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evil-spoken of; and the real standard of self-examination, “ whether Christ be in you,” is thrown down, and trodden under foot ; and they, who would repair and raise it, traduced as “ legalists, trufl. ing in themselves, depending upon their frames and feelings :” as if they produced fome strange heretical doctrine, because after Christ, they urge, “ The kingdom of God is within you,” confisting faith St Paul, of “ righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ;' which whosoever hath, must feel. Therefore the same Apostle makes his appeal, “ Know ye not your ownselves, that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates," i. e, unapproved of God!
Hence, my advice is the more necessary for all who would not deceive their own souls, any more than give occasion to the enemies of God to say, “ Alas! where is now their God! We fee no difference !” No, it is impossible that this difference should be perceived in the unregenerate. How can the corrupt tree bring forth the good fruit of a Christian life? Let the tree be made good by regeneration, and then that fruit will appear, but not otherwise, though all the art of man be engaged to produce it. Therefore it is, that Chrift so strongly insists upon conversion, " Except ye be converted, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of God!" and upon regeneration, “ Except a man (every man) be born. again, he shall not see the kingdom of God!” And none but those who believe, are, or can be, born of God. Therefore I advise you to see to it, that you be believers : that you be really united to Christ by living faith; truly ingrafted into him by be. lieving. So shall ye bring forth fruit unto God; unto holiness; and become proper subjects for the work in my text: of the numa ber of those to whom I may with propriety address my
ad. Point, by intreating you, as believers, to know your calling, and the privileges, to which it entitles you; viz. To be holy; to perfect holinels.
That this is your calling, dearly beloved, is clear, 1. From all the dissuasives (if I may lo speak) used in the Bible. 2. From all the persuasives, or exhortations, in the same blessed book: To which I must add, those of good and holy men in every age, from the beginning of the world to this present day. And you will forgive me, if I here for once attempt to magnify my office to you for whom this little plain labour is chiefly designed. You, my brethren, the Methodists of every description. And, to say the truth, scarcely ever was more labour and pains bestowed upon any people, than by our late worthy and ever to be remembered Friend and Father in Christ, upon you, to make you see you were indeed called to be a holy people, in all manner of conversation and god. Jiness. Oh! what pains, what labour did he bestow, from the pulpit and the press, in public and in private, to make you a holy people: to perfect you in holiness. How did he travel as in the birth for you, that Christ might thus be formed in you! that he
might present you without spot and blameless, before Him at liis appearing!
And what can any one say unto you, to demonstrate that this is your calling, the privilege, the great, the glorious Gospel privi lege, to which you are entitled as believers in Chrift, which lie. has not faid, who being dead yet speaketh unto you, by his living, bis dying labours. To them I refer you. To regard them, I charge you, for Christ's fake, and for your own souls' fake. As you will meet him before the Judge of quick and dead, see that ye be holy : that you perfect holiness : that you stop not short of that perfection in holiness, which he has set so clearly before you, in his fermons and other works above referred 10, all which were compiled and published for your fake's.
O my Brethren, ny companions ( some of you for more than forty years, as fellow-members of the fame despised Society; others for nearly the same time in an itinerant capacity): for us was his mouth ihus opened, his heart so enlarged! We were indeed not straitened in him, and fhall we be so in our own bowels ? God forbid! No; for a recompense of the fame spirit, let our mouths be opened, and our hearts enlarged: that we may declare, and with all our powers enforce the fame blessed privilege upon all to whom God sends us; and let us never be ashamed of this part of the Gospel of Chritt, but may our hearts be so enlarged after it, that we may feelingly ing,
“ Our souls break out in strong desire
To be dillolv'd in love." So shall the Lord whom we fo feck, fuddenly come to his temple; and enable us to say boldly of this also, “ The things we have feen, the things we have heard, and that our hands have handled of this word of life, declare we unto you, that your fellowship berein may be with us, (who are so renewed through Grace in the image of Him who created us) whose fellowship is uninterrupted with the Father and the Son;" thus my very dear friends and beloved brethren, shall we indeed be the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, while we are in it; and we fhall be his crown of rejoicing, (who led us this way, on that blessed day, when we shall greet each other on the happy shore, and join ihe innumerable choir in giving glory to HIM, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own Blood; and to the Father, for ever. Even so, AMEN. · Being thus like-minded with our elder brethren, yea, with our Lord, we fhall shew 10 all believers, that they are called, not to uncleanness, but to holiness: that the will of God is their fancti. fication, their entire fanétification ; that they should be perfect as their Father which is in Heaven is perfect, seeing they are called to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peclia
Chriftotcllions thare its primith God. ar be
liar people! that they may shew forth the praises of him who haik called them out of darkness into his marvellous light, for the glory of his Grace, in whom they believe. Let us join the Apostle, 1. In diffuading all we have under our care, from living after the flesh, left they die : from being conformed to this world, in fpirit, in conversation, in dress, or otherwise; as they cannot serve the two maslers in any charaĉter, and least of all as believers. For the friend!hip of the world is enmity with God. We thould therefore teility that whosoever are its friends, are not crucified unto it, whatever professions they make of love to the Gospel. veneration for Christ, &c. But alas! how few credit St. James, or speak after him, when he says, “ they are the enemies of God!"
O Brethren, to us it is given, to warn every man, to speak the truth, this truth, with great plainness; and so to commend ourselves to every man's conscience, but especially to all who bear the name of Methodists, in the fight of God. You have had the noble example set you, the long and well prepared way before you; and ought not to be ashamed, herein to set the example, yourselves, in all things, and upon every occasion; even the exa ample of being, againit universal example, thus good. You have nothing to fear. You seek not the honour which cometh of man. We set out to feek the salvation of mankind, and from the very beginning have used great plainness of speech in this as well as every thing else, knowing no man after ihe flesh! O let us not suffer any to take our crown! But, as we lament that so many are fick and weak, if not spiritually dead, even while they have a name to live, not in our great congregations only, but in our soci. eties allo: let us continue to dissuade them even from the very appearance of every evil. As our little children, let us give them line upon line, that they love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, Let us clearly exhibit to their view, and press home upon their yet tender minds, the danger of this dark, deceitful world : what is in it now, and what will become of it ere long! that it passeth away, and perisheth in the very act of using! They will yet bear sound doctrine: this doctrine, which is so according to godliness, that, we know whatever may be faid to the contrary, they stand and fall together. And if we hold our peace, who shall, who will, who can speak to these? Are they not our children, begotten by our means, whrough the word of truth? Can we live, if these stand not fast ?
Then let us, 2. after the examples above set us, add, exhortation to dissuasion; that by this also we may show them their calling, and the privileges it entitles them to: and so by all means endeavour to save fome from feitling upon their lees, or remaining at ease in our Zion. To prevent this, thew them that they are called unio liberty; yea, that the Son has actually made them free. But warn them at the same time, to be careful how they use their liberty : not as a cloak to covetousness or any other evil; but that
chly behinto theme texto, for the te
they more effe&tually serve the Living God, who gave his Son to . die, to redeem them from the dominion of sin, the government of Satan, and from this present evil world ; that they should hence. forth not live unto themselves, but unto Hinn who died for them, that whether they live or die, they should be the Lord's, For this purpose they should be cautioned to be exceeding careful, that they be not again entangled with any of those yokes of bondage, from wliich they are released; and that they be stedfast against all temptations, which might rob them of that liberty, wherewith Christ set them free, the moment they believed in him, as is largely de. fcribed in the 5th, 6th, and 8th chapters of the epistle to the Romans. That this may be their experience, intreat them to come 'out, and be separate from all connections, which would entice them even to touch the unclean thing of fin, in any form. And to prevent their laying again the foundation for repentance on the one hand, or resting in what they have already received on the other, urge them to go on to perfection. For their encouragement therein, use the argument in the text. Open, explain, and enforce the promises given unto them; beseeching them by the mercies of God so richly bestowed, to present their bodies a living facri. fice, holy, acceptable to God, as their reasonable service ; abstaining from fleshly lusts which war against the soul; following peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man ihall see the Lord. And that there may be no bar in the way, from our not having yet attained, where this is the case, let us simply own we have not; but at the same time, shew we are in earnest, in our arguments, disfuasive and persuasive ; and that we do believe, and therefore speak. Let us be able to say by more than words, even by the tenor of our lives, “ I follow after, that I may apprehend: forgetting what is behind, and reaching out to that which is before, I press towards the mark, for the prize of my high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” . And so shall we not only be workmen, not alhamed of our labours, while we shew believers their calling and its privileges, but be prepared with them to say, “ Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord, in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten :" even with that God, who is so fanctified in our hearts, that he is our Fear all the day long. But we halten to the next thing proposed in the improvement of this important subject, viz.
3dly. To shew, why so few attain to, or are even aiming at this hope of their calling, HOLINESS. 1. It is, because they do not cleanse themselves as the text enjoins. 2. They neglect 'this, be. cause they do not live in the habitual practice of the fear of God. Hence, 3, they neither see the necessity, nor possibility of perfecting holiness. 4. Some who see bo:h, do not attain, because they leek it, not by faith, but as it were, by the deeds of the law.
1. So few attain to, or even aim at this, because they do not act as the text prescribes. And is not this a fact so self-evident,
believers to come hat ihall
that it needs only to be attended to, or even mentioned, to its being fully proved ? How very few do we see, who are daily watching, that they may deny their appetites, senses, and natural inclina. tions, what they so continually crave, to the great hindrance of their spiritual progress ? Nor do we see a much greater number, who are stri&tly attentive to their wills, affections, and tempers ; who mark with jealous eye, the risings of desire, and catch the wanderings of the will, and so fhun the first approach of sin. Alas ! how very few do you see thus living and walking in the Spirit, and evidencing that they are the sons of God, because they are led by his Spirit ?
And when the pleasing dream is over, of whatever kind, lawful or unlawful, which has fo diverted them, and they awake, and see what has been thought, said, or done, whereby their fouls have been robbed; how few seem at all alarmed ? How little, if any, compunction is there for this great evil? How very few meltings of a broken heart, for having grieved the Spirit of God. How easily, how soon is the whole got over, and succeeded by the like declensions, or perhaps by something worse? And things being thus, it is no wonder that they do not immediately apply to that Fountain, which alone can cleanse from all impurity : and of consequence, but little agonizing at the throne of God for grace to help in time of need. That such do not attain, is not at all surprizing, since they do not even aim at perfecting holiness. The very thing is quite out of their fight. And it is not at all strange to find, that such even despise and deride it, as a matter not once to be named by a man of sense!
And all this arises, 2ndly, because they do not live in the habia tual practice of the fear of God. They are strangers to the true reverential awe of him as a Father; and they cannot, or at least in many cases do not, make any distinction between the servile horror of a slave, consisting in obedience from the dread of severe punishment; and the affection of a child, engaging him to a due regard, from the high esteem of the relation with which he is honoured, in being adopted into the family of God, and blessed in consequence, with the exceeding great favours so undeservedly conferred upon him. A temper of mind conscious of these great honours, at once preserves a proper familiarity, and a due respect; and wonderfully tends to increase in the foul a sense of the infinite distance there is between the creature and the Creator ; keeping a lively sense of the discovery first made of the Divine purity, and the great and just displeasure of a holy God at the appearance of sin. This will ever prove a preservative against turning the Grace of God into lasciviousness, on account of that richness and free. dom of it, which is manifested in the Gospel, and clearly disa played in the sinner's actual forgiveness, even while ungodly..
It is true, where there has never been any work of deep repen. tance on the soul, there is little discovery made of the holiness and Vol. XIX. March, 1796.