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" Thus shall you best proclaim abroad
Your inward piety approve.” " 'Those that honor me,” says the Lord of heaven and earth, “I will honor." “ And they shall be mine," saith the Lord, " when I make up my jewels."
As motives to excite you to have no fellowship with the works of darkness, I would remind you that by so doing, you obey the Divine command; follow the example of Christ ; answer the expectations of the world ; encourage your distressed brethren ; and yield comfort to the ministers of the gospel.
We say, Do not have fellowship with the works of darkness, and then you will obey the Divine command. We need not repeat the numerous passages
of Scripture in which God calls you to holiness ; read your Bible, and then you will find them ; but we wish you particularly to recollect, that God is
your Father and your Friend.
Christ Jesus is your Creator and Preserver, and therefore obedience to him is reasonable and equitable ; and surely, if you have any reason to believe that God has called you by his grace, gratitude will lead you to show forth the praises of him, “ who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
If you obey the injunction of the text, you will also answer the expectations of the world.
Professors as well as preachers are as a city set upon a hill, that cannot be hid : you are watched by the world ; they readily expect more from you, than from those who never made a profession of the gospel. Do not then suffer men to say to you with contempt,
" What do ye more than others ?”
But let then see that religion is a thing that not only affects the heart, but influences the conduct, and makes a man what he formerly was not.
And remember, that whilst you are doing this, you are glorifying God, and promoting the intents of him, whom you profess to love and serve.
Again, “ Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness," and then you will imitate the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Of him it is said, that he was
holy, harmless, , undefiled, and separate from sinners."
“ Follow me,” was his own language ; and we are told that he suffered, " leaving us an example, that we should tread in his steps." And surely it becomes us to grow up into Him who is our living Head in all things : to be made like unto Christ is an unspeakable blessing and honor. Oh, then, let that mind be in us, which was also in him. He had no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness : then let not us.
Again, By a holy conduct and conversation you encourage your distressed brethren.
When a poor, doubting, weak believer, who is much afraid that he shall backslide from the truth, and disgrace his Master's cause, beholds your good conversation among the gentiles, he will be comforted, and will reason thus : “ There I behold an amiable Christian ; he walks circumspectly, redeeming the time, he puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men by his actions ; now naturally he is no more able to do this than myself, he is assisted by Divine grace; that grace also shall assist me, shall shield and guard me from the power of my foes, shall make me hold out to the end, shall be my staff when I pass over Jordan, and my song for ever and ever."
selves for you,
Once more, By avoiding the works of darkness, you comfort the ministers of the gospel.
Alas, they need comfort. Theirs is an arduous employment, it is a work to which angels are incompetent; they study, preach, and spend them
refuse to comfort their minds? And you must not think that going to them, and telling them you were comfortable under their ministry, is enough; but let them see by your fruits that their labour is not in vain in the Lord, but that the truths they deliver have a blessed and lasting influence upon your life.
REFLECTIONS. The man who yet works the works of darkness is in an awful condition.
The saints should cultivate fellowship am themselves, and with God, and with his Son.
The hypocrital professor will hereafter be discovered and condeinned.
NEARNESS TO GOD DELIGHTFUL.
PREACHED FEBRUARY 7, 1808.
“ Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee.”
PSALM LXXXIV. 4.
This psalm is generally supposed to have been penned by David at the time when, by the ambitious and rebellious disposition and conduct of his son Absalom, he was driven from his city. The chief subject of it appears to be the sanctuary of God, and the ordinances of his house, for by their loss he had learned more highly to estimate their worth.
With the most animated language, the holy man expresses the amiableness, the loveliness of the tabernacles of the Lord of hosts ; breaks out in ardent longings towards the courts of the Lord ; represents his heart and his flesh crying out for the living God; envies the sparrow her house and the swallow her nest, because they were near the altars of his King and his God; and in the verse which we have selected as a text, pronounces a blessing upon those who dwell in his house. We are persuaded that this subject is highly interesting to every one in the Divine
presence ing, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after ; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the
who is say
beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." From the text, then, we shall attempt to raise, illustrate, and confirm these three propositions ::
I. That there is a place peculiarly distinguished as the house of God.
II. That there are persons who find an abiding residence in it.
III. That such characters are truly blessed.
We remark I. That there is a place peculiarly distinguished as the house of God.
The whole creation is the workmanship of God; for he is the Former of all things, visible and invisible ; for his pleasure they are and were created; to him all beings bow, angels and archangels; men and devils submit to his control, and are subject to his disposal. He is the Sovereign of universal nature, and the Manager of all worlds. He filleth all in all. This great God, in making known to us his mind and will, in order to suit our circumstances, and in compassion to our infirmities, has been pleased to represent the great things of his law in familiar language, and in terms with which we are well acquainted. Hence we read such language as our text, when mention is made of the house of God. The question then is, What is intended by the expression, and what place is that which is so honored, as to be called Jehovah's house ? For since “ the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," how can he be said to have any particular dwelling-place? The place of glorified spirits is in Scripture called “ house ;" hence, says our Lord, “ In my Father's house are many mansions ;” and the apostle, contrasting the future with the present state, exclaims, “For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of