.”
SecONDLY, are you of the number ? For, my dear hearers, it is of little importance for you to know that many will enter in, if you are excluded : “there shall “be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see “ Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets « in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust 66 out.” As you all hope to escape this dreadful doom, it behoves you to examine whether your confidence be well founded, and whether, living as you live, the fcripture justifies your hope of heaven. Who then, you ask, will be saved ? Those who live in the world, and not like it ; those who “ have no fellowship with " the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove " them ;” those who are "a PECULIAR people, zeal“ous of good works.” It is the character here given them : “ I have reserved to myself seven thousand “ men, who have not BOWED THE KNEE TO THE “IMAGE OP BAAL.” And this was the reigning sin; the court, the city, the country, all followed Baal; his worship was universal. My brethren, the best evidence you can give of your integrity, is freedom from the prevailing, fashionable vices and follies of the times and places in which you live. A dead fish can swim with the stream, but a live one only can swim against it. The influence of one man over another, is truly wonderful. The individual is upright; his connections give him all his wrong bias. Alone, he forms good resolutions ; when he enters the world they are broken, « like as a thread of tow se is broken when it toucheth the fire." It is not