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in all our intentions and actions. And being fully convinced, that our happiness is in union with our duty, those who fully believe in the consequences of atonement, as we have argued them, will see the propriety of our endeavoring to stir up their pure minds, by way of remembrance, exhorting them to good works in all faithfulness in whatever situation duty may call them, or whatever the part may be which our heavenly Father hath called them to act, in his divine and delightsome service. The duty enjoined on the believer of this doctrine, is as much more extensive than the duty enjoined by any other faith, as the faith itself is more extensive; and its delights are so, likewise. If a poor man was offered a thousand pounds for a day's labor, it would undoubtedly be a very strong inducement to him to labor. But it is to be observed, in this case, that it is not the labor itself which is the object, but the large sum of money with which the laborer expects to be rewarded. It is not the labor in which the man delights; could he obtain his money, without the work, it would be his choice. But when the labor itself is all the enjoyment, and the whole object is obedience, the laborer will not wish the time short, or the duty small; no, eternity is none too long for the soul to contemplate laboring in the endless delights of obedience to his God.
Those, who believe a future state of happiness depends on certain duties performed by them, undoubtedly intend to do those duties sometime before they die; and it is often said, that a procrastination of those duties, on which so much depends, is dangerous, as life is uncertain; yet, they had rather let it alone, until old age deprives them of the common comforts of life; at which time, they may about as well be employ
ed in the dull and disagreeable task of being good as any thing else. But those, who consider their duty as their meat and drink, ought not to need much inviting, to feed on dainties so rich. We should hardly believe a man to be in his right mind, who, for eating a good meal of victuals, should charge the price of "In keeping thy commandments, there is great reward." By these observations, the reader will see how needful it is for us, at all times, to attend to our duty, because "now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation;" to every willing and obedient soul who feels the power of atoning grace, salvation is present: Truly it is said of wisdom, "She hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table." God, in infinite wisdom, has constituted all moral beings so that their duty is their happiness, and strict obedience fulness of joy. Why, then, my brethren, shall we starve? Why live poor? Why should we be so parsimonious of those heavenly stores that can never be exhausted? "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." God forbids none; "the Spirit and the bride say, come; and let him that heareth, say, come; and whoever will, let him take of the fountain of the water of life freely." Remember the salvation which God wills is a salvation from sin. Then, as much as you desire salvation, you will wish to avoid sin and wickedness. There are none who would say, they did not want salvation; but how many are there who say, they want it by their own conduct! No man, understandingly, wants salvation, any further than
he wants more holiness. The universalist, who is really so, prizes his duty as his heaven, as his peace, and his most sublime enjoyment. How then shall we be so lost, so blind, and so deceived, as to wish to shun our duty and our happiness? If we really believe those things, and desire that others may be brought to see and believe the same, let us endeavor, in the first place, to prove to all men, that such a belief is of real service in cultivating our morals, and in regulating our behaviour. And, secondly, by using our abilities as God hath given, in cool dispassionate reasoning, with those who do not believe; contending for nothing but the pure principles of love, in meekness and all gentleness. Never argue for will sake nor for mastery and, shunning every appearance of sophistry, never suffer yourselves to be anxious about the issue of conversation; but speak the words of truth and soberness, and leave the event to be directed by the spirit of God. Falsehood is so apt to detect itself, that an argument is generally best conducted, when the disputant is refuted by consequences arising from his own statements: and if he cannot see and understand them for himself, it will do no good to see them for him. If we can see for ourselves, we do well.
If the Lord of the harvest hath graciously been pleased to call you by his grace, to preach the word of his gospel to his purchased possession; to sound abroad the trumpet of salvation, and to feed the sheep and lambs of the one true shepherd, then remember, that it is required of stewards that they are found faithful. St. Paul declared himself a debtor both to the Greeks and Barbarians, to the wise and the unwise He having received a dispensation of the gospel, the
grace of which belonged to all men, he thereby became a debtor to all. And if we have received a dispensation of the same gospel, we are debtors to all whom this gospel concerns. How happy is a friend, who has good news to communicate to his companions and surely it is an office much to be desired to carry good news to the distressed. See the officer when he reads a pardon to one who expects immediate death his soul bursts through his eyes in streams of joy, while he pronounces the words which give life to the dead. But how much more excellent are the labors of those whose feet are beautiful on the mountains, who publish peace in the Redeemer's name, even glad tidings unto all people. Much watchfulness is necessary, lest the law of the carnal or old man gets the government of the mind. We will venture to say, there never was a preacher more ready, on all occasions, than the old man which we are exhorted to put off; he is willing, at all times, to assist, never waiting to be called. He has no objections to preaching about Christ, if Christ be not preached. He is perfectly willing to say, that salvation is all of God, and that Christ is a whole Saviour; but then it is indispensably necessary that he should do something; such as asking, seeking, knocking; or, if it be only accepting of offered mercy, is all he wants. It may be, the reader will wonder a little at what we here say, as we have just quoted the exhortation, to ask, to seek, to knock, &c.; but we wish to be understood, that we must ask, seek and knock, not in the name or nature of the earthly Adam, but in the name and nature of the heavenly man. The old serpent, the devil, is never better pleased, than when he can do something which he thinks lays God under some obli
gation to him. If the carnal or old man get so baffled as to be reduced to give up his influence respecting our eternal life in Jesus, he will immediately propose, in his struggles, that all he can do, is to ensure a blessed state, for some considerable time after we die, say for a thousand years, or any given time; then all must depend on the Saviour. If the earthly Adam can get us up Jacob's ladder a few steps, he is willing that Christ should do something by and by. Now the object of all those devices, of which we are not ignorant, (as St. Paul says) is to keep us in the service of the flesh; but remember, he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. A pharisee, who feels as if something was coming to him more than others receive, perhaps will not be scrupulous about the exact quantity. He only wishes to have proper attention paid him; if he can flatter himself with a higher seat in heaven than those are to have, on whom he looks as worse than himself, it satisfies his carnal pride: Perhaps a period of punishment for sinners, after death, in which they may be justly corrected, for not being so good and holy as this pharisee, would give him much. satisfaction, He would then be willing to have the poor wretches delivered from absolute misery, and enjoy some small conveniences. O, how hard it is, to be a humble disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus. It is death to carnal mind. If I preach the gospel all my life long, spend all my time and strength for the good of mankind, and the honor of my Saviour, shall I not have something more hereafter than one who has mocked and derided me? Answer if I have, in truth and meekness, preached Christ, and have been faithful in his cause, ought I not to be thank ful, that he has enabled me so to do? Have I been