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his Spirit, and are brought into a state of entire conformity to his holy will. And there are times and seasons, when we are favoured with peculiar tokeos of his love, and with those particular visitations of the Divine Spirit, which are far better felt than they can possibly be described. I well know that many will call this enthusiasm ! and others will say, " That those frames and feelings are not to be depended upon; and they have learned to live above them.” In answer to this, I never yet knew a person make light of those frames and feelings, or rather those beavenly visitations, but either those who never experienced any thing of the kind, or those who once did, but have grieved the Holy Spirit, and bave entirely lost them. As to the former, they are either such as have never been enlightened at all, and therefore know nothing about the matier: Or, they are our half.enlightened, half. awakened professors, who think that a desire to obtain salvation, is salvation itself; and who dream, that the knowledge of their disease is also the cure, But alas! these men bave stopped short of Christ, and are no judges at all of what the man enjoys, who is spiritually one with him, and who is daily receiving out of his fulness, and grace for grace. It is indeed a melancholy consideration, that some of those mistaken men are set up as ministers of the Lord Jesus, in these degenerate days. But however they may be admired by many, I trust, that living and dying, I shall bear my testimony against their delusion ;-against that poor, dark, starved religion wbich they teach, which leaves the soul under clouds and thick darkness; under painful doubts and distressing fears; neither enjoying a sense of the favour of God, nor experiencing his renewing grace, but remaining carnal and sold under sin.
As to those who formerly were blessed with sound, genuine experience, but bave lost that heavenly treasure, and therefore cry out against that which they formerly set the highest value upon, alas for them ! they are not to be regard. ed at all. Their past experience appears to them now as a dream; and they come under the condemnation of the Apostle, where he says, “ He who lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar, off, and bath forgotten that he was once purged from his old sins." The case of such men is truly deplorable, and that not only on account of what they have lost, but also, because they frequently put darkness for light, and call good evil; and what is still worse, not a few of them look upon that as the work of the devil, or at the best, as the fruit of a man's own imagination, which they once gratefully acknowledged to be the work of the Spirit of God. But he who walks with God, “shall (as our Lord
speaks) have the light of life," and shall see throngh all those dreadful delusions ; and shall, as the wise man observes, " inherit substance." () yes :
() yes: “ His soul shall dwell at ease;" or, as the words are in the margin of the Bible, “ His soul shall lodge in goodness." The refreshing streams of that river, which maketh glad the city of God, shall daily Aow into his soul, and he shall be as a well-watered garden. 66 The Lord God shall be his sun and his shield;" and he will give him all the riches of his grace here, and shall partake of that glory which shall be revealed in due time.
Well might the sweet singer of Israel say, “ Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound;" when he also adds, “ They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance ; in thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted." These men are the blessed of the Lord, and goodness and mercy shall follow them.
If these things are so, then to say nothing of those who are living in sin and rebellion against God, and therefore are so far from walking with him, that they are walking from him, and contrary to him, in the fullest sense of the word. How are those poor, blind, dead, formalists deceived, who vainly think that this Scripture just suits their state, and that they are doing justly, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with God? To all these we may say, with the Apostle, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” For it is certain, midnight darkness surrounds them on every side, and spiritual death has taken the deepest hold of them. All their spiritual senses are fast locked up, so that they neither see the things of the Spirit of God, nor hear the voice of God, nor feel the power of God, nor taste of his goodness, mercy, and love.
O ye dark benighted souls, who vainly suppose that ye are the men, and that wisdom will die with you, see your wretched condition, and your extreme danger, in the five foolish virgins. You, like them, have no oil in your vessels. You have nothing but your dark lamp. You have not the light of God, to guide and direct you ;-nor the peace of God, to comfort and make you happy ;-nor the grace of God, to make you holy, and to enable you chearfully and faithfully to serve him. You have indeed a name to live, but
you are dead; you have the form of godliness, but you are total strangers to thc power : You have the shadow of religion, but you have no more; the substance is bid from your eyes.
Alas for you! Did you never hear him, whom you vainly call Lord and Master, say, “ Ye must be born again, or ye
cannot enter into the kingdom of God?" And did that word never strike you,—“ The kingdom of God is within you?” Be persuaded before it be too late, seriously to consider the import of these words :. And then, ask your own soul, “ Am " I born of God? When did I experience so great a change " to pass upon my soul? Is the kingdom of God set up in
Am I not a total stranger to every thing of " this sort?" O examine yourselves by the only sure touchstone, the holy word of God, praving at the same time, that he would shine upon your soul, so that you may see upon what ground you stand, and what your real state is. There is yet hope concerning vou : if you seek the Lord, he will be found of you; and you may, after all, obtain salvation at his hand.
II. This brings us to the second thing proposed, namely, What is implied in doing justly, and loving mercy?
And first, What is implied in doing justly! Upon due consideration, it will appear, that those who build their hopes of everlasting salvation upon their own obedience, or upon doing justly, are entirely ignorant of the nature and extent of that obedience which the Lord calls them to perform; and nothing is more certain; than that they fall infinitely short of it. With respect to doing justly, how many are led to suppose that this can signify no more, than to do what is strictly just and honest between man and man; and therefore, if they do not cheat, over-reach, or defraud any one, they vainly think that they have fulfilled the whole counsel of God in this respect. There would be some degree of truth in this, snpposing that there is no God, that we have not immortal souls, and that there are no such things as future rewards and punishments. But when we consider, that God our Creator, that God our Governor and Preserver, and above all, that God our Redeemer, hath a proper claim upon us, and demands our obedience, then we shall see that such people are most dreadfully mistaken indeed.
Many there are who vainly think that they are doing justly, while they are actually robbing God himself, and therefore come under that terrible charge, “ Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." If they impertinently and insolently say as those did unto whom the words were first spoken, “Wherein have we robbed thee?” It is easy to answer, You have robbed God of his honour, and of that obedience to his will which he most justly requires of you; and this being the case, you stand guilty in his sight, and will assuredly be condemned too, unless you'fly to the blood of sprinkling, which only can take that guilt away.
If we wish to do justly, we should certainly begin with the blessed God, and he hath said, "My son, give me thy heart;" which is in effect the same thing as when he savs,
66 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” Unless we suppose these two Scriptures to differ thus,~"My son, give me thy heart;" that is to say, seriously and unreservedly devote thy whole soul to God. Join thyself unto him in the bonds of a perpetual covenant, never to be forgotten; take him for thy Father, thy Friend, thy Portion, vea, thy ALL IN ALL. So that he may communicate that grace unto thee, in the enjoyment of which thou mayest be enabled to love him with all thy heart, and mind, and soul, and strength.
God, considered as the Author of our being, created us for the manifestation of his own glory, and his design undoubted. ly, was to make us wise, boly, and happy; that we should live in the enjoyment of his favour bere ;-and that by experiencing the riches of his grace, we should be made meet to live and reign with him for ever. He, then, who so lives as to frustrate the gracious designs of God, cannot be said to do justly; but on the contrary, greatly dishonours Ged, grieves his Holy Spirit, and brings guilt upon his own soul. But he does justly, with respect to God, who being enlightened by the Divine Spirit, sees how much it is his interest to live in the enjoyment of God, never rests till he is blest with a clear sense of his favour, is adopted into his family, is a partaker of his grace, and accordingly, is enabled to love God, to rejoice in him as his present portion, to delight in him as the God of his salvation, and to trust in bim as his all-sufficient God.
The man who is renewed in the Spirit of his mind by the power of the Holy Spirit, will find no difficulty in loving God. For as on the one hand, the enmity of the carnal mind is taken away; so on the other, he clearly sees that God is infinitely worthy to be loved by him, as he is the fountain of all that is truly lovely, great, or good; the fountain of life and love, of wisdom and grace, of peace and pleasure; and, in a word, the fountain of all solid bappiness, who alone is able to satisfy the most enlarged desires of an immortal spirit, bound for eternity.
Happy, yea unspeakably happy are they who can say, upon the same ground that the Prophet did, “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; my heart hath trusted in him." As it must follow, that a peace which passeth all understanding, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, will spring up in the mind; and while this is our case, we cannot be miserable, let what will befal us.
But as we are thus called to be just, with respect to God, so also, with respect to our own souls. They who look no higher than barely doing justice in their dealings with mankind, perhaps never thought of that word of God, “ He who sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul ;-all they who hate me, love death." A inost awful scripture this surely is; but how exceeding few ever think of it? Were men to be guilty of one thousand part of the injustice, not to say the cruelty, to their bodies, which they are guilty of to their souls, all who know them would cry out against them as not worthy to live. When a man squanders away his worldly substance, in the most ridiculous manner, puts it entirely out of his power to live comfortably in the present world, and will foolishly and wickedly bring poverty and wretchedness upon himself and his family; every one must see, that this man is a downright fool, and deserves no pity. But on the other hand, a man is accounted 'wise, who being in prosperous circumstances, yet pays no regard to his eternal interests, utterly disregards the one thing needful, forgets the very end for which he was born, turns a deaf ear to all the loving reproofs of the infinitely wise and blessed God, despises all his gracious counsels, and slights and neglects all his offers of mercy and grace: In a word, this man robs his own soul of present and eternal salvation, and yet, strange to think, the man talks of doing justly; and, if possible, stranger still, even in this Christian country, such a one is accounted a wise man. But may we not, with the utmost degree of certainty, not only pronounce the man a fool, a madman, but a thief, a robber; yea, a murderer? O yes: I scraple not to say, that such a man is beside himself, in that he is following the veryest trifles, and neglecting the greatest and must invaluable blessings. He is a robber, he robs bis own soul of the greatest treasure in the universe. Nay, he is a murderer; he murders his own soul, he plunges his immortal spirit into a state of everlasting death.
Let any one seriously consider, that the Lord of Life and Glory, the Redeemer of lost mankind, did actually lay down his own life, in order to procure present and eternal salvation for us ;-hat this salvation, purchased at so dear a rate, is freely offered to us in the Gospel;--that our present and everlasting happiness depends upon our embracing these offers of mercy and grace. And yet a man has no sort of regard to what Christ has done or suffered on his account;be considers not the inestimable value of the salvation of God, but prefers the merest trifles before it, and entirely neglects all the kind and gracious invitations of God, so that with respect to him, Jesus Christ died in vain. How then does