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3. We are here taught, that we have no occasion to run from place to place, in order to find the
grace of God, for we may obtain it in any place, where his Providence calls us.
We are not to imagine, that the spirit of God is poured out in such, or such a place, and no where else ; and that, in order to obtain a portion of the spirit, we must go to such a place, hear such a preacher, or join with such an assembly. The kingdom of God comes not with observation ; neither shall men have occasion to say, Lo, it is here; or, lo, it is there : For the spirit is not confined to certain places; its influences are not at human disposal, nor do its operations come with publick observation. The gospel is a' ministration of the spirit. Where God sends the former, he sends also the latter. You are to receive the spirit in the hearing of faith. Its influence on the heart is not like an overbearing storm, but as the gentle rain on the tender herb, and the dew on the grass.
We are to attend on the ordinances which God has appointed, in the place which his providence points out, hoping for a blessing in the way which his wisdom has prescribed. Here we are to lift up holy hands, not doubting of his readiness to give his spirit to them who ask him, in this place, as well as another. If they say, See here, or, see there ; go not after them, nor follow them, for the kingdom of God is among you. God grants his grace in his own way; and when in his way wę seek, we may be sure to find.
4. We learn from our subject, that true religion. is not ostentatious. It seeks not observation.
The true Christian is exemplary, but not vain. He is careful to maintain good works, but affects not an unnecessary show of them. He does nothing through vain glory, but thinks and acts with lowliness of mind. He will not put hiinself fora ward, or take upon him to censure and dictate, Conscious of his numerous imperfections, he hopes humbly, reproves gently, hears reproof patiently, judges charitably, and shews out of a good conver. sation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Real religion begins in selfabasement, in a con. viction of sin, sense of unworthiness, and reliance on free mercy. The same humble temper, in which it begins, accompanies its future works. The Christian, after his highest improvements, remembers what he was once, a guilty creature, exposed to wrath. He considers, that from this deplorable condition he was recovered by the sove. reign grace of God. He reckons not himself to have already, attained, or to be already made perfect; but he presses toward the mark for the prize of the high calling, He glories not in his aitain. ments, but laments his deficiencies. When he compares himself with other Christians, he is in: clined to hope them better than himself. His language is not-God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men ; but, God be merciful' to me a sinner. In the performance of duty he seeks not the observation of men, but the approbation of God. If he perceives a regard to human opplause creeping in, and mingling itself with spiritual duties, he abhors himself, laments the remaining corruption of his heart, prays for grace to cleanse him from it, and keeps his soul with greater diligence. If he sees reason to rejoice in a consciousness of his integrity, he acknowledges with the apostle, By the grace of God, I am what I am.
5. It appears, that they only are the true subjects of God's kingdom, who have experienced its powe er on their hearts.
A religion, that is merely external, will carry none to the world of glory. Let us then inquire, what influence the gospel has within us.
We profess to believe its divinity and importance. Have we felt its transforming power? Are we governed by its doctrines, and conformed to its
precepts? Have we received the kingdom of God as little children, with a meek, humble, teachable, and obedient spirit ? Have we been taught by the grace of God to deny ourselves.? Are our wills subjected to God's anthority, and our affections raised to heavenly objects? If we are strangers to this internal operation of the gospel, then it has only come near to us; but we have not received it. How great is our guilt ?
To us the word of salvation is sent ; and it will not return empty. It will not leave us, as it found us. It will have some mighty effect. If it is not a savour of life unto life, it will be a savour of death unto death. If we treat with contempt the gospel of the grace of God, our condemnation will be more dreadful than if we never had known it. We are then in a most solemn situation ; guilty and worthy of death, under the offer of pardon, on trial whether we will accept it. The issue of our probation will be an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, or everlasting misery, aggravated beyond conception by a contempt of offered salvation. Bes hold ye despisers, and wonder, and perish,-God will perform a work, which you will not believe, though one declare it to you.
6. As the kingdom of God comes not to the heart with observation, we are incompetent judges of the characters of others.
It is a great thing to know our own hearts; impossible for us to know the hearts of others. God only knows the hearts of all the children of
Therefore judge nothing before the time, till the Lord come, who will bring to light the hid. den things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart. And happy they, who then shall have praise of God. In the mean time, let us not judge and condemn one another ; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block, or occasion to fall, in his brother's way. Why should we judge and set at nought our brother? We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Since we cannot look into the hearts of our brethren, we must hope all things, and leave the decision of their state to him, whose judgment is according to truth. We are not to exclude men from our charity and fellowship on mere suspicion, or for want of the highest evidence of sincerity; but whoever professes subjection to the kingdom of Christ, and contradicts not that profession by an ungodly life, him we must receive as a fellow citizen with the saints, and of the household of God. Let us therefore be likeminded one toward another, ac. cording to Christ Jesus ; and receive one another as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Let us comfort and encourage one another, as fellow workers to the kingdom of God,' unite our influence to increase the number of his subjects, and to enlarge the extent of his kingdom on earth, and, in all things walk worthy of him, who has call. ed us to his kingdoin and glory.
Innumerable gone to the Grave, and every Man
drawing after them.
Јов, xxi. 8.
And coery man skall draw after him, as there are innumerable
before him. The main purpose of Job's discourse in the preceding verses, and indeed through a great part of this book, is to shew, that no judgment can be formed of men's characters by the present dispensations of Providence toward them; for good men often meet with great calamities in the course of their life ; and some are early cut off by the hand of violence; and wicked men, on the other hand, as often prosper in their worldly designs, live to old age, and go down to the grave by a natural death ; and consequently we must look for another state, in which an equitable distribution of rewards and punishments may take place.
He particularly observes concerning death, which is the greatest of worldly evils, and the most dreaded by the sons of men, that it is appointed, not as a punishment merely for a few distinguished