« PreviousContinue »
healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. xii. 12.)
I would particularly urge this upon those who are tempted to omit solemn duties because of a present backwardness, hoping that it may be better another time. Take care how you trust to that. Instead of a better frame, you may grow worse and worse, and so come to omit them altogether.
3. Let those who are running the race set before them, be encouraged.
You are in the way of mercy, and may expect, not only to be kept from falling, but to have a continual increase of grace, and an extraordinary weight of glory; for “ the way of the Lord,” you remember, “is strength to the upright.” (Prov. x. 29.) Let the way be never so long, the ascent never so difficult, the opposition never so great, and your strength never so small; what are all these, to the power and promise of God? He who led his people through the wilderness, and supported them forty years, so that their clothes did not wax old upon them, nor their shoes wear out (Deut. xxix. 5:) the same God will also support and supply you.
You shall never want a robe, so long as Christ hath a righteousness to screen and adorn you: your feet shall “ be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace :” and, in short, you shall be “ kept, by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.” Only take care that you begin well. Be sure that your first step in religion be right. Remember, that Jesus is “ the way, the truth, and the life;" and that " no man cometh to the Father but by him.” When, therefore, you
set about building for eternity, dig deep; clear away all the rubbish of nature, and rest firmly on the “ foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone;' “ to whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious ; ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. ii. 5.)
Avoid hindrances. Many such will be thrown in your way by the enemies of your souls. Some are more easily beset with one sin, and some with another: all, however, have one sin or another which, if not carefully watched against, will entangle and interrupt them. But, whatever it is—be it a right hand, or a right eye-let Christian resolution prevail over sinful fondness; and, in spite of all the arguments of flesh and blood, cut it off and cast it from you; “ for it were better to enter into life halt, or maimed, than having two hands, and two eyes, to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched.”
But, especially, keep Heaven, and your Forerunner, in your eye. The soul that looks unto Jesus, can never lose its way. Bless God that you have a Jesus to look to. See with what caution he abstained from the appearance of evil, and avoided the least approaches to sin: he “ did no sin, neither was guile ever found in his mouth :” “ he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." See how indefatigable he was in his Father's .business: he “went about doing good,” scarcely allowing himself time to eat or sleep. See with what
patience and cheerful resignation he submitted to the most ignominious and painful sufferings : he “ endured the cross, despising the shame."--Oh that the eyes of all his people, that the eyes of all the world, were fastened on Jesus! Then we should run--oh, how swiftly should we run !--- the race that is set before us.---Hindrances of various kinds we must expect to meet with: the world and our hearts are full of them ; but there is a world where we shall entirely get above them ; where there shall be nothing within us, nor without us, to stop our course or interrupt our joy :
“ There, to fulfil bis sweet commands,
Our speedy feet shall move :
Or cool our burning love.” O Christians! with such prospects before us, is it not strange that we run no faster now :---that, when we are professedly aiming at heaven, and (if we are in the right road) heaven, with respect to some of us, can be at no great distance, it should be possible for the comparatively trifling concerns of this world to engage our attention :---that we do not spurn it from us with indignation; and like the Pilgrim, who ran through Vanity Fair, shutting his eyes and stopping his ears---I say, that we do not make all the haste we can to get through the wil. derness and be out of the reach of its temptations? One would wonder that we can think of any thing but heaven: the place, the company, the work, the joys, the glory, all so animating !---At present you hardly know how to believe the promise of the text, you are so often and so soon tired.
You can scarcely be engaged an hour, before your jaded
faculties complain, and oblige you to break off; so that you can hardly comprehend, at least you never attain to, the full meaning of this precious promise. But in heaven it shall be most gloriously fulfilled : there you shall rest not, day nor night, from the most ardent and elevated devotion; and yet, after millions of years, you shall be as fresh and lively as the first moment you began. Then you will be convinced that it is possible to run and not be weary, and will adore the grace that made you happy examples of it.
THE CHRISTIAN'S FRIEND.
Prov. xviii. 23.
And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a
And who do you think it is ? are right. I was sure you could not hesitate a moment: it is indeed the man Christ Jesus. “There is no other name under heaven given among men, to which this character so properly belongs. Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie, and men of every degree are broken reeds: there is no dependence upon any of them; they speak fair, and for a little while carry it fair; but they fail at last, either through fickleness or frailty, from insincerity or incapacity ; they fail us, when most we need their help. Not so our “ elder Brother," our divine Friend: he is “ Christ Jesus, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever.-Say now, Christians, could I have mentioned one with whom you would rather wish to spend an hour? To
you who believe, I know he is precious; at all times precious; but particularly so when you have been reviewing the wonders of his love, and admiring
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that