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attainment. And secondly, from the effectual provision made therefor, by the operation and assistance of divine grace.

That God has left us a promise of entering into his rest, and graciously provided the means whereby it may be attained, is the only ground on which exertion and endeavour can be put forth by rational beings, under a state of probation. Break in upon this principle by any modification of the doctrines of the gospel, and you at once render religion, or the love and service of God with accountability, impossible to man, as a moral being. Whatever our blessed Saviour did or suffered whilst he was upon earth, or has commanded us to do or to suffer after his example ; all the precepts, all the promises, all the threatenings, all the discoveries of the gospel; are but one continued argument to convince men of this truth, and to engage them to act upon it. If there be no such thing as another life after this, in which we shall receive the everlasting reward of faith and obedience, or suffer the eternal punishment of sin and unbelief, then the whole business of religion is an illusion. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. But if there be another life, then does religion stand forth as the one thing needful, and calls upon all to whom the knowledge of this great salvation is Youchsafed, to ask themselves, What shall the end be of those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ?. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

In discoursing on these words, I shall, in the

First place, endeavour to show you the greatness and the certainty of the reward promised hereafter to the righteous.

SECONDLY, what good reason the apostle had to exhort Christians to fear lest they should forfeit it.

Thirdly, I shall conclude with an application of the subject.

I. First, I am to show the greatness and the certainty of the reward promised hereafter to the righteous.

This, though a subject never to be fully apprehended by us until we come to the enjoyment of it, is, nevertheless, very necessary and profitable to be frequently in our thoughts, my brethren, in order to animate and encourage us to hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. The person

who seldom meditates upon heaven, and upon the reward laid up for the righteous, will soon cease to strive for the crown of glory, and soon be taken captive by the world and its delights. The affections cannot long remain unoccupied, and if no pains are taken to direct them to better things, they will fix themselves according to the corrupt and perverted bias which sin has produced in all our inclinations. It is not, indeed, for me to speak as with knowledge of those excellent and glorious things which are, as yet, the objects not of sense but of faith. Even St. Paul himself, though caught up into paradise, and admitted to the nearest contemplation of them--to what no mortal man but him. self ever enjoyed--yet all that inspiration enabled him to say on this unutterable subject was, to declare, that eye had not seen, nor. ear heard, neither had it entered into the heart of man to cona ceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But notwithstanding this is so, yet-as in speaking of God himself, though we cannot fully comprehend the divine nature, yet by putting together the highest ideas we can form of his infinite perfections as revealed to us in the Scriptures, we can raise in our souls some suitable though faint apprehensions of the glory and excellency of the divine character-so bere also, it has pleased our good and gracious God to give us such general descriptions of the everlasting rest as may suffice to warm our hearts with longing desires for it, and to quicken our endeavours to diligence and perseverance in the attainment of it. And this be has done, as most suitable to our clouded and limited faculties, chiefly by the contrast of our present condition.

Here we live in a vale of misery surrounded by sin and sorrow, and only measuring the good by its exemption from evil. From the cradle to the grave, life is one unceasing effort to fence off the miseries which our own sinful propensities bring upon us, or which are occasioned by the wickedness of others, while disease and suffering in ourselves or in those nearest to our affections break in upon our partial enjoyments, and death, either near at hand or in the distance, marks the sum of earthly good with such a transitory character as thoughtlessness alone can esteem. But in heaven, as the word of God teaches us, there will be a perfect deliverance from all trouble. No pains or diseases, no weakness or infirmity, shall affect our incorruptible bodies; no lusts or passions, no irregular or inordinate desires, shall discompose our souls. For sin, the cause of all our present misery, shall be shut out for ever from the abodes of the righteous, and with it whatever can possibly defeat, or even interrupt, the pure and unmixed felicity which flows from the presence of God.

Here we live, my brethren, in a continual warfare with our spiritual enemies. Temptations surround and assault us on every side; the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, so that it is a continual sti uggle between our desires and our duty. But heaven is a place as innocent as it is glorious. There no temptation will draw us from our duty or render it painful in the performance, but it will be the eager bent and desire of our souls to perform the pure and perfect will of God. There it will be not only our employinent but our delight, unceasingly to adore and worship the infinite perfections of our God and Saviour, continually manifested to our ravished view-to praise and magnify his holy name for the redemption of our souls from everlasting death, and for conferring upon us such a state of happiness and glory.

Here we live in the continual expectation, that death will soon, and we know not how soon, put an end to the enjoyments this world can bestow. But in heaven no such apprehension shall be known. In the heavenly rest there shall be no more death, no change or decay, no end or abatement of bliss for ever and ever.

Oh! what heartfelt thanksgivings to God and the Lanıb- what loud hosannas of praise, will spring from the lips of the redeemed when faith shall be lost in sight, and hope swallowed up in enjoyment; when eye to eye, and face to face, my brethren, we behold that JesUS who laid down his life for our souls, and bought with his own most precious blood this rich inheritance of endless glory for us, lost and ruined sinners! Oh! what joy and gladness when long separated friends meet to part no morewhen the remembrance of past sorrows will increase the sense of present bliss, and inflame every heart and inspire every tongue to ascribe to Him that sitteth on the throne, and 10 the Lamb, blessing, and glory, and honour, and power for ever! Oh! what a glorious meeting, my dear brethren, when we come to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to GOD the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant—when from the church militant we become memo bers of the church triumphant, and receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, find all that we now see as through a glass darkly realized, and exceeding the utmost stretch of imagination. Who is not athirst for such pure, and glorious, and lasting enjoyments ? Who is not willing to exchange the fleeting, unsatisfying vanities of the world for the rest that remaineth to the people of God? O ye deluded, sindeceived souls, who, for a portion in this life, barter away your birthright; who, for the perishing riches, honours, and pleasures of the world make light of the unsearchable riches of Christ; awake, and consider your ways—ask yourselves about eternity, about death and judgment, about heaven and hell—inquire what your present pursuits are doing for your souls, and where you would take your rest were God this night to require them of you—think of the worm that never dies, of the fire that never shall never be quenched. Contrast these with the fulness of joy which the presence of God sheds over the mansions of rest and blessedness, and ask your souls what will it profit to gain this world and all it has to bestow, if in exchange heaven must be surrendered?

And let those who, by their Christian profession, say plainly that they seek a better country, treasure up in their hearts the greatness and the certainty of their reward, as the great preservative against coming short of it. Set your affections on things above, my brethren, and let the frequent contemplation strengthen you to put down those worldly lusts which war against the soul, and animate you to watch and pray, to wrestle and strive, to do, and even to suffer, according to the will of God that you may reap a full reward. Let not the baubles of the world despoil you of your heavenly crown.

But a little while, and He that shall come, will come to gather you to himself. But a little while, and the strife and turnioil of this sinful world will be over, and rest and peace, repose and safety, endless, undisturbed, and increasing, be your rich reward. This is the rest, however faintly I have described it, of which my text speaks, which is provided for the people of God, and of which we shall be made partakers if we live here answerably to such glorious expectations. But it may be forfeited, my text tells us. In various ways we may come short of it, and this the apostle urges as a ground of caution to Christians.

Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. I will, therefore,

II. Secondly, endeavour to show, what good reason the apostle had to exhort Christians to fear, lest they should forfeit it.

If our first parents, in the integrity of their moral powers, declined from God, and, by yielding to teinptation, forfeited the bappy condition in which they were placed by their Creator, what have not we, their corrupt and sinful progeny, with broken powers and perverted wills, to fear-lest we also fail in the trial granted us by the divine compassion, to regain the inheritance forfeited by sin- lest we also abuse the grace given us in our Redeemer, Christ Jesus, and come short of our high calling of God in him !

If the Israelites, under a dispensation of religion which presented its proofs and its sanctions to their senses, gave way to unbelief-if the miraculous food and drink which followed them in all their wanderings in the wilderness, and hourly reminded them of that God, whose voice they heard and whose presence was manifested in the mount that burned with fire, proved unequal to restrain the corrupt propensities of a sinful nature in thein, with good reason is the Christian, under a dispensation whose sanctions are discerned by faith only, exhorted to work out his salvation with fear and trembling, and to be diligent and watchful, lest through carelessness or neglect, through love of the world, or the prevalence of any other corruption, he forfeit the heavenly rest.

If the promises of God were absolute and unconditional, and religious attainment independent on any exertions of our

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