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may be the consequences of the spirit of dissipation, erTor and infidelity which has gone forth, be ye, believers, faithful, and your souls will be given you for a prey. God will preserve and strengthen you, and be which bath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Fesus Chrift.
You are under indispensable obligations to forsake all fin and glorify God, not only, as his creatures, but especially as his children who are created anew in Christ Jesus. Often meditate upon these obligations, and remember, that ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price, and therefore whatever others may do, ye are to glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's.
Strive to obtain clear apprehensions of growth in grace, that you may determine with precision wherein it conlifts. Despise not the day of small things. It is by little and little the enemy hall be driven out before you. Through many fallings and risings, changes and viciffitudes, your progress lies. By many fad experiences you will know that your lufts are not yet all destroyed; but by many comforting evidences you will assuredly find the promised aid of the Spirit, and the power of Christ in promoting your growth in grace.--Be afraid of fin and of temptations, but be not afraid of the cross. Trials and afflictions prove no impediment to sanctification. When sufferings produce proper exercises, they yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness; they make us sensible of our weakness; they imbitter sin, and lessen that attachment to the world which mars our progress, and hinders our growth in grace. Be then of a good courage, and go in the strength of the Lord. Your salvation is nearer than when you believed, and you may, in humble hope, look forward to your everlasting home, which is full in view;
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for yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. And now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the meep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that wbich is well-pleasing in his fight, through Hefus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
THE FOLLY AND GUILT, OF BEING
ASHAMED OF CHRIST.
Mark viii. 38. W bofoever fall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in
ibis adulterous and finful generation, of bim also pall tbe Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, and with the holy Angels.
To perform our duty, and then without ostentation
to avow it, is our most honourable and useful cha. racter. It is fulfilling the first law of our nature, and extending the prevalence of religion and virtue in the world, by the influence of our example. To be ashamed
our duty is to be ashamed of our glory. To acknowcage its obligation in secret, and yeč disguise it before wen, discovers a weakness and duplicity of mind, that is po lefs inconsistent with dignity than with piety.
The sentiment of fame that gives to the opinion of others so great authority over the mind, is originally a wise and excellent law of nature. But the depravity of man hath perverted the best principles, and changed the most ingenuous feelings of the heart into ministers of sin. Great crimes are evidently opposed to the interests of society, and therefore they are condemned by public opinion. The depravity of the human heart is equally opposed to the spirit of true Religion, and therefore, the manners, and at least the ostensible opinions of the world, contradict the purity and simplicity of the Gospel. The one opposes vice in the extreme, the other tends to encourage vice in a certain degree.
The world hath so accommodated its converfation, its wit, and its opinions to its manners, that men in the cause of piety, are afraid of incurring its censure or contempt. They want courage to oppose the stream of custom, they renounce their duty in compliance with fashionable vice, or they conceal their inward reverence for it, and against their conviction they live like the world.
To be ashamed of Christ is a sin that may be considered in a variety of lights. Our Saviour, in pronouncing this sentence, had probably an immediate view to the testimony which his disciples would be called to bear to his name, before the tribunals of their unrighteous judges, where the splendour of courts, the scoffs of enemies, the ignominy of punishments, and the humble and unfriend. ed condition of the first Christians, would all contribute to subdue their minds, to make them ashamed of their Master's cross, and to deprive them of the courage necessary to profess, or to suffer for his despised cause.—Honour elevates the mind and gives fortitude to the weak. Shame is an enfeebling principle that takes even from the brave the confidence necessary to avow truth, and the firmness
necessary to endure suffering.-Indeed, to be ashamed of Christ and to deny him are so intimately connected, as cause and effect, that St Matthew, in expressing this declaration of our Saviour, says, Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Through the goodness of God we are not exposed to persecution, but living in an age in which custom, in which the powers of wit and ridicule, in which the honours of society, and in which even reason and philosophy have been engaged on the side of vice, we are liable to disguise the truths of the Gospel, and to be ashamed of Christ, with a more criminal weakness than they who suffered their constancy to be shaken by the majesty of tribunals, and the terror of flames.
It is this evil which I propose from the text to explain and condemn.
I. By pointing out what is implied in being alhamed of Christ, and of his words.
II. By demonstrating its folly and its guilt.
I. In pointing out what is implied in being ashamed of Christ, and of his words, I shall treat of the sentiment of shame directly,—and unfold some of its principal causes,—and its consequences, as they affect the profession of Religion.
1. In the first place, the sentiment of shame. This, like other simple feelings and emotions of the human mind, cannot be easily understood, except by exciting the perception, and calling to mind the occasions on which we have most sensibly felt its constraints.-Let us recollect those seasons in which a finful regard to the observa