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me know the worst of my case, be that knowledge ever so distressing; and if there be remaining danger, O let my heart be fully sensible of it, sensible while yet there is a remedy !
“ If there be any secret sin yet lurking in my soul, which I have not sincerely renounced, discover it to me, and rend it out of my heart, though it may have shot its roots ever so deep, and have wrapped them all around it, so that every nerve shall be pained by the separation! Tear it away, O Lord, by a hand graciously severe ! And by degrees, yea, Lord, by speedy advances, go on, I beseech thee, to perfect what is still lacking in my faith. 1 Thess. iii. 10. Accomplish in me all the good pleasure of thy goodness. 2 Thess. i. 11. Enrich me, O heavenly Father, with all the graces of thy Spirit : form me to the complete image of thy dear Son; and then, for his sake, come unto me, and manifest thy gracious presence in my soul, (John, xiv. 21, 23.) till it is ripened for that state of glory for which all these operations are intended to prepare it. Amen."
A MORE PARTICULAR VIEW OF THE SEVERAL BRANCHES OF
AND WHAT HE SHOULD ENDEAVOUR TO BE.
1, 2. The importance of the case engages to a more particular survey
what manner of spirit we are of.-3. Accordingly the Christian temper is described, by some general views of it, as a new and divine temper.-4. As resembling that of Christ.-5. And as engaging us to be spiritually minded, and to walk by faith.-6. A plan of the remainder.-7. 'In which the Christian temper is more particularly considered-with regard to the blessed God: as including fear, affection, and obedience,-8, 9. Faith and love to Christ. -10. Joy in Him.-11-13. And a proper temper towards the Holy Spirit, particularly as a spirit of adoption and of courage.-14. With regard to ourselves; as including preference of the soul to the body, humility, purity.-15. Temperance.–16. Contentment. -17. And Patience.-18. With regard to our fellow-ereatures ; as including Love.-19. Meekness.-20. Peaceableness.-21. Mercy.-22. Truth.-23. And candour in judging:-24. General qualifications of each branch.--25. Such as Sincerity.-26. Constancy. -27. Tenderness.-28. Zeal.-29. And Prudence.-30. These things should frequently be recollected.--A review of all in a scriptural prayer.
1. When I consider the infinite importance of eternity, I find it exceedingly difficult to satisfy myself in any thing which I can say to men, where their eternal interests are concerned. I have given you a view, I hope I may truly say, a just as well as a faithful view, of a truly Christian temper already. Yet, for your farther assistance, I would offer it to your consideration in various points of light, that you may be assisted in judging of what you are, and what you ought to be. And in this I aim, not only at your conviction, if you are yet a stranger to real religion, but at your farther edification, if, by the grace of God, you are by this time experimentally acquainted with it. Happy you will be, happy beyond expression, if, as you go on from one article to another, you can say, “This is my temper and character.” Happy in no inconsiderable degree, if you can say, " This is what I desire, what I pray for,
and what I pursue, in preference to every opposite view, though it be not what I have as yet attained.”'
2. Search, then, and try " what manner of spirit you are of.” Luke, ix. 55. And may he that searcheth all hearts direct the inquiry, and enable you “so to judge yourself, that you may not be condemned of the Lord." 1 Cor. xi. 31, 32.
3. Know in the general, " that, if you are a Christian indeed, you have been renewed in the spirit of your mind,' (Eph. iv. 23.) so renewed, as to be regenerated and born again.” It is not enough to have assumed a new name, to have been brought under some new restraints, or to have made a partial change in some particulars of your conduct. The change must be great and universal. Inquire, then, whether you have entertained new apprehensions of things, have formed a practical judgement different from what you formerly did ; whether the ends you propose, the affections which you feel working in your heart, and the course of action to which, by those affections, you are directed, be, on the whole, new or old. Again, “ If you are a Christian indeed, you are partaker of a divine nature,' (2 Peter, i. 4.) divine in its original, its tendency, and its resemblance." Inquire, therefore, whether God hath implanted a principle in your heart, which tends to him, and which makes you like him. Search your soul attentively, to see if you have really the image there of God's moral perfections, of his holiness and righteousness, his goodness and fidelity; for “the new man is, after God, created in righteousness and true holiness," (Eph. iv. 24.) “and is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Col. ii. 10.
4. For your farther assistance, inquire, " whether the same mind be in you which was also in Christ.' Phil. ii. 5. Whether you bear the image of God's incarnate Son, the brightest and fairest resemblance of the Father which heaven or earth has ever beheld.” The blessed Jesus designed himself to be a model for all his followers; and he is certainly a model most fit for our imitation : an example in our own nature, and in circumstances adapted to gene
ral use : an example recommended to us at once by its spotless perfection, and by the endearing relations in which he stands to us, as our Master, our Friend, and our Head; as the person by whom our everlasting state is to be fixed, and in resemblance to whom our final happiness is to consist, if ever we are happy at all. Look, then, into the life and temper of Christ, as described and illustrated in the Gospel, and search whether you can find any thing like it in your own. Have you any thing of his devotion, love, and resignation to God? Any thing of his humility, meekness, and benevolence to men ? Any thing of his purity and wisdom, his contempt of the world, his patience, his fortitude, his zeal? And indeed all the other branches of the Christian temper, which do not imply previous guilt in the person by whom they are exercised, may be called in to illustrate and assist your inquiries under this head.
5. Let me add, “ If you are a Christian, you are in the main spiritually-minded,' as knowing that is life and peace;' whereas, to be carnally-minded is death." Rom. viii
. 6. Though you “live in the flesh, you will not war after it,” (2 Cor. x. 3.) you will not take your orders and your commands from it. You will indeed attend to its necessary interests as matter of duty ; but it will still be with regard to another and a nobler interest, that of the rational and immortal spirit. Your thoughts, your affections, your pursuits, your choice, will be determined by a regard to things spiritual rather than carnal. In a word, "you will walk by faith, and not by sight.” 2 Cor. v. 7. Future, invisible, and in some degree incomprehensible objects, will take up your mind. Your faith will act on the being of God, his perfections, his providences, his precepts, his threatenings, and his promises. It will act upon Christ, “whom having not seen, you will “ love and honour." 1 Pet. i. 8. It will act on that unseen world, which it knows to be eternal, and therefore infinitely more worthy of your affectionate regard, than any of those things which are seen and are temporal.” 2 Cor. iv. 18.
6. These are general views of the Christian temper on which I would entreat you to examine yourself; and now
I would go on to lead you into a survey of the grand branches of it, as relating to God, our neighbour, and ourselves : and of those qualifications which must attend each of these branches : such as sincerity, constancy, tenderness, zeal, and prudence. And I beg your diligent attention, while I lay before you a few hints with regard to each, by which you may judge the better, both of your state and your duty
7. Examine, then, I entreat you, “the temper of your heart with regard to the blessed God.” Do you find there a reverential fear, and a supreme love and veneration for his incomparable excellencies, a desire after him as the highest good, and a cordial gratitude towards him as your supreme Benefactor? Can you trust his care? Can
you credit his testimony ? Do you desire to pay an unreserved obedience to all that he commands, and an humble submission to all the disposals of his providence? Do you design his glory as your noblest end, and make it the great business of your life to approve yourself to him? Is it your governing care to imitate him,
serve him in spirit and in truth?” John, iv. 24.
8. Faith in Christ I have already described at large, and therefore shall say nothing farther, either of that persuasion of his power and grace, which is the great foundation of it, or of that acceptance of Christ under all his characters, or that surrender of the soul into his hands, in which its peculiar and distinguishing nature consists.
9. If this faith in Christ be sincere, “it will undoubtedly produce a love to him :" which will express itself in affectionate thoughts of him; in strict fidelity to him ; in a careful observation of his charge; in a regard to his spirit, to his friends, and to his interests; in a reverence to the memorials of his dying love which he has instituted ; and in an ardent desire after that heavenly world where he dwells, and where he will at length “ have all his people to dwell with him." John, xvii. 2.
10. I may add, agreeably to the word of God, “ that thus believing in Christ and loving him, you will also rejoice in him." in his glorious design, and in his complete