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in our favor, this will prove that we are reprobates, or unsound, insincere professors.
I only add, that in proving ourselves, whether Christ be in us so that we are his, and interested in his salvation, the great point to be determined is, whether we have the Spirit of Christ. Says the apostle, “ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." But what is the Spirit of Christ, in opposition to the spirit of the world ? It is a spirit of humility, of meekness, of gentleness, of forgiveness, and mercy.
Let us examine, therefore, whether we possess, and exercise these graces; whether we have “ ceived of Christ's fulness, and grace for grace.'
Are we meek and lowly, ready to give to all their proper place ? Are we patient under injuries, longsuffering, ready to forgive, and to render good for evil, and to 5 overcome evil with good ?" If we are not, but are haughty, revengeful, unforgiving, and unmerciful, we are not the children of our Father in heaven, neither have we the Spirit of Christ.
As to a forgiving spirit, Christ has given it to us, both as a negative and positive evidence in the case. He expressly teaches us, that if we are of such a Spirit, it is a sign that we are in a state of forgiveness with God, and that if we are not of such a spirit, we are certainly not forgiven of God. And he has taken care that we should always bear this in mind, hy teaching us to pray, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors ;" adding, “ For if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you : but if ye forgive not men their tre.. passes, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Be exhorted, therefore, my hearers, to attend to the duty enjoined. It is important, as appears not only from what has been said, but from various other considerations too numerous to mention. Let me barely remark, that it is important we should examire
ourselves, because we are liable to be deceived, and because we know many others are deceived, through unfaithfulness to themselves ; and thus go on to destruction, with a lie in their right hand. Unhappy mortals! Wretched condition ! How dreadful to be deceived, and to have the “ hope of the hypocrite, which shall perish, and be as the giving up of the ghost !"
Peculiarly important is the duty to real Christians. It is a great advantage to them. Careful self-examination, and bringing themselves to the test of God's word, serve to show them their dependence, their deficiency, and their need of divine assistance ; and excite in them an ingenuous shame and godly sorrow, for their short-comings in duty. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul :” and it is important for Christians to make this use of the law; to bring themselves to it; and to learn their deficiency, and need of going continually to Christ.
Hence also, we see the advantage of self-examination, as preparatory to the celebrating of the sacrament of the holy supper. We thus see and realize what we want, and what Christ is.
Let us all, in view of the deceitfulness and wickedness of our hearts, and the need of divine help, address ourselves to God, in the words of the Psalmist, "O Lord, who can understand his errors ! Search me, and know my heart : try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
HEBREWS XI. 26.
For he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
Moses, to whoin the apostle refers, was a true believer in Christ, as the expected Messiah, and by his fortitude and perseverance in the midst of afflictions, and in view of the most alluring temptations, he gave a proof, that “this is indeed the victory, which overcometh the world, even our fuith.” This appears from what precedes, and follows the text. “ By faitli Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the Son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Such was his faith in the Messiah, who was to spring from the seed of Abraham, and be a Saviour for sinners ; and such was his view of the glorious character of God in him, and desire to enjoy him, that he considered the heaviest contempt, derision, and persecution, which could be inflicted upon him for his faith in Christ, as unworthy of notice, in comparison with the hope set before him“ for holiad zespect unto the recompense of the
reward.” With an eye of faith, he looked off from all the riches and allurements, which the court of Egypt held out to him, on the one hand, and looked beyond all the temporal hardships, which were threatened him, on the other, and was supported and animated by the immortal crown of glory, which he realized as reserved for him in heaven. This is the character of the faithful in every age.
Every child of God, according to his measure, rises superior to the frowns and flatteries of time and sense, fixes an eye upon the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and by the victory of faith, overcometh the world.
In discoursing upon the text, we may in the
I. Place, remark, that there is a glorious reward held up to the saints, which will abundantly recoma pence for all their afflictions and sufferings in the cause of Christ.
II, Consider the nature of the reward, or in what it will principally consist.
III. Show what is implied, in having respect to. it. And,
IV. Show, that the reward bestowed, implies nothing inconsistent with the doctrine of grace.
1. We remark, that there is a glcrious reward held up to the saints, which will abundantly recompence for all their afflictions and sufferings in the cause of Christ. The children of God have their way thick set with evils. The way of religion is the way of the cross. Christians are often involved in great distress and affliction, for their adherence to Christ and his cause, being despised and persecuted for righteousness' sake. Many, in one age and another, have had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,
of bonds and imprisonments, have been stoned, sawn asunder, slain with the sword, have wandered in deserts, mountains and caves of the earth, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. But verily, there is a reward. Notwithstanding the opposition of Satan and the world, there is a glorious reward held up to the saints, the view of which animates them in their course, and will abundantly recompence for all the afflictions and crosses, to which they can be called for religion.
That saints will be rewarded, and that according to what they do and suffer for Christ and his cause, will appear by reciting a few passages of scripture. Saith the psalmist, “ The righteous shall rejoice, verily there is a reward for the righteous." Saith the apostle in the context, “ He that cometh unto God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Christ himself, in his epistles to the seven churches of Asia, promises eternal life, under varisus forms of expression, to those who should overcome the tempa tations and persecutions of the present life. And to his disciples, when on earth, he said “ Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake" great is their reward in heaven. Let us therefore in the
II. Place, consider the nature of their reward, or in what it will principally consist. We may remark in general, that the reward, which will be bestowed upon the saints, will consist in their being made perfectly happy in heaven, with an holy and heavenly happiness. It can, therefore, be relished and enjoyed only by holy beings. Its sources, to the unholy and selfish, could they have access to them, would give no satisfaction, but be sources of pain.
Much might be said respecting the nature and fulness of their happiness-a few particulars only, can be suggested at present.