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Wherefore, beloved, seeeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless," 2 Pet. iii.
46. You know, Christians, that God created our first parents after his own image and likeness, before he brought them into his terrestrial paradise. There is great reason that this divine image should be reprinted in our souls, before we enter into the celestial paradise. Unto this the apostle has, a regard, when he tells the Ephesians, “ Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, created according to God in righteousness and holiness,” chap. iv.
47. If the place of our future abode, unto which we are designed, requires from us sanctification, the quality of the persons with whom we shall spend an eternity, doth no less oblige to the same behaviour ; for they shall be angels of light, and the blessed saints, who have washed and whitened their robes in the blood of the Lamb, Rev. v. is a glorious church that hath neither spot nor wrinkle, nor any such thing, Rev. v. It is the spouse of the Son of God, clothed in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints, Rev. xix. St. Paul had this same consideration, when he saith, “ That we are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and that our conversation ought to be as becometh citizens of heaven.” To wean us from the filthy deeds of the flesh, and from the profane disposition of Esau, he employs the same reason to persuade us, in Heb. x. “ You are come (saith he) to mount Sion, to the city of the living God, the celestial Jerusalem, to the thousands of angels, and to the assembly and church of the frst-born, who are written in heaven, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
48. As the child in its mother's womb begins to live there the same life that it leads when it is come into the world ; so likewise a Christian ought to begin to live in the same manner upon earth, as he hopes to live for ever in heaven. If we will live and reign with Christ above in his kingdom, we must at present have him live and reign in our hearts here below by faith.
49. The chief happiness of man consists not only in the true knowledge of God, and of him whom he hath sent to save us, or in the spiritual peace, or celestial transports of the Holy Spirit ; but it consists in holiness, without which none shall see God, Job xvii. Rom. y. Therefore the apostle inquires of the Romans of his time, “What fruit had you in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? But now being free from sin, and become the servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life,” Heb. xii. Rom. ix.
50. I find also that this is a very good remedy to keep yourselves free from the debaucheries and corruptions of the age; to abstain from the company and acquaintance of vicious persons : for as as he who touched things unclean, became thereby unclean; and as such as haunt among the sick of a plague are infected with their disease ; likewise it is the property of evil company to corrupi thebest manners, 2 Cor. xv.
51. Whereas we should earnestly covet the acquaintance of good men, and delight in the society of such, who, like seraphim, excite and inflame one another to glorify God, and sing forth his praises; we must frequent such whom we desire to resemble: for as Jacob's sheep brought forth lambs, spotted and marked, as the rod upon which they cast their eyes; thus, if we had our eyes fixed upon the holy examples of piety and virtue, we should see ourselves insensibly transformed into their image and resemblance. We ought to take pleasure in their company, with whom we hope to live for ever in the highest heavens.
52. The' 52. The most powerful and most effectual motive to oblige us to the practice of piety and holiness, and purity of life, iš to look with the eye of faith upon Him who is invisible, and to represent to ourselves the great world as a large temple where he dwells. Let the voice that Moses heard out of the burning bush sound continually in our ears and in our mind; “ Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground,” Exod. iii. Cast off there thy base and earthly affections, and renounce thy sottish and filthy lusts; for thou art always before my eyes, that are too clean and pure to suffer the sight of evil; and the place where thou standest is sanctified by my presence, Heb. i. Remember, that I see thine heart, that I search thy reins, and that I read thy most secret thoughts, Rev. ï. Christian souls, imagine that God calls unto you from heaven continually, as he did unto Abraham,“ Walk before me, and be perfect,” Gen. xvii. Let therefore the dread of this divine Majesty seize upon theeand possess thee. When Potiphar's wife tempted chaste Joseph to defile himself with adultery, she perceived nothing in the room but this object of her lust ; but this holy man saw the glorious Godhead between him and this lascivious woman. He perceived God's eye, that penetrates into the greatest depths. This drew from him this expression, “How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God!” Thus, if our flesh tempt us, and if the vicious and profane incite us into secret and shameful retreats, to share in their filthy crimes, let us then remember, that God is every where ; and wheresoever we hide ourselves, God hath an ear to hear us, an eye to see us, and an hand to record all our deeds, words, and thoughts. God is all ear, all eye, and all hand. He discovers us as easily under the dark shadows of the night, as at break of day. He spies us through our fig leaves, and beholds us under our most subtle disguises. He understands our most inward thoughts, and listens to the silent language of our hearts. He searcheth into all the closets of our souls,
and into the foldings and windings in our consciences. In a word, all things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. An ancient philosopher persuadeth such as desire to be virtuous, to choose some grave and virtuous person for their example, to represent him always in their presence, and to live as in his sight, (Seneca.] We need not represent to ourselves imaginary appearances; for in every place where we are, and whatever we do or think, we are always in the sight of the Holy of holies, who is both, our witness and our judge. It was David's meditation, when he cried out, “O Lord, whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I go from thy presence ? If I mount up to, heaven, thou art there: If I go down into the pit, thou art. there also: if I take the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, there shall thine hand guide me, and thy right hand uphold me. If I say, The darkness shall cover me, behold, the night shall be like light round about me; darkness shall nothide me from thee, and the night shall shine as the day; the night and the day are to thee alike."
53. If the devil and the world have ensnared us in their nets, and if we have been unhappily lulled asleep in the bosom of some deceitful pleasure; this consideration alone, that God sees and understands us, is able to awake us with an holy dread and fear. Let therefore the words of St. Paul sound continually in our ears, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ slıall enlighten thee; or “ Awake to righteousness, and sin not,” Eph. v. 1 Cor. xv. Truly, if we be not stupified and besotted above measure, this dreadful voice that God thunders from heaven, is able, not only to awake us from the sleep of iniquity, but also to oblige us to cry out with Jacob, “ God is here, and I knew it not ! O how dreadful is this place! It is the house of God, it is the gate of heaven," Gen. xxviii. As soon as Peter had taken notice of our Saviour's look, that he cast upon him, he went out of the high-priest's hall, and wept bitterly for his apostacy. Thus if we could but perceive and acknowledge that God casts his eyes continually upon us, we should repent of our vices, and our hearts would quickly melt in tears of contricion.
54. They who have a powerful and malicious enemy to watch over them, and to catch at something to accuse them before the judge, that they may be condemned, are always upon their guard; and nothing is able to induce them to utter a word, or commit an action, that may give an advantage.
enemy is more powerful and malicious than Satan, who continually eyes us, that he may accuse us before God, and dra w us into hell. For that reason he is named, Rev. xii.
The accuser of the brethren, who accuseth them before bod day and night.” It is probable he registers all our idle words, and wicked deeds, to produce them before God's
one, when the books shall be opened, and he shall render
O every one according to his works. Take heed therefe, Christians, of this dreadful accuser, of this mortal enemy
your salvation. Give him not cause to rejoice at your ruin, or to triumph at the loss of your souls. To this the apostle
Orts us, Eph. iv. “ Give no place to the devil.”
5. And because it is sometimes necessary to restrain ourselve
es with an holy awe, and to withdraw ourselves out of
as out of the fire; you religious souls, keep always in your
+ mind a short account of the judgments of God, that pe been inflicted from time to time upon all manner of sinness s. Consider how God dealt with the heavenly spirits,
clid not keep their original purity; they are reserved for - darkness, and for eternal chains, until the great day of Bonent; and say unto yourselves, If God hath not spared
a postate angels, will he spare man, that rebels against De and offends him with delight? Remember the dreadful