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to God and Christ, and our bodies sanctified as the temple of the Holy Ghost we must do this. Prayer is a duty so essential to holiness that it is impossible to be holy without it. It is also a duty of so wide extent as to run through all our words and deeds, and even our thoughts. This is plainly signified by those frequent injunctions in the Gospel that we should pray and not faint, pray without ceasing, pray always, and pray every where, and continue instant in prayer; which injunctions are not so to be understood as if prayer were meant to supersede our ordinary proceedings, but that we should be perpetually referring our ordinary proceedings to God, as if asking his permission and blessing on what we do.
This is what distinguishes a pious Christian from a natural man. A man in his natural or unregenerate state, thinks only, in all that he says or does, how to please himself; whereas the very reason, as the text informs us why Christ died and rose again was that we who have lived unto ourselves might henceforth live unto Him. My brethren, we have lived unto ourselves too long. The time past may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles. The time past may suffice us to have conformed to a blind, sinful, alienated world. We have lived to that world and to ourselves too long. Let us henceforth live unto Christ. Let us, instead of waking to selfish, vain, and worldly thoughts, earnestly pray to Christ for his direction, succour and blessing, or to the Father in his name. Let
us, instead of pursuing our worldly business so eagerly as if that were the only business for which we live, pursue it only in reference to his will, Let us, instead of seeking our own pleasure in reading and conversing, so read and converse as may promote his doctrine and kingdom. Let us walk in all the holy ordinances which He has appointed for us, in
prayer, in reading, in meditation, in the sacraments, in public worship, in charity to the poor. All these ordinances will
promote his kingdom and our own salvation. Let no
"I am not a minister, and therefore this is not required of me.” What is the end of the ministry? Is it not that we should exhort one another to escape from the wrath to come? Let every one that has a tongue join his endeavours to persuade his brethren to escape from the eternal gulph of misery which awaits the wicked.
All you who have ungodly relations over whom you have any influence, do what in
influence, do what in you lies to convert them to Christ, that they may cease to live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them. Even though they scoff at your advice, the truth and reason which you urge upon them will have its weight, sooner or later. If you show in your whole life and conversation your lively impression of the speedy approach of death and judgment, your example will have its weight. If you live unto Christ you cannot be indifferent to the souls of others. If you live unto Christ you
will always be desirous and endeavouring to bring the Gospel to the minds of others. What! Shall we spare a few words where Christ spared not his blood ? Did Christ undergo so much to persuade men so to live for a few years as to inherit life eternal, and shall not we give ourselves the trouble to say a few words to bring Him to one another's minds? There needs but a thought to bring Him to our minds with such force as to give us courage in every condition. Do we consider and weigh what the promises of the Gospel hold out to us? Do we consider that if we will but patiently for a very few years, perhaps weeks or days, persevere in living soberly, righteously, and godly, our trial will be over, our soul will depart, and Christ will receive it? But if we will not live unto Him now, He will be a stranger to us at that hour. If we will not confess Him before men, neither will He confess us before his Father which is in heaven.
Let then our Lord Jesus be continually present to our thoughts. How else shall we live unto Him? How can we live unto Him if we do not even think of Him? Whatsoever we do in word or in deed let us do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Let us, in every thing we do, ask ourselves what does my Master require of me in this? Shall I do otherwise than He requires ? Shall I forfeit the friendship of Him on whom all my hopes depend? Shall I offend my King who rules and governs me, and my Judge who will pass sentence upon me? Whom have I in heaven but Him? Let there be nothing upon earth that we desire in comparison of Him. We shall one day see and know that He alone is our refuge and strength, our shield and buckler, our high tower and the rock of our salvation.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.
REJOICING IN CHRIST.
HABAKKUK iii. 17, 18.
Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in
the vines ; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet will I rejoice in the Lord.
This case which the prophet supposes was one which probably was about to happen in his time, and which certainly may happen in ours. The Lord hath furnished the earth with plenteousness, but we discern his power when He withdraws that plenteousness more than when He bestows it. He therefore sends forth his judgments in the earth to remind us of our misuse of his blessings. War, pestilence, and famine are sent because we make an ungrateful use of peace, health and plenty.
In times like these especially, when the judgments of the Lord are on the earth it behoves us calmly to prepare to look in the face with firmness whatever evils may come upon us.
How are we prepared for famine, fire, pestilence, or