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THE NECESSITY OF COMING TO SOME CERTAINTY WHETHER WE ARE IN THE WAY OF SALVATION OR NOT.
O Holy Spirit of Grace! I implore thy assistance, that I may speak upon this important subject, so as to be understood, so as to touch the heart, so as to edify those that shall hear me. And grant that
may never forget to try and examine my own faith by those marks which I propose to others; and that I may be an example in faith and life; for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
2 COR. xiii. 5.
EXAMINE YOURSELVES, WHETHER YE BE IN THE FAITH;• [THAT IS, WHETHER YE BE true chrisTIANS, AND IN THE WAY OF SALVATION?—WHETHER YOUR LIVES BE ACCORD. ING TO YOUR PROFESSION?]
MY Christian brethren! I am going to lay
before you the absolute
hope for heaven, of coming to some certainty whether we are in the way of salvation or not.
Every body must own, that it is a matter of great concern for a man to know whether his faith be such as it should be, such as will please God, such as will influence our lives, and fit us for heaven. I need not, therefore, use many words to prevail with you to attend very seriously to what you are going to hear.
One cannot, in charity, but conclude, that any one of would part with his life, sooner
See Matth. vii. 20, 21. 2 Cor. v. 7. Gal. vi. 3, 4. VOL. II.
John xiv. 1, 6. Acts xxiii. i. Rom. viii. 16.
than he would renounce his faith and his christianity this being the general persuasion of all Christians, that whoever renounces his faith, renounces all hopes of salvation. And so indeed he does. We have the word of the Son of God for it: He that believeth not, shall be damned.*
But then let us have a great care of deluding ourselves, by fancying, that because we would not for all the world renounce our christianity, that therefore we are such Christians as we should be. For he only is a true Christian, who believes as he should do, and leads a life agreeable to his faith.
Now, this ought to put every one of us upon examining ourselves, in very good earnest, whether we be in the faith; that is, in other words, whether we be Christians in deed and in truth, as well as in name? By doing this, we shall either have the comfort of knowing that we are in the way of happiness; or else, we shall see our danger, which through the grace of God may awaken us, and put us upon a new course of life.
In order to this, we need not examine into the many disputes among Christians, to settle our faith and our religion. We have a rule of faith, which will infallibly lead us to heaven and happiness, if our life be but answerable to our creed. But that which I would propose to you, is a much surer way of knowing whether you are sound in the faith; that is, by examining, whether your life and conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ?
* Mark xvii. 16.