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Lord's address to such lukewarm bleness and many fears, "To him professors. He condescends to say that overcometh will I give to sit even to them, "I counsel thee to down with me upon my throne; buy of me, gold tried in the fire, that even as I also overcame, and am thou mayest be rich; and white set down with my Father on his raiment that thou mayest be clothed, throne. He then that hath an ear and that the shame of thy nakedness to hear, let him hear what the Spirit do not appear; and anoint thine saith unto the churches." eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent.
CHRISTIANITY RECOMMENDED BY AN
MAT. V. 16.-Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Think then frequently and intensely on eternity and its infinite importance: meditate seriously on the death of Christ; the design, manner, causes, and effects of it; the instructions conveyed, and the obligations conferred by that great event. Pray earnestly for the sanc- OUR blessed Lord, just before his tifying influences of the Holy Spirit, ascension into heaven, thus adwhich alone can prevent or cure dressed his apostles: “All power lukewarmness, and maintain the life is given unto me in heaven and in and power of godliness in the soul. earth: go ye therefore and teach Examine particularly every part of all nations, baptizing them in the your disposition and conduct: be name of the Father, and of the Son, willing to know the whole of your and of the Holy Ghost: teaching case as it really is. Withdraw from them to observe all things whatsothe company of the lukewarm, and ever I have commanded you." Matt. associate with zealous Christians: xxviii. 18-20. Hence we learn and never admit a doubt, but that that there is a kind and measure of the more fervent, diligent, and fruit-instruction which precedes an inful you become, the greater will be telligent profession of the gospel, your peace and comfort in life and comprising the first principles of death, and the more abundant your the doctrine of Christ and that gracious recompense in the realms of blessedness.
there is also a more particular and exact instruction, by which minisWe have all of us, my brethren, ters should endeavour to form the considerable cause for humiliation judgment, and direct the conduct in this matter and have need to of believers, in all the several parts redouble our diligence in using all of Christianity. This distinction these means, that we may make ought to be carefully remembered; progress, and grow in grace. But that we may not suppose, the pracwhile the Lord says to all," Behold tical exhortations given to believers I stand at the door and knock: if supersede the necessity of regeneany man hear my voice, and open ration, repentance, and faith in the the door, I will come in to him, and Son of God, as numbers seem to will sup with him, and he with me:" think; nor yet deem it inconsistent he adds for the encouragement of with the purest evangelical views, those who are fighting the good fight to explain particularly and inculcate of faith, perhaps with conscious fee-most earnestly, the several parts of
our duty to God and to our neigh-whom this exhortation is especially bour. addressed.
In the sermon on the mount, our II. To examine more fully its Lord first showed in the several import. And,
beatitudes, that happiness results
III. To state the object which from the state of the heart, and not we should aim at in complying from external circumstances: and with it.
then addressing the disciples, in the
presence of the multitude, he said,
I. The persons to whom the Ye are the salt of the earth: but words are especially addressed. if the salt have lost its savour, where- Some expositors seem to confine with shall it be salted? It is thence- the exhortation to the apostles; or forth good for nothing, but to be to the ministers of the gospel excast out and trodden under foot of clusively. But though the words men." Christians scattered over are peculiarly proper and energetic the earth, ought to communicate a in this application; yet it is evident purifying savour of piety and righ. that all Christians are, in their own teousness, and thus to prevent the circle and measure, lights in the increasing depravity of the human world ;" and all who profess Chrisrace: but graceless preachers and tianity, may be exhorted to act conprofessors of the gospel are the sistently with their avowed characvilest and most hopeless of men. ter. In other parts of Scripture "Ye are," says Christ, "the light similar exhortations are addressed of the world; a city set upon a hill to believers in general. The evancannot be hid. Neither do men gelical prophet, viewing the church light a candle, and put it under a as a disconsolate female sitting in bushel, but on a candlestick, and it darkness upon the ground, thus giveth light to all that are in the encourages her," Arise, shine; for house." True Christians, placed in thy light is come, and the glory of different families, villages, streets, the Lord is risen upon thee. For cities, and nations, diffuse the light behold the darkness shall cover the of divine truth, received from the earth; and gross darkness the peoSun of righteousness, throughout the ple: but the Lord shall arise upon world. This also renders them con- thee, and his glory shall be upon spicuous: their dispositions, words, thee: and Gentiles shall come to and actions, will surely be observed thy light, and kings to the brightand exactly scrutinized. Nor were ness of thy rising." Isaiah lx. 1—3. they enlightened from above, in When the light of the glory of God order to be immured in cloisters, in the face of Christ, illuminates or to retire into deserts, like lamps the church; then she arises from put under a bushel; but it is the the dust, reflects the bright beams Lord's will, that they should resem- of the Sun of righteousness, and ble candles placed on candlesticks shines as a light to the Gentiles. in the midst of a room, to give light The preached gospel is sent "to to every part of it. Therefore let give light to them that sit in darkyour light so shine before men, that ness, and the shadow of death, to they may see your good works, and guide their feet into the way of glorify your Father which is in hea- peace:" "To open their eyes, and It may be proper for us,
I. To consider the persons, to
to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God:" and when these effects are
produced, men are made the chil- advantage for aiming to "let our dren of light and of the day," and light shine before men:" and if we are exhorted to a becoming deport- do not, "we have no cloak for our ment. Luke i. 78, 79. Acts xxvi. sin:" so that it will be more tolera18. Eph. v. 8-14. St. Paul ad-ble, in the day of judgment, for dresses the Philippians in words Sodom and Gomorrah, than for us. very similar to those of the text: "Do all things without murmurings II. We will then examine more and disputings; that ye may be fully the import of the exhortation. blameless and harmless, the sons of God hath made other men his God, without rebuke, in the midst instruments in communicating to us of a crooked and perverse nation, the light of the gospel: and we among whom ye shine (or shine ye), should desire and endeavour to imas lights in the world; holding forth part the benefit to others also: the word of life, that I may rejoice though we seem rather lamps in in the day of Christ, that I have the street, or candles in the room, not run in vain, neither laboured in than luminaries in the firmament of vain." And St. Peter uses language heaven. The means to be used for to the same effect: "Ye are a chosen this purpose may vary, according to generation, a royal priesthood, an our several employments, abilities, holy nation, a peculiar people; that and relations in life: but we all ye should show forth the praises of ought to have the same habitual him, who hath called you out of design of bringing our neighbours darkness into his marvellous light." Phil. ii. 14, 16. 1 Pet. ii. 9.
and friends to the knowledge of God and themselves; the holy law and the gospel of salvation; the way of peace and the path of duty; and all other things which pertain to
But we need not multiply proofs in so plain a case. The apostles derived a primary splendour from Christ, the Light of the world; and their evangelical piety. light shone before vast multitudes In order to accomplish this purwith peculiar lustre. The ordinary pose, it is requisite that we make pastor diffuses the same light in his an explicit profession of our faith; circle, and according to his measure: that it may be understood what docand the meanest Christian has his trines we believe, on what foundalittle influence, and a few observers, tion our hopes are builded, and what among whom too his light may be we think concerning the person and made to shine. Even nominal Chris- redemption of Christ. We ought to tians, being favoured with the light avow our expectations from him, of truth, are inexcusable, in pro-and obligations to him; that it may portion to their advantages, in not be perceived on what account we receiving and communicating the deem ourselves bound to love him inestimable benefit. For "this is more than our greatest secular interthe condemnation, that Light is ests, or our dearest earthly friends: come into the world, and men love and unreservedly to keep his comdarkness rather than light, because mandments. This profession is abtheir deeds are evil.' John iii. solutely necessary to evince the 16-21. sincerity of our faith: "With the This may suffice to show, that we heart man believeth unto righteousare all concerned in the exhortation: ness; and with the mouth confession for in our favoured land, and our is made unto salvation." Rom. x. peculiar situation, we have every 10. And "Whosoever shall be
ashamed of the Son of man, and of in their public worship, and comhis words, in this adulterous and memorated the love and sufferings sinful generation; of him also will of Christ at his table; he avowed he be ashamed, when he cometh in himself the servant of the one living the glory of the Father with the and true God, and the disciple of holy angels." Mark viii. 38. the only begotten Son of God. This This profession is thus indispen- conduct would be fully understood sably demanded of Christ's disci- by his former companions, and he ples, in order that they may "let might expect contempt, reproach, their light shine before men," and or persecution as the consequence. diffuse the knowledge of divine truth We indeed live at a time, when most in the world; without yielding to men in our land choose to be called the dread of shame, reproach, or the Christians; and such a variety of most cruel persecution. It is not discordant opinions are maintained indeed expedient forwardly to de- by the professed disciples of Jesus: clare our peculiar sentiments, in all that the mere circumstance of atplaces and companies, without some tending public worship is no explicit special reason, or favourable open- avowal of our peculiar religious sening but if regard to character, or timents. But it is known that in other secular motive render men so some places, the mystery of the reserved in this matter, that their Trinity, the perfections of God's neighbours, friends, and relations character, the righteousness of his remain, in a great measure, strangers law and government, and the wisto their religious principles, their dom and sovereignty of his provisincerity may well be questioned:dence are maintained. Connected for this is a direct refusal to render with these doctrines, man's accountto the Lord the glory due to his ableness to his Creator and Govername, and to recommend his holy nor, a future judgment, and a state religion to mankind. And even if of eternal retributions; the fallen their conduct in some respects be condition of the human race, the suited to adorn the doctrine of God evil and desert of sin, the justice of our Saviour, the observers are left God in the condemnation of sinners, to ascribe it to other causes, and and his free mercy in their salvation, thus an opportunity is lost of evinc-are strenuously insisted on: and the ing the excellent tendency of evan- person, redemption, and mediation gelical truth. of Emmanuel, Jesus the Son of God; This profession of our faith should regeneration and renewal unto hoespecially be made, by attending on liness by the Spirit; repentance the ordinances of God, according to and fruits meet for repentance; the directions of his holy word: and justification by faith alone; love to this also forms an important method the Saviour constraining to devoted of "letting our light shine before obedience; and patient continuance men." In the primitive times, when in well-doing, animated by the hope a Jew or Gentile began to attend of eternal glory, are the principal on the preaching of the gospel; and topics to which the attention of the when,. professing "repentance to-auditories are called. These things wards God and faith towards our are evidently enlarged upon in some Lord Jesus Christ," he was admit-congregations, and not in others; ted by baptism into the visible and if a man be convinced that they church; when he associated habitu- are the doctrines of Scripture, he ally with Christians, statedly joined ought seriously and statedly to at
tend at some place of worship an- | righteous speaketh wisdom, and his swering to this description; avow-tongue talketh of judgment:" and ing that his conduct is the result of it is remarkable, that the most opexamination, conviction, and regard posite effects are ascribed to the to the authority of God. In doing tongue in the Sacred Scriptures. this, not only hearing the sermons, The Psalmist calls it "his glory:" but joining in every part of the ser- and Solomon declares, that "the vice with reverent devotion, and mouth of a righteous man is a well associating with those who hold of life;" "the tongue of the just is and adorn the same principles, he as choice silver :" "the lips of the will make a very distinct and intel-wise feed many;" and that "the ligible profession of his faith: and tongue of the wise is health." in bringing his family and others On the other hand, "The tongue whom he can influence, to attend is an unruly evil, full of deadly poion the same ordinances: he may son:-it is a fire, a world of ini"let his light shine before men," quity;-it setteth on fire the whole and exhibit an edifying example to course of nature, and is set on fire his neighbours. To render this the of hell." James iii. The fact is inmore impressive, he should not deed undeniable, that the gift of only appropriate the Lord's day to speech, when abused, is the grand this purpose; but embrace oppor- instrument in the propagation of tunities of attending on any day atheism, infidelity, impiety, blaswhen it does not interfere with his phemy, heresy, licentiousness, disother duties: coming early, and cord, and every other evil, through showing in his whole deportment, private circles and large cominunithat he takes delight in the worship ties, all over the earth. Yet this of God and in hearing his word. same gift, under the influence of Such a conduct tends exceedingly divine teaching and holy affections, to draw men's attention to the gos- is also principally instrumental, in pel, and to promote vital godliness diffusing the light of the gospel in the world. among mankind: not only by pub
It may further be observed, that lic preaching, but by the private inall these ends are more decidedly structions of parents and masters, answered, when the believer, after and by familiar conversation. The mature deliberation, statedly at- speech of prudent zealous Christends at the same place of worship, tians, being "seasoned with salt," than when he wanders from one to pure, pious, and affectionate, “mianother for thus he sets an exam-nisters grace unto the hearers." It ample of constancy in his attach- is therefore emphatically true, that ments to the truths and ordinances "life and death are in the power of of God; and he more effectually in- the tongue; for out of the abunsures the attendance of his family. Perhaps it may be added, that this conduct indicates a more healthful state of soul, and best promotes the growth in grace and in the knowlege of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
dance of the heart the mouth speaketh." If then we be the disciples of Christ, and partakers of his grace, we shall, after his example, "from the good treasure of our hearts bring forth good things." For even if we keep our mouth, as it were with a Our light should also shine be- bridle, from all corrupt discourse, fore men, by instructive and pious but do not embrace opportunities of conversation, "The mouth of the profitable conversation; we shall be