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2. Weigh daily and seriously the grand end in view; an abiding city; a Father God; a Saviour husband; an eternal weight of glory; a fellowship with those who stand before the throne, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands ; living fountains of water; the fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. What are we doing that we are not all making haste to ensure our calling and election to this bliss ? “Be astonished, O my soul, and grieve, and lament, and abhor thyself, that ever thou shouldest be so stupid, so wretchedly averse from God and thy own happiness, as to prefer trifles to substance, time to eternity! Let others talk of the rectitude of human nature; thou knowest thy nature is thus corrupt, nor can all the reasonings in the world stifle thy convictions.

Nevertheless, poor soul! weary and heavy laden, who hast begun to believe in Christ, and to taste something of his grácious rest, let not a day pass over thy head without serious reflection on Eternity.”

I know no means better calculated to keep down the power of sloth. For while we live with the spirit of pilgrims, seeking a rest yet to come, we cannot consistently with such views, lie still in sloth. He deserves not the name of a warrior that gives over fighting till the battle is won. Surely, by perseverance we shall find peace and joy in believing in this life, and be sealed with the spirit of adoption. But even these earnests,—the happiest moments that can be conceived on earth,—will not content us. It belongs to the nature of the soul, which hungers and thirsts after righteousness, that it should reach forth unto those things that are before, and press forward to the prize of eternal


life*. When we grow slothful again, our peace is lost: While we are diligent, our peace and comfort will abound. Let us keep the end in view, and we shall not rest contented with any lower attainments, with even the best things to be enjoyed on earth.

Many things contribute to vary the scene with a Christian here; but if he live by faith in Jesus, and with eternity in view, he looks to what is substantial and immutable. Disagreeable crosses he expects to meet with in this world ; but he can bear them, as contributing to his eternal felicity. The reason why many Christians become languid and cold may be, because they are unreasonable in their expectations of happiness in this life, and have not their eye and their hope fixed on the world unseen, with sufficient steadiness. This would at once check our unreasonable expectations, give life and spirit to our reasonable ones, and quicken our pace in the plain, though narrow way, that leadeth to an end so inconceivably and eternally glorious.

3. Thus trusting in the Saviour of Sinners, and patiently waiting the gift of eternal life through his merits, prepare yourself for the journey. Once founded on Jesus for life, proceed to work the work of love to which he calls you while you continue in this world, never losing sight of the only true principles of righteousness. You will find love, gratitude, and godly fear, each in their way, to be powerful principles of action and mighty to overcome sloth. And when you are once habituated to the labour of godliness, and taste the pleasure of communion with God in it, when you experience his never failing arm to be with you in all cases of

* Philip. iii. 13, 14.

need, your sentiments, your habits, your practice, will be directly the contrary to what they formerly

Once you were all care and anxiety, but had no heart for Gospel-labour. Now you will labour willingly; and, in regard to care and anxiety, you will be enabled to cast them on him who careth


for you.

You will also, in the progress of godliness, experience something not unlike what we meet with in temporal affairs. By use and exercise your spiritual ability will be strengthened; and those temptations and difficulties which dismayed your soul at a distance, will vanish; at least they will grow less formidable on a near approach. You will live by faith in such a precious promise as this; “ I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them,

; and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”. Surely. this promise shall be fulfilled in reality unto your souls. You will have done with long schemes and contrivances for the time to come, considering yourselves as creatures of a day, and remembering who hath said, “ Take no thought for the morrow.” That, which you will expect, and in which


will not be disappointed, will be to hear the voice of the Lord, saying, “ This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or to the left. Thus shall you find the

way of righteousness made plain, according to the Text.

4. But it must not be dissembled that tribulation

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is the lot of every soldier of Christ, till he be called to glory. How to maintain peace of conscience, cheerfulness of mind, and diligence in the way of duty, under the pressure of the Cross, inward or outward, or both, is a lesson of skill far beyond all the powers of nature to teach. "O God of all grace, do thou teach it to thy people : Thou canst make the meanest and the weakest to excel in it !" At first, through the remaining principle of the love of ease, the believer desires above all things to be rid of the Cross. By discontent and murmuring, in his mind, against God, he obtains nothing but pain and torment. There is, however, a way of being made happy, even under the Cross. This way would be easy, were it not contrary to flesh and blood : But grace can make us willing to learn it. The lesson is simply this,-to bear the Cross with patience and resignation, till God give a sanctified issue; believing in him, who laid it on in much love. This is soon said and easily understood: But the practical part must be taught of God; and every praying soul shall be taught it effectually, and enabled to say,

“ all the days of my appointed time will I wait, with patience, till my change come, and endure the troubles of life till the Lord remove them.”

Such are the Scripture-answers to the discouragements which lie in the way of slothful souls. Your way is at present as a hedge of thorns : All is with you, guilt and pain, uneasiness and anxiety. Reflect that, in this way, you can never be happy either in this world or in the world to come. In order to be happy you must follow the way of righteousness.


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162 Nature and cure of Slothfulness. [serm. 11.

SERM God the Father has graciously provided a propitiation and way of life: God the Son is that propitiation and way of life: And God the Holy Ghost is that loving Spirit whose office it is to teach sinners to walk in that way.

Will you then be determined fully to trust the holy and blessed Trinity, and receive this grace for yourself? The Lord grant it! so shall hope, love, and joy animate your souls, and prove active principles to overcome your sloth. Eternity will brighten in your view : difficulties will vanish before faithful industry: you will labour and yet cast all your care on God.

When difficulties threaten to prevail, you will often be enabled to bear patiently what you cannot overcome; divine

grace will always be sufficient for you. This is the victory over sloth, and the way to heaven. Say not “how can these things be?" but believe in God; and, in trusting, you will prove HIS truth. Consider, that every good and every perfect gift cometh from God; and, that wisdom and strength, for the day, will be vouchsafed to those who ask in the name of Jesus Christ,

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