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on the sure word of God, and sealed by his sanctifying Spirit, is capable of triumphing over all our expectations of temporal advantages, distinctions, and gratifications; and of animating the soul to patient continuance in well-doing." Love to our God and Saviour, likewise, unites its powerful influences: and, while we cleave to him with fervent desires, rejoice in him, with admiring gratitude, and are fervently zealous for the honour of his name, we shall feel constrained by this supreme affection" to live no longer to ourselves, but to "him who died for us and rose again." Thus we shall be prepared to venture, suffer, and labour, in seeking to glorify his name and recommend his precious salvation.
The encouragements of the gospel also are very efficacious. The sinner who attempts to amend his life, according to the word of God, is very liable to grow weary in his attempts. The law seems to say to him, " Pay me that thou owest; and he appears to himself further and further removed from the righteousness which he went about to establish, and from that victory over his passions which he expected speedily to accomplish. On the other hand, if he make the principles of morality, or some mitigated law, his standard, he is at a loss to determine how much obedience will entitle him to acceptance; and uncertainty tends to discouragement. For the diligent and conscientious are in this case always harassed with doubts; and none but the heedless and self-confident think themselves good enough to be the objects of the divine favour.
But Christ invites all that are athirst to come
to him, and " he will give them of the fountain "of the water of life freely;" and assures the trembling sinner, that " he will in no wise cast "out any one that comes to him." It runs in this gracious tenour, "Ask, and it shall be given you; "seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be "opened unto you: for every one that asketh re"ceiveth." As therefore every blessing is freely given, for Christ's sake, to the poor supplicant, however unworthy; nothing but pride, unbelief, contempt of heavenly things, aversion to God and religion, or idolatrous love of the world, can exclude any sinner from this "great salvation." Every part of the plan is free from ambiguity: our wants are distinctly stated; promises are given exactly answering to them; means are appointed, in which we may apply for the performance of these promises; and God pledges the honour of his faithfulness, that every one, who seeks the blessing in the appointed way, shall certainly obtain it. Delays and difficulties may intervene to prove our sincerity; but sooner shall heaven and earth pass away than any word of God shall fail of its accomplishment.
The assistance likewise, proposed by the gospel, tends to produce a peculiar conduct and conversation in the true believer. Evil habits, corrupt propensities, bad connexions, and strong temptations are not easily broken off and mastered; and our resolution is found by experience to be unequal to the conflict: but the promised assistance of the Holy Spirit enables the Christian to surmount every obstacle, and to resist and overcome all his
enemies. He feels that he can do nothing of himself; but he finds "that he can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him.”—Thus by "waiting on the Lord he renews his strength," and rises superior to those difficulties which all other men find in the event to be insurmountable.
The assurances made of an abundant present and future recompense, to those who renounce temporal things for the sake of Christ and the gospel; the supports afforded in seasons of trial and affliction; the authoritative and perfect example set before us; the obligations conferred upon us; and the glorious prospects that open to our view; are all of them exceedingly influential on the believer's spirit and conduct.—But we must proceed,
III. To mention some leading particulars in which "a conversation becoming the gospel of Christ," more especially consists.
Every doctrine of the gospel requires, and is suited to produce, humility in all its variety of exercises. The whole seems arranged on purpose to lay us low in self-abasement, to exclude all boasting and glorying in ourselves, to produce deep repentance, to render us poor in spirit and contrite in heart, and to form our dispositions teachable, lowly, unambitious, and unassuming. When therefore we speak and act in this manner, our conversation is consistent with our principles, and "becomes" our profession: but self-confidence, self-importance, vain-glorious vaunting, desire of praise or pre-eminence, and an unteachable, dogmatizing, or overbearing deportment,
are more unbecoming and odious in one who professes to believe the gospel, than in any other person.
From this deep humility, patience, contentment, and thankfulness must proportionably arise. "It "is of the Lord's mercies that we are not con"sumed;" our sufferings are less than our iniquities; our mercies are invaluable and unmerited; our situation is appointed by God our Saviour, in perfect wisdom, truth, and love; our light afflictions are counterbalanced by divine consolations; and they "work for us a far more exceeding and "eternal weight of glory." So that it becomes us to be resigned, satisfied, and thankful, in all circumstances: and repining, fretfulness, and discontent, are entirely inconsistent with evangelical principles.
Confidence in God likewise peculiarly becometh the gospel of Christ. "The Lord is our light,
"and our salvation: whom then shall we fear?" "If God be for us, who can be against us?" To be calm and collected in perilous situations; to recognize the hand of God in the alarming events of life, and hence to assume courage and cheerful expectation; to rely on his providential care amidst temporal losses and difficulties; and in every case to say, "It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth "him good;" becomes the character of his redeemed people. But too often he may rebuke us and say, "Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little "faith?"-We act also consistently with our principles, when we take pleasure in attending on the ordinances of God; when we count the holy day
of rest honourable and delightful; when we are glad to have it said to us, "Let us go unto the "house of the Lord;" and when we prefer his courts, and the communion of the saints, above all other places of resort, and every other kind of society. It becomes the professors of the gospel to abound in praises and thanksgivings; to reverence the name and the word of God; to worship him in their families with evident alacrity as well as punctuality: to seek his blessing on every undertaking; to praise him for every deliverance and benefit; to act habitually as in his presence; to devote themselves to his service; and to seek all their happiness from him: and, whatever is contrary to this is unbecoming the gospel, and dishonourable to our profession.
Even worldly men, while they charge our doctrines with a licentious tendency, expect more from us in our conduct towards them, than they do from each other. This evidently appears to be the case: for a single instance of immorality, in one that professes the gospel, excites general attention, and becomes a topic of discourse; while the numberless crimes of other men are very slightly noticed. This should remind us, that strict integrity, veracity, sincerity, and punctuality to our engagements, become our profession : and that both the world and the church will charge us with inconsistency, if we at all deviate from this direct uprightness of conduct and conversation. An inoffensive deportment is likewise necessary, if we would walk "worthy of God," and " as it "becometh saints." We must no more injure a