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hath confecrated to us by his blood, we may be enabled to draw near to God with true hearts, in the full affurance of faith; and receive fuch tokens of his love while we fit at his table, as fhall be an earnest and pledge to us, of that still more near and joyful approach to him in the heavenly fanctuary; where we shall no more fee him in the glass of ordinances, but face to face; where we fhall be thoroughly changed into his image, and enjoy him fully, without interruption, and without end. Amen.
ROMANS V. 10.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more being reconciled, we shall be faved by his life.
HE grounds of a Christian's faith and |
hope, are not only fufficient to satisfy his own mind, but capable likewise of being defcribed and vindicated, in fuch a manner às cannot fail to give full fatisfaction to every fober unprejudiced inquirer.
Genuine Christianity is far from declining any means of trial, whereby truth is diftinguished from delufion or imposture: on the contrary, it courts the light; and the more feverely it is tried, the brighter it fhines: "The words of the Lord are pure "words, like filver tried in a furnace of earth, and purified feven times." The
evidence by which our faith and hope are fupported, hath already ftood the test of many generations; and the most violent attacks of its enemies, instead of shaking the foundation, have only ferved to fhow, that it is laid by that fame Almighty Hand which created and upholdeth these heavens and this earth. Nay, thefe heavens, and this earth, fhall at length pass away; but one jot, or one tittle, in thefe lively oracles of wisdom and truth, fhall in no wife pafs away till all be fulfilled.
The privileges of a Chriftian are not a picture drawn by fancy, neither doth his comfort take its rife from those inexplicable impreffions to which the dreaming enthufiaft is constrained to refort. The intelligent believer ftands upon firm ground, and is always " ready to give an answer to every man that afketh him a reafon of "the hope that is in him."
Do you inquire into the object of his hope, he will tell you without hesitation, that he looks for a portion after death, in comparison whereof, this earth which we inhabit
inhabit, and all that it contains, fhrink into nothing, yea, lefs than nothing, and vanity.
Whatever we behold in this material world hath the feeds of diffolution fown in its very nature. Our bodies themselves are only tabernacles of clay, which ere long fhall be crumbled into duft, and fee corrup tion.
Here we breathe, as it were, in the midst of contagion and defilement; and the best things we enjoy are liable to be perverted, either into the inftruments or occafions of fin. Honour tempteth to pride, power to oppreffion, and affluence to fenfuality and criminal indulgence. Few, comparatively fpeaking, can carry with an even and steady hand the full cup of profperity any length of way; like Jehurun, they are apt to kick when they wax fat, and lightly to esteem the Rock of their falvation.
Nay, though they fhould efcape the pol lution of thefe earthly enjoyments, by ufing them with moderation, and employing them to the purposes for which they were defigned; yet fo precarious and fugitive are all fublunary things, that it is impoffible
fible for any man to promise upon their continuance. Who can say, Who can fay, "My moun"tain ftandeth ftrong, I fhall never be "moved?"—Can any man guard himself at all times against fecret fraud and open violence ?-Nay, every element, the wind, the fire, the water, may in a moment be armed with fufficient force to make the unwelcome feparation betwixt us and the best of our worldly poffeffions.-Thus corruptible and defiled, thus uncertain and tranfitory, is all that is moft admired and courted here below.
Not fo the portion of the faints; the inheritance they look for is incorruptible, « undefiled, and fadeth not away."As it hath no principle of decay within itself, fo neither can it be wafted by any thing from without. It is It is "referved," or laid up, "for them in heaven;" a place of abfolute fafety, beyond the reach of every adverse power, and equally fecured against deceit and rapine. There is no thief to fteal, no fpoiler to lay wafte. In thofe regions of perfect light and love, no fuch piteous complaints are heard as thefe,