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the spirit of the world and the force of temptation, and you fix upon some lower, some more reputable, some less self-denying standard of moral excellence; and if the thought of the dying saint occurs to your mind, it is followed up by some such conclusions as these, "I am a ChristianWhat then? Why, I am a member of that little flock to whom it is the good pleasure to give the kingdom.' I am safe, and with that let me be contented. If I can but be prevented from openly dishonouring the doctrine of God my Saviour; if I can but be plucked as a brand from the burning, and saved from the devouring jaws of my adversary the devil,' I shall be thankful for the lowest place in the world of glory."
My brethren, this is a false humility, utterly at variance with the whole tenor of Scripture. For what purpose are the precepts of Scripture given? -That we may "be perfect, even as our Father which is in heaven is per
fect."* What is the use which we are to make of its promises? "To cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."† To what end are its examples set before us? That we may "lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking (above all) to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." For what purpose is "all Scripture given by inspiration of God?" "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."§ And why is it that the Christian is still left to sojourn in this world of sin? It is that he may "let his light so shine before men, that they may see his good works, and glorify his Father which is in heaven." And mark the And mark the encouragement held out to those faithful servants of the
*Matt. v. 48.
+ 2 Cor. vii. 1. Heb. xi. and xii. 1, 2. § 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. || Matt. v. 16.
Lord who are continually engaged in "occupying till he come." He shall greet them with that honourable commendation which shall send a thrill of fervent joy, mingled with conscious unworthiness, through their souls-" Well done, good and faithful servant;" and appoint them a station in glory proportioned to their improvement of the talents committed to them."* let me turn your special attention to the beginning of the Epistle, from whence the text is taken. The Apostle there addresses himself to those who, like yourselves, had so far profited by the grace of God, as to escape the "corruption that is in the world through lust;" and he bids them not be contented with this, but "beside this, giving all diligence, to add to their faith, virtue," and every christian grace. tThe "virtue" of which he here speaks, is that very principle which you want; a principle of holy fortitude, a courage which shall enable you to "endure hardness as + 2 Pet. v. &c.
Luke xix. 11, &c.
a good soldier of Jesus Christ," and "to
fight manfully under his banner against
sin, the world, and the devil, and continue
his faithful servants and soldiers to your lives end." And is not your's precisely the case to which he refers in the ninth verse? "He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." Call to mind, beloved brethren, the love and gratitude that glowed in your heart, when you first had reason to trust that " your sins were forgiven you for his name's sake;" and remember that you are "made partakers of the divine nature,' not that you may sit down contentedly with the notion that you are safe, but that you may "give all diligence to make your calling and election sure;" not that you should be satisfied with "the forgiveness of sins," as if there were no other privilege to be enjoyed in this life, but that you
* 2 Tim. ii. 3.
+ Baptismal Service.
should "add to your faith, virtue;" not that you should limit your expectation to a bare entrance into glory, but that you should seek to have "an entrance ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
you, then, my christian brethren, do I more especially call to enter in a spirit of earnest enquiry on the subject before us. May the Spirit of God rouse you from your slumbers, and break the chains of evil habits by which you are bound. May he so lead you to consider the wonderful assemblage of motives to holiness which the Gospel presents, that you may both know and feel "what manner of persons you ought to be in all holy conversation and godlithat May he fulfil to you prayer our church, which may be taken as a comment on the portion of Scripture to which I have just referred you; "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people, that they, plenteously bringing