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that we should be called the sons of God." Such persons are fully and for ever pardoned; “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake;"'they are admitted into the favour and family of God ;they can go to Him with the freedom and comfort of a child, fully persuaded of the good will of their heavenly Father towards them; and in all their difficulties and sorrows, they “have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Christ;"—they are safe under the guidance and care of their all wise and all powerful guardian ;they have the tokens of his presence, and the comforts of his love.—“They are the children of God; and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”—They may look forward with the full assurance of hope, to a part in that inheritance to which Christ their forerunner has already ascended ;--for they are "jointheirs” with Him ;—they shall behold and share his glory ;-enter into his joy ;-and sit down on his throne. All this is included in the promise of the text. Such happiness have all God's children. Do you wish this happiness to be yours, my dear young friends ? Would you be “the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty?”. One thing is plainly necessary--you must “ be separate” from sinners ;-you must “come out from among them ;''- you must “touch not the unclean thing;"'--you must conscientiously re
nounce and forsake what God has forbidden. It is not indeed because you do this that God will receive you. He receives none but those who come to him by Christ Jesus, placing their whole trust and confidence in his merit and mediation; _"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father, except by me."
But still, we must go to God, renouncing from the heart every kind and degree of known sin ; and steadfastly purposing to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from thenceforth in his holy ways. There must be a careful and conscientious separation from what is evil in its nature and tendency. Without repentance, whereby we forsake sin, we can have no scriptural warrant for appropriating the promise, or expecting to receive the privilege set before us in the text. Here we must enter into no compromise-make no exceptions ;there must be simplicity, and sincerity, and singleness of heart. And amongst other evil and unclean things, you must renounce the Theatre; you must determine to have no connexion or communion with such wickedness. There are none of “the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty,” amongst either the advocates or frequenters of these amusements. None will be found within those walls who love God, and have the spirit of adoption, and enjoy happy communion with their heavenly Father. These are plea
sures for which the friends and favourers of the Theatre are all unfit. The most contrary thing's in nature are not more opposed. Just as soon will righteousness have fellowship with unrighteonsness; and light hold communion with darkness; and Christ be in concord with Belial. You must therefore come out from among them and be separate; this is the alternative which is set before you;- you must choose between God and the world,-holiness and sin ; there is no serving or following both. And if from principle you renounce the Theatre, the same principle will lead you to renounce every other“ unclean thing.” You will separate yourselves from every thing which is vain, and sinful, and corrupt, as far, and as soon as you discover it to be so. You will herein exercise yourselves, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man.
“Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus," says the Apostle. The merits of our Divine Redeemer procured this privilege for all who come unto God by Him; and it is given to all who make those merits their sole foundation and their only plea; but who, as we learn in the text, in turning to Christ, and in casting their hope on God's promised mercies in Him, do conscientiously separate themselves from every forbidden and unelean thing. My dear young friends, thus then do you seek to obtain this happy and special relation to God;—to be his
children not by outward profession only, but by adoption and grace. It is for want of conscientiousness that so many young persons are found
ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth;" they are like a ship beaten about by contrary winds in the very sight of the haven; not far from the kingdom of God, but not yet entered; neither contented with the world, nor happy in God; with much distress about sin, but no spiritual comforts; they do not follow the Lord fully; they are not willing to forsake all. I may be speaking to some here present who answer to this description. You have earnest desires after God; you can in some degree duly appreciate the privilege of being a child of God; you know that if ever you are adopted into the family of God, it must be entirely on the ground of your Saviour's merits and me. diation. You have not, however, attained to this privilege; you do not experience the hope, and consolations of God's children ; you know not what it is for God to lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you peace; you have attained to nothing but painful convictions, tormenting fears, and ineffectual desires.
Now, is not one cause of all this to be found in your want of conscientiousness? You allow yourselves in those things for which your own hearts condemn you; and perhaps one of these things may be an occasional attendance at the
Theatre. Oh, then!“Come out from among them and be ye separate; touch no unclean thing;" be faithful to your convictions; choose the good part; turn truly to God, by Christ; cleave steadfastly to Him; and prove Him whether He will not be true to his promised word.
In making your decision, you may have to pass through a painful conflict; you may suffer in the esteem of your worldly friends and connexions ; you may lose their favour, and incur their displeasure, and call forth their ridicule and scorn; many a hard trial, and many a bitter word may you have to bear: but let none of these things move you. To be “the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty," is a full security against every real injury; an infinite return and recompense for your small and momentary sacrifices; a satisfactory pledge of all needful help. Your heavenly Father will watch over you with tender love; your Saviour will keep you as the apple of the eye, and hide you under the shadow of his wings. He will take care that you shall not be tried beyond what you are able to bear;—that your strength shall be equal to your day. “Who is he that shall harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” His faithfulness is pledged ; his promise cannot fail. “ Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and