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some measure, Christ incarnate in the world. The di. vine nature may be obscured for a season; it
and probably will, have its season of humiliation : but though it may seem to die, yet it shall have its resurrection likewise, and afterwards its ascension into glory. - This it was that enabled Paul to say, “I therefore run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.” Perseverance is not only the duty, but the privilege also of all who set themselves in good earnest to travel for heaven. And though the law of God obliges them, and their new nature inclines them, to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, yet they have a far better security for their success than any efforts of their own. Omnipotence is their guardian; “ the eternal God is their refuge, and underneath them his everlasting arms."
My brethren, time and strength would fail me, were I to attempt enumerating all the sources of joy which belong to the redeemed of the Lord. I trust, that in your own frequent meditation you revolve them, and that in your frequent addresses to the throne of grace, you com. memorate them with thankful hearts before the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you not then express the joy and gratitude of your souls, for the benefit of your Redeemer's example, for the promised aids of his Spirit, for the assurance of his intercession, for the gracious appointment of him as the Judge of the world, for the access you now have by him to the throne of grace, for the means of communion with the Father of your spirits, and the pleasing fellowship of those who are travelling with you in the same road to the Zion above. Leaving these, then, to be revolved in your own minds, I will now only ex bort you, in the
5th and last place, To rejoice in the hope of the glory
of God. “Fear not, little flock,” said the blessed Jesus, “ for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Ere long your trials and sufferings shall come to an end, and your light afflictions, which are bat for a moment, shall be followed by an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. At present we come from scenes of anxiety and vexation to keep our solemn feasts; and our wedding garments are stained with the pollution, or torn with the briars through which we tra. vel. Even amidst our most sublime delights, we are conscious of a certain blank in our feelings, which reminds us that this is not our rest; but in the presence of God there is fulness of joy, and at bis right hand are plea. sures for evermore. The poor afflicted broken spirit, which now breathes in trouble as in its daily air, and scarce. ly knows any other rule for computing the periods of time, than by the revolutions of sorrows and disappointments, shall then be tuned to the high praises of God; and its love to him, who is the Lord of love, shall feel no bounds, and fear no end. O how the unveiled glory of God will then brighten many a face which is now darkened with grief, and stained with tears, and daily wears the hue of melancholy!—There is not a sorrow. ful countenance in all the courts of Zion's King; their doubts and fears have dropt off with the veil of mortality, and sorrow and sighing have fled far away. Lift up your heads, then, ye that travel towards the heavenly Zion, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. It is not more certain that the sun doth shine in the firmament, than that ye shall live for ever in the heavenly Jerusalem, and join in the innumerable company about the throne, in the everlasting praise of your God and Redeemer. Then shall you understand the happiness of believers, and know better than I can tell
God did for your souls, when he called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Rejoice then in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice. Let it appear, by the serenity of your countenance, and the alacrity of your steps, that your salvation is already begun, and that though the fulness of your joys be reserved for another world, yet even in this you can remark, with a satisfaction unknown to the mere sons of earth, how sweet is the face of nature, how de. licious are the fruits of the field. “Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth your work." Amen.
HEBREWS v. 12.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye hate
need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
THE Apostle having, at the 10th verse, compared, in general terms, the priesthood of Jesus with that of Mel. chisedek, finds himself obliged to break off the argument, not from any defect of his own knowledge, but from the dulness of those to whom he wrote. Their minds were not as yet prepared for such sublime instruction, and that not owing to any natural infirmity, but merely to their neglect or misimprovement of the best advantages. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." Accordingly, he tells them very plainly, how disgrace. fully deficient they were in the improvement which might have been expected, from the time that they had been in the school of Christ. Instead of being in a capacily of teaching others, they were themselves in the lowest class of learners. Instead of making progress in the knowledge of divine truth, they had forgotten what they once possessed. Instead of growing to the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus, they bad shrunk again to the condition of babes, whose weak and tender organs must be nourished with the simplest food. Instead of expanding with a regular and solid growth, opening and enlarging, their faculties, through disuse, had be. come so contracted as to refuse admittance to the plaio. est truths, much more to doctrines so deep and involved as those which he had begun to state. Such is the spirit of the Apostle's reproof contained in the text: “For wben for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."
The case of the Hebrews, as represented in these words, is by no means singular. The neglect, at least the slow improvement of the means of knowledge, has not ceased to be a reproach in these latter days. Al. though blessed with the most abundant means of becoming wise unto salvation, how trifling are our attainments, how ill arranged are our religious ideas, how little established are we in the faith, and how ill qualified to give a good reason of the hope that is in us! Amidst all these infirmities, how disdainful are we often of common truths!
how desirous to be gratified with novel speculations! how fantastical in our taste for religious instruction! I hope I may be allowed to offer some observations on these topics, without being supposed to aim at any peculiar censure, my sole design being to stir you up to further improvements, even to aspire to the wisdom of the perfect, and of those who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The text naturally gives rise to the three following observations:
I. That all who are favoured with the light of the gospel, shall be utterly inexcusable, if their improve. ments in knowledge do not bear a proportion to the time they have continued to enjoy it.
II. That those who are not careful to add to their knowledge, will be in great danger of losing what they have formerly acquired.
III. That without a proper acquaintance with the first plain principles of religion, men are unfit to receive doctrines of a higher and more speculative nature.
These observations I will confirm by some reasoning, and then make a practical application of the subject. The
I. observation was, That all who are favoured with the light of the gospel, shall be utterly inexcusable, if their improvements in knowledge do not bear a propor. tion to the time they have continued to enjoy it.
This is one of those propositions which neither needs, por will admit of much positive proof. There cannot be a plainer dictate of common sense, than what our Savi. our hath taught us in these words : “ Unto whomsoever much is given, of him the more shall be required." Every advantage bestowed on us by Providence is a trust, of which we must give an account hereafter. The