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things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. And will this honourable attestation awaken no sublime emotions in the vast assembled throng? Will they stand like so many mutes, while their Lord, and yours, proceeds to conduct you to your sublime elevation of honour, and of felicity? No. If when you felt the mystic change, they rejoiced even amidst all your obscurity, and imperfection; where shall we find language
to express the enraptured feeling with which they will celebrate your final triumph.—Like him you will be rewarded as a conqueror; Heb. xii. 2, Who for the joy which was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. The crown, the throne, the splendour of heaven's most radiant glory, the high satisfaction of having finished the work given him to do, animated the Redeemer in the days of his humiliation and sufferings; and having achieved on the cross the noble conquest, he passed on to receive the grand investiture. And what less than this animates you, my Christian brethren? The victor's crown and throne will be awarded to you, not as a meritorious reward for your conquest, but as a recompence for your labour; not to elevate
you for a season above the firstborn inhabitants of heaven, that you may have the lower fall, but to mark you out, as the more favoured objects of the divine regard, who, having first suffered with Christ, will be seated with him on his throne, that you may reign together.
3. And it is the belief of these high honours that now operates as the most powerful motive to the constancy of our Christian profession. I admit, that the assurance of attaining to this state of exalted felicity is not always present to influence every mental decision--to stimulate to every mental exertion—to operate on every mental sacrifice; but the hope of attaining it is so combined with all our principles, and all our anticipations, that if we were to watch the process of our mental movements, we should invariably discover it. Am I tempted to draw back from my profession? What! forego the sublime prospects which eternity unfolds to my view! Am I persecuted for righteousness' sake? Do I not read,Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you? Matt. v. 10–12. Am I induced to exert my influence-to give my propertyto consecrate my time to advance the cause of the Redeemer? Do I not, after adoring the grace which implanted such a disposition in my heart, advert to that ulterior state of servitude, where he that now soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
II. I will now proceed to rescue this motive from the imputations which have been preferred against it.
1. To endure the contest with the world on account of some distant reward, is a selfish motive. Admitted ; but that does not prove that it is an improper one. What act of the mind has ever been performed where there has not been an admixture of this motive as its impelling cause. What first induced you to repent and pray? Was it not a perception of the misery to which you were inevitably exposed; and an overpowering anxiety to be delivered from it? What induced you to seek salvation through faith in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ? Was it not the hope of obtaining that peace of mind which passeth all understanding? What induces you to hold communion with God in the exercise of prayer and meditation, and the public services of devotion? Is it not the pleasure which it affords you? What induces you to watch against the motions to evil-to resist the temptations by which you are assailed — to mortify the sinful propensities of your heart? Is it not the satisfaction which you feel in these acts of self-denial and resistance? And if, like Moses, you should have respect unto the recompense of reward, while attempting, in the exercise of an operative faith in the testimony and on the grace of God, to overcome the threatenings and allurements of the world, why should you impeach the purity of the motive by which you are impelled, when it appears to be sanctioned by such high authority, and is, in fact, the only one by which you can be sustained in the arduous conflict.
2. But we are told, that it is a motive which cannot
operate with unremitting constancy, because comparatively few have an uninterrupted assurance of attaining to this high honour. I admit, my brethren, that but few have an uninterrupted assurance of future and eternal glory; but do not all who have that faith in the mediation of Christ, which is of the operation of the Holy Spirit, indulge a good hope through grace? They may not be able to adopt the triumphaut language of the apostle, and say, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give one at that day, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8; but yet they know in whom they have believed ;-and though they may have at times some overshadowing doubts, which intercept their vision of future bliss, they hope that He who saveth to the utlermost will not suffer them to perish. And this hope, when it arises from the mediation of Jesus Christ, will be found to resist the powers of this world, as stedfastly as the most unwavering assurance. Indeed I have known some, who have trembled to speak with confidence of attaining the recompense of reward, who have been amongst the most exemplary Christians of the age. Removed at an equal distance from the dread of perishing, and the assurance of being saved, they have been enabled to cherish and display those dispositions and principles which have satistied their judgment of their safety, without affording an entire relief to all their anxious solicitudes.
3. It is a motive, we are told, which, in its operation, tends to invest human actions with
a degree of merit, which is altogether unscriptural. But how so? My faith in the divine testimony I acknowledge to be the gift of God ;-its power to resist and overcome the world depends on his perpetual assistance ;—and the honour and felicity which I hope ultimately to attain will be bestowed on me, not as the reward of merit, but of free and undeserved favour. How, then, can the operation of that faith which is given, and given for the specific purpose of overcoming the world by its influence over the mind, be said to invest human actions with any degree of merit, when its bestowment in this life, and its honours in the next are attributed to the undeserved grace of God?
Go, then, my brethren, into the world ; not to imbibe its maxims not to conform yourselves to its customs? not to allow either its fascinations or its frowns to divert you from the prize of your high calling; but to demonstrate the power of that faith by which you are finally to overcome it. You may not be able to subdue its enmities against your religious prineiples and attachments, but you may prove thạt you know how to disregard them; and though you are not required to become a recluse or a stoic, yet you are to let the light of purity shine with such a bright and steady lustre, that the workers of evil will feel themselves obliged to shun your society rather than covet it.
As the Roscoes were not at their parish church on the Sabbath, Mrs. and Miss Denham called the following morning to ascertain the cause. “We were prodigiously affected yesterday," said Mrs. Denham to Mrs. Roscoe,"by not seeing any of you in your pew. We had a most charming sermon.
I think Mr. Cpassed himself. He read most excellently. We should have called in the evening, but we know that Mr. "Roscoe begins to have some scruples about Sunday parties." "Perhaps," said Mrs. Roscoe,“ you will be surprized when I tell you that we all went to hear Mr. Ingleby.” “ And did you ?” rejoined Miss Denham, “I heard him once. He is a most solemn
preacher. i think if I were to hear him often I should be brought over to his religion, for he enforces it with so much earnestness. “You know, my dear,” Mrs. Denham replied, my objections to his religion; and I hope you will never think of leaving your own for it.” · Mamma, if I speak the candid sentiments of my
mind, I must confess that I have no religion to leave." - My dear Matilda! you shock me. Why, did you not learn the Catechism ? and cannot you say the Belief, and the Lord's Prayer? and when you have taken the Sacrament
you will be a very good Christian, I have no doubt. I suppose (looking at Mrs. Roscoe,) you found the church prodigiously full. “Yes," replied Mrs. Roscoe, " there was a very large, and a very attentive congregation.” “Yes," said Mrs. Denham,“ so I have heard, and I wonder at it. I wonder what charms people can see in such a gloomy religion to be so fond of it. I am told hc preaches so awful, and with so much earnestness,
that he makes people take up with his religion, whether they will or no. Pray how did Mr Roscoe like his preaching? He is a sensible man, and one on whose judgment we may place some dependence, notwithstanding his religious eccentricities.” “Mr. Roscoe," Mrs. Roscoe replied, “ was very much pleased. He thinks Mr. Ingleby a very intelligent, and a very eloquent preacher... Indeed we were all so much delighted, that it is our intention to hear him again." “ There, Mamma," said Miss Denham, “ I told you it would be 40. Is he not, Ma'am, a most beguiling preacher? I have often wished to hear him again; and yet I wonder ut it, for he made me fcel so acutely. What was the theme of his discourse ? (Mrs. John Roscoe now entered the parlour, with Miss Roscoe.) He preached about the difficulties which a Christian has to overcome before he can enter heaven.” “I wish,” said Mrs. John Roscoe, “ you had been with us; all your objections against evangelical preaching would have been removed. I never enjoyed a sermon so much. We certainly act a very unwise part, to cherish such antipathies against a style of preaching which is so well calculated to direct our attention towards that eternal world to which we are all hastening.” “ It is very proper,” Mrs. Denham replied, “that we should all think about going to heaven; but if we think too much on that subject it will certainly depress our spirits. Mr. C- very justly remarked yesterday, in his discourse, that our Saviour never prayed that we should be taken out of the world; and I think it would be wrong if we were to desire it.” “ But you know,” Mrs. John Roscoe replied, “ that we must leave it; and as we know not how soon, is it not of importance that we should be prepared ?” “Oh certainly,” said Mrs. Denham," and I doubt not but when our Maker is pleased to take us unto himself we shall be quite resigned to our fate; but for my own part, (rising as she spoke, I would much rather live than die," "I hope," said Mrs. Roscoe, “you and Miss' Denham will accompany us next Sunday to , to hear Mr. Ingleby, as I have no doubt you will be much pleased. No one could have had stronger prejudices against that good man than myself; and though he advanced some things which I did not very well under-'