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"Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. Search me, "O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts, " and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the 66 'way everlasting." Must not such a temper, such simplicity and sincerity, create delight; give joy unspeakable and full of glory? In distress and affliction what can be greater support, or afford a more sovereign consolation? If this be wanting in the day of calamity, and we are forced to say with Joseph's brethren, "verily we are guilty," this gives a twinging accent to all our troubles. And unless we get a better conscience, or light and relief therein, we must faint and sink under the tormenting weight; in this situation, there is no other resource.

When storms arise, and clouds of perplexity surround us, then to have the testimony of our consciences, that we are in peace with God, sprinkled by the blood of Jesus, and have our conversation in truth and righteousness, here is a sweet ground of re joicing, of calmness and composure, in the midst of calamities, in the pains of death, or being chained to the stake, and beholding the faggots in flames to blaze us to glory.

The person who has the testimony of a good conscience, enters into an humble imitation of God; finding his works in some measure good, and God by a gracious indulgence accepts them through the atoning merits of Christ, he enjoys a sabbath of pleasing and peaceful rest in his own soul. All the horrors of earth and hel cannot sap his consolation, or sweep away the ground of his rejoicing. This is a joy flowing from the light of God's countenance, and the approbation of his own mind, that strangers intermeddle not with, neither can the world take away. O my brethren, how should we study and labour to possess such a conscience? How precarious and fleeting all the little pleasures of this mortal life? They are meteors of a moment, more adapted to lead us astray, and plunge us into real sorrows, than grant us substantial comfort. They desert us in the hour of necessity, but a good

conscience is a friend in all circumstances. In the enjoyment of this friend, with what holy boldness may the soul apply to God as to a gracious Father in every time of need. What affiance, trust, hope and confidence in God? In every season of perplexity, fear and distress, it can apply to the Most High, as good Hezekiah did, saying, "Remember now O Lord, I beseech thee, "how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, ❝and have done that which was good in thy sight." How sweet, comfortable, and transporting must such a reference of ourselves be to the bosom of him who carries the lambs in his arms, and gently leads those who are with young? Blessed and happy is the person, who has this testimony. Surely the felicity contained herein, ought to awaken the laudable ambition of every professor of christianity. Are you waiting, O dying creatures, for the stroke of death? A little while and the king of terrors will seize you in his cold embrace-then resolve you will seek after this testimony, that you will faithfully endeavour to live in all good conscience before God till death.

An inference or two, and a brief application, shall terminate this lecture.

First, It is inferred, that it is impossible in the nature of things, that persons who are careless and indifferent about the word and will of God, inattentive to the tempers and operations of their own minds, and negligent and loose in their conversation, can, upon scriptual grounds, form any favourable conclusion. If they consider, reflect, or think at all about religion, all their ideas will rise to their condemnation. How can it be otherwise? They attend not to the rule, they apply not their hearts and lives to it; hence, if their consciences testify in their favour, their minds must be impregnated with dark enthusiasm, pharisaical pride, or extreme ignorance, all which exclude them from the favour of God, and the consolations of divine grace.

Secondly, We infer a good conscience has a due respect to

principles and actions, both in their matter and form. The matter, end, and rule of conduct must be good. The matter must be such as God requires, the end his glory, and the rule his word. In the absence of any of these, the conscience will fail of being good.

Thirdly, We infer how transcendent a blessing, the testimony of a good conscience would be to every individual. It would be a support to him amidst all the vicissitudes and adversities of life, it would be a comfort and stay to him in death. It would waft him in a composed and pleasing tranquility over the rough and tumultuous billows of this world, and safely land" him by the grace which is in Christ Jesus, upon the celestial shores.

Now, my dear fellow mortals, shall I make application of this discourse to induce you to acquire, maintain, and support a good conscience? Surely the testimony of our consciences, that we are in favour and peace with God, that we are sincere penitents for our sins, true believers in the Saviour, and with integrity and uprightness, walking in all the commandments of God, must rise far above every other consideration.

Wherefore, the sum of the exhortation must be, let our hearts be sprinkled from an evil conscience, by the soul purifying blood of Jesus. Let us quickly betake ourselves to that fountain opened in the house of David for sin and uncleanness. Fly to the blessed Redeemer, that he may thoroughly wash you from all your iniquities, purge your consciences from guilt, and form you for the service of the living God.

Such of you, who hope you have received this eminent blessing, the testimony of an enlightened and good conscience, study all that holy practice, and godly conversation, which will render your passage through this weary world comfortable, and finally through the riches of free grace, introduce you to eternal felicity.

O that every soul in this congregation, would understandingly make self-application of the text: "Our rejoicing is this, the "testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sin"cerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we "have had our conversation in the world."

SERMON XL.

A GOSPEL HOPE.

I. JOHN 111. 3.

And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure.

HOPE is one of the great blessings flowing from our conver sion and union to Christ by faith. Hope is a great support and encouragement to the christian in this life. Hope enters into the essence of assurance, and is one of its blessed constituents. May we not say, without a mixture of assurance, there can be no hope, and without hope no assurance can exist. Hope may be considered as a natural principle, or a gospel grace. In the former case, it is a support to the wicked in their most forlorn circumstances. Among the heathen, who generally communi cate their ideas in an admirable boldness of figurative language, when every good had forsaken, and every evil burst forth upon this wretched world, the ancients retained hope in a fanciful Pandora's box. When hope forsakes the heart, nothing succeeds but the most absolute despair. Christian hope is a steady expectation of the certain fulfillment of all the promises of heaven, stipulated to the people of God in the covenant of grace. A christian hope is founded on the character and atonement of Christ, and if understandingly placed there, it will never disap point the expectants.

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