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gression and sin,” why should the greatness of your sins preclude your access to Christ ? Should it not rather urge your flight to that refuge in which alone you can find protection from that wrath which you have justly in. curred.
Contemplate the glory of the divine boli. ness, and you will see that your faith must de. pend purely upon the grace and faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus, and that all attempts to find, or to work out in yourselves any qua. lifications to embolden you to trust in God, are vain and presumptuous. Contemplate the riches, the freeness, the sovereignty of di. vine grace, and you will see that after all that you have done, there is hope for you in the Saviour of the chief of sinners, 1 Tim.i.15--17. .. There is another error about faith which frequently embarrasses the minds of convinced sinners. They do not distinguish between a weak and a strong faith, They do not see how they can ever entertain such a persuasion of the certainty of their salvation as they find exemplified in the Saints spoken of in the Bible, and therefore they despair of obtaining the like precious faith with those who now in. herit the promises. But will you refuse to stretch out your withered arm at Christ's call. because you cannot exert it with all the force of a Sainpson? It is God that must wor! faith in you, and that faith which is the wor! of his divine grace will not be despised by him
although unbelief is not expelled by it from your hearts. He was highly pleased with The strong faith of Abraham; but he was pleased likewise with the weak faith of the disciples in the time that their Lord was with them on the earth. He often reproved them for their unbelief, but he commended their faith and its fruits. 6 Ye are they which havę . continued with me in my temptation." He greatly commended the faith of the centurion; but he accepted the faith likewise of that poor man who cried out, “Lord, I believe; help mine unbelief."-" The bruised reed he will not break, and the sinoking flax* he will not quench; he will bring forth judgment unto victory,"
8. Let no consideration induce you to neglect any of those means of grace which God hath appointed for bringing men into a state of salvation, and endeavor to improve them as means of faith.
Some have cavilled at the advice given to unconverted persons, that they should endea. vor to believe on Christ. The Scripture,' they will say, 'requires from us, not endeavors to believe, but faith itself; and faith is not wrought in us by our own endeavors, but by the power of the Spirit of God, whose gracious operation cannot be procured by the endeavors of men.' We do not deny any of these truths; but aver, that when the Scrip. ture calls us to believe, it requires from us
they will say.ch Christ.
endeavors to believe. Ought we not to en: deavor to do all that God requires us to do? Was it not the constant endeavor of David to do what God commanded ? “ I have inclin. ed my heart,” he says, 66 always to perform thy statutes unto the end. I will lift up my hands unto thy commandments which I have loved." What does he inean when he often tells us that he kept God's statutes, but that it was his constant endeavor, and in some measure his attainment, to keep them? for we know that he did not keep them in perfection. He endeavored, among other duties, to perform this duty of trusting in the mercy of God, the same in effect with the duty of believing in Christ, and on God through him. Other writers of psalms set us the same example of earnest endeavors to believe on God amidst difficulties and oppositions from the workings of an evil heart of unbelief, Psal. xlii. 5, 6. lxxvii. and lxxxviii.
“Let us labor to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbe: lief.” It is well known, that the word which we render labor, in that place signifies very ordinarily, to endeavor, and is frequently rendered by our translators either by that word, or by words of similar import-to be diligent, to do one's diligence, to study, Eph. iv. 3. 1 Thes. 11. 17. 2 Tim. iv. 7. Titus iii. 12, 13. 1. Tim. ii. 15. I do not complain of the translation : in the text, for the word labor is of the same
ample of earnelies and opposit unbelief, Psal.
import with endeavor ; and it is very evident, that if we must labor, or endeavor to enter into God's rest, we must seek to enter into it by faith.
Is it to believers only, and not to unbelievers, that the apostle directs his exhortation ? Unbelievers certainly are the persons most likely to come short of God's rest, through the same example of unbelief; for all who truely believe unto salvation, are kept to it, through faith, by the power of God.
We are called to seek righteousness by faith, to strive to enter in at the strait gate, to labor for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life. "If thou canst believe,” said Jesus to a certain man, " all things are possible to him that believeth.” Do not these well known expressions require us to use every endeavor to believe on Christ? It is certain we do not fulfil our duty by mere endeavors. We must actually believe in Christ, and we must believe in him under the influence of the almighty power of divine grace; but that grace is often communicated to make men's endeavors successful. Although we cannot entitle ourselves to the gracious operations of the spirit by our endeavors, the Spirit can carry on his own gracious work, by awakening us to a sense of eternal things, by convincing us of sin, by drawing our hearts towa ards Christ, in whoin alone we can find pardon and rest. "Strive to enter in at the strait
gate.” This is a direction given us by the Saviour himself. Directions opposite to this Hiust come from the evil one.
The hearing of the word is one of those blessed ordinances which God hath appointed for the conversion of sinners. The Lord's Supper is a gracious institution, in which we partake of Christ's body and blood, to our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace, Yet believers themselves often tremble in the view of this ordinance, lest they should be left to eat and drink judgment to themselves, by coming unworthily to the table of the Lord. The preaching of the word is known to be intended for the benefit of the unworthy. Without knowing our state to be good, we may attend'upon it, and are welcomed to that provision which is prepared of God's goodness for the poor. Yet let not men imagine that there is !ittle or no danger in hearing God's word without duly improving it. God must be sanctified in all them that come nigh unto him. We must keep our feet when we go unto the house of God, and hear what God ihe Lord will speak, that we may believe what we hear, and do what he requires, for he will not be mocked by his creatures. The word preached did not profit many of the Israelites that left Egypt, because it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it.' Observe in what manner Paul preached to the Jews at Antioch in Pisid a. He explains the doctrine of faith, and calls