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every day. My brethren, why is this ?why are we not ashamed to treat in so ungrateful a way that Blessed Saviour who has bought us off from everlasting misery, by the shedding of his own precious blood? -why are we not ashamed ever wilfully to offend that merciful God who has given us all that we enjoy on earth, and has set before us all that we hope for in heaven? -why are we not afraid to awaken the anger of that great and mighty God, who can cut us off in a moment, and threatens with everlasting misery all those who break His laws ?—why should we provoke Him every day, Him who is a righteous Judge, strong and patient ? His strength and power should make us fear Him -- His righteousness and patience should make us obey and love Him.
Let us resolve then, that, with his help, which He will give us, for the rest of our lives it shall be so. Let us resolve so to live, that, whatever the rest of the world may do, by us at least God shall not be provoked every day. Let us bear in mind that, though He is righteous, and has been, and is very patient towards us, His righteousness.makes Him the enemy of sin, and His patience will not always remain. Let us bear in mind that He is also strong, and that if we will continue to provoke Him by our sins in this life, we cannot hope to escape in the life to come, the punishments which He has threatened, and which our own wickedness will have most justly deserved.
Acts vii. 56.
Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man
standing on the right hand of God.
If there were nothing else than the blessings which are given to man upon earth to convince us of God's mercy and goodness, they would be sufficient. But these, numberless as they are, sink into nothing when we carry our thoughts a little farther, and look to what is prepared for us in a better life, when we shall have passed the grave.
0, who can think of the promises made to us through Jesus Christ—who can think of the glories of the kingdom of heavenwho can think of the eternal recompense of reward which God has promised to those
who pass their lives in innocence and righteousness, and not only to them, but even to such as have lived in sin when they forsake their wickedness, and heartily repent of it—who can think of these things, without wonder, thankfulness, and praise ? without feeling in his heart, for a time at least, the most earnest desire that he
may be permitted to share them and enjoy them? Would to God that such a feeling were always uppermost in our souls, that none of the temptations of the world, the flesh, or the devil, might ever prevail upon us, in thought, word, or deed, to break the commandments of our God! But it is not so: the mercies and the blessings of God which we enjoy on earth, and the promises which He has made to us of everlasting blessedness in heaven, are not enough, so hard and unthankful are our hearts, to keep us from offending Him. Many of us, as soon as we come to our senses and our thoughts, employ them only in evil, and go on adding to our sins day by day, till death cuts us off, and brings us to the punishment which we have too well deserved : some of us, when God in his great goodness brings us to repentance, and shews us what great and wicked sinners we have been, serve Him for a time in sorrow for the past, and then turn from Him again to offend and provoke Him more and more, so that our last state becomes worse than the first: whilst there are but few, in comparison, who from youth to age have made and are making it their chief endeavour to become perfect even as their Father in heaven is perfect, and to shew themselves true soldiers and servants of the Lord who died to save them.
To those who live in the fear of God, obeying his will and keeping His commandments, and striving, whatever they undertake to do, to preserve themselves in that innocence and harmlessness which are well pleasing in His sight, what an encouragement is it to persevere in goodness, to think of the promises which He has made in the gospel of His son Jesus Christ! If God were a man that He could be false to His word, even righteous men, in the season of affliction, might be tempted to give up their hopes in despair: but, knowing that