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however difficult or mysterious, how much soever they transcend reason, if not repugnant to it, will be any obstacles in your way. You will receive them all with implicit reverence and submission, on the sole ground of his testimony. The only question to be asked respecting such doctrines is this: Do they actually exist in the Gospel ? Is there sufficient evidence for the authenticity of that Gospel ? If there be, and this we have all along supposed, the dispute is decided, and you can no longer hesitate respecting the admission of truths grounded on such authority.
In the same manner, with respect to practice. If you admit the reality of a future existence, and a future day of recompence, and if after deliberately comparing this life with the next, you do, in your best and soberest judgment, think that present enjoyments are more valuable than future and eternal happiness, and a little self-denial in this world more insupportable than everlasting misery in the next, then let this world be the sole idol of your hearts; to this devote yourselves without reserve. It would then be folly to sacrifice any pleasures, any advantages to the commands of your Maker, or to let one thought about futurity disturb your tranquillity, or interrupt your pursuits.
But if you find this to be impossible; if you feel yourselves to be designed for immortality; if you cannot forbear looking perpetually forward into futurity; if to these sentiments of Nature, Reason adds her voice, and Revelation confirms it by evidence that is irresistible; if, moreover, on a fair estimate of the respective value of things temporal, and things eternal, you are convinced that the pains and the pleasures of this world are not worthy to be compared with the rewards and punishments of the next; if, in fine, the limited nature of the human faculties, the contrary tempers of mind, and courses of action, which contrary pursuits require, and the express declarations of Christ himself, prove incontestably that we cannot serve God and Mammon, cannot reconcile two opposite modes of conduct together; what, then, is the course which a prudent and
considerate man has to take? Why, evidently, to devote himself absolutely and entirely to the service of his one Lord and Master, and to suffer nothing to interfere with that great object of his attention. If there really is a future scene of existence, and if the rewards promised to the righteous, and the punishments denounced against the wicked, are as great and as durable as they are represented to be, there is no sacrifice in this life which a wise man would not make to them. If they are worth any thing, they are worth every thing. Be then, not only almost, but altogether Christians. Let no enticing words of man's wisdom put you out of conceit with the divine truths of the Gospel, and make you halt between two opinions ; let no one favourite vice, no worldly pursuits, no vain amusements, draw you off from any part of your duty, and divide your obedience between God and Baal. If you have chosen the other world for your portion, cling not any longer fondly to this; if you have set your hand to the plough, look not back to the vanities you have renounced. Be not irresolute, wavering, and indecisive; be not governed by the opinion of the day, nor the temptation of the moment. Do not so divide yourselves between two masters, as to please neither the one nor the other; do not manage so wretchedly as to lose at once what little this world has to give, and all the glorious rewards which the other holds up to your view. “ Chuse ye, in short, this day, whom ye will “ serve.” If the Lord be God, and not Baal, be resolved at once; take a manly and a decided part; fix your affections immovably on heavenly things ; pursue, with ụnremitting attention, your best and truest interest ; give up yourselves, body and soul, into the hands of your Maker, and persevere uniformly in his service to the end of your lives; that having thus finished your course and kept the faith to the last, you may receive “ the prize of your high 66 calling in Christ Jesus; and when your “ flesh and your heart shall fail, may find 6 God to be the strength of your heart, and “ your portion for ever.”.
Psalm xxii. 28.
THE KINGDOM IS THE LORD'S, AND HE IS
THE GOVERNOR AMONG THE NATIONS.
THE doctrine conveyed to us in these
words is that of A NATIONAL PROVIDENCE; and it is a doctrine no less consonant to reason than consolatory to the human mind. It must therefore afford us the highest satisfaction, to find this truth confirmed by the sacred writers in the clearest and the strongest terms. The Scriptures are full of the most gracious promises to righteous nations, and of the most dreadful denunciations against wicked and impenitent kingdoms; and it is well known, that neither these promises nor these threatenings were vain. The history of the Jewish people,
* Preached before the House of Lords, Jan. 30. 1778.