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is to confess our own weakness and inability to do the least good thing. We must learn that our duty consists in waiting upon the Lord to receive his grace, and that when we become willing to let it operate on our hearts, every work of holiness, which we are capable of performing, must be ascribed, not to ourselves, but to him, and his name must have all the glory. Very good is that prayer, which we use in the beginning of the communion service“ Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of thy holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord;" and there is no doubt, but that, if it were used in sincerity, and with earnestness, great and blessed effects would follow; but, as so many use it, without thinking what they ask for, or rather while they are thinking of, and wishing for other things, it is no wonder that they understand not their words, and are destitute of that humility, which God expects from all those, who prostrate themselves before the throne of his grace. How, my Brethren, do your hearts stand affected towards God? Can you readily adopt the Psalmist's words, and say—“ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth that I desire in comparison of thee." Can you lift up your voices in sincerity to the
Lord, and ask him to set up his throne in your hearts? For this you pray, whenever you utter the words “ Thy kingdom come;" for never can you desire that the kingdom of Christ should be established generally, unless it is first established in your own heart. Look well to yourselves, and see that you desire not any forbidden thing. If your eye be single, that is, if you have the simple desire of serving God, and living only to his glory, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye be evil, if you long to touch and taste of the fruit of that tree, concerning which our Lord has told you, as he did our first parents in Paradise, “ Ye shall not eat thereof,” your whole body will be full of darkness, and you will not be able to find the path of salvation. Though you may boast of your privilege in belonging to any particular Church, and though you have been baptized into the Christian faith; though you may have read much in your Bibles, so that you are become eloquent in the Scriptures, and though you may have also much zeal in defending the truth, and be able to refute the arguments of scoffers and unbelievers ; though you may do all this, and ten times as much, yet, if you have not given your hearts to God, with all your wisdom and knowledge, you will not be wise 'unto salvation; and it shall come to pass, that many a poor creature, whom ye perhaps have despised, by waiting upon the Lord in a humble, submissive, and teachable frame of mind, shall gain that state of happiness, which you, with all your labour and conceit, have not been able to acquire.
Considering that the holy Scriptures were given, not only for the use of a few generations of men, who lived in those days, in which God inspired his servants to make known his holy will, but for all persons, who should receive them in all ages, we have a right to suppose, that our heavenly Father is now speaking to every one of us individually, and saying, “ My Son! give me thy heart.” O! how gracious, how condescending are his words! Who is there that does not answer, “ Lord take my heart, fill it with thy Holy Spirit, and make it the place of thy residence ?” Who is the man, that desires to set his affections on any worldly object? What folly, what infatuation, it is to imagine that any thing but God, who is all goodness, can procure real and durable happiness to the soul! The world, indeed, the flesh, and the devil, are all contending for our hearts, and all would have them their willing slaves. But, come, my Brethren, burst your chains, and be free. Determine now, if you have never done so before, to be the servants
of the Lord, and of him only. Know that his service is perfect freedom, and that it is in his power to set your feet at liberty, and to enable you to run in the way of his commandments.
Trust to his word of promise, and experience will prove to you, that he is the best master that can be served. A Master do I say? He is more than a Master. He is a Parent, who desires your welfare, and who will, if you commit yourselves, with filial confidence to him, make you supremely happy. You shall, even here, be put in possession of a peace, which passeth all understanding, and when you leave this world, wherein you live but as strangers and pilgrims, and go home to the mansion, which your Father has prepared for you in heaven, you shall enjoy an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away, which, that you may all do, may God, of his infinite mercy grant, for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.