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you? The Lord himself has spoken, and he will do it.

7. Our Saviour adds, “ Ye shall see Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God; and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall fit down in the kingdom of God." The rich man, in the place of torments, “ saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bofom.” The wicked in a state of punishment will have a distant, but mortifying view of the righteous in the regions of bliss. Through the gloomy shades of the infernal world, they will behold the sons of virtue gathering from all quarters under heaven, and taking their seats, with longs of triumph and joy, in the realms of eternal glory. There they will see not only the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs and other distinguished saints; but many of their contemporaries and acquaintances-many whom perhaps they despised as their inferiors, or reprobated as outcasts here on earth and multitudes from unexpected parts of the world, who never enjoyed the advantages indulged to them. If it fhould be your awful doom

to be sent into this place of punishment, what pungent and tormenting reflections will arise from the distant fight of that glorious world with all its blessed inhabit

There you will see fome, who were your dear companions on earth, now for ever separated from you, no more to mingle in your company--some who set out with you in the religious life, but who prefled forward with ardour, when you turned back to the ways of fin, which have led you down to' destruction--some who urged and encouraged you to perfevere and hold out, but whose counsels you despised and rejected

ants.

fome whom you endeavored to corrupt from truth and virtue, and seduce into error and vice ; but who, by the grace of God, delivered them felves from your snares--some, who never enjoy. ed your privileges, but made a far better use of those which they had some whom you regarded with contempt for their small abilities or obscure condition ; but who now are far above you mingling with angels and shining in glory—some whom you rediculed for imputed superstition, preciseness and hypocrisy, but who receive from God the reward of their strict unyielding virtue, and humble unaffected piety. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, when you shall behold them in the kingdom of heaven, while you, who had equal, or superior prospects, means and opportunities, are thrust down to the regions of darkness. But, beloved, let me hope better things of you, and things which accompany falvation, though I thus speak,

8. Our Lord clofes this folemn scene with an observation, which he often made. “Behold there are last, which shall be first ; and there are first which thall be laft.” Many who enjoy the greatest privileges, and seem to stand faires for heaven, will be excluded; while others, who appeared to be under peculiar disadvantages, and were thought far from the kingdom of God, will be admitted into it. God's thoughts and ways

Chrif here has a primary refer, ence to the Jews and gentiles. The former were God's people, and to them the gospel was first fent ; but they rejected it, and with it the salvation which it brought: but the gentiles, to whom the gospel was preached after the Jews had reject. ed it, embraced it, when they heard it, and entered into the kingdom of God.

are not as ours.

The observation has a still farther intendment. Many, who stand high in the charity of men, will be cast out of God's presence, as vile and abomi. nable ; while others, whose characters seem doubtful, or who are condemned by a censorious world, will be found to glory, honour and praise at the coming of Christ. Some boasting, self-confident professors will be driven away as odious hypo- crites ; while diffident, doubting, trembling souls, will be received as pure and upright before God. Some who have been favored with good instructions, virtuous examples, and every advantage of a religious education, will be excluded from heav. en ; while others, surrounded with difficulties, opposed by temptations, and almost unaided by human means, will fo strive as to press in at the strait gate. Some, who sustained a fober character, and regularly attended on the ordinances of God's house, will be found but formalists and hypocrites ; while others, whose visible character was for a time far more exceptionable, will by the renewing and fanctifying grace of God be brought to glory.

Trust not then in the opinion which men may form of you, or the applause which they may beftow upon you—trust not in your external advantages, your good education, or your regular and orderly manner of life. See that the love of religion possess your hearts, and the fear of God govern your actions. Paul says, “ To me it is a Imall thing, that I should be judged of man's judgment, yea, I judge not mine own self ; for he that judgeth me is the Lord, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart.”

It is an awful thought that any, who have enjoyed your advantages and opportunities, and

who, in addition to these, have experienced the inward awakenings and excitations of the divine {pirit, as has been the case with some of

you perhaps with many, thould, after all, be shut out of heaven. Some fuch unhappy instances, doubts less, there will be. Take heed that you add not to the number.

How you fhall enter in at the strait gate, the Saviour himfelf has taught you. His command is, “ Strive to enter in.” This striving, you have feen, is something more, than asking for admisfon, for fome who thus seek to enter, will not be able. It is something more, than hearing

Chrift teach, and eating and drinking in his presence ; for fome who can plead this, will be hut out. What is it then ? It is renouncing all iniquity with godly forrow, devoting yourselves unreservedly to a holy life, and pursuing this life faithfully to the death. The workers of iniquity must depart from Christ. They who do the will of God, will be received into the heavenly kingdom.

Some, when they hear that they must strive, eAtertain, too limited an idea of the matter, as if striving consisted in fervour of prayer, and extraordinary attention to certain devotional exercises. If these were all, why were the persons mentioned in our text repulfed ? Prayer and attendance on ordinances are but a part of the business. They are means, and useful means when applied in feafon, and with a view to the end. But to complete the idea of striving, there must be a steady persevering engagedness in the whole work of religion, without exception against any part of it. The word rendered, Strive, is borrowed from the publick games then in use. It alludes to the exertions with which combatants in a race or con. flict, strove for the mastery. How did racers VOL. V.

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ftrive for the prize proposed to them? Was it merely by earnest intreaties to the master of the games, that he would adjudge the prize to them? No : it was by entering the lists with resolution, throwing off every weight that might impede their running the race with activity and constan. cy, and pursuing it to the end.

« Know ye not, that they who run in a race, run all ; but one" only “receiveth the prize?” In the Christian race, there is a prize for all who will run : “So run that ye may obtain.” “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but you an incorruptible. Run not as uncertainly ; strive not as one that beateth the air. But keep under your bodies and bring them into subjection, left, after all your hopes and prospects, you should be castaways."

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