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you to rest short of Christ; self must be re. nounced, all good works must be discarded, yea, and we must cease looking at our own feelings, before we shall build on the rock of ages alone. Convictions may die away, con. cern of soul may cease, the mind may sink into a calm, and gospel ordinances may become pleasant; and the soul not be resting on Christ. See to it, therefore, that yours is a thorough work, the work of the Holy Spirit, for if you stop short of union to Christ, have what you may, feel what you may,
you perish. Nothing but the rock of ages will sustain the soul when the enemy comes in like a flood; nothing but the rock of ages will bear up the soul above the billows of death. If I stand on Christ, I am safe, I may be happy. Like Noah in his ark, I may hear the waters dash against its sides, I may sit and listen to the pelting of the pitiless storm, and yet feel that I am safe... Yeas I may look death in the face, and like the friend whose words suggested this remark say, "I AM ON THE ROCK. I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH.".
One word to the poor Christless sinner ere I close. My dear fellow sinner, there is room on this rock for you, and you are heartily welcome to betake yourself to it. Yea, you are invited to come and build upon it; and every warning and threatening in God's word, every trial and trouble. you meet with in the world, with every inward conviction
of sin and exercise of spirit, is intended to in. duce you to accept of the invitation. Despise not then the mercy of the Lord; trifle not with the means of safety, until you are lost for ever. Do not put away God's loving word, and judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life, but fy, O fly, to this glorious rock; here you will enjoy safety, here you will find supplies, here you will obtain a title to everlasting life. Thousands such as you have fled to this rock for the want of a refuge, and they have been screened from the terrible wrath of God; they have been hid. den in the day of his fierce anger. If you neglect, if you refuse, if you despise God's loving invitation to find salvation in Jesus, "what will you do in the day of visitation, and in the destruction that will come from far, to whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your glory P” See that you tefuse not to listen to God while he speaks to you in mercy, lest as in the case of Israel, he should swear in his wrath that you shall not enter into his rest. The Holy Ghost, saith, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not yonr heart.” Look, O look to Jesus, for “He is the rock, his work is per. fect," and that work, if received by faith, will justify you before God, comfort you in all your troubles, be your solace in life, and in death enable you to say, “I AM ON THE BOCK.”
49 RELIGION is a term which is used by different persons in a very different sense ; and men are reckoned religious by very different rules. If a man goes to a place of worship, attends to certain religious duties, and ab. stains from certain flagrant sins, he is called a religious man. But there is no real reli, gion in all this. Real religion supposes the knowledge of God, connection with God, and consecration to God. Nor can a man be justly called a religious man, except he has a scriptural and experimental knowledge of God, is in vital union with God, and aots as one consecrated to the service and glory of God. A name is often substituted for the nature, and a form for the power of godli. ness. Real religion consists pretty much in four things. · First, in coming to God. Sinning is departing from God. By repentance a man is brought seriously to think and deeply, to feel ; in conversion he stops short and turns quite round; by faith he comes to God, speaks with God, and seeks restoration to the favour of God. In the commencement of religion, the soul comes to God as a sinner, confesses its guilt, deplores its condition,
and pleads for pardon. There is deep feel. ing, earnest desire, and ardent prayer. There is faith in God's existence, and in his character as revealed in the gospel. There is a readiness to submit to his will, to approve of his plan of salvation, and to be rescued from ruin by free grace alone. The man will not rest in ordinances, or be satified with ceremonies, but seek for the Lord, nor can he rest until he finds him. A truly religious man is reconciled to God, is at peace with God, and walks in fellowship with God. God is the object of his steady faith, warmest love, and constant worship. He is brought back to where Adam started from, when he wandered out of the way of understanding, and fell into the net of the destroy. er. Union to God, and sympathy with God, are the two principle things he desires to enjoy ; and distance from God, and unlike. ness to God, are the two principal things he dreads. Reader, are you religious according to this standard ?
Second, in receiving from God. At first, before the fall, God required of us, we were to bring to him. This is the religion of the law. Now, as poor perishing sinners, we are invited to come and receive from God. This is the religion of the gospel. Sin has stripped us of every good thing, and has left us naked, destitute, and bare. God has revealed himself in Jesus, as possessing all that We want, and invites us to come and receive from him, without money, and without price. The Spirit of God in the heart shows us our need, generates strong desire, unfolds the fulness of gospel grace, and then leads us to God, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The truly religious man receives pardon from the hand of God, justification from the mouth of God. sanctifying grace from the heart of God, and feels himself at home in the presence of God. He daily learns more and more his need of Divine communications, and therefore daily comes to the Divine fulness to be supplied. He must have personal, heartfelt, and frequent dealings with God; nor will anything short of this satisfy him. The Lord God is his sun and shield; the Lord gives him both grace and glory; nor will he withhold from him any good thing while he walks uprightly. He lives dependent, and yet happy. He has nothing in himself, but possesses all things in God. He has, therefore, daily and hourly to go out of himself to God for all his supplies, so that his life is a life of faith in God, and of fellowship with God. Reader, is this your religion? Do you daily feel that in yourself you are a poor, empty, worthless creature, and must live depending on the Divine bounty, pleading at the Divine throne, and receiving all your supplies gratuitously from the Divine fulness?