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will turn out for our profit in the end, to have spent all our time and care upon these poor perishing things; we are persuaded quite otherwise in our judgments; but it is agreeable to the inclinations and appetites of our carnal worldly hearts to do so. And by the help of a little present decency, and some vague and false purposes of future repentance, we contrive to believe that we shall have peace, and not come to perdition, though we go on in sin; or, at least, we try hard to believe it, and do believe it, so far as to act upon it to our ruin.

But, brethren, you know much better than this, if you would act upon your knowledge; you profess to believe the Scriptures, and they teach you much better than this, and in very plain words, if you would but listen to them. And to your condemnation it is that you really do halt between two opinions. There is not a careless sinner among you all, there is not an idolater of the world among you all, so blind and so careless, as to be fully satisfied with his own present

You cannot go on, as you are going on, without many secret misgivings. And when you see a man resolutely bent on serving God with all his soul, though you sometimes scoff at him in words, there is that within which tells you that he is a wiser man than you. Could Baal give to Israel rain from heaven and fruitful seasons? Could he open the doors of heaven when God had decreed to shut them? Could he save his devoted servants when their hour was come? And if he could not, was it any comfort to them to consider, how they had laid no restraint on their sinful appetites in times past? And can the world save you from the wrath of God? Can you ever be made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light by devoting your affections to things on earth? Can you ever obtain an interest in Christ's merits by neglecting his great salvation? Can you have rest in your possessions even here, if God should please to send you trouble? Is seeking the world, and the things that are in the world, the best preparation for leaving it?

course.

the best preparation for judgment? “ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ?” Did ye never read, “ If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him ?”.

You believe the Scriptures, you say. It is well. But do you not then hear the Scriptures ? Will you not be guided by them? Yes: God“

Yes: God“ gave his only-begotten Son," you say, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.” It is most true. But be not so hasty to persuade yourselves that you believe, and that so you are certainly safe. Know what faith is, and what are the fruits of it, by which only its genuineness can be proved, and see whether or no you have them.

And let me tell you, in the first place, what must be the object of your faith. The thing to be believed is the whole word of God from first to last. Not one doctrine, however important, but all that He has said about the method of salvation by his Son, and all that He has said about the consequences severally of sin and of obedience. You seem to think that you have nothing to do but to persuade yourselves that Christ certainly will save you by his blood, and that then you cannot fail of heaven. But take heed that what you call your faith be not a counterfeit, be not an arrogant, unauthorized presumption. It is written, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God 8:” and must you not believe that? It is written, that he who loveth father or mother, or son or daughter, more than Christ, is not worthy of Him : that if any man will not deny himself, and take up the cross at Christ's bidding, he cannot be his disciple '. It is written, “ Faith, if it hath not works, is deado.” “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain! He that “heareth these sayings of

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1 Cor. vi. 9.

1 John ii. 15. * Ps. ix. 17. Prayer Book version. 10 James ii. 17.

7 John iii. 16. 9 See Matt. x. 37, 38. 1 James i. 26.

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mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand?.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." All these things are written : and are not these things also to be believed ? And if they are the word of God, can a man be a believer or a Christian, who believes them not? And, if they are true, will confidence of salvation, through Christ, save a worldly, impenitent, loose-living man? Many such men, I fully believe, do expect salvation, and think Christ will do all for them. But that expectation is not faith. It is believing a lie, believing that Christ will do what He says He will surely not do. It may be called a faith indeed in one sense; but then it is just such a faith as our first mother had, when she disbelieved God and believed the devil.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind 5.” “If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell 6.” If you do these things because you love Christ, then you believe indeed. But never take yourselves to be Christians, because you trust that Christ will save you at all events. For this He has never promised.

“The wrath of God,” depend upon it, “is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men ? And, in spite of Satan's promises, “there shall be no rain upon the earth,” but at God's word. Therefore, let all Baal's prophets be slain, every one of them; let none escape. Let no known sin be spared. But, by the grace of God, and in the power of his might, cast out from your souls all leaven of malice and wickedness, and every high thing that

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? Matt. vii. 26. 5 Rom. xii. 2.

3 John xiv. 21.
6 Matt. v. 30.

4 Luke x. 27. 7 Rom. i. 18.

exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ. This done, ye are surely “reconciled to God by the death of his Son 8.” The ground of the quarrel betwixt Jehovah and his people is done away; and “there is a sound of abundance of rain.” Spiritual consolation, as the little cloud that arose like a man's hand, shall soon descend in a full stream of blessing upon your souls. Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord. Ye shall know that he is the God by blessed experience, “ till your peace shall be as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the

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sea."

8 Rom. v. 10.

9 Isa. xlviii. 18.

SERMON XIX.

AHAB'S COVETOUSNESS.

1 Kings xxi. 4.

“And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of

the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him : for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my

fathers."

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God spake these words and said, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s!.” The words are sufficiently familiar to us all. It would be well if they were grafted inwardly in our hearts; for assuredly, as long as we neglect this one commandment, we can have but little happiness in this life, and still less expectation of it in the life to come.

We can have little comfort here, because the inordinate desire of possessing those goods of this world which Providence has not seen fit to give us, must, unavoidably, make us uneasy and uncomfortable in our stations; and will, in all likelihood, lead us to the commission of many crimes. And we can have still less prospect of being happy in the next life; because covetousness is idolatry?; because we “ cannot serve

i Exod. xx. 17.

? See Col. iii. 5.

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