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but by longing for a participation of it; and praying with one, who though a king himself, yet overlooking all his earthly advantages, kneeled and said, “ Remember me, O Lord, with the favour thou bearest unto thy people: oh visit me with thy salvation, that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, and glory with thine inheritance."
Let this be your concern—let it be your supreme concern—" Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.”—And let it be your immediate concern. You cannot be happy too soon : and while you hesitate, and linger, the opportunity may. be irrecoverably lost " Seek the Lord while he may be found ; call upon him while he is near.” And for your encouragement, be persuaded that you will not, cannot seek him in vain.
All things are now ready. Rise, he calleth thee-and says,
66 Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”
How ought we to conduct ourselves towards those that are in Christ?
Surely if they have little of earthly distinction, they should be judged of by their treasure in heaven.
Whatever they are in themselves, their destination, their rank, their relation should ensure them respect. They are to be valued for his sake with whom they are one ; and shall be one for ever. In consequence of this union, if we slight and injure them, he feels it as if done to himself: “ He that touches them, touches the apple of his eye.” In the same way, he regards our attentions and kindnesses to them, as if they were favours conferred upon himself : 66 Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me."
Finally. How ought they that are in Christ to conduct themselves? How cheerfully, how gratefully ought you to feel! Once far off, and now nigh! Once strangers and enemies, and now fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God! Once having nothing, now possessing all things! You have had much forgiven-you should love much. He has done great things for you—you should largely inquire, what can you do for him ; and, by the mercies of God, present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service.” O you, who live by this Saviour, make him known. Recommend him. Begin with your own family. You are concerned to provide for your children. But how is your love operating? Is it not in laying up for them treasure on earth ? or seeking great things for them in the world ? It would be infinitely better to leave them in Christ, than to leave them with thousands of gold and silver, or with kings upon the throne. Forget not your friends, and your neighbours. Hold forth the Word of Life impressively and invitingly to all around you. Teach transgressors his ways, and let sinners be converted unto him. What says the Poet?
“O'tis a Godlike privilege to save :
What says the Apostle ? “ If a man err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." Amen.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE CLOSET.
“Enter into thy closet." -Matt. vi. 6.
THE curiosity and attention of men are awakened by very different excitements, according 'to their temper, and education, and habits in life ; and what is despised by some as worthless, is studied by others with peculiar delight.
But there is really a gradation in the value of objects themselves. The 'works of art display great skill and ingenuity ; but the produetions of nature are much more deserving of our inspection : witness the remark of our Saviour concerning the lilies of the field. Solamon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." But the operations of grace far surpass the results of nature; for they regard the soul and eternity, and display more of the perfections of Deity. Therefore, says David, “Thou has magnified thy word above all thy name." Therefore He himself says, “ Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."
The subjects of divine grace, therefore, are the most interesting characters in our world. Many indeed neglect and despise them; but there is one class of persons, always dear to a minister of Christ, who feel them the most powerfully attractive. They are those, who, roused to a sense of their danger, are exclaiming, “What must I do to be saved ?”—who, longing to return to him from whom they have revolted, are inquiring, “ How shall I come before the Lord, and bow before the high God ?”—who, bound for the glory to be revealed, are “asking the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward.” If you were going a journey of great difficulty, and yet of unspeakable importance ; and you were in company with a multitude of individuals, he amongst them all, who had travelled the road himself, would be the man of your preference; and you would endeavour to get near, and converse with him. To a suffering patient, the most engaging person he could meet with, next to the physician—for none would bear a comparison with him-would be the man who had himself laboured under the same complaint, and could tell of the manner in which the remedy is applied ; and whose own recovery would be a living voucher not only of its safety, but of its efficacy and success.
In a series of discourses, to bring the CHRISTIAN before you, for your admiring and practical contemplation, last Lord's Day we viewed him In CHRIST : We are this morning to consider him
In the Closet.
Wonder not, my Brethren, that we bring forward this view of the Christian, so early. By this he is distinguished from the commencement of his religious concern. He soon turns aside from the vile and the vain, and bewails himself alone. They cannot enter into his feelings now. They know nothing of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, unless as a subject of wonder or contempt.
He feels his sin to be a burden too heavy for him to bear, and longs for ease; but the “wide world" cannot relieve him, cannot sympathise with him, cannot direct him to 6 the rest and the refreshing." All great sorrow seeks solitude and silence: “He sitteth alone, and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him; he putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.” Did ever language describe the experience of the penitent so beautifully, so feelingly as the words of our heavenly Bard ?
“I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Yes, his chief business now is with God; and this is not to be managed in a crowd : and as this business continues and increases through life, abstraction and retirement will always be desirable, always necessary. His religion cannot flourish-cannot live without it.
Our theme is very extensive. Let us detach from it four things. Let us review the Christian in his Retirement, with regard
1. TO PLACE.