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WHAT MUST I DO?

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“WHAT must I DO-TO BE SAVED ?" The reader will find this question in Acts xvi. 30. A man subject to like passions as we are, is there reported to have asked it. An answer was immediately returned to the question by those who were the best qualified to give it: it was forth with acted on by the interrogator, and he was saved. Innumerable others have made the same inquiry, have acted in compliance with the same answer, and have themselves been saved, “ And yet there is room.” The propitiation is not exhausted : the intercession has not ceased : the Holy Spirit has not fulfilled the whole of his commission, and returned to heaven; and his office is the same as when he first undertook it-to convince the world of sin, and to take of the things of Christ and show them unto men. There is hope for thee, fellow-sinner. Thou hast encouragement to inquire and to act.

Here is a question ; and it has well been called “THE GREAT QUESTION.” There are many questions which men concern themselves to ask. " What shall I eat ?" asks one.

r6 What shall I drink ?" inquires another; and there be many that say, will show us any good ?" But these are not great questions ; inuch less is any one of them the great question. The great question concerns the soul, thy immortal nature, and inquires respecting a provision for it, in view of what it is, and has done, and is to meet at the judgment, on its way thither, and far and for ever beyond it. It asks what is to be done in consideration of its depravity, its guilt, its responsibility, its trials here, and its destiny for the world to come. This is the great question. In comparison with others, not only is it the greatest question, but other questions have no magnitude. It is the great question.

It is a question of universal concern; its impcrtance is as general as it is great. Every man has equal occasion to ask it; every man needs to be saved. “ All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none that doeth good, no not one. Judgment has come upon all men to condemnation. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. The carnal mind is enmity against God. The whole world lieth in wickedness. Does not every man need to be saved ? No man needs any thing so much as to be saved; no man needs any thing in comparison with it; all else is nothing; this alone is every thing. It is the desideratum of the race-not merely needful, most needful, but the

one thing needful.”

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This question should be the first, as it is the great question ; no man can ask it too early. The inquiry, “ what must I do to be saved p' was never, never can be premature. As soon as one can understand its import, there is necessity to ask it; even children ought to make the inquiry, for they are sinners; and to be sinner is to be lost. We want salvation now more than we want any thing else; we want it if we lire, we want it if we die; child. hood, youth, manhood, old age, every season and stage of life wants it, and every condition of life wants it ; prosperity wants it; adversity wants it; to-day we need it, both for to-day's exigencies, and because to us there may be no to-morrow. If we do not ask the question early, we may never have an opportunity to ask it, or we may ask it in vain. Such is human life, that the most important inquiry ought to be made first, and the most important work first done. Now this is not only the most important, but the only work of any importance, in case of being overtaken by death.

may leave other things undone, and dying feel no regret ; but dying, and leaving this undone, though every thing else may have been done, you can feel no complacency in looking back, and nothing but despair in looking forward ; wherefore it should be with every one the first question. He is mad who defers asking it, under any circumstances, however engrossing; or for any period, however brief the period may be. “ Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Some have asked this question, and have acted appropriately on the answer to it. They have done what was necessary to be done, and now, each asks, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do” farther?

Others, having asked it, and obtained the answer, are hesitating. They know what they must do, but they have not done it. The Holy Spirit has convinced them of sin, but there his work bas stopped. Why has he not gone on ? There must be some counteraction. This is a critical condition. My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” It is unreasonable. “ How long halt ye between two opinions P” It is dangerous; death may intervene--the Spirit may depart; we are not saved by asking the question, but by acting conformably to the answer. It is also an unnecessary state to be in; there is no need of lingering there the case of the jailer proves this ; neither is there any advantage in it ; your doing what is required is not promoted by delaying to do it, but rather impeded ; there is no getting ready to do it, certainly no long preparation necessary; the jailer's case proves this also. Reader, are you hesitating ? Hesitate no longer, but do what Paul and Silas said—" Believe in Christ.” Some, having been concerned for their salvation, have asked the

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question, and having heard the answer, have declined doing the thing, as not liking what is to be done ; and they have relapsed into carelessness, or are vainly imagining to find a substitute which will be accepted, or they have concluded to defer the thing, in the hope that it will be more easily done hereafter, though they know at the same time that it will not be, and it is not difficult to convince them that cannot hecome more easy, but must daily become less so. Some have never asked the question, or have asked it only in a spirit of curiosity, without any intention of doing, though desirous to know what is to be done. Some again are so taken up with other questions, such as “ What shall we eat ? Who will show us any good ?” that they plead they have no time for the great question.

Some think they must be a long time asking it before they proceed any

farther. Why? Is the answer long deferred ? Why ask a question a second time, when, on the first asking, it has been satisfactorily answered ?

Some ask the question seriously, and with a degree of concern, but the judgment is convinced rather than the heart affected. They believe that they are lost, and need salvation, but they do not feel it. Their conviction requires to be more thorough, more deep, more of the heart. Conscious that they are sinners, they infer that they are lost; but they have not such a view of the evil of sin, and of the extent of their own depravity, as to acknowledge the entire justice of their condemnation, and to seize with avidity on a scheme of salvation constructed on the merest grace. Yet even these I would not advise to wait for deeper conviction—that may come afterwards ; they may never know the depth of the disease till the cure has been commenced. “ To the cross—to the cross,” I would say to these, go, as well for deeper conviction as for salvation. There, looking on that, you shall learn not only what a Saviour you have, but what a sinner you are.

But I proceed to the import of the question. The end proposed in it is SALVATION. The inquirer would know what he must do to be saved. And what is it to be saved? It is to be delivered from sin and from suffering; to be made holy and happy; to be recovered from the condemnation and corruption brought upon the soul by transgression; to be restored to the favour and image of God. It includes being pardoned, justified, adopted, and made an heir of God, as well as being renewed and sanctified. Salvation comprehends both grace and glory; it commences in time; it is continued through eternity. Peace that passeth understanding, hope that maketh not ashamed, joy unspeakable and full of glory, and everlasting consolation, belong to this salvation. These begin to be realized here--and beyond the grave, a crown unfading, a throne exalted, a kingdom that cannot be moved, and an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, are reserved for the happy and glorified subject of this salvation. He shall want no more, suffer, fear, weep, sin, die no more-no more for ever : and the positive good that God has prepared for him, sense cannot discern, and imagination cannot conceive. It is an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Now the sinner asks what he must do in order to realize this salvation—not to merit it, nor to earn it: that the awakened sinner knows he cannot do—but to have it, to come into possession of it: nothing which he is capable of doing would avail to this had not others undertaken and done for him. Before I tell him what he must do to be saved, let me tell him what others have done that he might be saved.

« God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This Son, whom his Father spared not, though he was his only begotten and well-beloved, the Lord Jesus, though rich, became poor for our sakes; took upon him the form of a servant; humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Yes, for us he condescended and came down lived in earthly circumstances-moved in human society_was subject to all our ills—was insulted and despised—wanted, wept, bled, and died. This is what he did for our sakes, and in our stead; it was the hardest of doing—it was suffering. For the same object he is doing now in heaven, and for this God in providence is ever doing, and the Holy Spirit is doing within us, and angels are waiting to do, and inen are doing, ministers preaching, and Christians praying.

In the midst of all this doing for him, the sinner asks what he must do for himself. “What must I do to be saved ?” And it is true, he must do something, after all that has been done by others, or never be saved : he must act; his co-operation is indispensable; he cannot be the subject of salvation without being an agent in it; that about which he inquires is not merely permitted, but required; it is not what he may do, but what he must do-not what he ought to do, or had better do, but what it is indispensable he should do. Salvation includes a work done for us, in us, and by us. The question is about this last, which is as essential in its place as was the death of Christ in its place, or as is the influence of the Holy Spirit. I would have this truth grounded and settled in your mind. Every sinner must do in order to be saved. His salvation can no more be without his action, than it could be without the action of God; not doing destroys, but it does not save: men may perish by omission, but to their salvation action is necessary

“ He that believeth shall be saved. Except yo

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