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and then you will find your faith growing in a happy proportion, and will experience the truth of our Saviour's declaration, that if any man will resolutely and faithfully do his will, he shall know of the Christian doctrine whether it be of God. I verily believe, it is the purity of its precepts which lies at the bottom of most men's opposition to it; or a natural pride of heart, which gives them an aversion to so humbling a scheme, or a fond affectation of seeming wiser than others, in rejecting what most of their neighbours do at least profess to believe. When these unhappy prejudices and conceptions are by divine grace conquered and rooted out, the evidence of truth will daily appear with an increasing lustre; as the light of the sun does to an eye recovering from a film, with which it had been overgrown, and which before had veiled it with midnight in the midst of noon.
4. How solicitous should we be to embrace and obey that Gospel, which comes attended with such abundant evidences !
I may undoubtedly address myself to most of you, my friends, and say as Paul did to King Agrippa, Believest thou the prophets ? and I may add, the evangelists and the apostles ?-Yes, I know that you believe them: yet let me entreat and charge you, not to rest here, but attentively to examine how far your hearts are affected and your lives regulated by such a belief. The Christian revelation is a practical thing; and it is heard, it is believed, it is professed, and even defended in vain, if it be not obeyed.Therefore do we so frequently read of obeying the truth, and obeying the Gospel, as a matter of so great importance.
In this Gospel, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; but it is revealed with redoubled terror against that audacious sinner who holds the truth in unrighteousness. In this Gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted both as a Prince and a Saviour; and it is not with impunity that the impenitent rebel can reject his yoke, and trample on his blood : for if he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment, than
a capital execution, must they be thought worthy, who have poured contempt on such a Sovereign, and on such a Redeemer?
Oh let it be most seriously and frequently recollected, that this Gospel is the touchstone, by which you are another day to be tried; the balance in which an impartial Judge will weigh you; and must on the whole prove your everlasting triumph, or your everlasting torment. The blessed God did not introduce it with such solemn notice, such high expectation, such pompous miracles, such awful sanctions, that men might reject or dishonour it at pleasure; but it will certainly be found, to the greatest and the meanest of those that hear it, a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death.
Let it therefore be your immediate care, to inquire which of these it is likely to prove to your souls; since it is so far from being a vain thing, that it is really your very life. If it has hitherto been despised, and that blessed Redeemer, in whom it so apparently centres, has been neglected; remember that all which has been said in confirmation of its truth, does but in effect prove that the hand-writing
of God himself is set to the sentence of
your eternal condemnation. Oh, therefore, allow not yourselves a moment's rest, till you have, with humble submission applied to His throne, while yet there is hope that it may be reversed.
And as for you, my brethren, who have received Christ Jesus the Lord, be exhorted to walk in him; since it is the design of his Gospel to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly; and this, not only as you have so comfortable an assurance, that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord, but as it will be on the whole, the most effectual method you can take in your respective stations to promote the Gospel. If you indeed honour it and love it, and desire it may be propagated in the world, let it be your care, not only to defend it by your tongues, but to adorn it by your lives ; and in the words of that great champion in this sacred cause, “Be blameless and harmless, the children of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, shining amongst them as lights in the world, and so holding forth the word of life;" and perhaps it may serve, not only to entertain their eyes with wonder and glory, but to guide their feet into the way of peace, and may engage them also to join with you in glorifying your Father which is in heaven. Amen.