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“ their portion to drink ;" that they shall be condemned to the lake of everlasting fire, “ where shall be weeping, and wailing, and “ gnashing of teeth, for ever and ever.” And lest those who profess the gospel, and say that they “ have all faith,” should think themselves safe, merely on this account; both they and ourselves should always remember, that the gospel requires more than a barren belief in it, from all who call them. selves christians. They must not only say that they believe the gospel, but they must live like men who do so from their very hearts ; they must live like men, who know chat they are in the midst of enemies, dan. gers, and temptations, with fear, and care, and caution, lest they should be lost ; like men, who are sensible they have escaped everlasting misery, with humbled and grateful hearts; like men, who trust, through the merits of Jesus Christ; to go to heaven, with holiness and purity, knowing that heaven is a place where nothing upholy or impure can ever enter. If, however, instead of doing all this, men lead a careless or a wicked life; if they neglect the means of grace ; the ordinances of God, private and public prayer, the services of the church, and the partaking of the sacrament; if they confess that they are siuners, and yet take no care to amend their ways; if they are taken up with the business or pleasures of this life, so as to forget that there is another to come ; then they may assure themselves, that they are not of the number of those who will be saved; then will God have spoken to them, by his Son, in vain ; then will the gates of heaven be shut against them, when they die ; then will they remain unredeemed, and be as though no Saviour had come into the world to save fallen and lost mankind. And surely men of this description can have no reason to find fault with their punishment, or to blame any one but them
, selves for the consequences of their conduct. God has, by his Son, revealed to us a dispensation, which makes a great and merciful provision for the happiness of all his creatures. The most ignorant man may now know what God expects from him. The greatest sinner may now be sure of pardon, if he repents, and “ bring forth fruits meet for
repentance,” in a good and useful life. The weakest christian may now depend upon the assistance of Almighty grace to strengthen and support him in his duty. The meanest servant of Christ may now assure himself, that he will not be overlooked by his merciful Saviour ; and every Dumble and sincere believer may now rejoice and be glad in the certainty and assurance that his labours for salvation will not be in vain, but that he may be happy for ever in heaven, if he do but fulfil the will of God while he continues upon earth.
God has given us free-will, or the power of choosing between right and wrong ; he has also made us free agents, capable, with the assistance of his grace, of doing that which is pleasing in his sight, and avoiding every thing that he forbids; and has thus placed salvation, which the merits of Christ purchased for lost mankind, entirely in our own power. Whether or not we obtain it, must depend upon the disposition, with which we hear what “God hath spoken to “ us in these last days by his Son." are seriously concerned for our souls, and anxiously desire their salvation, we shall gladly listen to the gracious words of the Saviour, and earnestly endeavour to keep and do them: but if, on the contrary, we neither feel ourselves to be sinners, nor care about those glad tidings of salvation which Jesus bath preached to us, we must be lost for ever, without reiredy, without mercy, and without excuse. May God of his infinite compassion save us all from such wilful blindness, and from its horrible consequences; and may He who has given us his
only begotten Son“ to take our nature upon “ him, and as at this time to be born of a
pure Virgin, grant that we, being rege.
nerate, and made his children by adop« tion and grace, may daily be renewed by 6 his Holy Spirit, through the same JESUS « CHRIST, who, with the Father and the
Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth ever one « God, world without end. Amen."
[For the Sunday after Christmas Day.)
MATTHEW i. 21.
And thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall
save his people from their sins.
T "HESE words, you will remember, are
part of the angel of the Lord's speech to Joseph, when he was meditating in his mind to put away Mary his espoused wife. He was “ a just,” that is, a good and compassionate man, and did not wish to make her
a public example,” or to expose her to that punishment which the law of Moses would have inflicted on her, had she been really guilty; he was, therefore, minded “to put “ her away privily," to separate himself from her in a private manner, known only to the families of Mary and himself. While, however, he was in this state of doubt and agita