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many souls brought to glory, therefore praise your Saviour not only in secret devotion, but in fellowship with each other. With faith and intelligence, with conscientiousness and brotherly kindness, strive for the accomplishment of God's will, and the showing forth of God's praise by you and in you.
Salvation is deliverance from ungodly and corrupt principles. Therefore, it is your part to pray and strive against sinful principles. Your object should be, in the words of ch. i. 9, 10, 11, “That
abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God." The apostle through this epistle calls upon you to work out this object in harmony and unison. Though many unreasonably dream of Christian harmony without Christian principles and work, the apostle first lays down a foundation of principle and a system of occupation, and then calls for harmony; in the words of ch. i. 27, “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind
striving together for the faith of the Gospel." Real Christian love “works no ill to his neighbour,”—lore does not deny the foundations of Christian truth and obedience - love does not spread corrupt principles - love does not pretend that the faith of the Gospel and the condition of the soul are objects inferior to the serving of worldly desires. “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law,"* the doing of God's will, the beginning of heaven upon earth.
Salvation is deliverance from an accusing conscience. It is your part to seek peace of conscience. Look to the blood of Christ to purge your conscience from dead works.f Practically rely upon the grace of God, and not upon fleshly wisdom, as the regulator of conscience;i and exercise yourselves always to hold a good conscience along with real faith.
Salvation is escape from the brotherhood of God-haters and blasphemers. Do your part by seeking to abound in prayer and praise to God. Give thanks for God's promises, and turn the promises into prayers. Stir up your souls to love Him who has first loved you; and suffer the love of Christ to constrain you to live not to yourselves but to Him. The farther your principles and feelings are removed from blasphemy and enmity against God, which are tokens of perdition, the nearer to complete happiness you actually are.
* Rom. xiii. 10.
+ Heb. ix. 14. 2 Cor. i. 12. § Acts, xxiv. 16; 1 Tim. i. 19.
Salvation is freedom from sorrow. This, you may say, is peculiar to the heavenly state, and is now known only as a promise. But to the degree that sin relaxes its hold, to that degree is sorrow being undermined. Sin is the only source of unmixed sorrow. Sin is the only anguish which through eternity is incurable and irrepressible, without mitigation and without compensation.
In conclusion, my text is surely welcome to those who are at all impressed by Christ's promises and doctrines. Such impression does not proceed from human nature, it is the gift of God. You should be thankful for such impressions ; you are intended and entreated to make use of them. Give EXPRESSION to every IMPRESSION which God works in you ; express them in prayer to God, which is the utterance of faith ; express them in corresponding profession and practices; and as God never leaves a good work unfinished, ask Him boldly to give you more and deeper impressions, to incline your heart, to prompt your will, to strengthen your hands, according to His word, " on which He has caused you to hope.”*
My text is a warning to the unconverted to turn from their evil way in obedience to God, and in His offered strength. I am relieved from the necessity of picturing strange and unseen torments. For if you were abandoned to your own unscrupulous and unsatisfying lusts and pursuits--if you were shut up to the society of blasphemers and despisers of right and kind feeling-if God were to leave you as you are with no sure hope, and with vexation of spirit- there would be misery sufficient to torment you for ever, unsaved and unblessed.
My text corrects the error that carefulness to perform good works is unnecessary, if you have a right to salvation, or that it would be a comfort and a privilege to have nothing to do. Your happiness is in the actual doing of God's will. “Ye are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that ye should walk in them.”+ * Ps, cxix. 49.
+ Eph. ii. 10.
Your Creator and Redeemer has said not only, “Let there be light within,"* but also, “Let your liyht so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.”+ You have nothing to do to work out a merit of your own - nothing to do to obtain a right to salvation. But what is salvation ?-It is the heart's desire and power to do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. “ Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.": What is said of those who have a right to salvation? Do they claim it as a privilege to continue in sins of omission that grace may abound? Have they a right to be idlers in the family? No! Here is their heavenly destiny:-"They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as å man spareth HIS OWN HIM.”'S
SON WHO SERVETH
* 2 Cor. iv, 6.
Heb. vi. 12.
* Matt. v. 16.