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ed as the distinguishing character and real attainment of all his redeemed ones, (Gal. v. 24.) “ They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts."

By this time you will have discovered your concern in the subject, and the use you ought to make of it. I have showed that man, in his natural state, is joined to idols; that it is God alone who can separate him from them; and that he doth it by means of his pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace. Now it is by faith in the Redeemer that any of the children of Adam come to be interested in these great and inestimable benefits. Here then you are furnished with a plain decisive test, whereby you may judge of your Christian profession, and examine yourselves whether you be in the faith. If idols reign with full power in your hearts, the conclusion is unavoidable, that as yet you have neither part nor lot in the Saviour; you are utter strangers, both to pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace. On the other hand, though their dominion be taken from them, so that they cannot be said to reign within you; yet, in whatever degree their influence remains, you may certainly conclude, that so far your faith must be weak in proportion. Only this is your comfort, that he who hath begun the good work will carry it forward to perfection; for “ he is the rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are judgment.” He who is the author, is likewise the finisher of his people's faith. To him therefore let your humble prayer be addressed. Say to him as the disciples did, “ Lord, increase our faith.” And you may do it in the assured hope of being heard; for he hath promised the Spirit to them that ask it. Let us then ask and receive, that our joy may be full.

From all that hath been said, we learn,

1st. How to account for that idolatry which is so prevalent in the world. While man remained innocent, he had free access to the Author of his existence : and, being assured of his friendship, he rejoiced in the displays of his glory; and all the creatures he bebeld, instead of intercepting or dividing his love, served only to remind him how much he himself was indebted to the bounty of their Creator. But sin introduced a dismal revolution into the heart of man. Alienated from God, and conscious of deserved punishment, we either think not of him at all, or dread him in the tremendous character of a judge and avenger. At the same time we must have something to gratify our inbred desire of happiness; and finding among the creatures around us, not only the necessary materials for supplying our bodily wants, but likewise a variety of objects and enjoyments suited to the inferior part of our nature, our hearts cleave to them, we pursue them with eagerness, and hope to extract that pleasure from the possession of them which we despair of finding any where else. Hence likewise we learn,

2dly. That nothing can avail for the care of this idolatry, which doth not relieve from the guilt of sin, and vanquish the tormenting fear of wrath, by representing God in a light wherein we can behold him with pleasure; nay, which doth not bring an object in view that outshines a present world, and will afford that kind of happiness which is adapted to the nature, and commensurate to the duration, of an immortal spirit. Reason is, in all respects, unequal to the task. It no doubt can discover, and may descant very plausibly, upon the vanity of the creature: bat, alas! a hungry man will feed upon husks rather than starve; nay, Reason itself will justify him in doing so. Something must be presented to him of real worth and excellence; something that can supply all his wants, and render bim contented and happy, independent of the objects and enjoyments of sense. It must likewise be something attainable; and which, when once obtained, cannot be taken from him.

Upon the whole, then, we see, in the 3d place, the importance and use of faith in Christ. The sacrifice he offered lays a firm foundation for the hope of pardon to the chief of sinners. There we see sin condemned in the flesh, the law infinitely glorified, and the justice of the Lawgiver, not only receiving full satisfaction, but more illustriously displayed, and more highly exalted, by the sufferings of his own Son in our nature, than it could have been by the final condemnation and everlasting punishment of the whole apostate posterity of Adam. This hath an obvious and powerful tendency to remove those fears which necessarily spring from a sense of guilt; for when we discover a way in which God may righteously pardon the sinner, then we can look up to him with hope; we are no longer compelled to flee from his presence; the revelation of mercy and forgiveness invites our approach to him, and thereby weakens ono of the strongest of those cords that bind us to a present world; especially when, to the intrinsic worth and value of Christ's sacrifice, we add, that it was offered up in consequence of a divine appointment: for “ Christ glorified not himself to be made an High-Priest, but he who said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” This strikes at the very root of all distrust and jealousy. When we are well assured that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that wbosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life;" what stronger evi. dence could the most suspicious mind require of his merciful nature, and kind regards to the children of men? Doth not this astonishing act of grace, this unspeakable gift, unmerited, and even unsolicited, amount to a full demonstration of what the apostle Jobin repeat. edly asserts, viz. God is LOVE? Can any one that believes this, hesitate for a moment to draw the same con. clusion from it that Paul did, (Rom. viii. 32.) “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall be not with him also freely give us all things?” And this leads me to observe, that Christ's giving himself for our sins, according to the will of God, hath a mighty efficacy to separate us from idols; not only by laying a solid foundation for our hope of pardon, and representing the Father in such a light as cannot fail to vanquish that fear and jealousy which render the thoughts of bim painful and alarming to the sinner; but further, by giving us the animating prospect, and the fullest assurance, of that incorruptible inheritance, which our great Redeemer hath purchased with his blood, and promised to bestow upon all without exception, who, acknowledging the original forfeiture, and the justice of the sentence which condemns them to die, are willing to receive new life from his hand, and to hold it by his right, as a free gift to them, through the merit of his obedience unto death in their place. This world, as I formerly observed, vain and unsatisfying as it is, will still appear of some importance to men, so long as they are unacquainted with any thing better. It is this that renders death the king of terrors; and they who cannot look with comfort beyond the grave, will not only cleave to a present world, but will even submit to the most grievous bardships and inconveniences, rather than consent to the dissolution of these earthly tabernacles: “ Skin for skin, all that a man hath will be give for his life.” Nothing can reconcile us to a removal from this


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world but the discovery of another, where we shall continue to live and to partake of enjoyments preferable to any of those we leave behind us. Now, for this discovery we are wholly indebted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Life and immortality are brought to light by bis gospel. This great oliject darkens the delusive lustre of all seen things. What hath this earth to offer that can stand the least comparison with that fulness of joy which is at God's right hand? Animated by this prospect, the believing Hebrews “ took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves, that in heaven they had a better and more enduring substance.” They did not regret the loss of those perishing trifles, for which carnal men contend with such eager and unremitting labour: they looked beyond them to permanent and substantial blessings, and rejoiced in the hope, “that when the earthly house of this tabernacle should be dissolved, they had a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” But I must here add, that all these discoveries, which have so obvious a tendency to separate us from idols, derive their virtue and efficacy from that divine Spirit which Christ purchased by bis sufferings and obedience unto death; whose office it is, not only to throw light upon the great truths revealed in the gospel, and to open or unvail our eyes, that we may see them in all their evidence, but likewise to carry them home into our hearts with such demonstra tion and power, that they shall become the type or mould wherein that new man is formed, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. By this divine agent we are born into the kingdom and family of God, and are connected with the spiritual world as really as by our natural birth we are introduced into and connected with this material world. In consequence

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