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we earnestly intreat you, to regard those who have dearly bought their experience, when they declare that this will more and more be the case as long as you seek that happiness in the world, which can only be found in God and religion. “Come" then,“ taste and see how gracious the Lord is ; “ and how blessed they are that trust in him.” Make a fair trial, whether peace of conscience and joy in God be not preferable to turbulent mirth, with an aching heart and bitter remorse.
But are not religious people often melancholy and uncomfortable ?—No doubt many who speak about religion, and live at open war with their convictions, are very miserable. Others, taking distorted views of truth, and prematurely or disproportionately studying matters too deep for them, disquiet their minds and cast a gloom over their piety: while negligence, unwatchfulness, evil tempers, or cleaving to worldly objects, will render those uneasy who fear God or have any tenderness of conscience. But these effects arise not from godliness, but from the want of it; and they would vanish were the scriptures more implicitly believed and obeyed. We ought therefore to infer from these things, that we should carefully compare our religion with the word of God; and pray without ceasing, that we may be enabled to have “our con“ versation as it becometh the gospel of Christ.”
Perhaps some of you, who have neglected godliness, meet with continual disappointment in your worldly pursuits. Does not the Lord then say to you, “ Wherefore do ye spend your money for that “ which is not bread? and your labour for that “ which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto
soul shall live ?” Few of the numerous candidates for wealth, honour, or power, are successful: and the most assiduous application has only the probability of success : but the unfailing word of God ensures the blessing to all, that “ seek his kingdom and righteousness in the first “ place” and in the way which he hath prescribed.
who trust that you possess godliness, oppressed by poverty, sickness, or trouble? Seek after contentment, my brethren: seek divine peace
and consolations with redoubled earnestness; and strive to serve God cheerfully in the humble duties of
Watch against envy and covetousness, and a repining disposition. Learn to pity such as have wealth without godliness, and to pray for them: and be very cautious what measures you adopt to mend your outward circumstances : for “they that will be rich fall into temp“tation and a snare, and into many foolish and “ hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction “and perdition,”—or “ pierce them through with
Finally, let the rich remember that they are only “ stewards," and entrusted with wealth for the benefit of others. Let me charge you then, my brethren of superior degree, that you “ trust not “ in uncertain riches, but in the living God.” That you be “rich in good works, ready to distribute, “and glad to communicate :” that you“ do good “ to all men, especially to the household of faith.” Fear above all things having “ your portion in this life :” and remember, that of all
1 Tim. vi. 9, 10.
nothing is “ your own,” but “ godliness with con
tentment,” and such “ things as accompany “ salvation.” All else will soon be left behind. Happy then are they and they only, who have “ chosen the good part that shall never be taken “ from them"
REVELATION III. 15, 16.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor
hot: I would thou wert cold or hot: so then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
This chapter and that which precedes it contain a message from our blessed Saviour to each of the seven churches in Asia ; which in one part or another suit the state and character of all Christian churches in every age and nation. It is therefore added at the close of each epistle, “ He that hath “an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto " the churches."
The message to the Laodiceans differs materially from all the rest; for the professed Christians in that city had degenerated far more than any of the others. They were become “ lukewarm,” yet proud of their imagined proficiency: and the reproofs, warnings, and counsels of our Lord were adapted to this peculiarity of character and conduct.
We know that lukewarm water is exceedingly disagreeable; the stomach recoils at it, and we spit it out with loathing. Thus Christ declared that he would cast off the church of Laodicea with disdain and abhorrence. There might, however, be some individuals of a better character, though probably infected with the same disease, and others might be brought to repentance. For the sake of these, therefore, the message was sent: they were warned, rebuked, counselled, and encouraged ; and we may hope that many derived special benefit. Yet the church at large seems to have degenerated more and more : so that, while those churches which our Lord mentioned with approbation continue in some poor remains to this very day, there has not for a long time been a single professed Christian at Laodicea !- I purpose,
I. To describe the nature and symptoms of lukewarmness :
II. To explain the grounds of that decided abhorrence of it which Christ expresses :
III. To add something by way of solemn warning and particular application.
I. We will consider the nature and symptoms of lukewarmness, both in collective bodies, and in individuals professing Christianity. It
may here be proper to premise one observation, to prevent mistakes. When our advantages, opportunities, and obligations are duly considered, we may all be justly charged with comparative lukewarmness: and the more we become acquainted with ourselves, and experience the power of divine truth upon our hearts, the keener will be our sensibility and the deeper our abasement on this account. But this case is totally distinct from that of the allowed and self-sufficient lukewarmness of the Laodiceans.
The disease of which we speak is only found where some profession of religion is made. The irreligious world is not “ lukewarm.” Persons of this character may say, 'We make no pretensions 'to piety or sanctity; we seldom think about re