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SERMON IV. are now seeking, will hold out.
1 pl'obably backslide. If they now seem to be pretty much en: gaged, it will not hold. Times will probably alter, by and by, and they not having obtained grace, there will be many temptations to backsliding, which they will comply with. Some that are now under convictions, may lose them. Perhaps they will not leave seeking salvation at once, but will come to it by degrees. After a while, they will begin to hearken to excuses, not to be quite so engaged and so constant in duty. They will begin to think that they need not be quite so strict. They will say
within themselves, that they see no hurt in such and such things. They see not but that they may practise them without any, or besure, any great guilt. Thus givng way to temptation, and hearkening to excuses, they will, by degrees, lose all concern about religion, and become still more hardened in sin than before.” [Thus far, the words of President Edwards. Are they not applicable to us, at the present time ? May they sink deep into all our hearts, that the awful predictions they contain may never be verified respecting any one of us. There is now, my hearers, a door open for all. In the gospel, all are warned and invited. It is of infinite importance, to attend seriously and speedily to these warnings and invitations. It may soon be too late. Death is, probably, very
near to many of you ; and even in life, we are liable, for the abuse of the means of grace, to be given up to hardness of heart and blindness of mind. Let all, therefore, he persuaded, this day, to hearken to the warnings and invitations of God, in his word, with which, in the language of the text and context, I shall conclude this discourse. " Up, get ye out of this place ; for the Lord will destroy this city.-Escape for thy life-look not behind thee--neither stay thou in all the plain. Escape to the mountain, sest thou be consumed.”
THE WORD OF CHRIST IN THE HEARTS OF BE.
COLOSSIANS III, 16.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.
ONE of the greatest favors, with which God has been pleased to bless mankind, is a revelation from himself, respecting his true character, counsels, and designs, and the way of life and salvation by his Son. To neglect such a revelation, or to continue grossly ignorant of the things contained in it, manifests exceeding stupidity, criminality, and ingratitude. Hence the representations in the scriptures, that it will be more tolerable for those who perish without any. knowledge of the gospel, than for those who perish under its light, through inattention to it, or by slighting its offers. And hence the divine command to sinners, not to harden their hearts against the voice of Christ, but to receive his word, and let it dwell in them. The words of our text were, originally addressed to professing Christians : Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom.
And they may be urged upon such, by arguments of peculiar weiglit .; but they belong to all, to whom the word of Christ comes.
The duty enjoined in them is in
cumbent upon all who have the scriptures ; and a compliance is of great importance. In discoursing upon the words, I shall
I. Consider the import of the exhortation they contain. And,
II. Offer reasons in support of the duty ; or show why we should let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, in all wisdom.
1. With respect to the import of the exhortation, I observe, that by the word of Christ, as before intimated, is meant the holy scriptures. Christ is the author of the whole word of God, as it was indited by his Spirit; and as in the economy of redemption, it is the Son, who revealeth the Father, agreeably to the testimony of Christ himself, Matt. xi. 27. “ Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
2. The exhortation in the text implies and requires, that we receive the word of Christ, or the truth which he has revealed, into our hearts. It is not sufficient, that we receive it into our habitations, or merely give it a place in our houses, as many do, who yet continue greatly ignorant of the truth, or wholly opposed to it ; but we must receive it into our minds we must give it a place in our hearts : « Let the word of Christ dwell in you.”
3. It implies also, that we have our thoughts and meditations much upon the word of Christ. It is not sufficient, that we have some transient acquaintance, or intercourse with it, as we do with strangers, whom we entertain for a night ; but we are to let it dwell in us-taking up its abode, as a constant inhabi- tant.
“ Let the word of Christ dwell in you.” Agreeable to this, was the word of God by Moses, Deuk.
xi. 18, 19, 20. “ Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way,
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house, and upon thy gates.” This is to receive and entertain the word as a constant guest, and intimate companion of our hearts.
Again, The exhortation directs us, not merely to entertain in us some of the truths which Christ has spoken, or a partial and imperfect knowledge of his word; but we are to let it dwell in us richly ; that is, copiously : having an extensive acquaintance with the doctrines, duties, and institutions, and with particular precepts, promises, and threatenings which it contains. Riches consist in abundance ; and to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, implies a full and particular acquaintance with the scriptures : or, which is the same, such an acquaintance with them, as furnishes the mind with a rich variety of subjects for delightful and profitable meditation ; rules for direction, in all difficult cases, and of promises for support and consolation in trouble. Therefore,
Lastly, it is added, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom ; or so as to have an accurate and extensive understanding of it, that we may be filled with true wisdom and knowledge, in the things of God ; and derive all that benefit from it, which it is calculated to give. This is doubtless the general import of the exhortation in our text. It is not sufficient, that we receive the word of God into our houses, or pay only a transient attention to it, at distant intervrösenor yet, that our acquaintance with it be partial, confined to a very few things, though