« AnteriorContinuar »
ridicule or the laughter of men, the fear of being thought or called singular or precise, to frighten us from serious religion, from what we feel and know to be our duty? If we are guilty of such unmanly cowardice, we should remember and tremble at the words of our Saviour. “Whosoever shall “ be ashamed of me and of my words,” whosoever shall be ashamed of religion, “ in this adulterous and sinful generation, 66 of him shall the Son of man be ashamed 66 when he cometh in the glory of his Fa" ther with his holy angels m.”
Our fidelity to God is endangered both by the men of the world, and by the things of the world. If we have escaped the danger arising from the former, how do we stand with regard to the latter?' The cares and business of this life may lawfully be attended to, and ought to be attended to, in due subordination to the care of the soul. But, do we never suffer them to occupy the first place in our attention? Do we never suffer them to make us neglect religion ? never suffer them to choke the work of God, and render it unfruitful? Remember, if when the service of God calls you one way, you deliberately permit the service of the world to lead you in the opposite direction, you take the world for your master rather than the Almighty, you are the servants of mammon, not the servants of the living God; you are the slaves of that world which at your Baptisın you solemnly renounced.
n Mark viii. 38.
You renounced also all the sinful lusts of the flesh. If you ask what these are, St. Paul tells you in the 5th chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians. 66 The works of “ the flesh,” says he, “ are manifest, which “ are these; adultery, fornication, unclean“ ness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft,
hatred, variançe, emulations, wrath, strife, “ seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, “ drunkenness, and such like.” Carefully read over this passage, and reflect seriously, that if you have been guilty of any of these works of the flesh, you have broken your baptismal vow. The sin of fornication, all instances of unchastity, are spoken of in Scripture as peculiarly repugnant to the Christian profession, as peculiarly dangerous in their consequences. Wrath or
immoderate anger; variance or quarrelling; and drunkenness, are also, you will observe, classed among those works of the flesh which are violations of the baptismal covenant, and which exclude those who are guilty of them from the kingdom of God.
The second great branch of your engagement was, “belief in all the articles of the " Christian Faith.' These are shortly brought together in the Apostles' Creed. Consider now how far you understand, and really believe, the several articles which that Creed contains.
The most important of them are, belief in God the Father, who created; in God the Son, who redeemed; and in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth you. Have
sincerely embraced, and do you stedfastly hold these fundamental articles of faith? Do yoy really believe in God the Father, who made you and all the world? Do you preserve upon your minds a constant sense of his
presence, and are you guided in all you do, say, or think, by a general view to his will and his glory? Do you effectually believe in God the Son who redeemed you
and all mankind? Are you really per
heart, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did by his death upon the cross make satisfaction for your sins, and the sins of the whole world? Have you a thankful remembrance of his death, and do you shew your thankfulness, not with your lips only, but in your life?
Do you believe in God the Holy Ghost who sanctifieth you and all the elect people of God? Are you sensible that your nature is so weak and corrupted, that you cannot do any thing that is acceptable to God without the aid of his Spirit, and do you seek for that aid in fervent prayer to him, who giveth his Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Do you seek it also in the diligent use of the other means of grace, particularly in the participation of the Lord's Supper ?
In the third place, you engaged to “keep “ God's holy will and commandments, and “ to walk in the same all the days of your “ life.” Have you fulfilled this part of your engagement? What the commandments of God are, you well know. Many of those which forbid the commission of sin, I have touched
upon in the former part of this dis
course, With regard to those commandments which enjoin religious dispositions and religious duties, ask your own consciences, whether you love and serve God as you ought to do? Whether you treat his name with reverence, never taking it in vain, or in any way profaning it. Consider, whether you keep holy the Lord's day; whether you are dutiful and obedient to parents, and to magistrates, and all that are in authority; whether you are careful to keep your hands from picking and stealing, your tongue from evil speaking, lying and slandering ; whether you are contented in that state of life, in which the providence of God has placed you. If you live in the wilful neglect of any of God's commandments ; if you are in the habit of swearing; in the habit of neglecting church, and the duties of the Lord's day; if you are guilty of reviling, or of evil-speaking, or of any other sin against the divine law ; you have broken your baptismal vow, have gone baek from your baptismal engagements, and have become exposed to the curse which is threatened to all those who wilfully "go “ astray from the commandments of God.”