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highest pitch of holy care, activity, industry, zeal for God and holiness, that you will not be persuaded to press
hard after-this is an evidence of such an unsound heart as has no part in the gospel or its salvation. Perfection is still due, though sincerity will be accepted. Sincerity shall be accepted; but what is sincerity less than a hearty willingness to be perfect, attested by a striving and pressing on to that mark which is set before us?
O admire and bless the Lord for his grace, but do not turn the grace of God into licentiousness. Shall we continue in sin, because grace hath abounded? Will ye thus requite the Lord ? Will ye thus deceive yourselves, O foolish people and unwise ? Will you slight him, because he has loved you; kick 'at him, because he has cared for you; shake off his yoke, because he has secured you the crown? Will you serve his enemies, because he has saved you from them? Will you nourish your diseases, because he has said he will cure you? Will you live, and not eat; reap, and not plough? Will you not eat, because he he has given you meat? Will you not run, because he has given you legs; nor work, because he has given you hands; nor watch, because he has given you eyes? Or will you tempt the Lord, and call it your trust in him ? Awake from such madness.
Christians, say not, If God will, I shall; whether I take care or not, believe or not, repent or not, be obedient or rebellious, whether I wake or sleep, work or be idle, my unbelief, my disobedience, my negligence shall not make the faith of God of none effect. But rather, since God has said, You shall, let thy heart answer, I will walk in his statutes; arise, O my soul, up and be doing; work out thy salvation, because it is God that worketh in thee to will and to do. Shake off thy sloth, set about thy work, run thy race, since God hath said, Thou shalt not run nor labor in vain. And look to it, for however thy idleness or greatest unfaithfulness will not make void the covenant of God, yet will it make manifest that thou hast no part nor lot in it.
But to all these glorious things that have been spoken, possibly some will reply, “0, if all this be so, then happy saints indeed! Happy are the people that are in such a case; yea, blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.' But will the Lord indeed do all these things for mortals? Will he take notice of worms? Shall such dry bones live? Will he set such vile dust as the apple of his eye? Is not this too good to be true, too great to be believed ? O that I were sure the one half were as it hath been told me! Too great to be believed! As if it must be questioned whether the sun be light because it dazzles our eyes. But what certainty would you have? Is all this too great for the great and Almighty God to do, who hath said, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa. 55 : 9. Can he not do it, who can do all things? Will he not do it, when he hath said he will? Will the Lord mock? Can God deceive? Shall his word, yea, and his oath too, those two immutable things in which it is impossible for
God to lie, can these fail? If you should hear the Lord himself speaking to you from heaven with audible voice, My covenant I make with thee, and it is my intent and purpose to perform every word that is written in it, according to the plain import and meaning thereof; there shall not a tittle fail, neither will I alter the thing that is gone forth of my lips. Heaven and earth shall fail, but my word shall not fail; trust to it, trust everlasting truth, trust to everlasting strength. Fear not, for there shall not fail one word of all that I have spoken by all my servants the prophets.
If you should hear the Lord speaking thus to you from heaven, what would you say? would not this satisfy you? Why, search the Scriptures, that “more sure word of prophecy.” 2 Pet. 1:19. Read them diligently, understand what thou readest, and then say
if thou dost not there find the Lord speaking fully to thee the words of the two following chapters.
THE RICHES OF THE COVENANT, OR A SHORT
VIEW OF THE EXCEEDING GREAT AND PREC. IOUS PROMISES.*
THE VOICE OF THE HERALD.
O ALL ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, come, see and hear; gather yourselves together unto the proclamation of the great King. Hear, you that are far off, and you that are near. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Let every valley be exalted, and every mountain made low, for the glory of the Lord is to be revealed. Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way. Cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones, lift up the standard for the people; for the Lord proclaimeth salvation to the ends of the earth. Tidings, tidings, O ye captives! Hear, all ye that look for salvation in Israel; behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. Blessed news! prepare your ears and hearts. The Lord has commanded me, saying, Go unto the people and sanctify them; let them wash and be ready, for the Lord is coming down upon mount Zion, in the sight of all the nations. Not in earthquakes and fire, not in clouds and darkness, not in thunderings and burnings, rending the mountains and breaking the roclas in pieces. He speaks not to you out of the blackness and darkness and tempest; you shall say no more, Let not God speak to us, lest we die; he cometh peaceably, the law of kindness is in his mouth, he preacheth Peace, peace, to him that is far off, and to him that is near.
* By Rev. Joseph Alleine, author of "An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners."
Behold how he cometh, leaping upon the mountains; he hath passed mount Ebal-no more wrath or cursing; he is COME TO MOUNT GERIZIM, WHERE HE STANDETH TO BLESS THE PEOPLE: as did Mordecai to his nation, he writeth the words of truth and peace, seeking the welfare of his people and speaking peace to all his seed.
Behold how he cometh, clothed with flames of love, with bowels of compassion, plenteous redemption, and multiplied pardons. O how full is his love! O the tenderness of his compassions! O how full is his heart, even aching till it is eased by supplying his hungry children!
Hearken therefore, 0 ye children, hearken to me. To you it is commanded, 0 people, nations, and languages, that at what time you hear the joyful sound, the trump of jubilee, the tidings of peace in the voice of the everlasting gospel, you fall down before the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever.
Arise, and come away; prepare, prepare you ; hear not with an uncircumcised ear; you are not upon a common thing. Behold, the throne is set, the