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made between the righteous and the wicked, and these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. In that last separation then, my brethren, what will be the discriminating principle, which will divide the two classes so widely asunder? Faith in the salvation of Jesus still. That faith, which in its first conception justified the penitent sinner, will in its ultimate triumph glorify him also: for the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is writtenThe just shall live by faith. Hence no works are acknowledged by the judge on that day, but such as are the works of faith, works, which are done unto the brethren of Christ for the sake and for the love of Christ, or which are done in some sense unto him, and from a principle of gratitude and affection towards him, works, in which they will themselves perceive no merit, but much imperfection, though he will discern in them the operation of his own spirit, and will therefore recognise the persons, who have performed them, as the blessed of his father, for whom a kingdom has been prepared from the begin
ning of the world. And further he will proportion his reward to the faithfulness and number of these works, recompensing his servants according to them, and condescending to honor the greater service, though itself infinitely beneath the duty of the subject and the claim and right of the sovereign, with higher glory and more perfect blessedness.
To the condition of those lost spirits, whom that definitive judgment will exclude from bliss and from hope everlastingly, I am unwilling to allude now, except so far as to impress the minds of all, who hear me, with a sense of the immeasurable importance of earnestly availing themselves of all their present means for escaping that unhappy doom. Those means are undoubtedly sufficient for all, who will make use of them rightly; and, if therefore they fail to make use of them, or impiously cast them away, however lightly they may be disposed to palliate such misuse of the unutterable goodness of their redeemer, they will not be able on that day to cast the blame of their perdition on any one, but themselves; and it will be the sorest aggravation of their
hopeless misery, that they might have been saved, that their salvation was even purchased for them, but that through their perverse and obstinate ingratitude they have forfeited their own mercies, and their very saviour has condemned them. May it please God in his compassion and mercy, that no individual, who hears me this day, may taste of their cup of bitterness !
We have now traced, my brethren, the spiritual life of a true christian from the new birth, in which it originates, to the ultimate triumph, in which it is complete. Is it not an elevating, an ennobling contemplation? Oh, that ye may all realize its beauty, and experience its power, that ye may know its conflicts, and partake of its victory! For this is the victory, which overcometh the world, even our faith; and to those, who live by faith, it may be said even now, while the battle is yet unfought, while their course is yet to be run'Ye are complete in him, which is the head ⚫ of all principality and power.'
Hebrews xii. 1, 2.
Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin, which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race, that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!
ALTHOUGH the life of a christian, which has now been described to you with some degree of minuteness, is a most reasonable life, although the more the future predominates over the present, eternity over time, Heaven over Earth, God over the creature in the affections and judgment, the more just and sober is our estimate both of interest and duty,
although the more ready we are to sacrifice all things else for Christ, the more perfectly we act in the spirit of Christ, who sacrificed himself for us, the line of conduct I have thus delineated, whenever fairly put in practice, has always had to encounter in the world the charge of extravagance and enthusiasm.
I admit, indeed, that there is such a thing as culpable enthusiasm in religion. When men comfort themselves by dwelling on the doctrines of the gospel without reference to their practical operation, it is enthusiasm. When they are carried on even by a sincere zeal for what they consider, as the truth, to do acts, which are forbidden by the plain letter and direction of the bible, it is enthusiasm. When they substitute either a correct creed, a particular interpretation of prophecy, or adherence to a particular establishment or party, for actual faith in Christ, actual mortification of sin, and actual advancement in holiness, it is enthusiasm. But yet of all enthusiasm in matters of religion I know of none more dangerous, more irrational, or more common than that of neglecting the privileges of the gospel,