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id attend them with diligence! This was the one
ing the Psalmist desired and resolved to seek aster;
r this, his foul panted with the utmost vehemence; flesh thirsted, yea, even sainted for the courts of
e living God. "The King," says the Church, hath brought me into his chambers; we will be glad andurejoice in thee; we will remember thy love more than wine."
3. Let us highly prize and be thanksul for this resence of Christ by his Spirit in ordinances. This what he has expressly promised and encouraged his -iople to alk and expect. This is a blessing suited to aur present state; and is indeed more needsul and ivantageous for you, than Christ's bodily presence ajiie. It is the spirit that animates ordinances, which therwile would be empty shadows and dry breasts; nd, by them, communicates nourishment, strength nd comfort to our souls. In a word, by this spiriual presence, believers are prepared for heaven, raisd to a well-grounded hope of it, and sometimes enroled to rejoice with joy unspeakable and sull'of glory.
4. What reason have we to lament that there is iow so little of this Divine presence experienced in ordinances? May we not say with the Church of >ld, where is thy zeal and thy strength? and the yearnings of thy bowels to us-ward, are they restrained? Our sathers have told us what great things the Lord bath done for them in their day; how he too!; to him his mighty power, and rode forth in glory and majesty; what admirable success attended the preaching of the gospel; and how remarkably the blessed fruits of it appeared in the hearts and lives of its prosessors. But• now, alas! how little of this is to be seen? What a dead,. barren, and backsliding time has it long been amongst us! The golden sbowers have been restrained; the influences of the Spirit suspended; and the consequence has been, that convetsions -are rare aud dubious; sew sons and daughters are
born born to God; and the hearts of Christians are not so quickened, warmed, and refreshed under ordinance* as formerly. In a word, God has been provoked u a great measure to withdraw his presence, and to wiite upon our assemblies, Ichabod, " the glory is depart"ed." And, O, what reason have we to bewail this! and particularly to mourn for our sins, oui unbelief and impenitence, our contempt of the gospel, our earthly-mindedness and barrenness under the means of grace, which are the procuring causes of it.' For, as the prophet tells us, " The Lord's hand is "not shortened that it cannot save; neither is his "ear heavy that he cannot hear;" but our iniqiities have separated between us and our God, and proved ed. him to hide his sace from us.
5. What reason, also, have we to lament that there are so sew amongst us, who serioufly desire and plead for the return of Christ's presence to ordinances Few, alas, are saying with Moses, " I beseech thee sliew me thy glory." The greater part of gospel-hearers seem to be insensible of their spiritual wants; nty too many are blinded with self-opinion. Like iie church of Laodicea, they imagine themselves rich, increased with goods, and standing in need of nothing' Even real Christians themselves, are apt to be secure and slothsul; so that we may almost adopt the pn> phet's complaint against the Jews of old, and apply:1 to ourselves, " There is none that calleth upon thj "name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of theeAnd hence it is that there are so sew amongst us tto are sincerely thirsting for Christ's presence in ordinances; for were we duly sensible of our need of it, of our own blindness and misery without it, wewoijL
Elead more seriously and earnestly with him for IM lessing.
Lq/tly, Let me inrreat and beseech you, that f; would, with all seriousness, and in the most eanK" manner, plead with Christ for the return of his p* fence to ordinances. Ye that make mention of the name of the Lord, cease not day nor night to importune him, till he return and make Jerufalem a praise in the earth. Let us cry to him who is exalted, that he would pour out plentisully of his Holy Spirit upon his word and ordinances; that he would yet grant us days of power from on high, and revive his work in the midst of the years. And O what happiness would this produce amongst us! Then, indeed, would multitudes he converted to Christ, and the citizens of Zion abound: then would the daughters of Jerufalem rejoice, and be glad in their king.
But especially, let us earnestly plead with Christ for his presence with us, when we are assembled together to celebrate the sacred and august ordinance of the Supper. Say to him with Moses, " I beseech "thee, shew me thy glory; if thy presence go not "with us, carry us not up hence." And to excite you to this, consider, that this is a blessing which • may be obtained, as the experience of the faints in all ages abundantly testisies. Consider, alfo, that it is„ abfolutely necessary, in order to your prositing by the means of grace; and that many and great advantages will result to you from the enjoyment os this blessing. It will be a comfortable and fatisfying evidence that God loves you; a blessed mean of transforming you into his image. It will animate and strengthen you to perform the most difficult duties, and resist the most powersul temptations; and sinally, it will qualify and encourage you to come to the holy ordinance of the Supper, of which we have fo near a prospect.
Since, then, the presence of Christ in ordinances is a blessing that may be obtained; since it is fo abfolutely necessary, and productive of such inestimable advantages; let me again intreat you to pray and plead with him for it. And do this with deep humility, under a becoming fense of your own unwor
thiness . thiness, and the greatness of the savour which w aslc. Do it also in saith, depending entirely on the merit of Christ's righteousness; and sinally, with earnestness and servency suitable to the value of the bks
if you are thus humble, serious, and importunate, in pleading with God ; He, who is the hearo of prayer, will certainly regard the voice of youi fupplication; for he hears the desire of the humble, Ids will not forget their cry.
ON THE HAPPINESS OP A PUTTJ-KB STATE*
Matth. xxv. 46. tlx righteous shall go into life eternal.
TT1 Ternal lise is the comprehensive sum of all that good,. that a Tational foul can hope for, or 'inspire aster, as its happiness: And therefore it has pleased the insinitely wise God, in his moral government cf the world, to" propose it as the grand motive and encouragement to all that obedience and service which he requires of us *, an encouragement, indeed, fo truly great, fc reward -fo transcendently glorious, that it may well animate us to encounter and overcome all the difficulties in the Christian journey, not only with patience and fortitude, but with alacrity and joy. This reward the text offers to our view, as the great object of our faith and hope, the noble prize for which we are to contend, and the happy issue with which all our sufferings and lahours in religion shall be sinally crowned: For the righteous shall go into lise eternal.
Our Blessed Saviour having, from the 31st verse of this chapter, given a vcry lively and affecting description of his coming to judgment; having declared thel 21 seatencg