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be not after Christ, it shows them to be neither taught of the Father, nor drawn by the Son. Many run hard, even in ways of religion, who are yet out of the way to heaven, being ignorant of him who is “ THE WAY." Many run hard for the life of their souls, who are in danger of losing all, not knowing nor receiving Christ, who is our life. They run from duty to duty; but it is a seeking of salvation, not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law. It is not after him they run, and therefore they run without salvation. But let the eye of faith, believers, ever dwell on Jesus; and ye shall run in comfort, and not in vain. If any ask, why ye so run, tell them, that, to work out a justifying righteousness, is not your aim ;--tell them, that ye seek to win Christ, and to be found in him, not having your own righteousness. Why then so run ? Tell them, that having tasted that the Lord is gracious, ye cannot but run to see his glory above, and to be for ever with the Lord.
2. There is no running after Christ, but according to his example, and in the way of the divine commandments. When we promise to “ run after Christ," what do we mean by it, but a greater engagement of soul in the principles and practice of a holy
life, an ardour of faith, that keeps him constantly in view ; together with a more zealous conformity to him in righteousness and true holiness. The principle of faith rests on Christ fully and at once, for salva. tion; the walk of faith is a going from duty to duty, after the example, and according to the precepts of our divine Forerunner, who hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps. According to the ardour of our faith, and in proportion to our zeal in going about the duties of a holy life, we may be said to walk, or run. The everlasting way is laid open before us, and every step we take in it is a step of duty in an exercise of faith. Duties without faith will not carry us forward, and faith without duties is a dream, which the stroke of death, or the sound of the last trumpet will fearfully dispel ! Ye who look unto Jesus, run in the everlasting way; if ye keep to it, your progress, though insensible, shall be sure; but to deviate from it, is to stumble and fall, to the retarding of your progress, and the wounding of your peace. If ye are out of the way of duty to God or man, you cannot see Jesus in such a course, for he is not in the devious path. Nothing is there but the enemy and the destroyer.
And while we press upon you the example of Christ, remember that your own example, good or bad, will have a moral influ. ence on others around you : children or servants are not likely to run faster than their parents or masters. The people will think it enough to keep pace with their pastor, and will hardly reckon it duty to outrun him. If you sit down, some others will follow the example; if you stand still, others also will cease to run; or, if you turn aside, or turn back, it will seldom be done without misleading other men. In fine, your example may be an inducement to much good or much evil to many; and let that consideration have its constraining influence to urge you forward in the right way.
Finally-While ye address yourselves to the race set before you, if ye would run well therein, lay aside every weight, break sinful attachments, throw off cumbrous burdens, that would impede you in the way. How many might advance with greater freedom and comfort of mind, but for the superfluities of worldly cares that they will not cast away! They fear, where no fear is have care about the past, and cares for to-morrow, lest they should perish for want by the way, or languish for desirable means of enjoyment, or should be unable to bequeath, to their children an adequate provision for the journey of life! Vain solicitudes. Run ye after Christ, in simplicity and godly sincerity, and fear not; the Lord will provide.
And here we might notice the insincerity of some, who loudly profess a great value for drawing grace, and wish that they could run as they once did, or as do some others that they have in view, seeming much to lament their stationary state. We try to show them Christ, and the sufficiency of his drawing power to bring them onwards, as well as others that are far before; but no movement is made. We look more closely at their ways, and we perceive one hand, indeed, in the attitude of suppliance, as it were soliciting to be drawn; but the other hand has a firm hold of some present and forbidden object, and will not let it go. They are fast bound to some lust of the flesh, to some lust of the eye, some display of pride, or some company of worldly associates, which they will not forgo for Christ. They are chained to some worldly object, adhering to it with a most sinful, though a voluntary attachment; and hence they cannot run, nor even walk, but so far as the chain permits them.
My friends, be not ye as they. Heaven is before you, Christ is the way; be up, and so run that ye may attain. We have shown the believer's sentiment in prayer, and his resolution to run; but something more remains to be shown in another discourse, namely, how the prayer in the text is answered; without which, our subject would lack both instruction and comfort to those who are seeking a better country. In the meantime, there is nothing we more fervently desire for you all, than that the language and sentiment of the text should be yours in truth. Amen.