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"O my people, what have I döne unto «« thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? “ testify against me.”
I. The people of God sometimes grow weary of him : that is, they act as if they were weary of his service.
This was eminently the case with Israel, especially the ten tribes, though they were indebted to him for their national existence, their country, their privileges civil and religious, their blessings temporal and spiritual. They forsook him repeatedly, even the Rock of their salvation, and followed after dumb idols, those lying vanities of the heathen. Though acquainted with God's acceptable worship, they devised a worship of their own, which dishonoured him. They broke his laws, trampled under foot his ordinances, and assimilated, in their whole deportment, to the nations who knew not God.
Thus also the professing people of God under the Gospel oeconomy, in various ways, act as if they were weary of his service. They do so,
First, When they are careless about their growth in grace.
This is a talent committed to us by
God for our improvement. It includes in it the possession of all those virtuous and holy principles which dignify our nature and qualify us for heaven. The cultivation of these, to their highest degree of maturity, is an important and indispensable duty. To fulfil it, requires all the attention, diligence, watchfulness, and perseverance, of which we are capable. When we consider our natural proneness to evil, the number of our enemies, the art they use and the power they possess to seduce us from the ways of the Lord, we cannot but see at once the danger as well as folly of carelessness about our own advancement in the divine life.
Men, in worldly matters which they conceive interesting and necessary for their temporal benefit, set us a good example. With what eagerness and assiduity do the son of science, the slave of ambition, and the votary of pleasure, press on, each in his pursuit, that he may enjoy more of what he loves ! If one or other stop in his career, without being disabled from going on, it is an evidence that such have become weary of their idols. So with the professed followers of Jesus Christ, to halt when they ought to ad, vance, displays a state of mind which is alarming. It is halting in knowledge, in righteousness, in holiness, in moral excellence. It is neglecting the things that are true, that are honest, that are just, that are pure, that are lovely, that are of good report. Thus to do, manifests an indisposition to be more perfectly reconciled to God in heart, to love him more ardently, and trust in him more firmly. It indicates the strength of indwelling sin, and the prevalence of temptations from without. The flesh sighs, What a weariness it is to be always watching, always fighting, always labouring! The spirit listens to the flesh, and, seduced by it, ceases to act as master, and becomes servant. Now improper thoughts arise, which are not checked with promptness ; desires are excited, which meet no sufficient resistance ; passions begin to rage, which heretofore were tame; appetites are awakened, which long had lain dormant. Spiritual perception is obscured, and spiritual taste vitiated. The disorder of the mind soon affects the deportment in a sensible manner. The closet is almost deserted, or entered with reluctance; self-examination
is neglected, or performed in haste - and slightly; the word is read or heard with listlessness, and little profit; and the whole service of God appears a weariness.
Secondly, When professing believers, in their public conduct, keep out of view the discriminating features of the Gospel, they act as if they were weary of God's service.
He has plainly pointed out, in his word, the path of duty for them, as well as revealed to them the subjects of their faith. They are as lights in the world, and should so shine before their fellow-men, that others seeing their good works, may glorify their Father who is in heaven. Their example ought ever to be worthy of the cause they advocate, and of the Master they serve. How inconsistent would it be for a wise man to act as a fool, or an old man as a child! Equally inconsistent is it for a believer to act as an unbeliever, or a traveller to heaven like one whose views and hopes are confined to earth. Every description of men have a character to sustain, and a part to act on the theatre of life. The character of a believer is that of an heir of glory; his part is to live godly in Christ Jesus. The line of conduct VOL. II.
he ought to pursue in his intercourse with the world, is such that all may take notice of him that he has been with Jesus. Moral honesty is not alone sufficient, nor temperance, nor chastity, nor generosity, nor any of those virtues which men without grace externally display. In addition to these are virtues which the world derides, and of which the unbeliever can form no distinct or correct idea ; such as, “ glorying in the “ cross of Christ, crucifixion to the world, “ looking to the things which are not seen
“ which are eternal, poverty of spirit, - 6 lowliness of mind, patient continuance
“ in well doing,” denying selfish principles and feelings, mortification of the desires of corrupt nature, simple dependance upon the naked promises of the living God, with others of the same nature. These are Christian virtues, which men calling themselves Christians ought to practise openly and boldly, at all times, and under all circumstances, over and above the moral virtues. When they, on the contrary, satisfy themselves with the latter, omitting the former whenever they can without outraging their profession, wherein do they differ from