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as perchance, like scattered seed, some may fall where fruit will be produced.
There has been, my friends, as I have already said, but a portion of this promise considered, and yet sufficient has been uttered to afford us matter of deep and personal self-examination. To what purpose is it, that like the rich bounty of God over the face of nature, there is scattered over the word of God promises of the most splendid and consolatory character, unless we to whom the words of this salvation are sent, have some well-grounded hope that we shall attain them? Liberty has the same abstract sweetness when its song falls on the ear of the galley slave, whose life is to be spent in his ceaseless labours at the oar, as it has when it falls on your ear or mine ; but in the first case it falls on the ear of one who shall never know its enjoyment; and in the other case, on the ear of those who live in the full enjoyment of its delights. So the splendid realities of heaven, detailed with almost poetic fire and spread before you on the sacred page of God, fall delightfully on many an ear which yet shall never be permitted to hear the songs of the redeemed in glory. What then is your religion ? I beseech you personally consider. Is it the cold and formal recognition of truths which we have been taught? Is it the easy effort of worldly-mindedness swimming with the current? Is it a mere name to live, but with none of the characteristics of a vital faith and a changed and converted heart? If so, I might as well have told some legendary tale; some idle romance. Is your religion a conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil? Isit the good fight of faith? Is it a wrestling, and a visible and progressive victory? If, my dear friends, it is not a war
fare, it is nothing. It is a profession, it is true, but what is that? It is a form; but this is no more like the religion which saves the soul, than a statue of cold, hard marble, is like a living, breathing, intelligent, immortal man. Let no man deceive himself; there may
be much which is current in the world, which passes by the name of religion; but the religion which is valuable, must be that which will stand the scrutiny of the great and terrible day, when nothing will survive but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a changed and sanctified heart. Every individual who now listens to my voice, is probably looking towards the enjoyment of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; but not one individual shall reach that inheritance, whatever may be his hopes, unless in the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of his might, he shall come under the glorious description of the conquering Christian. The measure of self-deception in the world is great beyond all our capacity of calculation. There may be those among you who are entertaining some faint hope of being raised as a pillar of glory in the temple of the Lord, who have no more foundation for their hope than the most distempered day-dream.
It is possible, my brethren, to have a disposition peaceable and amiable; it is possible to be as blameless in outward conduct as the unconverted Saul, and to possess his burning, yet misguided zeal; it is possible to listen to the sound of the Gospel, and to approve and defend its peculiar doctrine; truth, solid and substantial truth, may sometimes play around your imagination, and at some seasons reach the heart; but all this and more than this may be, and
yet no Christian character acquired, and no Christian character sustained. Building on the merits and the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ as your only ground of hope, and realizing that spiritual regeneration which accompanies salvation, there must be an habitual withstanding and overcoming the corruptions of the world, and the more potent corruption of the heart; the struggle against sin must never cease in the bosom till the enemy holds no place or footing. “Him that overcometh,” says the Lord Jesus Christ; and when he confers the blessing to these, he casts the mantle of a most appalling darkness over all the hopes and anticipations of the carnal heart—“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name."
Who among you has reasonable Scripture grounds of hope for this most glorious consummation? To the law and to the testimony bring your hopes, as well as your experience, brethren, and if you cannot be measured by the standard of the Gospel, there is somewhere some awful, some soul-ruinous mistake. Search it out, for there must be a very clear and positive religious character sustained, before this promise settles its weight of splendours on your heads. A pillar in the temple of God; an eternal residence in the city with its blessings, privileges, and its glories—but I anticipate; to this there is a contrast—the careless, unconcerned impenitent will become the fearful
monuments of the wrath of God-a wrath as distinguished as his mercy, and a wrath which burns
Choose ye between the two, they are before you, and Christ invites you onward with your eyes to the city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.
GOD'S FIDELITY TO HIS PEOPLE,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA.
REVELATION iii. 7–13.
My last discourse was occupied with a consideration of the promise, which closes the epistle to the Church in Philadelphia—“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.' The first portion of this promise was then fully discussed, and we now proceed to the consideration of the concluding part.
As if the description were not already overburdened with splendours, one more particular is added
_" And I will write upon him my new name.” Here again, my brethren, I recur for explanation to the custom already alluded to. It was the practice