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FOURTH FRAGMENT.

"ON LUKEWARMNESS.

THE lukewarm are of two forts. The first will speak against enormities, but plead for little fins--will go to church and facrament, but also to plays, races and shews-will read the bible, and also romances and trilling books. They will have family prayer, at least on Sundays, but after it unprofitable talk, evil speak. ing, and worldly conversation. They plead for the church, yet leave it for a card party, a pot companion, or the fire fide. They think they are almost good enough, and they, who aim at being better, are (to be Jure) hypocrites. They are under the power of all. ger, evil desire and anxious care ; but fuppofe all inen are the same, and talk much of being saved by true repentance and doing all they can. They undervalue Chrift, extol morality and good works, and do next to none. They plead for old customs : they will do as their fathers did, though ever so contrary to the word of God ; and whatever hath not custom to plead for it, though ever so much recommended in fcripture, is accounted by them a herefy. They are greatly afraid of being too good, and of making too much ado about their souls and eternity ; they will be sober, but not enthusiasts. The fcriptures they quote most, and un. derftand least are, Be not righteous over much-God's mercies are over all his works-There is a time for all things, &c. They call themselves by the name of Christ, but worship Baal.

The second sort of lukewarn persons affent to all the whole bible, talk of repentance, faith and the new birth, commend holiness, plead for religion, use the outward means, and profefs to be and to do more than others. But they yield to careleffness, self indulgence, fear of man, dread of reproach, and of loss, hatred of the cross, love of ease, and the falle pleasures of a vain

imagination. These fay, do, and really suffer many things : but res thort of the true change of heart, the one thing needful being still lacking. They are as the foolish virgins, without oil-as the man not having on the wedding garment.

Of these the Lord hath faid, He will spew them out of his mouth: But, Why so severe a sentence ? Because, 1. Christ will have a man hearty, and true to his principles ; he looks for truth in the inward parts. As a consistent character he commended even the unjust steward. 2. Religion admits of no lukewarmnets, and it is by men of this character, that his name is blafphemed. 3. A bad servant is worse than a careless neighbour, and a traitor, in the guise of a friend, is more hateful and more dangerous than an open enemy : Judas was more infamous than Pi. late. 4. The cold have nothing to trust to, and harlots and publicans enter into the kingdom of hea. ven, before moral or evangelical pharisees, who, in different degrees, know their Master's will, and do it not: They shall be beaten with many stripes.

FIFTH FRAGMENT.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed

on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Isa. xxvi. 3.

. THE very centre of Chrlian religion is union with Christ, and the receiving him as our all ; in other words called faith, or a staying our minds on him. To the doing this, there are many hinderances, but the two greatest and most general ones are,

First, The want of self-knowledge : this keeps ninety-nine out of one hundred from Christ. They know not, or rather feel not, that they are blind, naked, leprous, helpless, and condemned ; that all · their works can make no atonement, and that nothing they can do will fit them for heaven. When this is truly known, the first grand hinderance to our union with Christ is removed.

The second is, The want of understanding the gospel of Christ:* the want of seeing therein the firm foundation given us for this pure and simple faith, the only folid ground of staying our souls on God. We must remember, that the gospel is good news, and not be flow of heart to believe it. Christ receiveth finners, he undertaketh their whole concern; he giveth not only repentance, but remillion of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He creates them anewhis love first makes the bride, and then deligthes in her. The want of viewing Christ in this light, as the Author and Finisher of our falvation, hinders the poor humble penitent from, cafting himself wholly on the Lord although he hath said, Cost thy burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.

I do not mention fin, for fin is the very thing, which · renders man the object of Christ's pity. Our lins will never turn away the heart of Christ from us, for they brought him down from heaven to die in our place ; and the reason, why iniquity separates between God and our fouls, is because it turns our eyes from him, and thuts up in us the capacity of receiving those beams of love, which are ever descending upon and offering themselves to us. But sin fincerely lamented, and brought by a constant act of faith and prayer before the Lord, shall be foon consumed, as the thorns laid close to a fire ; only let us abide thus waiting, and the Lord will pass through them and burn them up together.

When the soul feels its own helpessness, and re. ceives the glad tidings of the gospel, it ventures upon Christ ; and though the world, the flesh, and the devil pursue, so that the soul feeis often to be on the brink of ruin, it has still only to listen to the gospel, and venture on Christ, as a drowning mạn on a single plank, with, “I can but perish," reinembering these

words, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thve, because he trusteth in thee..

The confequences of thus truiting is, that God keeps the foul from its threefold enemy-defends it in temptation, in periecution, in heaviness. Through all, it finds power to repose itself on Christ-to say, * God shall choose my inheritance for me.” Here the Christian finds peace with God, peace with hin. felf, and peace with all around him the peace of pardon, the peace of holiness; for both are obtained by faying the mind on Christ. He walks in the perpetual recollection of a prefent God, and is not disturbed by any thing. If he feels sin, he carries it to the Saviour, and if in heaviness, through manifold temptations he still holds fast his confidence he is above the region of cloud 3.

The carelet's finner is not to be exhorted to trust in Christ; it would be to cast pearls before swine. Be. fore an act of faith, there must be 21 act of self de, pair ; before filling, there must be emptiness. Js this thy character? Then suffer me to take away thy falle props. Upon what dost thou stay thy soul? Thy • honesty, morality, humility, doing good, using the means, business, friends, confused thoughts of God's mercy? This will vever do. Thou must be brought to say, What shall I do to be saved ? Without trembling at God's word, thou canít not receive Christ. Nothing Thort of love will do.

The penitent needs, and, blessed be God, has every encouragement. You have nothing but finit is time you thould understand the gospel. You see yourself linking---Christ is with you. You despair of yourself---hope in Christ. You are overcome---Christ conquers. Self condemned..-he abfolves. Why do not you believe? Is not the ineffinger, the word, the Spirit of God, sufficient? You want a joy unspeakable.--the way to it is by thus waiting patiently upoli 'God. Look to Jesus : he speaks peace ; abide looking, and your peace Thall How as a river. .

SIXTH FRAGMENT.

Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said unto them, Is it true o

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my Gods, nor worship the golden image, that I have set up? Dan. iii. 14.*

IN this chapter we have an account of those worthies, who quenched the violence of the fire. Observe, 1. The dedication of the image. 11. The three children accused and arraingned. III. Soothed and threatened, but preferring death to fin, God's law to the king's, faith to honour and profit. IV. Nebuchadnezzar's anger, their punishment, and deliverance. V. The effect it had on the king.

This account may be applied to the trials of God's children in all ages. The god of this world fets up, in oppfition to the gospel, three images : the first, a golden image, profit ; the second, an airy image, honour; the third, a beautiful, alluring image, plea

fure.

The first, profit, is worshipped by setting our af. fections upon it, by making it the prime, if not fole object of our thoughts, and the Lord even of our Sabbaths.' We bow down to this golden image, by unjust dealing, running in debt without taking care to discharge it, choosing rather to wound our conscience than our pocket ;' by countenancing or suffering evil for filthy lucre's fake, forgetting that, The love of money is the root of all evil.

The second, honour, is worshipped, when we desire the applause of inen, or shrink from-duty, for fear of their rage or contempt.

The third, pleasure, when we indulge'the flesh, by excessive eating and drinking, by uncleanness, vain shews and heathenish sport's ; when we delight our. selves in dreis, furniture, our person, &c. In a word,

• Preached at Madeley on the Wake Sunday A. D. 1763.

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