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Sometimes worldly pleasures insnare and intoxi. cate us. Our senses are gratified, and our hearts are captivated, before we are aware. Our souls take their ease, and we eat, and drink, and are merry.-Oh, Christians! how are we ashamed and grieved at the sad remembrance! We were so merry that we forgat God, and seemed happy without him. We liked not to be disturbed in our slumbers, and seemed to wish for nothing but the continuance of our present enjoyments. If ever you have endeavoured to approach to God in such a frame, you know, hy sad experience, how improper and unsuccessful it

Your light and trifling hearts were easily diverted, and God, in anger, turned away from your prayers


your praises. Sometimes the sorrows of the world hinder our approaches to God. Every Christian, when he enters upon religion, takes up his cross, and promises to drink of the cup of which his Divine Master drank before him; and yet, when it is put into his hand, with what reluctance does he take it! We taste it, and turn away our heads, and taste it again; and eagerly pray that he would for ever remove it. At last, if we must drink it, though it be infinitely less bitter than that which our Saviour drank for

us, yet, instead of saying, as he said,

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt,” we grow fretful, and secretly say, Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innoce:cy; for all the day long I am plagued, and chastened every morn. ing.” Perhaps, in the phrenzy of our grief, we restrain prayer before God, and vent our sorrows in rebellious murmurings. At other times, our spirits

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åré sunk, and our senses stupified; so that we have not strength to call upon God. We lie groaning under our burdens, but stir not up ourselves to seek for deliverance; and, if the Almighty did not con descend to deliver us, we should continue so for ever. We should sink, and faint, and perish in the day of adversity, if he did not pity our infirmity, and cheer us with the light of his countenance.

Worldly cares will sometimes hinder or interrupt our approaches to God. So strangely has the God

this world blinded men's' eyes, that it is no uncommon thing, however lamentable, to hear professórs of religion inquire with more solicitude, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, than, When shall we come, and appear before God? But a mind, fatigued and distracted with the world, is utterly únfit for communion with our heavenly Father. If our thoughts and affections be entirely absorbed by worldly things, when we engage in religious exercises, it is þut offering the torn, the lame, and the sick, for a sàcrifice. Our hearts are so oppressed with cares, that they cannot « follow hard after God;" and our minds are so confused, as not to attend to divine manifestations, if God should con, descend to draw aside the veil, and invité our ap: proaches. Such an enemy is the world to commu- : nion with God. Satan is another enemy.

. When the sous of God come together to present theinselves before the Lord, Satan comes also among them; and endeavours to prevent, or to spoil, all their duties. Sometimes he terrifies them by his tepresentations of the divine holiness and jealousy;

while he reminds them, that God will not hold them guiltless who take his name in vain; and that he is á consuming fire to all the workers of iniquity. At other times, he discourages them by the most unjust aggravations of their unworthiness. They have guilt enough, indeed, to banish them for ever from the presence of the Lord. But this accuser of the brethren charges them with sins that have been par. doned, and debts which have been long ago cancelled; and then urges them as objections to their approaching to God, who hates all the workers of iniquity. If

you have been for some time engaged in the service of Christ, you cannot be ignorant of Satan's devices: rejoice, however, Christians, that God will shortly bruise him under your feet.,

From this subject we infer, that they who are far from God, must perish. Woe to you, says God, when I depart from

you, If so much pleasure and advantage follow upon our approaches to God, nothing less than utter ruin will be the consequence of a mutual and final separation. How infatuated then must they be, who say to God, “ Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways;" who banish themselves from his

presence, and choose to be as far from him as possible ! To be without God in the world, is misery; to be without God for ever, is damnation. Let us then weep over those who never desire nor think of ape, proaching him. They are so much engaged in business, that they have not time; or they are so dissipated by pleasure, that they have not inclination to attend to religion. They cannot serve God and Mammon, and therefore divine things must give place to what they think to be more important engagements. They decline the invitation of the King of Kings to partake of the rich provisions of the gospel, and so expose themselves to dreadful and inevitable ruin.

How much then are we indebted to God, if he has caused us to approach him! We had all departed from him, and should have certainly perished, if he had not, through his abundant mercy, recovered us by the death of his Son. After we have been brought back to God, how do our treacherous hearts, like a deceitful bow, start aside upon every trifling occasion! I presume, Christians, that you will all readily acknowledge your weakness. Temptations without, and depravity within, disturb and distract

Often have you left your closets, and the house of God, as comfortless as you went thither, without any marks of his presence and favour: And at other times, when you have been permitted to approach to God, some vain thought has interrupted your communion with him. Surely we should never have prayed at all, much less should we have continued instant in prayer, and least of all should we have drawn near to him with pleasure and success, if Christ had not given us his spirit. Let this teach us humility in our greatest elevation. When our souls are all on fire, and we fly swiftly to meet our approaching God and Saviour, when we have the nearest access to him, and the most intimate communion with him, let us not think that any merit in us bas procured the blessed interview: but let us humbly acknowledge our unworthiness and unwillingness; and adore the condescension and mercy of

you. Often have

God, which removed every obstacle, and made us willing in the day of his power.

How thankful should we be for Jesus Christ, through whose mediation only we can approach to God! Without this, for us to draw near to God, would be the same as for a self-condemned maleface tor to come to the bar of an inexorable judge. But as the apostle said in another case, so may every believer say in this; “ I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord,” who engages our hearts to approach to God, and brings us with him, as Joseph did his brethren, into the presence of the king. Having, therefore, such a high-priest over the house of God, with what confidence may we draw near; hoping and depending on being admitted and blessed, not for any merit in us, but for the sake of him by whom we are introduced and recommended! Let us then, Christians, whenever we have been permitted to approach to God, and have spent some happy moments in his presence, let us with our whole hearts exclaim, “ Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ.” If he had not condescended to be our Emmanuel, God with us ; if he had not, by a condescension, which we never think of but with astonishment, veiled his Godhead in huinan flesh to procure our salvation, we had all been born, lived, and died, strangers, aliens, enemies, without hope. Let every season, therefore, of approaching to God, and every pleasing thought of him, inflame our gratitude and love to the gracious mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

If it be so great a privilege to approach to God now,what must heaven be,where we shall see him face

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