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guage of encouragement to the true Chrif tian, and enlarges on the blefled promises secured to him; all this encouragement; all these promises, they instantly apply to themselves. But to themselves they did not apply other paffages of the discourse, in which the marks of a true christiani were described; marks by which if they bad examined their principles and conduct, they would perhaps have diseerned theme lelves not to be true Chriftians, and of courie not entitled to the benefit of any encouragement or promise. Or if the minister displays fome fcriptural example of the mercy, of God to a grievous offender; they fail not to assure themselves that mercy will be equally extended to them. But they paid little regard to the proofs of true re* pentance which the minister had also de tailed as manifested by that offender: proofs ; which on due investigation they would have discovered to be wanting in them felves, and would consequently have been ; constrained to perceive that in their existing ftate of heart they could have no reason able hope of mercy. To apply sermons thus partially, thus unwarrantably, is but to blind your conscience and to hardem yourself in fin.
Fourthly; Reflect that circumstances apparently small and casual seem not seldom to be selected by Him, who can crush the globe with an atom, to accomplish momentous ends. To how many finners has an individual sermon been made, as it were, the hinge of conversion, the turning point between life and death! Did you withhold your attention from the ląst sermon at which you were present? How know you but in that sermon was contained an elucidation of some important doctrine which you misconceive; a' scriptural example of virtue most needful for your instruction ; a scriptural denunciation of vengeance against your own besetting, sin? How know you but that to the absence of the chriftian armour which that discourse would have supplied, your fall under recent temptations is to be attributed? How know you but from the absence of that armour, temptations evci: now impending over your head will derive their principal strength ? But you have not merely precluded yourself from the advantage which you might have acquired. The neglect of that advantage is a sin for which you must render an account to God. Every opportunity which he affords you of imbibing instruction in his holy temple, is a blessing, for the improvement of which you Vol. II.
will will stand responfible at the day of judgeir ment. Beware left the preaching of his word, ordained by Him for your eternal : good, prove, through your wilful disregard, the cause of an increase of your condemna-s tion.
Fifthly; Let your attention during the delivery of sermons, and your subsequent meditations on their import, be accompa nied with a fervent desire that the Spirit of grace, may incline your soul unțo know ledge. Whoever may plant, whoever may water, it is God who giveth the increasę. To him raise your heart in prayer through the mediation of his Son Jesus. So shall He enlighten you by his Holy Spirit to understand his law. So shall he cause the good feed to take root in your bofom. So fhall he preferve you from the doom of the unfruitful hearer. So shall he render you a doer of the law, bringing forth, fruit unto perfection...
To conclude. Take heed, my brethren, bow ge bear. Look well to your hearts. Let the motives which bring you to this place be such as befit those who profess to bę athirst for instruction and edification. Let your diligence in yielding faithful attention, and your sincerity in applying to yourselves the truths which you hear, be fuch as
become those who listen to the word of life. Wbo, cried the prophet Isaiah, anticipating the rejection of the preachers of the Gospel by his countrymen; Who hath believed out report (n)? When Jesus Christ appeared, and preached in their synagogues; how few in eomparison with the multitudes of his hearers were impressed with durable convi&ion! If the Jews could fail of being converted by the preaching of the Son of God; how easily may you fail to profit by the preaching of his ministers! Why did the Jews fail of conversion? The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith, with genuine operative faith, in them that heard it (o). Be not ye like unto them. If any doárine declared to you from the pulpit appear hard and strange, do not hastily pronounce it erroneous and unworthy of God. Have you never detected yourself in ignorance? Have you never known yourself blinded by misapprehenfion and prejudice ? May it not be ignorance, or misapprehension, or prejudice, which prevents you from perceiving the doctrine to be true? Suspend your judgement, until you shall have considered the subject maturely and with impartiality. (n) Isaiah, liii. 1. ' (0) Hebr. iv. 2.
Confule pour Bible deliberately at home. Compare one part of Scripture with another. Why are the inhabitants of Beréa honoured with a record of perpetual praise ? Because when new doctrines were proposed to them, they searched the Scriptures dili“gently to learn whether those things were . fo. The search was not in vain. They dis
covered that the doctrines were undeniably the doctrines of the Word of God. Imitate there wise men in their zeal: follow them in the track which they pursued in quest of truth. If the refult of your examina
tion leaves your doubts unresolved; have Tout not friends equally intelligent and
pious, with whom you may discuss them? Have you not ministers of religion impelled, let us trust, by inclination no less than by duty, privately to confirm your faith by spiritual instruction and counsel? Finally ; fupplicate day by day your Almighty Father for grace habitually to exemplify in the busy scenes of life the efficacy of the inftruction to which you listened on the Sabbath. In your prayers forget not your ministers.- Intercede for them, and in that intercession you intercede for yourselves, that utterance may be given unto them that they may open their mouth boldly to make known