Imatges de pÓgina
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upright man in the midst of a perverse and SERM. evil generation. This man may truly evince VIII. that he serves his God of mere choice. Independent of all that revelation assures us of, we might well suppose a good man among sinners, must be like a friend amidst a host of enemies; and that God will be pleased especially to notice such a steady attachment. And this serves to put the wisdom of being righteous past all doubt; as it is required of us,

individually and simply, it is wise to obey, let the rest of the world do as they will ; but even if sinners abound, and strive to entice you, so far from this lessening the obligation, it greatly increases it; as it demands more fortitude, it enhances the merit; when placed in such circumstances, you are peculiarly called upon to testify your loyalty to God, lest, if awed by the force of numbers, you should be tempted by word or deed to deny him before men, you, yourself, should be denied, in the day of judgment, before the angels of God. It is fit also to remind you, upon this occasion,

SERM. of your further obligations, as Christians ; VII. by the rite of baptism you are positively

enlisted under the banners of Christ. It is true this ceremony, perhaps, took place in your infancy, but this is of no moment; when you came to years of discretion, you were expected either to abandon or to confirm the obligation. If, by word or deed, you have wilfully dissolved the compact then solemnly entered into, you are no Christians, nor have any place in this, Christ's, holy temple. If you have not openly dissolved the compact, but yet act in opposition to it, you are in a state of rebellion and insubordination, and must justly deserve to be punished for such wilful desertion of your acknowledged Lord and Saviour. In short, though evil, simply as evil, is very bad, yet, indeed, evil in a Christian must be worse, because there is such an accumulation of obligations. You have a creator, redeemer, and sanctifier to obey and conciliate ; all acting and co-operating for your salvation and eternal happiness ; all inviting you, upon certain

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fixed conditions, to become a partaker of SERM. the joys of heaven. Will you slight such vill. promises, and, instead of proving yourselves to be " of God,by doing good,

follow that which is evil,” to the loss and destruction of all your hopes ? For you must remember, that the glorious hopes of Christianity ought to animate you to obedience most especially. It is not a hardship that

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were dedicated to Christ in your childhood, and before you were capable of giving your consent to the ceremony, though indeed it lays you under a stronger obligation to do good and eschew evil ; but by this dedication of your souls and bodies to Christ, you were put under the immediate protection of his holy spirit, and if your obligation to do good became greater, yet your hopes of assistance and prospects of reward became greater too ; for though Christ died for the sins of the whole world, and all that are finally saved, will be saved through the merits of his cross and passion, yet, among these, those that died before his appearance in

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SERM. the flesh, as well as others to whom the vill. light of Christ's Gospel has never reached,

will, in all probability, be somewhat distinguished from those who have had a clear sense and knowledge of his most merciful interposition in behalf of mankind. As “ every man will be accepted according to that be bath, not according to that he hath not,so every man will assuredly be judged, and probably be rewarded accordingly. The Gentiles, without the law, will be judged as without the law, and saved and forgiven accordingly. But those who have been blessed with the light of Christ's Gospel, will be judged by that Gospel, and rewarded as well for their obedience to the law, as for the proof they have thereby given of their faith and confidence in Christ; but then, on the other hand, the wicked who have sinned against this holy and perspicuous law, will be judged with more rigour, and condemned to a heavier punishment, as not only having sinned against so great a light, but as having thereby also, by their wicked deeds, · 5

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made the cross of Christ of none effect. SERM. The Christian, therefore, stands in this viii. situation, that as, through the merciful redemption of Christ, stronger hopes of happiness are given to him, of him will greater obedience and more steady attachment be required; and we shall do very wrong to suffer this ever to escape from our remembrance. The condition of a Christian, if we properly understand our profession, and the nature of our baptismal covenant, is quite different from that of others of the sons of men, in regard to good and evil. To abstain from evil, or even to do and practise what is good, without any remembrance of the Lord that bought us, must inevitably loose much of its effect, if not become exceedingly blame-worthy : for, at all events, nothing will excuse that cold indifference and torpid insensibility which can suffer us to disregard the loving kindness of our blessed Saviour, in taking our lowly and debased nature upon him, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption. While he en

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