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that sustained them under all their difficulties, and delivered them from all their grief.
The apostle, therefore, to express heaven, often uses the word rest. And it is observable, that he employs two allusions to enable us to conceive of it the more clearly; the one taken from Canaan-in which the Jews rested after the toils of the wilderness: and the other from the Sabbathon which Christians rest after the perplexities of the week.
Ah! ye glorified saints, you can tell us what this blessed rest is. You have traversed the wil
derness-where you "wandered in a solitary way; where you found no city to dwell in; where hungry and thirsty, your souls fainted in you"but you have left the desert; you have passed the river Jordan; and have entered "the land flowing with milk and honey-you are come unto the rest which the Lord your God giveth you."
Your week days, your worldly days are now over, and you have begun your Sabbath. Here you loved the Sabbath-but here the Sabbath was SOON gone, and the things of the world soon deprived you of the fine feelings it produced.-You sometimes passed silent Sabbaths, and mourned the loss of sanctuary privileges. You always spent imperfect ones; you could not do the things that you would: and soon grew weary in the service of God, though not of it. But now your strength is perfectly renewed: "" for ever yon are with the Lord; you serve him day and night in his temple; and shall go no more out-you have the keeping of Sabbath which remains for the people of God!”
Such is the blessing-let us consider,
II. The state of mind in which we should regard it--"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." But what is this fear?
It is not the fear of the sluggard, dismayed by difficulties, and crying, "There is a lion in the way, I shall be slain in the streets." Such a man will be sure to come short. The fearfulare to have" their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Nor is it the fear of the unbeliever who suspects that the promise shall not be accomplished: for there is not the least ground for such an apprehension because, : "Faithful is He that hath promised, who also will do it.' This fear prevailed in the Jews, and excluded them from the land of Canaan. They thought God had undertaken more than he could go through with they asked, "Can he furnish a table in the wilderness?" they said, "The people are too strong for us:" and thus despairing, they murmured to return. Let us guard against this fear, and be fully persuaded that what God has promised, he is able to perform; and that difficult, or even impossible as it may appear in our eyes to bring a guilty, depraved, helpless sinner to glory-if he has undertaken it, he will perfect that which concerneth us.
But the fear here enjoined is a fear of caution; of vigilance; of scrutiny; a fear which leads us to examine ourselves; and allows us in this awful concern to be satisfied with nothing less than evidence: a fear that induces us to question-and therefore to inquire whether we are the sub
jects of divine grace; whether we are the heirs of promise; whether we have a title to heaven, and are in a fair way to obtain this blessedness.
Now the thought of missing this rest is surely enough to awaken in you this peculiar concern— especially when you consider two things: the possibility of your coming short; and the consequence of your coming short. First, to excite in you this fear, remember the possibility of your coming short. And here let me mention a fact which should make you tremble; it is this-out of six hundred thousand Israelites, who came out of Egypt to possess the land of Canaan, TWO ONLY entered it. But what is this to us? You shall hear how the apostle applies it. "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples"-adds the apostle. They are emblems and warnings to us. We here behold persons-under a dispensation of peculiar privileges; considered as the people of God: delivered from their enemies by the most wonderful displays of divine power; clothed in garments unimpaired by wearing, or by time; and whose meat and drink were not only miraculous, but sacramental and, after all this, we see them perishing under the wrath of Heaven. Wherefore, says the apostle again—let him that thinketh
he standeth high in the divine favour, and is perfectly secure, take heed lest he fall. Let him not depend on external privileges; on gifts; on being baptized in his infancy; on his partaking of the memorials of the Saviour's death or a thousand other things, which are no certain proofs of salvation. Persons may go far, but not far enough; they may be convinced, but not converted; like Saul, they may have another heart, and not a new one. And, indeed, nothing is more common than delusions of this kind. Oh! how many are there, who say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing," and know not that they are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." O! how many are there who entertain confident hopes of heaven, that will never see it? They are bolstered up on the bed of carnal security-die like lambs-and awake with the devil and his angels! Let us, therefore, fear.
But, secondly, consider the consequence of coming short. Is it not dreadful to be deprived of that fulness of joy, of that "crown of life, of that everlasting kingdom, which God hath promised to them that love him?" What would it be to lose your business, your health, your friends, compared with the loss of the soul?
And remember there is no medium between heaven and hell-if you miss the one, the other is unavoidable.
And remember, also, the aggravations which will attend the misery of those who perish in your circumstances. There is nothing so healing, so soothing as the expectation of hope, and of course there is nothing so tormenting as the disappointment of it, especially where the object was vastly
important. What, then, can equal the regrets and horrors those will feel who shall come short of eternal life? What will be their reflections, when they see that the blessing was attainable, but that their own folly has deprived them of it? and when they discover their mistake, but alas, too late to rectify the error!-a timely fear would have prevented all this.
Yea, remember also, that you will not only be disappointed in coming short-but you will be punished for it. Your going to hell will be your greatest sin. You could not be lost without contemning the authority of God, who commanded you to believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and trampling under foot his mercy and his grace. You offend him even more by your unbelief, than by your iniquity. The gospel has its threatenings, as well as the law; and after the one has condemned you for transgressing its commands, the other will condemn you for the rejection of its remedy; and thus, as the apostle says, the word you hear will " prove the savour of death unto death." How then can you escape, if you neglect so great salvation? If you could even elude the curse of the law, you would have to encounter the damnation of the gospel. What then think you of both? "Can thy heart endure, or thy hand be strong, when he shall deal with thee? Let us therefore fear."
And observe how far the apostle extends the admonition—“Let us fear,” says he, "lest any of you seem to come short of it." Where we see that he applies it to all; deeming none below the benefit of caution, and none above the necessity of it-lest any of you. And he applies it to all in the greatest degree. Lest any of you