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ledge, that in the way of religious wisdom is life, and in the pathway thereof there is no death. And,

Let these considerations encourage humble believers to persevere in the good way which they have chosen: in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, let them not be ashamed of Christ and of his words; but rather endeavour the more strenuously to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. A vain and wicked world may sometimes employ ridicule, and sometimes scoffs and insults, to divert them from the purity and simplicity of the Gospel; but let them not be moved by any of these things. Ignorant and impious men may reject their principles, and deride their conduct; but God approves, and his approbation will last for ever; it is the only sure foundation of present peace and future felicity. If the love of praise be natural to the human mind, why should we seek honour one of another, and entirely disregard that which cometh from God alone? Why should we love the praise of fallible and prejudiced men, more than that of God, who, on all occasions, is guided by unerring truth? They whom he commends, must be really estimable: he will protect those whom he loves: he will guide them by his wisdom, and in due time receive them into his glory. Then, before an assembled universe of intelligent beings, religious wisdom will be justified of all her children, as she will procure for them the final approbation of their Judge, “Come, u ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom pre

pared for you."

SERMON VII.

The persuasive Calls of God to Man.

REVELATION ir. 20.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice,

and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

ST. John, the author of this book, survived all the other apostles; and the Revelation, which was made by Jesus Christ to this faithful and beloved servant, concludes the canon of sacred Scripture. He is directed to write to the angels or bishops of the seven principal churches in the lesser Asia; and to give them advice, commendation, or correction, as their respective circumstances required. The last of these Epistles is written“ unto the angel of the Church of the Laodice

ans," who is reproved for his lukewarmness, and for his pride and self-sufficiency in supposing that he was rich, and had need of nothing; when, in reality, he was wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked. In this deplorable condition, he is counselled by our Lord, (who styles himself the true and faithful witness) to seek more ardently a pure and permanent treasure ;

so Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed.He is threatened with deserved chastisement for his former omissions; but, at the same time, is assured, that the rod of punishment, in the hand of God, is guided by affection--" As many as I love I rebuke and chasF ten; be zealous, therefore, and repent;" that the hof benevolent intentions of our Lord are not defeated by the first ungrateful opposition; and that the methods which are pursued to reclaim an offending mortal, are various and long continued: “Behold, I stand at the spa “ door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and “ open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup " with him, and he with me."

From these words, thus introduced, we may observe, in the first place, that although our benevolent Lord is offended with the transgressions of men, yet he does not immediately give them up to the error of their ways, but employs all the means which are suited to the nature of free and rational creatures, to reclaim them, to render them obedient, and consequently happy. IT He solicits their attention, by his works, his word, the influences of his Holy Spirit, and the dispensations of his providence.

From the creation of the world, the invisible things of the great Creator, even his eternal power and god. head, might have been clearly seen. So that when men became vain in their imaginations; when their foolish heart was so darkened, that they changed the truth of God into a lie, and served the creature more than the Creator who is blessed for ever; they were altogether without excuse. He might, in just judgment, have given them over entirely to a reprobate mind, and not

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displayed the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, in order to lead them to repentance. But God, in our present state of probation, deals not with men according to their sins, nor rewards them immediately, according to the real demerit of their iniquities. When the world sat in darkness and the shadow of death, he was graciously pleased to send forth the light of truth from on high, to dispel the surrounding gloom. In times past, he spoke unto the fathers by Moses and the prophets; and hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by Christ and his holy apostles. And what an extensive, what a strong and wonderfully well connected chain of truth runs through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament ! How accurately, how gloriously is the whole building founded, and framed, and joined together, though the workmen have been so numerous, and employed in so many different ages of the world! Here the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto all good works. To establish our belief, miracles are faithfully recorded, and prophecies exactly fulfilled. To enlighten our ignorance, we have clear and comprehensive precepts, a pure and perfect law. To animate our hope, we have great and precious promises. To alarm our fears, there are grievous denunciations of tribulation and anguish. And to quicken all our virtuous exertions, there is the offer of a great reward, expressed in the strong language of rivers of pleasure; a crown of glory; a perfection of joy, of which (under the present infirmities of our nature,) it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive. These things were written for our admonition and comfort, upon whom the ends of the world have come; and it is expressly commanded in the words immediately succeeding the

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text, “ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit
“ saith unto the churches." In the sacred Scriptures,
God is continually speaking to us; he stands at the
door and knocks-he demands our serious attention
he solicits admission to the purest affection of our
hearts. By all the promises of his mercy, by all the
threatenings of his wrath, by the most powerful motives
that can be brought to operate upon the minds of
reasonable beings, he expostulates with the heedless
and refractory How long, ye simple ones, will ye
“ love simplicity! How long will the scorners delight
“ in their scorning! The Lord waiteth, that he may
“ be gracious unto you. Turn ye at my reproof. Es.
“ tablish a covenant of peace and amity with me.
" Become my people, and I will be your God.”

That the admonitions of his word may have their full weight and efficacy, our gracious Lord farther solicits our attention and regard, by the operations of his Holy Spirit. This is the peculiar discovery of the glorious Gospel; and it is a doctrine full of consolation and encouragement to infirm and ignorant mortals. The same divine Comforter, who was promised by Christ to the primitive disciples, still continues to operate among the servants of God; he extends his sacred influences over the whole Christian Church; he is given to every man to profit withal; and, whatever our spiritual necessity may be, in all cases he helpeth our infirmities. This great Agent in the kingdom of the Redeemer, enlightens our understanding, purifies our affections, shows us what is really good, and prompts us to pursue it. To stimulate us in the prosecution of our true happiness, he imparts, at proper seasons, fresh and almost irresistible charms to the

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