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"ed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, "in which it was impossible for God to lie, they "might have strong consolation, who have fled sor "resuge, to lay hold upon the hope set besore ** them (<-)." And, what this hope is, he subjoins in the following verse; " It is that which entereth "within the vail, whither our forerunner is gone, "even Christ Jesus." Now, what greater security could have possibly been given you? God is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he shoulJ. repent. What he has promised, is the result of insinite wisdom; it is what he has power to sulsil, and therefore he will make it good. Nay, though his promise be indeed sufficient security, yet, in condescension to our weakness, he has added the fanction of his oath. And, what more sacred and inviolable than an oath? What oath so sacred as the oath of God himself consirming his promise? Well, therefore, might the apostle, in the text, appeal to the Corinthians themselves, with respect to the certainty of this promised reward: " Ye know," says he; it's not an uncertain, or probable opinion merely, but ye know, upon the most solid and satissactory grounds, "that your labour is aM in vain in the Lord."
And, now, shall not this certain, tRis glorious reward of eternal lise, animate and encourage you to be stedsast, immoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord?
Imagine, you not only see your exalted Saviour ossering you an eternity of joy, a kingdom with God, a crown of lise and righteousness, that sadethnota.way; but that you hear him saying, " Be thou faith"ful unto death, and I will give thee the crown oi "lise. To him that overcometh, will I grant to £t "with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and aol "set down with my Father in his throne." And, will not this kindle your ardour? Will it not arm
(r) Heb. vi. 17, 18.
you with facred refolution, and make you redouble your activity and diligence in the work of the Lord? How mean, alas! and fordid are your views, if it has not this effect upon your mind? or, rather, how unbelieving are your hearts, if you have no sense or esteem os this heavenly reward, correspondent to its real excellence and worth? But I hope better things concerning you; and things that accompany falvation, though I thus 'speak.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast and immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know, that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
And, now, may the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you persect in every good work, to do his will, and work in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
OK IMITATING THE MORAL PERFECTION'S OF GOD. • .
Matt. v. 48.
3ir ye therefore perfeR, even. as your Father luhkh is Heaven is perfect.
WHEN our Saviour appeared in the world, and claimed the character of the True Median, his enemies objected to him, that, by his doctrine, he destroyed the law and the prophets, and loosened our obligation to the duties of morality; an objection, which, if well founded, would have been a just cause of prejudice against him, and more than sufficient to prove him an impostor. But, so sar vn this from being the case, that the great design and tendency of that religion which he published to the world, was, to form the minds and manners of men to a conformity to his heavenly Father, the unerring Pattern of purity and holiness. He gave us a perfect rule of lise, supported by the authority of God, and enforced by his own example. He instituted a reasonable service, a religion every way well calculated for promoting real and substantial goodness, and for
raising raising the hearts of men to the highest pitch of virtue. Of this, the discourses of our Saviour, which stand upon record, give us the most complete evidence. His excellent sermonv on the Mount, is particularly a summary os pure religion, containing such persect instructions, as have raised the admiration even os his most implacable enemies.
But, especially, the divine example is proposed to our imitation, as the best and most essectual standard in order to be persect. We are therefore required to cultivate a noble ambition of becoming followers of God: "Forgetting those things which are behind, "and reaching forth to those which are before* we "are commanded to press toward the mark, for the "prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus and in this manner leaving the sirst principles of the doctrine of Christ, to be still going on- to persection. But, this is nowhere more expressly required, than in the words of the text; " Be ye therefore persect, "as your Father which is in heaven is persect." i
These words are an inserence from our Saviour's discourse to his disciples. In the 43d verse of this chapter, he takes notice of an excellent moral precept, which comprehends the whole of that duty we owe to our neighbour, but which had been grossly perverted by the Jewish teachers: " Ye have heard," fays he, "that it hath been faid, thou shalt love thy "neighbour, and hate thine enemy." He then corrects the partiality of this law, and inculcates upon his disciples, the practice of goodness, mercy, and patience, even toward their worst and most malicious enemies: "Love your enemies," fays he; "bless "them that curse you, do good to them that hate "you, and pray for them that despitesully use you "and persecute you." And to engage them to this most excellent duty, he proposes the example of his heavenly Father, who bestows the hounties of his Providence upon the evil aril unthanksul; "That 2 A "ye," ** ye," fays he, " maybe the children of your Father ** which is; in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rife ** on the evil, and on the good, and sendeth- ram <f on the just, and on the unjust." And this argument he farther enforces, by assuring them, that unless.such dispositions prevailed in their breasts'towards their enemies, fo far from resembling God, they would only be on a level with the very worst of men: For' if ye love them," fays he, " that love you, ** what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans "the fame? And if you falute your brethren only, ** what do ye more than others i Do not even the "publicans fo?" And then he concludes his argument- in the words of the text, M Be yetherefore persect,-as your Father which is in heaven is persect." The duty, therefore, which our Saviour in this place more immediately recommends, is that of imitating God in the amiable qualities of goodness, mercy, and forbearance. Our love to others, must be generous and disinterested, unconsined by partial and limited views; and, with respect to its object, bountisul even as that of God himself. We must be ready to commiserate the wretched ; we must show forbearance to the injurious, and a hearty good-will to our enemies. Ab the precept in the text, however, is introduced by; our Saviour as the conclusion of his iphole foregoing discourse, in which he vindicates the moral law from the misrepresentations of the Jewish teachers; and as persection, in the language of scripture, is used to signify every moral excellence, we hope it will not be thought foreign to the design of«nr Lord,- if we consider it in this extensive view, viz..