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be ambitious of uniformity of principle, and consistency of conduct? Without them we are not rational. Without them we can neither have comfort in ourselves, nor be estimable in the sight of God or men. Have we not all known enough of perplexity and doubt, to make tranquillity and certainty objects of desire? But we have seen reasons sufficient to prove, that on the measure of our selfdenial, the measure of our ease and satisfaction must depend. And who does not feel that, however great our present happiness, our minds cannot experience solid joy, if in doubt about our final state ? that, however pleasant in itself our present course, it must become irksome, if we have cause to be apprehensive concerning the issue to which it leads? Who, then, would not wish to possess and to cultivate a virtue which, as it has divine grace for its original, has heavenly glory for its end?
But if any of you will still be “ lovers of plea
sures more than lovers of God;" if they will make themselves the theme of their song, the objects of their confidence and complacency, let them be assured that their fall is near, and ruin from which there is no recovery. When the will of God and the will of man stand opposed, it may be left to the most wicked, or most foolish in this audience, to judge which shall prevail in the end. Let your understandings, and your consciences, reply, then, while I put the question. It is the will of God, that we renounce all sinful pleasure; and that, through every hardship and temptation, we persevere in our obedience. It is his will that we trust in his grace, and not in our own capacity. His will that we believe in the Saviour whom he hath
sent, for everlasting life: And if you resist this will, can you hope to prosper? Have you forgotten that the will of God is supported by infinite power? the power which bound“ in everlasting chains under
darkness, the angels that kept not their first “ estate ;"* and before which the collected strength of created beings is as a feather before the whirlwind. “ Hast thou,” then, O impotent mortal!
an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a “ voice like him?” that “thou wouldst disannul “ his judgment;" and condemn him, that thou
mayest be righteous ?”F Know that, if thou wilt not submit to his will, thou shalt, ere long, feel his vengeance; a vengeance, whose effects shall penetrate every sense and faculty of thy nature. Be persuaded, then, by " the terrors of the Lord,” before you hear them in the awful sentence, “ Those *“ mine enemies, which would not that I should
reign over them, bring hither, and slay them be“ fore me.” I “Consider this, ye that forget God, “ lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to “ deliver."! And may the Lord grant you mercy now, and in the great day of his final appearance ! And to his glorious name be all the praise! Amen.
+ Job xl. 9, 8.
* Luke xix. 27.
S Psalm 1. 22.
UNION WITH CHRIST.
1 JOHN 11. 28.--Little children, abide in him.
į Prcached at Brechin, in the evening after the celebration of the Lord's
supper.) THE apostle John had been “ a burning and a
shining light;" a light that warmed without scorching. He had illumined and comforted many. But now the time of his setting was at hand. His hairs having become gray, in the service of his Lord, he speaks in these epistles with the tenderness of a parent, and the authority of a master : “ Little chil"' dren, abide in him." His temptations, his labours, and his course about to be finished, assured of his interest in the love, merits, and rewards of the Redemeer, he speaks of himself as a partaker of the blessings which he holds out to others, as a motive to abide in Jesus: “ That, when he shall appear, “ we may have confidence, and not be ashamed “ before him, at his coming."
God, in his word, addresses us in our own language. Spiritual objects, and our connexion with them, are expressed in figurative terms, in allusion to outward relations with which we are familiar. And thus, to" abide in Christ,” obviously signifies to continue spiritually united to him. In discoursing from this text, the objects of illustration which naturally present themselves to us are,
1. The union between Christ and believers, From this we shall be led,
II. Some of the marks or evidences of this union in its effects.
By the consideration of these particulars, there will be suggested,
III. Some reflections on the animating motive to abide in Jesus, derived from the privileges and consolations connected with it.
Before proceeding, however, it may be proper to premise, that the command to abide in Christ, and the promises annexed to it, are not to be understood as conveying an insinuation, that the union subsisting betwixt Christ and Christians may be dissolved. The purposes of God respecting mankind, in the dispensations of grace, like those which relate to the operations of providence, are effected, in a manner consistent with our reasonable nature, by the influence of motives. In accomplishing the designs which his wisdom has determined, respecting dead matter, or mere animal life, he employs those means by which matter may be moved, or animal instincts excited. In attaining the ends which he has proposed to accomplish in the spiritual world, he, in like manner, adapts the agency exerted to the subjects on which it is to operate. To a rational nature, therefore, rational motives are presented; motives such as may best influence the sentiments, and determine the actions of the indi. viduals concerned. But by these means the objects proposed are not less certainly attained, than the common purposes of providence, in the material and animal worlds, by the laws of matter, and the uniform operation of instinct. For suiting, by
his spirit, the dispositions of his people to the motives which he presents to their attention, he accomplishes in them the beneficent purposes of his grace, though by their own choice, yet as infallibly as he has secured by the law of gravitation, the descent of the stone projected towards heaven. And thus that, which at first might seem to present an argument for the possibility of their failure, stands, on better inquiry, unanswerably evident as a certain mean of securing to them everlasting life.
To the mind of the man who is " in “ Christ Jesus," the “ things which are not seen" are ascertained. The most important transactions of past time, such as those on Calvary, which you this day commemorated, are recalled to his view; and the futurities beyond the grave become present, and assume an awful reality; so that sooner would he rush into the midst of a burning furnace, than quit his hold of the Redeemer; sooner may the sun start from his place, and the ordinances of heaven be changed, than he cease to abide in Jesus.
Let us proceed, then, to consider the union be. tween the Saviour and his people.
The varied phraseology by which this union is expressed in scripture, has been interpreted by some, as expressive merely of his being endowed with the same nature which they possess ; inasmuch as he, like them, partook " of flesh and “ blood."* But in this sense may all mankind be said to be united to Christ. And such, surely, is not the sense of inspiration, concerning the union which distinguishes believers. For said Christ him
. Heb. ii, 24