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SERMON LXXXV.

PREACHED AT A CONFIRMATION.

THE FOLLY AND DANGER OF EXPECTING THE BLESSINGS OF CHRISTIANITY, WITHOUT

LEADING A CHRISTIAN LIFE.

EPHES. iv. 17.

THIS I SAY THEREFORE, AND TESTIFY IN THE LORD, THAT YE HENCEFORTH WALK NOT AS OTHER GENTILES WALK, IN THE VANITY OF THEIR MIND; (THAT IS, FOLLOWING THEIR OWN WICKED INCLINATIONS.*]

THE
HERE cannot be too much pains taken

forewarn Christians against satisfying themselves with the bare performance of the outward duties of religion.

It is probable, that there are more people lost, who thought themselves safe, than of such who, knowing that they had no religion, had therefore no hopes of salvation.

A man who goes constantly to church (for instance) will be apt to think himself in a better condition than one who does so feldom or never. I should be loth to encourage a man * See Rom. i. 18. 2 Tim. üi. 5. 1 Pet. iv. 3.

to

VOL. IV.

N

ing it.

to think so of himself, till I see whether his going to church makes him a better man than the other who stays at home. If it does not, pray what will his going to church profit him? You will say, he is in the way of knowing his duty. Be it so. But to know one's duty, and not to do it, is to be in a worse condition than if one had never had the means of know

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required."

Now, that this is really the case of the generality of Christians, any body will be satisfied, who does but seriously observe what paffes in the world. For example:--- Consider how very careful people are to have their children dedicated to God in baptism, and what a great misfortune they would think it, if they were in a place where they could not have that facrament duly administered; and yet, generally speaking, there is as little care taken, by these very parents, to have their children taught the meaning of this ordinance, and the obligations it lays their children under, as if it had been a matter of no consequence, whether they had been baptised or not.

will say, however, they are hereby within the covenant of grace, and that is a great blessing. So it is, provided they understand it, and are taught to keep it. But let me put you

in mind, that just thus were Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, within the covenant; and yet they went alive into the pit. So was Judas him

But you

self.

* Luke xii. 48.

felf. So were all those who yet have taken the broad way, and are this very moment lamenting their lost condition in another life.

But one would hope better things of such as with their own mouth and consent, (in the presence of God and his church) do ratify, and confirm, and acknowledge themselves bound to believe, and to do, all those things which were promised for them in baptism. One would hope better things of these. But, God knows, it is too often otherwise. And you shall see too many, who have thus solemnly given themselves up to God, as careless how they live, as if they had never been baptised, never been confirmed.

Let us, in the next place, consider Chriftians in one of the most folemn duties of christianity. If ever Christians are serious, and put on holy purposes of living as becomes their profession, it must sure be when they go to the Lord's supper. But what will you think of Christians who come from the Lord's table without charity, without purposes of becoming better men, better neighbours, better Christians, for the time to come? You must say, that they do not understand their religion, or that they hope their profession will do them good without a suitable practice.

We see people every day going out of the world, seemingly satisfied with their condition, without having made any Christian preparation for that great change. Could

this possibly

N 2

possibly be, but that Christians hope that their baptism, and being within the covenant, will save them, like a charm, they know not how?

These observations may convince you, that nature is extremely corrupt; that we are blind, and most apt to deceive ourselves in matters of the greatest concern to us; and that Chriftians ought to be often called upon to consider their profession, and what it obliges them to; and that to think to enjoy the blessings of christianity, without leading a Christian life, is a very great delusion. I conjure you, faith the apostle in the text, I conjure you by the Lörd, that ye benceforth walk not (that is, live not) as other gentiles, or as men unconverted do, in the vanity of their mind; that is, following their own corrupt inclinations, and vainly hoping that an outward religion, without an inward sense of God, and a practice suitable to it, will gain his favour, and make them happy when they die.

It is thus that people unconverted live. A Christian is to live after another manner, as he hopes for salvation. A Christian ought to know, that this is not the world he was made for; that by his profession he is not to love the world; that it is impossible for any man to love the world, and be a friend of God. It is true, these are hard sayings to flesh and blood, and it is utterly impossible for any man, without the grace of God, to receive

them

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