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• name's sake.' If we confess with our mouths His precious name, believing on Him in our hearts, we shall be saved ; and Ais Euge', will amply compensate for greater sufferings than any we shall ever incur on his account. · Our professions must be sincere, or they will avail nothing to our salvation ; but, on the contrary, aggravate our guilt and condemnation. How many rehearse the articles of the creed, and mean nothing by the act, in which they are engaged! They declare their belief in God the • Father Almighty,' without feeling in themselves any reverence for Him, any dependence on Him, or gratitude to Him. They coldly mention the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,' without any solicitude to participate in His salvation. His conception by the Holy Ghost, His birth of the Virgin Mary, though celebrated by the heavenly host with devout acclamations of joy, is to them a matter of indifference, and passes carelessly over their lips; as if the whole were a cunningly .. devised fable,' or at most an historic truth, in which they are wholly uninterested. The glad . tidings of great joy' excite no other sensations in their bosoms than might be expected to arise from the birth of any other person. That He • suffered under Pontius Pilate,' they assent to as a truth ; but, having never been weighed down with the burden of those sins, which occasioned His passion, they know nothing of the fellowship of His sufferings.' That He rose again • from the dead' is admitted to be a fact, because it constitutes part of the national creed ; but they are utter strangers to the reviving and sanctifying power of His resurrection. His ascension into Heaven, and session at the right hand of God is equally unimportant to them ; since they feel no need of an interceding bigh Priest to plead their cause before the throne or God, nor of • a Prince and a Saviour to give them repentance 6 and remission of sins. Do they believe that • He shall come again at the end of the world to . judge the quick and the dead?' If they really did, could they live as they do? But how many there are, who profess the truths contained in the creed with their mouths, and yet in their hearts deny them! Such is the self-justiciary ; who, while he pretends to believe in Jesus Christ, trusts in his own righteousness for his acceptance and salvation : and such also is he, who objects to the necessity and reality of a Divine and spiritual influence on the souls of men ; while his tongue hypocritically professes faith in the • Holy Ghost.'
The truth of our profession, if indeed it has been made with unfeigned lips, will be proved by the tenor of our lives. If we live habitually without prayer and praise : if we walk after the course of this world, fulfilling the desires of the
flesh and of the mind; our lives manifest the insincerity of our declarations. For he that
hath this hope in him,' which the Apostles' creed suggests, purifieth himself, even as Christ is
pure.'* Faith without works is dead.'t If it be not the labor of our lives to glorify Him, whom we call our Lord, and to conform our hearts and conduct to His will ; we prove nothing by a recital of the creed, but our own gross hypocrisy before God.
The Apostle exhorts us to hold fast our pro« fession ;' implying, that great opposition may be expected to it. The rain will descend, the floods come, and the winds blow and beat on our house; and, if it be not founded on the rock, it must fall, and great will be the fall of it. Satan hates Christ, the holy faith, and them who pro1 fess it. He will try, O believer, to shake thy confidence, either by flattering thy pride, or exciting thy fears. The frowns and the smiles of the world will be employed against thee. Thy own evil heart will be ever ready to parley with the enemy, and open the gates of the citadel to his temptations. Are you aware of all this, and anxious to hold fast the profession of your • faith without wavering ?' Then be constant in the use of all the means of grace. Labor to maintain secret communion with God every day. Consider the great cloud of witnesses' to the truth, with which you are encompassed ; and • lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth 6 so easily beset you ; and run with patience the • race that is set before you, looking unto Jesus « the Author and Finisher of our Faith ; who for • the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'
* ] John jii. 3.
of James ii. 20.
How deplorable must be the state of those, who, with all the advantages enjoyed under the meridian blaze of Gospel truth, make no profession of Christianity! Such persons are apt to congratulate themselves on their exemption from the guilt of hypocrisy, in not professing what they do not practice : as if a freedom from the palpable duplicity of the unrighteous professor, would be admitted at the bar of God, in excuse for irreligion. If a tree be alive, at the proper season it will produce leaves, blossoms, and ripe fruit. Where spiritual life exists in the heart, it will manifest itself in the practice. Who would venture to appear before the judgment seat of Christ with such an apology as this ? Lord, I made no • profession of faith in Thy name, because I felt no • attachment to Thy person, nor love to Thy ways. • I lived in friendship with the world and with sin, I and felt no desire after deliverance from it, I 6 am, however, free from the charge of avowing « with my lips, what my conduct did not justify. • I was openly profane and made no pretensions • to sanctity.' What must such an one expect from the lips of the Judge, but that tremendous sentence, these mine enemies, who would not • that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me.'*