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come to the mind that longs for communion with God are these little seasons of respite.
4. The subject will lead us to reflect with the Psalmist on the wondrous mechanism of our natures, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvellous is thy loving kindness, O Lord." There is one noted instance on record of a physician who was an infidel, till he had occasion to dissect a human body. He then declared that he could be an infidel no longer; that he saw in the structure of the body the traces of the finger of God. But we may all know enough to make us ashamed of our infidelity, without the aid of surgical instruments, or operations. When we think of our bodies, how delicately strung, how easily injured, how liable to disease, and yet, ordinarily, how healthy and how firm, we can ascribe it only to God,
Our life contains a thousand springs,
And dies if one be gone ;
Should keep in tune so long.
But when we rise higher and contemplate the union of the soul and body, and survey the delicate ligatures that bind them together, the mind finds an enlarged field of dignified and pious contemplation. The numerous inlets of pleasure; the varied appetites finding their full enjoyment in the temperate use of the good things that God has strewed about our path; and our varied diseases finding their cure or their alleviations, in specifics that grow under our feet, and in addition to these the pleasures of those very sicknesses that were added in mercy; how loudly do they proclaim the beneficence of God.
5. To be thankful, then, would seem a first law of nature. And to be ungrateful, a charge brought against the whole heathen world, was adding as the last item to the climax of our degradation and ruin. A people rational, sensitive, and immortal, if they have no revelation of God, and no hopes of a future blessedness beyond the grave, should not have been pronounced ungrateful :
“ The brutes obey thy will,
And bow their necks to men ;
Reject thine easy reign."
It has always been the wish of the enemies of truth, to amalgamate the church with the world. They gain by this means, in their estimation, several distinct, and important advantages. Hence a gospel is current, that bends all its efforts, to do away the distinctions, between God's people, and the men of the world. The Christian character is let down, till all its beauty, and all its honours are in the dust. It is plead that the Christian need not differ widely from other men. He
retain his evil heart of unbelief, may pursue the world as he has done, may cultivate the same pride of character, may bury himself in scenes of dissipation, and may be, in all respects, the same man of the world, as previously to his hope and his profession. If he should sometimes be profane, and occasionally gamble, and be habitually hard, bordering upon roguery, in his commerce, and trifle with Scripture, and sing a merry song, or be overtaken by any vice that is fashionable, that is not low and vulgar; all this is permitted to affix no stain upon his Christian character.
He may be in full league with the guilty population of the apostacy, need perform no duties, nor embrace any doctrines, not relished by the ungodly, nor encompass himself with any of that sacredness of character that brings a sword. Thus the man of God is robbed of every feature of holiness, that can possibly distinguish
him from the mass of the ungodly; and the men of the world have only to adopt the creed, and make oath to the covenant, and come to the consecrated table, and the work is done.
They need have no knowledge of that new birth, which the Lord Jesus pressed upon Nicodemus; need not be translated out of darkness into marvellous light, and from the power of sin and Satan unto God; need not disturb themselves with repentance, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, nor exhibit that transformation of character which shall evince them risen with Christ, and seeking those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Thus the Lord Jesus is made to martial a band of miscreants. He has the attitude of a rebellious prince, who mingles with a multitude of rebels, enlists them under his banner, demanding neither loyalty nor duty, and winks at all the deeds of wrong and of outrage which they have committed against the throne and the kingdom. In pursuing the subject, I shall give a Scriptural account of the secluded character of believers, and show, that their amalgamation with the world, would both injure them, and the ungodly with whom they are associated.
I. I am to give a Scriptural account of the secluded character of the believer. Said an apostle, to those who believe in Christ, and to whom he is precious, “ Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into marvellous light.” And said another apostle, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial ? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you ; and will be a father unto you,
shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” I have made this long quotation, because almost every clause bespeaks the secluded character of the believer.
Said our Lord to his disciples, “ If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore 'shall the world hate you.”. Often did he say, that none could be his disciples, but such as would deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow him..
Now the very idea of a church, implies a secluded and peculiar people. Why have any creed, or covenant, or discipline, but that God's people must have a character, and perform duties, and sustain relationships, that belong not to the world at large. I know there is a sense in which they must both grow together until the harvest. God's people must stay in this world till they have ripened for heaven; but they may be in the world, and still be the secluded, and retiring, and peculiar, and heavenly-minded people, which God requires them to be.
Hence to amalgamate the church with the world, is to thwart the divine plan, and join what God has sundered. The purpose of God to give his people at last a world by themselves, and publicly separate them from