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nary consolation, which he takes to himself, on account of his honest and upright walk, on account of the observance of outward religious duties, or on account of a false appropriation of the merits of Christ, that he shall find the promised rest of his soul in this life, and afterwards attain it perfectly at death.
Man! if thou wilt not be obedient to the voice of divine grace, convincing thee and calling thee to repentance, to conversion, and to a living faith: all thy rest is nothing but a false and imaginary rest. It is not only vain and delusive in life, but also at death. For the Spirit of God says, • There is no peace to the wicked.” (Isa. xlviii. 22.) That is, during their lives, they cannot have a tranquil heart, and much less so when they come to die. It is vain and delusive for an unconverted man, who has never been obedient to the call of God, nor suffered himself to be led by it out of the Egypt of his sinful nature, to let himself be consoled, on his dying bed, by miserable comforters, and be persuaded, that after his decease, he shall perfectly attain to the promised rest. Alas! it is all a deception ! No Peter, nor any one else, who may pretend to have the keys of the kingdom of heaven in his hand, will be able to open heaven for thee, or to give thee the promised everlasting rest in heaven, as far as thou dost not let thyself be brought, by the convincing voice of grace, to true repentance and amendment of life, and be led forth, out of the Egypt of this world, to Christ, the true Joshua; even as he himself invites thee, when he says, “ Come unto me, all ye that are
weary and heavy laden. Come unto me, and I will refresh you; take my yoke upon you, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” It will never be attained in
any other way. Therefore, my beloved ! if your consciences tell you, that
you have hitherto been unconverted characters, O labour to enter into the promised rest ! Soon, soon, will the evening of our lives approach. Therefore, since the gate still stands open, hasten that ye may enter in. What! if death were suddenly to overtake you, and the door were all at once to be closed against you, how would you
then be able ? O how pitiable and lamentable does it sound, when we read in the parable of the ten virgins, that the foolish came too late, and found that the door was shut ! How suddenly is the door closed, by an unexpected death, against many a one, who has delayed his repentance and conversion from day to day! Let us therefore hasten, that we may enter into that rest, which is still announced and offered to us. We must labour-not delay, not long consider first, nor suppose that it will come of itself. O no! earnestness must be employed, if we are desirous of being led out of the Egypt of this world, and delivered from our sinful natural state. Earnestness and diligence are requisite, in order that our hard and haughty hearts may be humbled and rendered con. trite. Earnestness must be exercised in hungering and thirsting after that grace in Christ, which stands open to poor sinners. It is thus, that we find, through true
repentance and change of heart, the first admission to this promised rest of our souls, since conseience is tranquillized, and the favour of God is preached to us in the following manner: 6. Be of good cheer, my son I be of good cheer, my daughter! thy sins are forgiven thee."
Secondly. If we are desirous of finding the promised rest in this life, and of attaining it afterwards perfectly at death, we must diligently observe whether our conversion is of the true kind. Many are converted, but not in a proper manner, as God complains in the 7th chapter of the Prophet Hosea. Many are induced by extremity, or from fear of death and hell, to begin to convert themselves and to become pious; but they do not turn with their whole hearts ; there is no thorough conversion in their case ; their departure out of the Egypt of this world is no sincere and complete departure. Many a one may indeed assume such an appearance outwardly, that one would think he was really converted, because he conducts himself outwardly like other Christians; but it is all a deception; it does not proceed from the bottom of the heart, and hence he still continues in secret uneasiness. What he does, in this state, he only does from compulsion; he does it outwardly, but cleaves, at the same time, to the things of this world. He is willing to give God something, but the world something also. Such persons cannot possibly find rest for their souls. They are like Lot's wife. She also went out with her husband ; but she went out merely with her body, and not with her heart, which
still adhered to Sodom, and to many dear things she had left behind her. O dearest friends ! as long as we do not give up all, and completely forsake all, we cannot attain even to the very commencement of the rest of our souls. Our departure must be like that of the children of Israel out of Egypt, which is presented to us as a type of this. When the people of Israel were about to depart out of Egypt, Pharoah sought to make terms and conditions with them. It was true he consented to their departure, but they were to leave their wives and children behind them. He afterwards desired that they should leave their cattle behind them, thinking, that if he only retained something of theirs, they would soon come back again. It is thus that the infernal Pharoah also acts. He can bear that a man be converted, that he do much good, that he exercise himself in prayer, and other outward devotional duties, as long as any thing remains, by which he can, to day or to-morrow, draw the heart again to himself. Such like half conversions are no conversions, and cannot tranquillize the heart, because they do not bring it to Christ. Such characters are in a state of continual uneasiness. Moses said to Pharoah, “ Not a hoof shall remain behind.” My friends ! if you are desirous of obtaining rest through your repentance and conversion, let your departure be complete, so that not a hoof -that is, not the smallest thing may remain behind.
O when a converted and pious man, does not become so entirely, but is willing to retain at least a little of the world for himself, he always continues in
a state of despondency and uneasiness, and makes no progress! What hinders ? “ Israel,” says God, “ I cannot be with you any more, for thou hast a cursed thing in the midst of thee.” (Josh. vii. 12.) That is a cursed thing, which places us in God's displeasure; when we knowingly retain even the smallest particle of our worldly love, and wish to deprive God of the smallest part of our hearts. O soul! there is a cursed thing in thee! therefore it is that thou art uneasy; therefore it is that thou makest no progress in religion. Ah! is it not lamentable and pitiable, that, frequently, for the sake of some very inferior thing, which the individual will not give up to please God, he passes his whole life in torment and uneasiness? And how wretched it is with such people on their dying beds! How frequently have I myself observed this in dying persons! For when they were at length reduced to the greatest extremity, they were obliged to confess that they had still kept back this thing and that; that they had still some particular vice which they would not else have mentioned; something which they were unwilling to give up. Obow lamentable is such a sight! This must necessarily disturb the repose on a dying bed, where the individual ought to find free admission into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My friends! let us give diligence to enter into the true and eternal rest, which is promised us, by a complete departure from this world and sin. Let us present ourselves, naked and bare, in the sight of God, that he may search and try our hearts, whether