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[It is a great honour indeed which ye aspire after Yet is it offered to the vilest of the human race

But you must get a change of raiment, that you may not dishonour your new station

Labour then to “purge out all remains of the old leaven”

Be on your guard, lest, after having escaped the pollutions of the world, you be again entangled with theni and over: comel

“ Remember Lot's wife” that you may shun her example So shall you enjoy the sweetest fellowship with Jesus And live in the fruition of him to all eternity*_]

e Ezek. xvi. 3, 4, 5, 8. * Zech.iii. 3-5. Rev. xix. 7,8. 8 2 Pet. ii. 20.

* This subject, and all others of a similar nature, must be treated with extreme care and delicacy.

CCCCXLVI. THE DUTIES OF MODERATION AND

WATCHFULNESS.

1 Thess. V. 8. Let us who are of the day be sober; putting on

the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

THE exact season of the day of judgment is wisely hid from our eyes. If it were revealed to us, there is no reason to think that we should make a right improvement of that knowledge. The uncertainty of its arrival is far better calculated to excite our diligence in religious duties; because, while we are told that it will come as surely, as irresistibly, and as unexpectedly too; as a thief in the night, or as travail upon a woman with child, we see the necessity of continual watchfulness and preparation for it. The world at large indeed will rest in supineness and security, in spite of every warning that is given them: but they who profess to fear God should manifest a different spirit; and; as persons apprised of their danger, should ever stand upon their guard. To this effect the apostle exhorts us in the text; in discoursing on which we shall consider I. The description given of believers

The careless world are in a state of intellectual and moral darkness VOL. IV.

3 F

{The light of divine truth has not shined into their hearts, nor have the clouds of nature's darkness been dispelled. * They call evil good, and good evil; and put darkness for light, and light for darkness.". Their lives too abound with deeds of darkness; “nor will they come to the light lest their deeds should be reproved.”] As contrasted with them, believers " are of the days)

[They have been “ brought out of darkness into the marvellous light” of the gospel, and are enabled to " discern between good and evil.” Their dispositions also are changed, so that they desire to “ walk in the light even as God is in the light;" and they “come to the light, that their deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” They see indeed much in themselves for which they have reason to be ashamed: but they would gladly attain to such purity of heart, that their inmost thoughts and principles, no less than their actions, should bear the minutest inspection of all their fellowcreatures.] | But that they are prone to relapse into their former state, is strongly intimated in II. The exhortation addressed to them

The children of darkness are represented in the preceding context as addicted to sloth and intemperance;' in opposition to which vices, believers are exhorted to “ be sober,” that is, to exercise 1. Moderation

[They who know not the vanity of earthly things, may reasonably be expected to run to excess in their attachment to them, and their anxiety about them. But it ill becomes those, who have been enlightened by the Spirit of God, to set their hearts upon such empty, unsatisfying, transient enjoyments: God would have them to “be without carefulness," like the birds of the air, that neither sow nor gather into barns." He expects them to “set their affections rather on things above,” and to put forth the energy of their minds in the pursuit of objects worthy the attention of an immortal spirit. And though they may both rejoice and weep on account of present occurrences, yet they should rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and weep as though they wept not, because the fashion of this world'passeth away.'] 2. Vigilance

(Others yield to sloth, because they see no occasion for activity: but believers know what numerous and mighty ene

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mies they have to contend with: they see too, how short and uncertain their time is for accomplishing the work which God has given them to do; and of what infinite importance it is that, whenever called to appear before God, they should be able to give a good account of their stewardship: surely then they can find no time to loiter. They should rather exert them, şelves with all diligence; and, “whatsoever their hand findeth to do, they should do it with all their might.”]

This exhortation is at once illustrated and enforced by III. The particular direction that accompanies it

Believers, whatever they may have attained, are yet in a state of warfare

[Their enemies, though often vanquished, are still ready to return to the charge: nor will they fail to take advantage of any unwatchfulness on our part: they know the places where we are most open to assault; nor have we any security against them but by guarding every pass, and standing continually on our watch-tower. Without such precautions the strongest would be overcome, and the most victorious be reduced to a miserable captivity.]

There is, however, armour, whereby they may become invincible

[Faith, hope, and love are the principal graces of the Christian; and, while he keeps them in exercise, they are as armour to his soul. Faith sees the things that are invisible, as though they were present to the bodily eyes: love fixes our hearts upon them: and hope both appropriates them to ourselves, and enables us to anticipate the enjoyment of them. Having these for our helmet and our breastplate, our head and heart are secured. In vain does Satan suggest, that there is nothing beyond this present world, or nothing better than what he offers us, or that, if there be, we, at least, have no part in it. These fiery darts are instantly repelled; and we determine to continue our conflicts with him, till he is bruised under our feet.] This armour therefore every believer must put on

[In vain shall we hope to maintain our moderation and watchfulness, if we be not clothed with this divine panoply. Every day must we put it on afresh; or rather we must rest on our arms day and night. Nor must we use it only in the hour of conflict; we must, like good soldiers, habituate ourselves to the use of it, even when we are not sensible of immediate danger, in order that, when called to defend ourselves, we may be expert and successful in the contest, We must be careful too that we never separate these pieces of armour; for, whether our head or heart were unprotected, our vigilant eneiny would

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assuredly seize his opportunity to inflict a deadly wound. It is on the union of our graces that our safety depends. Whether we lay aside our faith, our love, or our hope, we are equal. ly in danger. Let us then put them on daily, and preserve them in continual exercise, that we may fight a good fight, and be “ more than conquerors through him that loved us.”]

This subject being altogether addressed to those who are of the day,” we need only add a few words to those who " are of the night”

[The warning given them in the context is well worthy of their deep attention. It is said, that “the day of the Lord shall overtake them as a thief in the night.” They lie down in security, concluding that, because the ruffian has not hither to disturbed their midnight slumbers, he never will: but at last he comes upon them to their terror, and spoils them to their confusion. Thus will the day of judgment, or, which is the same to them, the day of death, come upon the ungodly; and they will lose their souls, which it should have been their daily labour to secure. Even believers need to be exhorted to sobriety, and must be yanquished, if they follow not the directions given them: what thèn must the unbeliever do, if he continue in his supineness? What hope can there be for him? Let all arise from their slumbers, and arm themselves for the battle.

It is high time for all of us to awake out of sleep: let us therefore put off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light:” and let us war a good warfare till death itself is swallowed up in victory.”]

CCCCXLVII. DIRECTIONS HOW TO SEEK HEAVEN

WITH SUCCESS.

1 Pet. i. 13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober,

and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unta you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

THE truths of God deserve our attention on account of their own excellence

But they are principally to be valued for the effects they produce on our lives

The apostles never rest satisfied with stating a mere system of doctrines

They invariably proceed to make a practical application of them to the soul

St. Peter had briefly opened the blessed state of true believers

He had represented them as begotten to a glorious inheritance, of which their joy in Christ was an earnest, and to which through their present trials, they would be advanced

He then urged the near approach of that glory, as a reason for exerting themselves more diligently in their Christian calling="Wherefore,&c.

The words of the text lead us to consider 1. The great object of a Christian's pursuit

There are in scripture many beautiful descriptions of heaven

But none more interesting than that contained in the words before us

The day of judgment is here called “the revelation of Jesus Christ”

(Jesus Christ was revealed in the first promise that was made to man?

He was also exhibited in the sacrifices which Abel offered

In successive ages he was made known in clearer prophecies

And typified by various ordinances of the Jewish ritual

In process of time he was personally“ manifested in human flesh"

And shewed himself to be the Son of God by most irrefragable proofs

In the preaching of his gospel he was yet more fully revealed

The glory of God as shining in his face is most transcendently displayed

Still however “we see him as yet only through a glass darkly"

But in the last day he will appear in all his majesty and glory"

He will be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire”.

a Gen ii. 15.

b Heb. xi. 4. and xii. 24. Gen. xxii, 18.&Isa. liii. 4,5,11, d Comp.Exod. xii. 5. with 1 Pet. e Acts ii. 22. Rom. i. 4. f 2 Cor. iv. 6.

& 1 Cor. xiii. 12. h Matt. xxv. 31.

i 2 Thess. i. 7, 8.

Li. 19.

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