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" and redemption*," from day to day. And from hence arises a solid permanent assurance. The believer, though weak and unstable as water in himself, and though continually assaulted by a powerful combination against his peace, can look through all to Jesus, and say, "I am "persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor
<c creature, shall be able to separate me from the "love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord †.”
What remains, then, but to animate and press every sincere believer to strive, in God's appointed way, for a comfortable assurance, that they are accepted in the Beloved, passed from death unto life, and infallibly freed from all condemnation. Though this knowledge is not absolutely necessary to our safety, it is exceeding needful to make us unwearied, cheerful, and evangelical, in a course of holy obedience, to the exertion of all our powers and faculties in the service of him who has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and to give us courage to endure and surmount the many difficulties and oppositions which we are sure to meet with in the course of our profession. Unbelief and distrust weaken our hands," and make our knees feeblet." The more steadily we confide in God, the better we shall serve him; we shall be enabled to cast all our cares upon him, to rely on his promise, to make our strength equal to our day; and having a well-grounded expectation of receiving the end of our hope, even the salvation of our souls, we shall stand fast in the evil day, and say, "None of these things move me; neither count I my life dear, so that I may finish my course with
* 1 Cor. i. 30.
+ Rom. viii. 38, 39.
Heb. xii. 12.
joy" I would only subjoin two cautions to those who are thus minded.
1. Remember that the progress of faith to assurance is gradual. Expect it not suddenly; but wait upon the Lord for it in the ways of his appointment. As it depends upon the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, let this engage you to constancy and earnestness in prayer; and as it arises from a knowledge of Jesus, be assiduous in searching the Scriptures, which testify of him. "The blessing of the Lord and the hand of the diligent "concur in the attainment of this benefit t." If you persevere in this path, you will be helped forward by the experience of every day; and every dispensation of Providence, as well as every exercise and frame of mind you pass through, will be sanctified, to give you an increasing conviction that you are nothing, and that Jesus is all in all.
2. As you cannot see or maintain a sight of your interest in the covenant, but by the light of the Spirit, beware of grieving him. If you indulge a careless trifling disposition, or venture upon known sin, you will find dark clouds raised between the Sun of Righteousness and your souls. Assurance is not so invariable, but that it may be affected, weakened, and perhaps for a season quite suspended, by unfaithfulness and backsliding on our part. If you have a persuasion of your interest in the love of God, that remains always the same, though prayer is restrained, the ordinances slighted, and watchfulness intermitted; take heed lest this, instead of assurance, should be vain confidence and presumption. The hope that maketh not ashamed,
*Acts, xx. 24.
+ Prov. x. 4. 22.
+ Ephes. iv. 30.
endears every precept and ordinance to the soul, weans the affections from low and trivial pursuis, and strengthens the exercise of every gracious principle.
As it is thus possible and desirable for a believer to "know that he is of God;" so a concern for many here present will not suffer me to close, without desiring you to consider if you have not cause to conclude, from Scripture testimony, that you are not of God. See the case determined by an apostle: "Whosoever doth not "righteousness, is not of God*." And again by another, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none "of hist." Are not these decisions plain and absolute? If your love and dependence are not fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ, if your tempers and practice are not governed by his commands, you are not of God. Whom then do you belong to? The whole world is divided between two masters, and ranged under opposite banners. A neutrality is impossible. If you are not of God, you belong at present to Satan; you are his captive; he leads you blindfold; and he meditates your destruction, when you shall have worn out your lives in his miserable service. And will you continue fond of your bondage, and follow him like an ox to the slaughter? There is a redemption-price paid, there is an arm of power revealed, in favour of such helpless, perishing prisoners. Jesus, whom we preach, "is able to take the prey out of the hand of the mighty, "and to deliver the lawful captive." The Lord help you to apply to him before iniquity is your ruin. O may he incline to believe and be saved**! If you reject him, you seal yourself to an aggravated condem
* 1 John, iii. 10. Isa. xlix. 24.
+ Rom. viii. 9.
2 Tim. ii. 26.
** Acts, xvi. 31.
nation, and must perish without mercy; "But if you "hear his voice, and call upon his name, he is able to save to the uttermost, and to bless you, in turning every one of you from your iniquities*."
* Heb. vii. 25.; Acts, iii. 26.
END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.