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· It is spoken of under the idea of feasting-“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you—He that eateth me, even he shall live by me, John vi. 53, 65. Here the life of the soul is shewn to arise from its faith in the great atoning sacrifice, and can only be preserved by the same means. Nothing can keep the believer in spiritual health and vigour, but his continuing to par. take of the benefits resulting from the Saviour's death and intercession, as the body can only be preserved by earthly food, or what is suitable to its nature.
It is also represented by several other similes, as taking in marriage, Rom. vii. 4, Eph. v. 31 ; to grafting, Rom. xi. 20; to waking and arising, Eph. v. 14; to walking, John viii. 12; flying for refuge, Heb. vi. 18, &c; all which discover the willingness of God to receive all that turn to him, and that seek him with their whole heart.
ADVICE TO BELIEVERS. And now my friendly readers, having drawn from the “ glorious gospel of the blessed God” such views of our sinful state both by nature and practice, and the encouragements it affords to real penitents, I hope my labour has not been in vain. If you have not obtained the salvation here described, the way is plain before you, seek and ye shall find. Jesus is waiting to be gracious. May he this moment seal pardon on your souls, and fill you with peace and joy through believing; if you have attained, and can “joy in God, in having received the atonement, suffer me to give you a little advice.
It may be that your souls are so truly happy, that each of you may be ready with old Simeon to say, “Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation;" or, after the manner of the apostle, “God has revealed his Son in me-I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless 1 live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for we;' and with the
psalmist, Not unto mé, not unto me, but to his name be the glory. This is certainly news of the best kind, and you honour your Lord, in proving and professing that“ his yoke is easy and his burden light,” that “his service is perfect freedom," and its reward, “joy unspeakable and full of glo. ry;" but remember that as you met with temptations before you tasted that the Lord is gracious, so you must prepare for trials and difficulties afterwards. I wish not to discou. rage you, far from it; for as every obstacle gave way to the lively exercises of your faith in our Emmanuel, they will still do the same; yet it does not follow that you are to have no conflicts. We have, however, this to comfort
comfort us, that no temptation shall overtake us, but what is common to men, and that a way shall be nade for our escape, that we may be able to bear it. God is the most compassionate of all beings, and his kindness at all times ought to encourage you to proceed in the path of righteousness. Let it then be your care to observe all his commandments, for in keeping of them, there is great reward, and though you may some. times meet with trials from different quarters, yet as you have been made to rejoice already in the Lord, he will still support and comfort you. As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Here is cause for much thankfulness, and ground of confidence; still, however, you will find where you look for reward, there works must first be done.
1. Be willing to receive instruction from all, even the poorest christian. Not only avail yourselves of the advan. tage of books, and public instruction, but labour especially to attain to true spiritual experience from experienced believers, whether rich or poor. Deep piety is oftener found among the latter, than the former, therefore be careful not to despise them. Seize upon every part of truth as it discovers itself to you, whether as pointing out to you the duties required, or the privileges belonging to you. In the midst of all, have a judgment of your own, corrected by reason and common sense, and under the influence of
grace, which will enable you to act decisively. This will keep you from being tossed about by every wind of doctrine on the one hand, and preserve you from vain conceit on the other, which is truly desirable; for as instability will stop your progress in piety before God, so conceit and vanity will render you contemptible to discerning men. Genuine christian simplicity and firmness in a good cause, are highly commendable when guided by divine wisdom; learn therea fore duly to prize, and conscientiously to practise them.
2. Expect opposition in some form or other for the truth's sake.--You may preserve decency of morals, and even zeal, in some cases, if you are not suspected of real piety, and be approved of; but let it once be discovered that you make profession of heart-felt religion, and you will be regarded in a different light. “ He that is after the flesh will persecute him that is after the spirit.” You may have proved the truth of this already; and if it should still be your lot, do not be discouraged, nor deem it a disgrace. Let your face be steeled against reproach and shame in the cause of your divine Master. When reviled, however, do not revile again. Such persons should rather excite pity than revenge. Remember the compassionate spirit of Jesus, who bore the contradictions of sinners against himself in admirable
pas tience, and submitted himself to death for their salvation. The cause of piety, which you have espoused, is God's cause; therefore be firm in it; and you will always prove that he who is for you is greater than all your enemies. Consider how courageously many pious persons have withstood both the frowns and flatteries of their persecutors, and have eve: preferred death, in its most terrific forms, to all those worldly advantages which are incompatible with a good con: science. Let their intrepidity stimulate you to walk in their spirit and ways; and should you be called to bear their bur: dens, you will also share their honours and rewards. The path which exposes any to persecution for true piety, from the slanderous tongue, to the burning fiery furnace, is paved from beginning to end with the blessing of heaven,
and crowns the sufferer with marked distinction and greater glory.
3. Keep the path of duty.—There is no safety anywhere else. Remember it is said, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Let these words be imprinted on your mind, and they will keep you from thinking lightly of any of his commands, and guard you against the insinuations of those who, under pretence of exalting Christ and his merits, are undermining his authority. Should you meet with those who speak or write thus, be on your guard; which is the more necessary, while your grateful and enlightened mind is overflowing with love and joy at the glory and astonishing condescension of your Lord; for you are then in the greatest danger of imbibing those plausible but unscriptural notions which magnify grace and faith to the exclusion of good works. Your faith must be manifested to others by your observance of all the Divine commands. Attend, therefore, to every personal, domestic, social, civil, and religious duty, with all your souls; that, walking worthy of God, and shedding a holy lustre around you, you may, through the merit of your Lord, obtain a right to the tree of life, and enter the city of the living God, to see his face and rejoice before him eternally. This is the race set before you in the wisdom of God; run it then with patience and perseverance, and the prize is sure.
4. Avoid disputation as much as possible. You will sometimes, in all probability, be involved in it; and when this is the case, be careful to preserve unanimity of temper, and abide by the vitals of christianity. Disputation will tend to perplex you, and divert your attention from better things. Should you be capable of managing a dispute, and come off victorious, you will have gained nothing; for, in general, disputants are resolved not to be convinced; and when you imagine your work to be finished, you will have it all to de over again. Fondness for certain favourite opinions, not the love and search of truth, brings most disputants into ac.
tion. Should any doubt arise in your mind concerning any particular doctrine which you cannot solve yourself, consult your more experienced christian acquaintance, whose advice will be kind and sincere, and, while you retain your simplicity in Christ, generally sufficient to settle and tranquilize your mind; while opinionists, and wrangling, noisy dispu. tants, will lead you from the kernel to the husk, and fill you with vain conceit or false humility. The sum of the gospel is love, and whatever diminishes or adulterates it must be shunned, while that which tends to confirm, promote, and draw forth its heavenly principles into action, should be eagerly sought and firmly retained. It is well, therefore, to follow the apostolic injunction, and withdraw yourself from those who will not consent to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus, and the doctrine which is according to godliness; for such are proud, knowing nothing, but doating about questions, and strifes of words; whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings," &c. The less you have to do with such characters the better.
5. Aim at walking closely with God. If you trifle in religion, you will become an easy prey to temptation, and fill your minds again with guilty fears; but if you attend seriously to it, there is no such danger. You will meet with various trials to exercise your graces; but, armed with the armour of righteousness, on the right hand and on the left, you will break through all opposition, and triumph over every enemy. Press after constant humility, unceasing prayer, universal conscientiousness, entire dedication of yourself to God; and, in a word, all the mind that was in the Lord Jesus. Endeavour to walk in all his ordinances, to understand his word, to reverence his sanctuary, to observe bis sabbaths, to be thankful for his mercies, and to improve the talents committed to your care. Then will the Spirit of adoption reveal himself sweetly and clearly to your soul. All things will then become subservient to your hap, piness, your prospects will be bright and fair; and, after have ing done and suffered his righteous will below, you will at