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To excite you to this, we would remind you, that these things deserve your deligence, that diligence will secure them, and that they cannot be attained without diligence.
First. These things DESERVE YOUR DILIGENCE. 'It is pitiable to see men employing their zeal and consuming their strength upon trifles; but this is the case with regard to the pursuits of thousands. You may ask them as they rush by, “Wherefore do ye
« " spend your money for that which is not bread, and
your labour for that which satisfieth not ?» None of these things can relieve them in their greatest exigencies, promote their chief interests, reward them for their toil, or indemnify them for the sacrifices they make. But this cannot be said of spiritual blessings and graces. These are in the sight of God of great price. They are necessary to man. They purify his passions, and tranquilize his conscience. They enrich, they dignify him ; they are his perfection. They make him happy in himself, and render him a blessing to all around him. Conceive how striking and how useful a single individual would be if seen, thus adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; not only a believer, but corageous; not only corageous, but wise ; not only wise, but selfdenying, and gentle, and pious ; and all this followed by kindness and benevolence! What then would a number of these characters accomplish as they passed along through life? They would look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners ; bearing down reproach, disarming infidelity, putting to silence the ig.
norance of foolish men, and conftraining beholders to glorify God in the day of visitation.
-Secondly. Diligence WILL INFALLIABLY SECURE these things. In the career of worldly good, many run, but few obtain the prize; and the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of underftanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Fame depends upon a combination of circumftances, which may never return. A despised rival may suddenly rise up, and carry off an acquisition which you had been pursuing incessantly through life. Though the sower soweth in hope, many things may fruftrate his expectations. "But to the righteous there is a sure reward.” "He "that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, "fhall doubtless return again with rejoicing, bringing "his fheaves with him." "Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall "be opened unto you; for every one that asketh, re"ceiveth and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him. "that knocketh, it shall be opened." In the world men spare no pains, decline no difficulty, fear no hazard, though they have nothing more than probability to excite and encourage them; and shall we be insensible and motionless, who have nothing less than actual certainty?
Thirdly. There is NO ATTAINING THESE THINGS WITHOUT diligence. Diligence is indispensable.
Indispensable, if we appeal to analogy. You must labour even for "the meat that perisheth." Through what a succession of process does your bread pass. be
fore it be prepared for use! The same may be said of raiment; of trade; of science; of every thing valuable and excellent, you do not expect to gain them without diligence; you would not esteem and prize them if you could.
« On earth nought precious is obtain'd,
“ But what is painful too.
« Our sabbaths are but few." -Indispensable, if we appeal to the character of a Christian. He is a merchant, a scholar, a husband. man, a traveller, a soldier. The anxiety of the mer. chant, the application of the scholar, the hardy toil of the husbandman, the wearying progress of the traveller, the painful exercise of the soldier, are images which ill accord with indolence and ease.
-Indispensable, if we appeal to the promises of the Gospel. These all require it, encourage it, produce it. Is God said to work in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure ? It is made a motive to induce us to work out our own salvation with fear and trem. bling. Has he engaged to renew our strength ? It is when we are waiting upon him ; this is the condition. It is that we may mount up with wings as eagles, that we may run and not be weary, and walk and not faint; this is the design. And if the promises of divine grace do not supersede the necessity of diligence, what else can render it needless ?
Awake then, my fellow Christians, and be zealous. Be not satisfied with your present attainments; but forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, be ever press.
ing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Others are ambitious, covetous, active. The learned are adding to their intellectual treasures ; the honourable are adding to their splendour and distinctions; the rich are adding house to house, and field to field ; and none of them saith, “ It is enough.” And have you no concern to go from strength to strength, to be changed from glo. ry to glory, to shine more and more unto the perfect day? Will not you add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance ; and to temperance, patience ; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to ,
. brotherly kindness, charity ?
Here, my Brethren, call forth all your diligence. Here is a prize which is able to reward it, which will assuredly crown it; but which it is impossible to acquire without it. Keep this always in your remembrance, that there is only one way to prosper in religion; that your strength is not to sit still ; that something more is necessary than airy notions, sleepy wishes, feeble resolutions, wavering and cold endeavours ; that temptations are to be resisted, obstacles to be overcome, means to be incessantly used, especially prayer, that divine Grace may be mighty in you, and sufficient for you. “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack “hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” “ The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath noth“ ing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” " And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the that ye be not slothful; but followers of them,