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How thankful then, instead of repining, should Christians be, when they are called to an account in this life for their offences; when they are intreated, or even when they are compelled, to own their faults; and judge themselves, that they may not be judged of the Lord. And let us all remember that wicked Christians will be judged to the severest doom. They know the will of God; they know the terrors of the Lord; they may have all the assistance to do their duty that their hearts can wish for; they have the promise of heaven to encourage them; they have the ministers and the means of and salvation with them. How dreadful grace then must the judgment of that day be to such people!
On the other hand; such Christians as do believe, and do endeavour to live under a sense of a judgment to come, will have no reason to dread that day; forasmuch as they may, with the greatest assurance, rely upon the mercy and goodness of their Judge. For their Judge himself knows what infirmities they are subject to, and what enemies and temptations they have to struggle with; he will therefore accept of a sincere though imperfect obedience. We may therefore promise ourselves, from his word and from his mercy, all the favour our case can bear; only let us not hope for his mercy while we continue to offend him wilfully.
In order to this, let us often call to mind, that we have something to fear, and something to hope for, after death. Let us set before our eyes the two sentences which Jesus Christ him
self has told us shall be passed upon all men, as their lives shall require: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you! -Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!
Whoever can hear these sentences without concern, without considering which of them may be his own portion, must be given over to a reprobate mind, so that all further arguments are in vain.
To conclude, therefore, this discourse.
You will learn from what has been said, how much you ought to value that gospel, which has been made known to us-the mysteries of our redemption; the love of God; the love of Jesus Christ for his lost creatures; his incarnation, his death, and the reasons of them both; his resurrection, his ascension, and his great power with God; and lastly, his design to reward his servants, and to punish his enemies.
You cannot be so insensible, as to think that these things do not concern every soul of us; and yet how often do we repeat these articles of our faith, without ever thinking of ordering our lives according to what we believe!
We have great need, therefore, to beg of God to kindle in our hearts a most high degree of love for our Redeemer; who for our sakes left the glories of heaven, fulfilled the whole law for us, died for us that we might not die eternally, and who is continually pleading for us at God's right hand.
* Matth. xxv.
In one word; we have the Son of God for our brother, for our master, and teacher; for our example; for our sacrifice, to expiate our sins; for our saviour, for our king, and protector; for our mediator with God.
What can we desire more?-Yes, O Jesus! this one thing we desire besides; that we may have the grace, which thou only canst procure for us; that we may have the grace to consider these things, and to lay them seriously to heart; and that our lives may be answerable to our profession.
Now to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, power, glory, and dominion, now and for ever.
THE CREED PUT INTO PRACTICE.
Vouchsafe, O Jesus, to fill my heart with thy Holy Spirit; that it may appear in all my words and actions, and especially in this work before me, that I am governed by the Holy Ghost; and may He sanctify this discourse to the salvation of all that hear it. Amen.
ACTS ii. 32, 33.
THIS JESUS HATH GOD RAISED UP, WHEREOF WE ALL ARE WITNESSES. THEREFORE BEING BY THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD EXALTED, AND HAVING RECEIVED OF THE FATHER THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY GHOST, HE HATH SHED FORTH THIS WHICH YE NOW SEE AND HEAR.*
to you the two first parts of the articles of our Creed, and shewed you how they are to be put into practice; because as without faith it is impossible to please God, so without a suitable practice, our Christian name, our Christian faith, will be of little use to us.
I'am now come to the last part of our Creed, concerning THE HOLY GHOST, and the following articles, which are of the utmost importance to us.
The occasion of the words now read to you was this:-Jesus Christ, just before his ascension into heaven, had told his disciples, that as a sure proof of his being the Son of God, and that whatever he had told them was most certain, and that his death was accepted of God as a
* See Luke xi. 13. John xiv. 25, 26. Rom. viii. 16, 1 Cor. xii. 3. Tit.iii.5. VOL. II. M
sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world:-to give them the utmost assurance of this, he promised them, that he would send down the Holy Ghost from heaven, to supply his place on earth, to abide with them (that is, with them and their successors) for ever; that he should lead them into all truth, bring all things to their remembrance whatever he had taught them; and that he should convince the world-of the sin of rejecting Christ, and treating him as an impostor; of the corruption of human nature, and the necessity of a Redeemer; of the righteous judgment of God upon the impenitent.
This he promised his disciples; and accordingly, ten days after his ascension, when the whole nation of the Jews, and proselytes fromall the nations of the world, were met at the great feast in Jerusalem, the Holy Ghost descended in a visible form upon the apostles, and enabled them in a moment to speak to all those different nations, and to preach to them, to every one in their own language.
This, as it needs must, astonished all that heard them. Upon which St. Peter takes occasion to inform them, that what they so much wondered at was pursuant to a promise which Christ had made them; and that this was a sure proof, that Jesus Christ, whom they supposed to be no more than a man, and as such had him put to death, that he was the Son of the most High God, as he had often told them; and that God had received him into heaven, and had given him all power in heaven and on earth. And to convince them of this, he had sent down