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tal care and goodness, and the perpetuity of their bliss. We cannot indeed expect such discoveries in our probationary state, as that would be utterly subversive of his design in placing us in our present circumstances: yet who but the unthankful and unholy will deny that he is mindful of us? He manifests his love daily in the support of our bodies, and especially in the salvation of our souls, by the benefits arising from the passion, death, and intercession of his beloved Son. It is this that has made myriads cry out, “We love him, because he first loved us." And shall the inhabitants of heaven, who are more capable of understanding his nature and attributes, thus love him-shall so many of the most excellent characters here below love and delight in him, and prefer him to all other objects, and comparatively hate property, liberty, friends, relatives, and even life, for his sake; and shall we be ashamed to be found in such company? What an astonishing proof of the love of God have we in our redemption! What is the most excellent love of all. creatures compared with this? We must therefore conclude, that it is our duty to love God with all that ardent, blameless, and fruitful affection, expressed by the apostle for the Philippian church, by which God is undoubtedly glorified : “ This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more, in knowledge, and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offence, till the day of Christ, being filled with all the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the GLORY and praise of God.” It is conversion that produces all this, and will you delay turning to God—will you be unwilling to love such excellency? Is it possible for you to do this too soon? Lift up your heart, and beseech him even now to shed abroad his love there; that you may begin the blessed employment of praising and loving God, which will
never, never have an end.
God is glorified in the dedication of our persons to his serrice. The ancient tabernacle, its utensils, and service first, and the magnificent temple of Solomon afterwards, were
mystical representations of the Lord of glory, whose body was the “true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man," and which was most eminently filled with his glory; and St. John says, “We beheld his glory as the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," far removed from sin and error, sanetified and devoted to the service of his father. In like manner christian believers are called the temple of God, as being separated from sin, and the spirit of the world, and given up to him. St. Paul observes, “The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are; and if any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy.” And again, “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's.” Here the duty of the christian, and the reasons for its observance are too clearly set forth not to be understood; and plainly shew the necessity of our sanctification, in conformity to the Lord Jesus. While we are in the world we must attend to the duties of our respective situations; the rank we hold in society; the offices we fill; and the eharacters we sustain; and all this should be done in a devotional spirit, and to the glory of God. Some, under pretenee of exalting the Lord Jesus, have spoken slightly of morality, for which they are highly reprehensible; for the gospel not only requires it at our hands, but expects it to be purer and more extensive than any other institution whatever; or what shall we think of the sermon on the mount, and the personal, relative, and civil duties enforced by the gospels and epistles ? " Which things were fully exemplified in their own persons, or could any of them have said, “Those things which ye have both learned, received, heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you? These, being the precious fruits of faith, adorn the christian character, discover the sincerity of our profession, and assist us in keeping a good conscience towards God and man. Thus offering up our all to God, adorning the doctrine of the gos
pel, and bringing forth much fruit, our heavenly Father is glorified, and our blessed Master condesøends to acknowledge us for his disciples. All this is both reasonable and desirable; and it is conversion alone that enables us to at. tempt it, or where it is attempted, continues to promote it. All, therefore, who would live in such a state, should hasten their conversion, by yielding to the convictions of the Spirit, and requesting an entire change through his powerful influence.
Thus, if glorifying God be the true end of our being, and if despising him and living in sin and impenitency, dis. honour him, then all must see that conversion is absolutely necessary for all; and what is so, should immediately be attended to, or the neglect may be followed by awful con. sequences.
ITS DESIGN. CONVERSION is intended to conform us to Christ. We are all called to imitate this most perfect pattern of all goodness, which may always be done without the smallest danger; in. deed inexpressible danger will follow the neglect of it. We are commanded to be followers, or imitators, of him as dear children: and we ought never to forget the extraordinary discovery of his Father's approbation on the holy mount: “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” For, though we cannot attain to that fulness of grace and perfection which were essentially in him, yet, through his grace, we may be brought to such a conformity to his image, and resemblance of his example, as may bring us the inward testimony of his Spirit that we please him. No chris. tian should think of coming short of this salvation; and when obtained it ought most assiduously to be preserved, as this is what principally constitutes his consolation in this life of trouble, dificulty, and temptation. The nearer we approach this most sacred model, the more we answer the Divine de. signs towards us; for God has predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son;" and we are privileged to bear the image of the heavenly, as we have borne that of the earthly Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 49; and are exhorted to let that mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus, Phil. ii. 5; which should teach us the necessity of keeping this blessed pattern before our eyes, that we may at last be enabled to say, in deep humility, "O Lord, “I have glorified thee upon the earth," and, though attended with inany weaknesses and imperfections," have finished the work thou hast given me to do,” and still own myself an unprofitable servant:' or, if some of these words appear too strong for the lips of feeble dust to utter, to say at the brink of eternity, with the valiant and persevering apostle, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” In speaking of Christ's example, there are three things, most worthy of our attention and imitation : his deadness to the world, his holy dispositions, and his communion with the Father.
To begin with his deadness to the world. It is allowed that while we continue in the world, a certain proportion of our time and attention must be appropriated to its concerns. The Divine wisdom saw it good for man to be employed in his state of innocency in dressing and keeping the garden in which he was placed; and we are now enjoined by the
gospel to be “ diligent in business," as well as “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," for our own comfort and advantage, and that of others: but certainly, worldly things ought not wholly to engross our thoughts; much less should we pursue them from wrong motives, as is the case of all those irreligious characters who study and labour to “make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof." Our gracious Lord condescended to labour, not in that spirit indeed, nor with any such view: his aim most probably was to teach us, that it is best, upon the whole, and more promotive of our happiness and his Father's honour, to be thus employed in our present state, than to spend all our time in religious exercises and acts of devotion. After leading a life of comparative privacy for thirty years, we hear nothing of any ins
ordinate attachment to worldly concerns, nor of any desire after gain, honour, or parade. He sought in all his ways to do his Father's pleasure, and that alone: and it is our duty to imitate his conduct in all our affairs and intercourse with men ; and should it please God to increase our temporal substance, we should not ascribe it to our own foresight and industry, but to his blessing ; setting our hearts not upon that which the most worthless and ungrateful men sometimes possess, we ought rather to take him for our portion, who giveth us riehly all things to enjoy.
As it respects the more sensual indulgences, idle curiosity, vain ostentation, artificial politeness, insignificant compliments, sinful recreations, the innumerable follies by which the carnally minded murder their time, spend their substance, neglect their souls, and despise their God, he was first and last perfectly dead to all. He justly contemned the tinsel of worldly glory. The highest pinnacle of human ambition had no charms for him : nor could selfish and base-born flattery divert his spotless soul from the path of rectitude for a single moment. He was not of this world, and he conducted himself as a stranger in it, till he had completed our redemption; and did we in this follow his steps, and regard ourselves as strangers and pilgrims also, which we are called to do, it would be so far from being injurious to us, that it would greatly promote our real interests; save us from a thousand snares and delusions, and cause us to run with increasing delight the race that is set before us. Were this attended to properly, there would not be so many superficial characters among the professors of christianity as there are at present, who are incapable of bearing any reproach, persecution, or inconvenience, for the sake of their self-denying Lord and Master. The want of this mortification is extremely hurtful to the soul, and gives its malicious adversaries many advantages. “God forbid, (said the apostle) that I should glory, save in the cross of Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world." This is a glorious victory, and the more fully it is