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that I may continue in the same unto my life's end.” Our dependence on the help of God's grace, and the use of prayer as our way to obtain it, will form the subject of a future sermon. Here let us note the thankfulness expressed in our reply. And let us consider how thankful we ought to feel to God, for having called us to this state of salvation, and how thankfully we ought to purpose in our hearts, that by God's help we will believe and do the things promised for us at our baptism.
I scarcely need stay to answer those, who may here be tempted to imagine, that they are not bound by the promises made for them. They surely must be well aware, that if they could get rid of the obligation of these promises, they would also of necessity be stripped of the privileges conferred at the same time; they would lose their title to be members of Christ, children of God, heirs of heaven; they would fall back into their natural state of alienation and enmity towards God; and they would become children of wrath and of perdition. Nay, if they should
thus knowingly, and wilfully, choose the evil, and refuse the good, their condition would be far worse than if they had not known better, their case far more hopeless, their condemnation far more sure, For of whom, if not of them, can these words be written in Scripture, that they have “ counted the blood of the covenant wherewith” they were “ sanctified an unholy thing, and have “ done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?" grace ?” (Heb. 10.
29.) Though however it be far from us to deny, that we are bound to believe and do according to the promises made for us, let us examine, is there no reserve in our hearts, when we answer, “ Yes, verily; and by God's help, so I will ?" Is there no hollow profession on our lips, when we add, that we heartily thank our heavenly Father for this our high and holy calling? Do we stedfastly purpose to do all that He commands, to believe all that He reveals ? Are we heartily resolved that we will cleave and cling to no one thing of those which He requires us to renounce ? Are we really glad that we stand pledged to Him to
renounce them? Are we verily persuaded in our hearts that his commandments are not grievous? Do we feel them, on the contrary, to be good for us to do; yea, are they the very joy of our hearts? If not, we have need to learn our Catechism anew; for in vain have we hitherto repeatedly declared, that we are thankful, when we are not. The “ state of salvation,” to which God has called us, “ through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” is the being saved from sin now, as our way to be saved from misery for ever. Else, why need we pray to God for grace, to continue in the same unto our life's end, if it be not a state of holiness, in which we are to live at present, as well as a state of happiness which we are to enjoy to all eternity ? On both grounds we owe infinite thanks to God. On both grounds we are greatly beholden to those, who brought us into covenant with God by baptism ; at once pledging us to obey Him as his servants, and exalting us to the privilege of loving Him as his
Do we gladly claim the benefits of our admission to that covenant?
also gladly fulfil the duties it entails on us. Are we ready to thank God, and also those who brought us within the compass of his covenanted mercies, for being entitled to the help of grace, and to the hope of heaven? Let us be alike ready, when we are asked whether we think ourselves bound to believe and do as they promised for us, let us be alike ready to reply, honestly, heartily, and unreservedly, “ Yes, verily; and by God's help, so I will."
I have only to add, that I propose to treat, in the second sermon, of the Articles of Belief, in the third and fourth, of the Commandments, and of our duty to God and to our neighbour, in the fifth, of the Lord's Prayer, and in the sixth and seventh, of the two sacraments, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. And may God of his infinite mercy grant, that this form of sound words, which we have known from our childhood upwards, may be made instrumental, through his blessing on the exposition here attempted, to our establishment in faith, and instruction in righteousness, unto our life's end.
THE APOSTLES' CREED.
JOHN 11. 26.
66 Believest thou this ?”
Of the things promised for us at our baptism, the second was this, that we “should believe all the articles of the Christian faith.” What these articles are, we learn in the Apostles' Creed. And we are taught in the question and answer after the Creed, that there are three things which we chiefly learn from these articles of our belief. I propose now to treat of the whole Creed under these three divisions. And as each article of faith comes under our review, I would have all put to themselves the solemn question of the text, “ Believest thou this?” Doubtless all believe, in one sense of the word. For, as the apostle tells us,