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divine friendship therein, receives communications of grace from heaven, and finds his graces quickened. Ps. xlii. 1, 2.
This consideration also shows us that holiness in us must be supernatural ; for do we naturally thus delight in the service of God? or do you all now thus delight in it ? is it not rather a weariness to you, and do you not find more pleasures in other things ? Surely you must be changed, or you can have no relish for the enjoyments of heavenly happiness.
5. To constitute us saints indeed there must be universal holiness in practice. This naturally follows from the last, for as the body obeys the stronger volitions of the will, so when the heart is prevailingly disposed to the service of God, the man will habitually practise it. This is generally mentioned in scripture as the grand characteristic of real religion, without which all our pretensions are vain. 1 John iii. 2—10, and v. 3. John xr. 15. True Christians are far from being perfect in practice, yet they are prevailingly holy in all manner of conversation; they do not live habitually in any one known sin, or wilsully neglect any one known duty. Psalm cxix. 6.
Without this practical holiness no man shall see the Lord; and if so, how great a change must be wrought on most before they can see him, for how few are thus adorned with a life of universal holiness! Many profess the name of Christ, but how few of them depart from iniquity! But to what purpose do they call him Master and Lord, while they do not the things which he commands them?
Thus I have, as plainly as I could, described the nature and properties of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; and they who are possessed of it may lift
up their heads with joy, assured that God has begun a good work in them, and that he will carry it on; and on the other hand, they that are destitute of it may be assured, that unless they are made new creatures they cannot see the Lord. I come,
II. To show you the endeavors we should use to obtain this holiness. And they are such as these :
1. Endeavor to know whether you are holy or not by close examination. It is hard indeed for some to know
positively that they are holy, as they are perplexed with the appearances of realities, and the fears of counterfeits; but it is then easy for many to conclude negatively that they are not holy, as they have not the likeness of it! To determine this point is of great use to our successful seeking after holiness. That an unre. generate sinner should attend on the means of grace with other aims than one that has reason to believe himself sanctified, is evident. The anxieties, sorrows, desires, and endeavors of the one should run in a very different channel from those of the other. The one should look upon himself as a guilty and condemned sinner; the other should allow himself the pleasures of a justified state; the one should pursue after the implantation; the other after the increase of holiness: the one should indulge a seasonable concern about his lost condition; the other repose an humble confidence in God as reconciled to him ; the one should look upon
the threatenings of God as his doom; the other embrace the promises as his portion. Hence it follows, that while we are mistaken about our state, we cannot use endeavors after holiness in a proper manner. We act like a physician that applies medicines at random, without knowing the disease. It is a certain conclusion that the most generous charity, under scriptural limitations, cannot avoid, that multitudes are destitute of holiness; and ought not we to inquire with proper anxiety whether we belong to that number ? Let us be impartial, and proceed according to evidence. If we find those marks of holiness in heart and life which have been mentioned, let not an excessive scrupulosity frighten us from draw. ing the happy conclusion: and, if we find them not, let us exercise so much wholesome severity against ourselves, as honestly to conclude we are unholy sinners, and must be renewed before we can see the Lord. The conclusion, no doubt, will give you a painful anxiety: but if you was my dearest friend, I could not form a kinder wish for you than that you might be incessantly distressed with it till you are born again. This conclusion will not be always avoidable; the light of eternity will force you upon it ; and whether is it better to give way to it now, when it may be to your advantage, or be forced to admit it then, when it will be only a torment ?
2. Awake, arise, and betake yourselves in earnest to all the means of grace. Your life, your eternal life is concerned, and therefore it calls for all the ardor and earnestness you are capable of exerting. Accustom yourself to meditation, converse with yourselves in retirement, and live no longer strangers at home. Read the word of God and other good books, with diligence, attention, and self-application. Attend on the public ministrations of the gospel, not as a trifler, but as one that sees his eternal all concerned. Shun the tents of sin, the rendezvous of sinners, and associate with those that have experienced the change you want, and can give you proper directions. Prostrate yourself before the God of heaven, confess your sin, implore his mercy, cry to him night and day, and give him no rest, till the importunity prevail, and you take the kingdom of heaven by violence. But, after all
, acknowledge that it is God that must work in you both to will and to do, and that when you have done all these things you are but unprofitable servants. I do not prescribe these directions as though these means could effect holiness in you ; no, they can no more do it than a pen can write without a hand. It is the holy Spirit's province alone to sanctify a degenerate sinner, but he is wont to do it while we are waiting upon him in the use of these means, though our best endeavors give us no title to his grace; but he may justly leave us after all in that state of condemnation and corruption into which we have voluntarily brought our. selves. I go on,
III. And lastly, to urge you to the use of these means, from the consideration mentioned in the text, the absolute necessity of holiness to the enjoyment of heavenly happiness.
Here I would show that holiness is absolutely necessary, and that the consideration of its necessity may strongly enforce the pursuit of it.
The necessity of holiness appears from the unchangeable appointment of heaven, and the nature of things.
1. The unchangeable appointment of God excludes the unholy from the kingdom of heaven; see 1 Cor. ix. 6; Rev. xxi. 27; Psalm v. 4, 5; 2 Cor, v. 17; Gal. vi. 15. It is most astonishing that many who profess to believe
the divine authority of the Scriptures, will yet indulge vain hopes of heaven in opposition to the plainest declarations of eternal truth. But though there were no positive constitution excluding the unholy from heaven, yet
2. The very nature of things excludes sinners from heaven; that is, it is impossible, in the nature of things, that while they are unholy, they could receive happiness from the employments and entertainments of the heavenly world. If these consisted in the affluence of those things which sinners delight in here ; if its enjoyments were earthly riches, pleasures, and honors ; if its employments were the amusements of the present life, then they might be happy there, as far as their sordid natures are capable of happiness. But these trifles have no place in heaven. The felicity of that state consists in the contemplation of the divine perfections, and their displays in the works of creation, providence, and redemption; hence it is described by seeing the Lord. Matt. v. 18, and as a state of knowledge, 1 Cor. xiii. 10 —12, in the satisfaction resulting thence. Ps. xvii. 15, and a complacency in God as a portion, Ps. lxxiii. 25, 26, and is perpetual serving and praising the Lord : and hence adoration is generally mentioned as the employ of all the hosts of heaven. These are the entertainments of heaven, and they that cannot find supreme happiness in these, cannot find it in heaven. But it is evident these things could afford no satisfaction to an unholy person. He would pine away at the heavenly feast, for want of appetite for the entertainment ; a holy God would be an object of horror rather than delight to him, and his service would be a weariness, as it is now. Hence it appears, that if we do not place our supreme delight in these things here, we cannot be happy hereafter; for there will be no change of dispositions in a future state, but only the perfection of those predominant in us here, whether good or evil. Either heaven must be changed, or the sinner, before he can be happy there. Hence also it appears, that God's excluding such from heaven is no more an act of cruelty than our not admitting a sick man to a feast, who has no relish for the entertainments; or not bringing a blind man into the light of the sun, or to view a beautiful prospect.
We see then that holiness is absolutely necessary; and what a great inducement should this consideration be to pursue it; if we do not see the Lord, we shall never see good. We are cut off at death from all earthly enjoyments, and can no longer make experiments to sat. isfy our unbounded desires with them; and we have no God to supply their room. We are banished from all the joys of heaven, and how vast, how inconceivably vast is the loss! We are doomed to the regions of darkness for ever, to bear the vengeance of eternal fire, to feel the lashes of a guilty conscience, and to spend an eternity in a horrid intimacy with infernal ghosts; and will we not then rather follow holiness, than incur so dreadful a doom? By the terrors of the Lord, then, be persuaded to break off your sins by righteousness, and follow holiness ; without which no man shall see the Lord.
THE MEDIATORIAL KINGDOM AND GLORIES OF JESUS CHRIST.
John xviii. 37. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou
a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Kings and kingdoms are the most majestic sounds in the language of mortals, and have filled the world with noise, confusions, and blood, since mankind first left the state of nature, and formed themselves into societies. The disputes of kingdoms for superiority have set the world in arms from age to age, and destroyed or enslaved a considerable part of the human race; and the contest is not yet decided. Our country has been a region of peace and tranquillity for a long time, but it has not been because the lust of power and riches is extinct in the world, but because we had no near neighbors whose interest might clash with ours, or who were able to dis
The absence of an enemy was our sole de