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who make a fair show in the flesh; and who, far from şuffering persecution for the cross of Christ, are honoured of men, because you still conform to the present world ? Who, content with your moral duties, and exterior piety, do not come to Jesus with the repentance and importunity of the publican ? Suffer this foolishness of preaching to pull off your mask. Renounce your own wisdom ; Tear off the vain robe of your own righteousness : And smiting your breast, come to Christ with the publicans and harlots, and groan for regeneration, without which you cannot see the kingdom of heaven. Nicodemus has set you the example. He at length . received the kingdom as a little child, and was than conqueror through the blood of the Lamb.' Tread in his blessed footsteps. And if you also be a master in Israel, follow his simplicity, and triumph like him over all your prejudices, your doubts, and the fear of those who say, they are the Israel of God, and are not ; and having followed him in the regeneration, you shall soon follow him to glory.
But if you are an open sinner, if you live in the practice of injustice, intemperance, impurity, or false. hood ; thirsting after gold or pleasure ; despising the name of God and his word; we need not attempt to prove that you are not regenerate. Your sins have a yoice, they cry as Jesus did to such gross offenders, * You are of your father the devil, for his works you do.' You know it is so ; your own heart condemns
Wonder not then that we denounce your utter perdition, in the name of God, if you are not born again. Strive to open your eyes, and behold the corruption of your heart, that depraved source of your un. godly manners. Behold the destroying angel behind you, the eternal abyss opened under your feet, and the Lord Jesus ready to take vengeance on you as his ene. mies. O that the idea of these awful events may awaken, before their reality overwhelms you ! O may the fear of the Lord be in you the beginning of wisdom! This moment turn to your gracious God; tomorrow may be too late. This is the day of salvation'
If you neglect it, the coming night may be the commencement of night eternal to your soul. And will you trifle with a danger like this? Will you do nothing to escape the sword of Divine Justice ? lf your danger move you not, consider your interest. This would be sufficient to produce an entire change in you, if you would consider it seriously. In this world God offers you the pardon of your sins, and a happiness which can only be surpassed by that of glorified saints ; and after this life a kingdom-a kingdom in the heavens. And will you carelessly renounce this, because you cannot obtain it without pain ? Rather than be born again, do you resolve to lose a crown of eternal glory ? To lose your God, your Saviour, your all ? Yea, to destroy yourself? Be not deceived. If the kingdom of heaven be shut against you, the kingdom of darkness, the second death, becomes your portion. If the kingdom of God be not established within you ; if the foundation be not laid in your soul in this life, by the righteousness of Christ, the peace of God, and the joy of the Holy Ghost, the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched, shall terribly revenge your contempt for the blood of the covenant in which your sins might have been washed away, if you had implored the sacred sprinkling. Be not offended at our freedom. God knows that if we spread before you the treasures of his wrath, which he reserves for the day of wrath, it is that you may flee to those of his mercy. These are still open. His great and precious promises are still for you. By these you may be made partakers of the divine nature in this life, and after death of the inheritance among the saints in light.
The difference een the Reformation of a Pharisee,
and the Regeneration of a Christian, more particu. larly considered.
To the preceding exhortation, permit me to add an advice which is of the last importance. Many sinners acknowledge the necessity of regeneration without being profited thereby, because they confound it with refor. mation of life. Reader, beware of this error. Remem. ber, it is not sufficient to die to sin, if we be not raised into newness of life. It is a little thing to say, the grace of God I am not what I was, ” if we cannot add, “ By the same grace, I am what I never have been.” It is a little thing to be able to say, “I am no swearer, drunkard, unclean person ; I do not walk after the flesh ;” unless we feel at the same time that we walk in the strait path of faith, hope, and divine love,
You are no longer unjust : Well; but like Zaccheus, do you give the half of your goods to feed the poor, and if you have wronged any man, do you restore fourfold ? You are no longer sensual and voluptuous; but are your affections spiritual and divine ? You are no longer enslaved to passion and anger; but does the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your soul in the sweetness and patience of the Lamb of God? You are no longer filled with that pride which made you hate your superiors, despise your inferiors, and shun your equals; but in its place, do you feel in your heart the poverty of spirit, and the humility of Jesus? Do you never indulge what one calls “a polite pride ?” Do you never pique yourselves upon your gentility, or upon any worldly distinction ? You are perhaps an eminent
person, and you feel it is unworthy an honest man to lie or calumniate; but do you always firmly take part with the truth? Do you comfort, reprove, or exhort your brethren with the sweetness and zeal of a Christian ? You no longer mock at the word of God; but do you meditate upon it day and night? And is it as sweet to your soul as honey to your palate ?
You are convinced it is a great sin to take the name of God in vain;' but do you rejoice with reverence? every time you pronounce, or think of that sacred name? You detest impiety, you cry out against that deluge of iniquity which threatens to destroy us :
But are you not either transported with bitter zeal, or lukewarm, and filled with vain confidence ? You lament over many that you see at church, and at the holy table; but when you are there, do you rejoice as in the presence of the Lord ? Does all that is within you cry out by happy experience, “How dreadful is this place! It is the dwelling of the mighty God ?? Do you inwardly feed upon the bread of angels ? Do you drink of the waters that spring up into everlasting life? Do you taste that the Lord is good ?
You enter regularly into your closet, and you blame those who neglect to pray to their Father who seeth in secret; but do you there seek your God with tears until He manifests himself to you as he does not unto the world? Are you sick of love, (to use the expression of Solomon,) feeling that your Beloved is yours, and that you are his; that his left hand is under your head,' and that his right hand embraces you ?' In a word, do you find there the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost?'
You feel that the life of a Christian ought to be a constant preparation for death, and as it is contrary to good sense to take those diversions in which we would not that death should find us; you therefore leave plays, useless visits, balls, finery, romances, cards, &c., to those whom the God of this world blinds, lest they
you redeem the time,' that you may walk in all those good works which the Lord has prepared for you ? Does the love of Christ constrain you,' so that your duty becomes your delight? Do you love to visit the Lord Jesus Christ in prison, and in the abode of the widow and orphan? Do you seek the poor that are des. pised? Are you merciful to the utmost of your power, both to the bodies and the souls of men ? And do you find more pleasure in administering to the afflicted, and
weeping with those that weep,' than the children of this world experience in all their vain delights ?
Your life is not irregular, thanks be to God! You do not live any longer in presumptuous sins. But do you feel the sprinkling of the blood of Christ ? Do you know that you have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of your sins ?' In a word, are you cruci. fied with Christ,' living no longer to yourself, but to God? Is Christ your life? Do you feel that your life is hid with Christ in God ?'
Reader, behold in these questions the difference between the reformation of a Pharisee, and the regeneration of a child of God. Some degrees of preventing grace, and of reason and reflection, suffice for the first; but nothing less can effect the second, than a baptism of the Holy Ghost, and a real participation of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Beware, if indeed you would • flee froin the wrath to come, and see the kingdom of God,' beware that you rest not in the former state. If you do, the publicans and harlots shall go into the kingdom of heaven before you,' or rather you shall never enter therein. Christ himself has solemnly declared it. (Matt. v. 20; xxi. 31.) Accuse us not of severity, in thus following eternal Wisdom, and in not daring to make void any words written in the book of life. To flatter you in this respect, would be to lose our own souls, and that without remedy.
We are not ignorant, that the voice of worldlings, like “the sound of many waters,' lifts itself up on all sides, and drowns that of the Saviour. In vain we declare, that those who falsely call him Lord, shall not enter