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If God so loved the world, that he
gave “ his only begotton Son, to the end that all " that believe in him should not perish, but “ have everlasting life;" and, if the Son so loved us that he shed his blood as a propitiation for our sins, assured us of his grace to assist us in doing our duty, and gave us both the view and promise of everlasting life
how anxious should we be to enquire 6 what we must do to be saved ?" and how careful to practise it, when it is discovered! Behold, christians, the way of life is before you;
.for the holy scriptures (which are in the hands of every one) tell us plainly the amount of our debts, to God the Father, and his Son JESUS CHRIST; and shew us in what manner we are to repay them, even by loving God " with all our soul and with all our “ strength;" by a sincere faith in his Son JESUS CHRIST; by repentance of our sins; and obedience, in future, to the commandments of the gospel.
The infinite mercy of God in sending his Son into the world demands our first return of duty; and do words of man can more clearly express what that duty is, than the ex: cellent Catechism of our own Church, which, being framed entirely from the scriptures, ought to be considered of very high autho. rity, and be in the memory of
of that church. “ Our duty towards God is, 66 to believe in him ; to fear him; and to " love him with all our heart, with all our “ mind, with all our soul, and with all our “ strength; to worship him; to give him " thanks; to put our whole trust in him ; “ to call upon him; to honour his holy
name and his word; and to serve him A truly all the days of our life.” We are further bound earnestly to seek, and care. fully to make use of, that grace which our Holy Saviour has promised, as our help and support, in overcoming the temptations of " the world, the flesh, and the devil,” and in leading a christian life. These assistances must be sought for in private prayer, and in public worship. As we cannot " stand up
right” without the help “ of him that is
mighty,” so we cannot expect that help, unless we humbly pray for it; and, “ blessed 66 be He that cometh in the name of the " LORD!" we are certain of obtaining it, by prayer and supplication. “ Ask, and ye shall “ have;" (says JESUS CHRIST ;) “ seek, and
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be, opened unto you.” To which St. John adds this comfortable declaration : “ this is “ the confidence that we have in him, that if “ we ask any thing according to his will, " he heareth us; and if we know that
" he heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we « know that we have the petitions that we e desired of him." But we must seek for grace in public worship, as well as in private prayer; in the “temple of the LORD," as well as in our own
66 closet.” The sabbath is his day, and the church is his house ; and he will take no excuse for our profaning the one, or wilfully absenting ourselves from the other. The excellent Liturgy of our church; the Holy Sacrament of our LORD, and the sermons of his ministers; are all means of grace to the public worshippers ; and CHRIST himself has promised to bless, with his own presence, the place where these services are performed; " where two or o three are gathered together in my name," says he, “there am I in the midst of them."
But, lastly, as Christ has “ brought “ life and immortality to light by the gos
pel,” and opened to us the blessed hope of heaven when we die; so it is our bounden duty to endeavour to prepare ourselves for its happiness, by leading a holý, virtuous, and useful life, while we continue in this world. Assure yourselves, my friends, of this great: truth; that nothing will be received by. GOD; neither faith, nor private prayer, nor public worship, in lieu of a christian behaviour. Our duty is so plainly
set forth to us in the Bible, « that he who “ runneth may read; and the wayfaring men,
though fools,” understand it: And it is made equally clear to us, in the same divine book, that unless we diligently endeavour to perform it to the best of our ability, and according to the degree of knowledge which we have, and to our situation in life, we must not expect to enjoy, when we die, everlasting happiness; for CHRIST himself has declared to us, not every one " that saith unto me, LORD, LORD, shall .enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he
" that doeth the will of my Father who is 4in heaven."
(For the Second Sunday in Advent.)
ROMANS XV. 4.
Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were
written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.
HE Apostle Paul, in these words, from
the Epistle for the day, tells us for what purpose the Holy Scriptures were written, —" for our learning;" and what blessed consequences will follow to us, even
patience, comfort, and hope," if we read them with seriousness and attention, faithfully believe what they contain, and humbly endeavour to practise what they command. In the following discourse, I shall endeavour to shew you, more fully, in what manner this declaration is fulfilled, provided you perform the duty in question ; first stating to you, in