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spiritual in his desires, more circumspect in his deportment, more examplary, and edifying in his conversation; and it is his joy, his triumph that the seed of grace already implanted is imperishable, and in due time will infallibly ripen into a harvest of glory.
Faith which purifieth the heart is also represented as “ overcoming the world.” The believer, elevated on the wings of a lively faith and hope, soars above the world with its empty honors and joys, and realizes the invisible, yet sublime, substantial glories of the heavenly state, contrasted with which every thing created sinks into insignificance, as the stars disappear when the sun sheds his radiance in the east. Through the influence of this purifying, elevated principle, we hear Paul declaring, “what things were gain to me,” those which constituted the source of my rejoicing, and were the theme of my chiefest glorying in the former days of my vanity,“ these I counted loss for Christ: God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” And by the power of the same faith, “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, for he had respect to the recompence of reward.” The magnificence of the Egyptian court, and the splendor of its crown ap
peared uninteresting, nay, contemptible, when brought into competition with those unmingled pleasures, and unfading glories which are reserved for the faithful followers of the Lamb. The christian is industrious in the duties of his calling ; he is careful of that wealth which a bounteous God has bestowed upon him; he enjoys in temperate measure the pleasures of this world; he values the esteem and confidence of his fellow-creatures; but all these privileges he considers as transient in their nature, as not worthy to be compared either in value or duration with the friendship of God, or the immunities of his everlasting kingdom.
Such are the effects of a saving faith generated in the human heart, peace of conscience through the sprinkling of the blood of reconciliation, joy in Jehovah as his eternal, satisfying portion, love to Him as a being incomparably glorious and good, purity of heart, and victory over this present evil world, and by an impartial, de- , liberate self-examination we may ascertain whether we have felt these effects. 1 may know whether I rely on the general, uncovenanted mercy of an absolute God, or whether I meditate upon him, draw near to him, transact with him, cast all my cares upon him, and expect every blessing from him only as he is reconciled in Jesus the Mediator; I may know whether I place any confidence on my own performances, my prayers, my tears, ny fastings, my chari
ties to the poor, my benevolence to all ; or whether renouncing these deeds in point of merit I desire “to be justified freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ :” I may know whether I supremely follow after holiness, endeavoring to reduce not merely my actions, which are obvious to the view of men, but even my secret thoughts, in subjection to the glorious gospel ; whether I am ardently aspiring after higher degrees of sanctification as agreeable to the will of God, and conducing to the glory and happiness of my nature: I may know whether I truly and fervently love the Lord God, whether I take pleasure in meditating upon him as my friend and Father, in reading of him in the promises, in praying to him in the closet, imploring the forgiveness of all my offences, and the supply of my numerous wants; or whether he is rarely in my thoughts : I may know who among men are the companions of my choice, those who fear God, who work righteousnes, who are lowly in their carriage, and chaste in every part of their conversation; whether “out of love to him who begat I love those who are begotten of him," and choose rather to mingle in the society of such, than with the children of this world however splendid their rank, or affluent their fortune. “ If any man be in Christ, made alive to God by his resurrection from the dead, “ he is a new creature ;" he is governed by new motives; he experiences new
joys, new fears, new aversions, new affeetions: “ It is so great a change that it cannot pass upon a man unknown to him. He may not know, indeed, the hour, the day, or perhaps the month of this translation, but the translation itself he must know, or he hath found none. He once was darkness, but now he is light in the Lord ; and can a man emerge from darkness into light without perceiving the change ? Can any creature pass from death unto life without a perception of the change ?* Impossible.”
Is the certainty of our spiritual condition really attainable, it becomes us to enquire,
II. Why we should give diligence, all diligence to attain to this assurance ?
1. A concern for our own safety should excite to all possible earnestness in making our calling and election sure.
In pursuing the enquiry whether we are in the faith, we are really enquiring whether we are in a state of reconciliation, or of wrath ; whether we are the vassals of the prince of darkness, bound fast in his iron chains, and led captive by him at his pleasure, or whether we are the freemen of Jesus, and interested in the glorious liberty of his sons ; whether we have entered “ the strait gate,” and are pressing on in the narrow, unfrequented way which leads to life," or whether we travel the broad way which conducts to never ending perdition. Thus interesting is that question, "am I in the faith ?”. For the truth of Jehovah hath asserted, “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” And is it possible to conceive an interrogatory more important than one which involves the welfare of our souls for eternity? The failure of a stone in any part of the building may deface the beauty, or enfeeble the strength of a particular part of the building, but if the foundation is defective the whole superstructure must totter and fall. A disorder upon a remote member of the human body, upon the finger or foot, may affect our comfort or impair our strength, but the disease which seizes upon the vitals affects not a single part merely, but the whole system, and unless speedily removed must prove fatal in its consequences. error in principle, an irregularity in practice inay injure our character, our comfort, our usefulness, our influence, but a mistake as to the reality of our failh in the Son of God, and our interest in his covenant righteousness is fatal : it strikes upon the very vitals of all our hopes, and leaves us without a remedy for ever. He who does not improve the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, of him who suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, as a propitiation for human guilt, neither does, nor ever shall enjoy the offer of any other sacrifice: “But there remains a certain, fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation which shall devour the ad
* HoR. SOĻITARI, yol. ii. 234.