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There is a dreadful “ corruption in the world through lust”

[The desires of men are altogether vitiatedThe indulgence of them produces much corruption in the worldBut God's people “ escape” this corruption

[They are not free from all sin But they do not live under the allowed dominion of any They flee from temptation with fear and tremblingThis is the description given of the saints at Sardis. . And this is the universal operation of true religion" ] They escape it through the operation of the promises

[They have not in themselves a power to keep themselves pure

But God promises “ grace sufficient”

They therefore trust in his promises, and plead them in prayer

In so doing, they experience their cleansing efficacy

Hence St. Paul urges the promises not merely as a motive to holiness, but as the means of attaining it"-] INFER 1. How foolish are they who neglect Christ!

[Christ is the person in whom all the promises are ratified and confirmedo

Nor can we be interested in one promise, unless we be united to Christ

What madness then is it to neglect that blessed Saviour!

What unspeakable blessings do the thoughtless world despise! —

Let us “ awake from our sleep, and arise from the dead”-
Let us seek Christ with our whole hearts
All things are ours, if we be hisP-]

2. How mistaken are they who seek for holiness merely in a way of mortification, or in the exercise of their own powers!

[Many seek long after holiness without attaining it The reason of this is, that they do not seek it in God's appointed way .

God has given them promises by which they may be made holy

But they are afraid to embrace them till they can see themselves holy

I Rev. iii. 4.
• 2 Cor. i. 20,

m Jam. i. 27.

n 2 Cor. vii. 1.
P I Cor. ii, 22, 23.

Thus do they, in fact, reverse the appointment of God himself

Let such, however, submit to God's method of imparting a divine nature

Let them embrace the promises as sinners, that they may become saints-] 3. How highly privileged are the people of God!

(Whatever is needful for them, in time or eternity, is secured

For their consolation God has confirmed his promises with an oath

And all of them can, like Solomon, attest his fidelityLet them therefore treasure up his promises in their hearts

Let them do this for advancement in holiness as well as comforts

Thus shall they be enabled to say with David

And in due season shall that most precious of all the promises be fulfilleda ]

q Heb. vi. 17, 18. • Ps. xvii. 4.

r 1 Kings viii. 56.

s Ps. cxix. 11. u John xii. 26.

XXXIV. AN EXHORTATION TO HOLINESS.

1 Pet. ii. 11, 12. Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and

pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

THE privileges of a sincere Christian are exceeding great

And the possession of them is secured to him by God himself

His security however does not supersede the need of watchfulness

On the contrary he is called to a continual warfare

He needs therefore to be frequently reminded of his duty

a 1 Pet. i. 5.

Hence Peter, having set forth the honours and privi. leges of God's people, proceeds to press upon them the practice of holiness

We propose to explain and enforce the apostle's exhortation I. Explain

The manner in which it is introduced is worthy of notice

[A concern for the souls of men is characteristic of a pious minister

Paul and John were eminent patterns in this respect
Peter exemplifies it in the passage before us-

He unites the tenderness of a father with the fidelity of an apostle ]

The first part of it respects their "abstinence from fleshly lusts" • [Impurity, intemperance, sloth, &c. are fleshly lusts—

Nor can any abstain from them without much prayer and vigilance-] This is enforced by two very important considerations

[Christians are “strangers and pilgrims” in the world This consideration strongly enforces abstinence from sind Moreover fleshly lusts “ war against the soul” They destroy its dignity, its peace, its liberty, its salvation

This should make us extremely careful to abstain from them-]

The latter part of the exhortation respects positive holiness

[The Christians were scattered through the Gentile world

Their conduct therefore would be watched with a jealous eye

On this account the apostle cautions them with respect to the whole of their deportment

He exhorts them to maintain an honourable conduct in all things~-]

A very powerful motive is suggested to confirm this also

[Christians were universally represented as the worst of mene

b i Thess. iii. 8. 3 John 4. c Ps. xxxix. 12. Heb. xi. 13.

It shews the folly of the Epicurean system, 1 Cor. xv. 32. e I Cor. iv, 13.

Who amongst what abstinence, hres in the heart tify them

An unbecoming conduct in them would have confirmed this prejudice

But a blameless conversation might conciliate esteem

It might even be the means of converting their persecutors

It would do so if God at the same time should visit them with his mercy

In this case it would cause them to glorify God

This consideration might well operate as a motive to holiness

St. Peter elsewhere urges it in this very light-] · II. Enforce

Christians, however advanced, have need of this exhortation

We therefore would address it to you with all earnestness

We would not however forget the affection and tender. ness due to you First then we beseech you to abstain from fleshly lusts

[Who amongst you is free from their baneful influence? Who does not see that abstinence from them is necessary?-Guard then against their first risings in the heart

Beg of God that you may have grace to mortify them all-] We intreat you to consider 1. Your present state and condition in the world

[You are here only as “ strangers and pilgrims”You profess to be seeking “a city that hath foundations”

You do not take up your rest in an inn, when on a journey

Do not then retard your progress heaven-wards by sensual gratifications-] 2. The dreadful tendency of fleshly lusts

[Who has not experienced the misery they bring upon us?

Who does not know the consequence of indulging them ?

Let this thought make you fee from them with abhorrencem

We further beseech you to maintain an honourable conversation

[A few holy actions or dispositions will not suffice Religion must operate uniformly and universally

f This seems to be meant by “the day of visitation:" See Luke i'. 68, 78,

81 Pet. ïïï, i.

Let the whole of your conversation therefore be blamelessh

Nor need you despair of walking thus if you depend on Christi-] For consider The tendency of such a life to remove prejudice [The world is as ready to speak evil of Christians as

ever

Nor will they regard your conduct in the church or closet

They will enquire how you fill up your relative duties-
The sight of your blameless conduct will silence themk-1

The possibility that others may be converted by means of it . . .

. .

. .' [Certainly many would be hardened by misconduct on your part

On the contrary, some may be won by your good conversation

At all events God will be glorified by means of your good · works

Let this stimulate you to unwearied watchfulness and care-]

h Phil. ii. 15.

i Phil. iv. 13.

W 1 Pet. ii. 15. & iii. 16.

XXXV. DIRECTIONS HOW TO HEAR SERMONS.

Luke viii. 18. Take heed how ye hear.

THE office of a Christian minister is arduous-
He is to explain and enforce every part of man's duty-
He is to search out and censure every sin-
After all his labours, he will see but little fruits-

However faithfully he preach, there are but few who will hear aright

This our Lord had just declared in the parable of the sower

He then enforced his declaration with this most important caution

In discoursing upon which, we shall 1. Assign some reasons for the caution

Vol. I.

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