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“ of teeth” there will be, when "ye shall
see Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, and all “ the prophets in the kingdom of heaven, " and you yourselves thrust out!” Think what it will be to be outcasts from the glorious mansions of the blessed, and from all share and fellowship in their joy and felicity,—to be for ever consigned to the realms of misery and despair, the place prepared for the devil and his angels,—to enduré unutterable torments, both in body and soul, and that for ever, -to dwell with everlasting burnings, and have no rest day nor night! And “ see“ing, therefore, beloved, ye know these " things before, beware lest ye also, being “ led away with the error of the wicked, “ fall from your own stedfastness.” But rather 66
in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 6. Christ, whom to know is eternal life."
You have now heard, my friends, your duty and your danger, the snares to which you are exposed, and the reasons that should determine you to cleave with purpose of heart unto the Lord.
Learn from what has been said to guard against the beginnings of spiritual
declension. It is generally by slow and insensible degrees that men fall from the faith and profession of the gospel. It is often by indulging a proud and captious spirit-byimproper compliances with the customs and manners of those around them," by forsaking the assembling of “ themselves together,”-by the neglect or careless performance of secret devotion,or by needlessly associating with those who are destitute of the life and
of godliness ;—it is, I say, by such means as these, that those awful backslidings begin, which terminate in a total and final apostacy. 66 Watch and pray,
pray, therefore, 6 that ye enter not into temptation.” Shun the occasions of sin. 66 Abstain “ from all appearance of evil.”
I speak to some, no doubt, who have experienced very serious impressions of divine truth. Nay, perhaps there are none hearing me, who at one period of their lives have not seen something of their guilt and misery as sinners, and felt considerable uneasiness concerning the safety of their soul. I ask, my brethren, if any of you have stifled these convictions? If so, let me exhort, let me
charge, let me beseech you, as you value your everlasting peace, to do so no longer. Take the alarm in time.“ Con“ victions of sin and danger,” says an eminent writer *, “ are the means which “ God employs for bringing us out of 6 darkness into his marvellous light.' “ Oh! then, resist not, quench not the “ working of the Spirit. It may be the « first dawn of that light in your soul, 56 which, if suffered to increase, may ne
ver be extinguished. It may be the “ first spark of that heavenly fire, which,
if not at present smothered, will burn “ for ever.” Improve this, and all the means which the wisdom of God hath appointed for your recovery from backsliding, and for your establishment in the ways of truth and holiness.
In particular, “ let the love of Christ “ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Search the Scriptures daily, not as a task or lesson, but with reverence and attention, and earnest desire to profit. Avoid bad company, by which I mean, not only the company of the dissolute and pro• The Rev. Edward Cooper's Practical and Familiar Ser
fane, but of those also, who are enemies to serious religion, and strangers to the power of godliness. In the intercourse of life, it is impossible, I acknowledge, altogether, to avoid their society ; but do not choose such for your bosom friends and companions. This advice, which is necessary for all, ought to be peculiarly attended to by the young. “ O my soul, “ come not thou into their secret ; unto “ their assembly be not thou united. He " that walketh with the wise, shall be “ wise ; but a companion of fools shall “ be destroyed. Cease, my son, to hear " the instruction that causeth thee to 66 err from the words of knowledge.” On the other hand, cultivate the society and friendship of those who love the name, bear the image, and obey the laws of the Saviour. In the time of very general apostacy, we read, that “ they who feared “ the Lord, spake often one to another, " and the Lord hearkened and heard it; " and a book of remembrance was writ« ten before him for them that feared the “ Lord, and thought upon his name.”
Finally, my brethren,“ be strong in the " Lord, and in the power of his might.
“ Pray with all prayer and supplication “ in the Spirit, watching thereunto with “ all perseverance.”. Never forget, that your perseverance in the faith and holiness of the gospel is a necessary evidence of the truth and sincerity of your profession ; and that as they who run in a race with the hope of winning the prize must continue to run till they reach the goal, that if they stop in the way, they have run so far in vain,-so it is in the Christian race. Believers, accordingly, are exhorted to give all diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. They are commanded to work out their salvation with fear and trembling,—to gird up the loins of their minds,—not to sleep as do others, but to watch and be sober, -to run with patience the race set before them,-and forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Remember that your path is beset with dangers; that you are surrounded with foes who watch for your halting ; that even in the bed of death your faith