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and a place of torment and punishment for the wicked, why then this will be the portion both of the one and the other, whether men believe, whether they think so, or not.
As for such as know themselves to have no religion, no fear of God before their eyes, they know likewise that they are not worthy, that is, meet to be made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in heaven; and without a timely repentance they never can be happy. They know it, and all the arguments in the world cannot give them a greater assurance than their own consciences.
But then there are others, who, because they profess to believe these things, are therefore under no apprehensions of any danger, although they take no thought, no pains, to fit themselves for the heavenly life. They love the world as well as if they desired never to leave it; they run into temptations to sin; what they call repentance, is no more than asking God pardon, and, upon the first occasion, running into the same sins again; in short, they pray without concern to be heard, without a sense of their wants, without being convinced of their own misery, without knowing the danger they are in; and after all, they die in peace, and in hopes of a joyful resurrection.
Why now, my Christian brethren, if any of be conscious to himself that this is his own case, let him know, that none shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, but such who have had their conversation in heaven while they were on earth; who with an eye of faith have
seen, and were persuaded of, the glory which God hath prepared for his saints; and make it the very chief business of their life to become worthy, that is, meet for the kingdom of heaven. For, as Jesus Christ died, so he was also raised for us, That we should not henceforth live unto ourselves, but unto him who died and rose again for us.*
Let us therefore, as many of us as are verily persuaded of the truth of these things, let us be persuaded also to raise our hearts and affections above the little concerns of this world. Live in it we must, as long as God is pleased we should, because it is the place appointed for our trial and improvement; but, after all, it is not the place where we are to expect our happiness; nor where we should lay up our treasure, lest, our hearts being there also, we never aspire after that happiness which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I shall conclude with the words of St. Paul:† If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth; that when Christ who is our life shall appear, then we may appear also with him in glory. Which God grant, for the sake of the same Jesus Christ.
To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for
THE DUTY OF IMPROVING THE TALENTS COMMITTED TO OUR TRUST.
LUKE xii. 48.
FOR UNTO WHOMSOEVER MUCH IS GIVEN, OF HIM SHALL BE MUCH REQUIRED.*
HESE words of Christ were designed to make us all very serious and concerned, for the account which we must one day give of the talents we have received, and for the opportunities he has afforded us of knowing and of doing our duty.
I believe that Jesus Christ shall come from heaven to judge the quick and dead, and to render to everyman according to his works done in the body. This is what This is what every Christian professes to believe: but is it possible for any Christian, who leads a careless life, to say this, and not to be extremely concerned for the judgment that is then like to pass upon him, and for what must follow that sentence? The generality of Christians must certainly lie under some sad delusion, who live in a neglect of the duties of christianity, and die without fearing any danger.
If one seriously considers what this delusion is, it will appear to be this;-That most Christians do hope that they have not so much to answer for as really they have.
• Son Matt. xv. 23. Acts xvii. 30. Johu ix. 41 ; xvi. 24. Rom. i. 22. James i. 5; iv. 17.
I have made. choice of these words of our Saviour, to convince you, that we have, every soul of us, more to answer for than we are generally aware of; that we have, all of us, received much, and much will be required of us.
I know this will hardly be believed; and one must take some pains to convince Christians that it is really true, and that their salvation. depends upon it.
I am not now speaking of those to whom God has given excellent parts and understandings, great opportunities of doing good, time to spare, and abilities to learn and to know a great deal: -Nobody questions but such persons have a great deal indeed to answer for. But that which I would have you convinced of is this; that such as are apt to think themselves least accountable, will have much to answer for, even more than they generally think of.
Is it knowledge you want? Do not deceive yourself; you know things as hard to be understood as the things which concern your salvation. Without religion, no man must hope to be saved; every man, therefore, is capable of knowing as much as God will expect from him, provided he be really desirous to know his duty.
Is it time you want? You will not say so, when you consider, that religion is the work of the heart, more than of the body; and that a man may be very religious, doing his duty, pleasing God, at the same time that he is about his worldly business.
Is it the want of a will you complain of? Be assured of it, that you may have it for asking, if