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upon our children, upon our families, and upon our labours.
Will it not be required of every Christian, that he has given God thanks daily, for the blessings he has daily received from his bounty; for the means of grace; for the dangers he has escaped, whether ghostly or bodily; for success in his labours, and for the continuance of his life.
Lastly; Will it not be required of every Christian, who pretends to love God, that he has prayed daily that God may be honoured and glorified by the good lives of Christians; that God would set up his kingdom in all the world, and in all our hearts; that we may close with the will of God, whenever it is made known to us.
This, we must say again, will be required of the most unlearned Christian, who can but say the Lord's Prayer, (and who will, for very shame, say that he cannot?) it will be required of him, that he has devoutly, and upon all occasions, begged of God to hear him according to the full importance and meaning of that divine prayer. And sad will be the account of every Christian, who has not done so to the best of his understanding and power!
To proceed:-God has appointed certain ordinances, as most sure means of conveying pardon to sinners, grace to such as sincerely desire it, and salvation to all who devoutly close with them. These ordinances God has put into the hands of his ministers, to be dispensed to all such as shall be religiously disposed to receive them. Very much, therefore, will be required of every man, who shall slight or neglect such means of
salvation, which are designed by God to admit us into, and to keep us in, his favour.
By baptism we are admitted into the church of Christ; and by that sacrament we have a right to all the blessings and promises of the gospel. And when, through infirmity, through temptation, or for want of due care, we have broken the covenant of our God, he has in great mercy appointed another sacrament; whereby we may be restored to his favour upon our true repentance.
What will any Christian have to say for himself at the great day, who, having been dedicated to God in baptism, has taken no care to live as became the holy profession he then made of continuing Christ's faithful servant unto his life's end?
What will those parents have to answer for, who have taken no care to have their children instructed in the faith and fear of God; who have taken more care of their bodies than of their souls; and by doing so, have exposed both their souls and bodies to eternal destruction?
And can we imagine, that it will not be required of all persons that are come to years of discretion, and see the sin and the dangers they are exposed to, if they did not take upon themselves the covenant made for them in baptism, and thereby secure a greater portion of the spirit of God, to enable them to encounter the difficulties they had to struggle with? And such will still have more to answer for, if, after they have taken upon themselves their baptismal vows, they tall into a careless or a wicked way of living.
Jesus Christ has given unto Christians one of the greatest pledges of his love, in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; in order to keep up the remembrance of his death, by which alone we obtain remission of our sins. [Luke xxii. 19.]
Will the most unlearned Christian say, that he cannot understand so plain an ordinance? Will the most employed say, that he has not time to observe so short a service? Will any man say that he can be a true Christian, without obeying so positive a command
What then will be required of those Christians who have all their life long turned their back on the Lord's table; of those who go to the Lord's table without a full purpose of forsaking those sins which cost Jesus Christ his life; or of those who have purposed to lead a new, that is, a Christian life, and have taken the sacrament upon it, and yet have still returned unto a careless or a sinful way of living? God will most certainly require it of every one who has done so, and has not repented, and amended, before he is called to judgment.
In short, all these will be without excuse: such as do not desire to know their duty; such as have taken no pains to understand the will of God, what will please and what will displease him; such as never beg of God to enlighten their minds with saving truth; and especially all such as hold the truth in unrighteousness, that is, who do not live up to that measure of light and strength which God has given them.
For this is a law of the gospel given by Jesus Christ himself: To him that hath shall be given.
and he shall have more; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath; that is, whoever hath received and improved any talent which God has given him, God will give him more; and he will take away from those that have not made a good use of his gifts, even what he had given them.
And this, God knows, is too often verified, and we see every day people who have been dedicated to God, been made partakers of his Holy Spirit, have been taught their duty, and have solemnly vowed to perform it; yet for want of care, and neglecting to improve these gifts of God, are become wicked, dissolute, profane, hardened in sin, ignorant, fearless, and reprobate.
Do not we all know, that we are, every soul of us, of the same race, and make, and corrupt nature, with these unhappy people, whom we see and confess to be in the way of eternal ruin? And will it not be required of us, that we keep a strict watch over ourselves; lest we also fall into the snare and temptation of the devil?
Do not we see men ruining themselves, souls and bodies, because they will not deny themselves the desires of their own hearts? And does not every body see and confess, that the want of thought and consideration is the ruin of infinite souls?
Will it not, therefore, be required of every body who knows these things, if they have not kept a watch over themselves, if they have not denied themselves, if they have not considered and laid to heart the things that belong to their peace? And when we are most serious and thought
ful, let every soul of us consider these few, but most important questions:-How much will be required of those Christians, who have the holy scriptures in their hands, and do not profit by them; who have the way of salvation plainly shewed them, and do not value it; who know that God is to be feared above all things, and yet make no scruple to do every thing that they know will displease and provoke him; who are instructed in the will of God, and regard it as nothing; who are invited to ask, and they shall receive, and yet think it not worth their while; or else ask such things as are not worthy of God to give, or safe for themselves to receive?
Let us ask again, What will be required of such as call themselves Christians, and cannot by their lives be known from heathens? Who come before God without reverence, blaspheme his name without scruple, pay no regard to what peculiarly belongs to him; who treat their neighbour with that contempt, or hatred, or injustice, or uncharitableness, or wrong, as if they never did hope to meet him in heaven ; and (which is the saddest delusion of all) who themselves hope to go to heaven, without any of those qualifications which God requires of all such as shall be admitted into that holy, that happy place? What will be required of such Christians? Our Saviour has given the answer in these dreadful words: It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for such Christians.
Good Christians, I have insisted upon these things, that I may raise in my own, and in all