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advantage. The throne of fin in the heart is fhaken. Lufts fit loofer than they did. Preis hard upon the tottering fabric, and it may come to fall altogether; so that you may foon be ready to fay with Ephraim, "What have I any more to do with idols ?" Hof. xiv. 18.-There may be,

5. Some who have not come fo far, but yet they have fome defires after Chrift and religion. They have a hungering after him, and they are more squeamish as to their lufts than they were; though they cannot as yet fee, if they forego the world and their lufts, how their lofs will be made up. Truly this is not much; but every thing must have a beginning. Follow on; that cloud, like a man's hand, may come to darken the heavens at length. The conversion of Zaccheus had as flender a beginning, Luke, xix. 3. You have feen, you were touched, look on, take a better look of the Plant of Renown, and ye may come to be affected, allured, and captivated.-There may be,

6. Some who have not come even fo far, but they have got fome convictions of fin; and though they have no will to part with their lufts, yet, they cannot fee how to live with them, and as little can they fee how to live without them. Their confcience is awakened, but their heart is juft where it was. It is a fmall length this indeed; but follow on. If the confcience has got the first touch, the heart may get the next. If fin is become uneafy to the confcience, it may become a burden to the heart next, and so the fweet morfel may be vomited up.--There may be,

Laftly, Some who have not come so far as to have any particular conviction, or quick touches of confcience, only they have a fort of uneafinefs with refpect to the cafe of their fouls, a fecret diffatisfaction with their ftate and cafe, which they VOL. II. Τ

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fee is not good. This is even as little as can reafonably be concluded to be any beginning of good; yet follow on, pursue this, think more attentivefy upon it. If the dry bones be but beginning to ly move, they at laft may come together, and live.We now proceed,

III. To fhew what it is to follow on, how you muft hold your hand to religion, that ye may thrive in it, now that your hand is in it. The word imports a violence and eagerness, such as men have in pursuing an enemy, perfecuting the people of God, or in hunting for prey.-Wherefore, when following on,

1. You must make religion your great end. As every man who pursues has fomething in view, fo your great defign must be to know the Lord: "Not," fays Paul," as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Chrift Jefus." There was a profpect which mifgave at firft with Adam, because Satan laid the measures for it, Gen. iii. 5. But you must take it up again, as the Lord himfelf will have you: Matth. v. 48. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." When once grace touches the heart, it produces a certain reftleffness there, till the foul be perfectly united with God. You will never make any good of religion, till you make it your grand object in the world. You must not be merely occafional customers to religion, of which fee an instance, Judges, xviii. 5. but stated and conftant.-When following on,

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2. You must be perfuaded of the weight and worth of religion; for no wife man will pursue what he thinks not worth the pains. What is

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the reason that the men of the world do not follow on to know the Lord? Why, truly the most part are of Pharaoh's opinion, that religion is only for those who have no other thing to do. Hence it may be, they have got fomething to do here for the prefent; but if they were at home, they have another thing to do than to follow it out: Matth. xxii. 5. "But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandife." The fhadow of the world is fubstance with them, Hof. xii. 1. 8; and the fubftance of religion is a fhadow; but, O! confider, "what is a man profited, if he fhall gain the whole world, and lose his own foul? or what fhall a man give in exchange for his foul?" A wedge of gold would make a fluggard run, and shall not a weight of glory make us follow on ?-When following

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3. You must hold faft what you have; the purfuer will be very loth to go back a step: Rev. iii. 3. "Remember, therefore, how thou haft received and heard, and hold faft, and repent." Beware that the fpark does not go out, for thus you may quickly have a cold coal to blow at. much of any good motion put into your heart. Say not, it is not much you have to hold; for the lefs it is, it will die out the eafier, and there is thus the more need to keep it in. It cannot be fo little, but Satan will think it worth his pains to rob you of it. The kingdom of heaven in the foul has a small beginning, like a grain of multard-feed, and must be cherished.--When following on,

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4. You must not stand still, but be moving forward, labouring for more, be it much or little which you have: Phil. iii. 12. " Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; T 2

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but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Chrift Jefus." A man who fits down on his attainments, will quickly be empty-handed. The fire will go out, if conftant fuel be not furnished to it. Good beginnings will be loft, if they be not cherished. Haft thou but one conviction? follow on to get it more deeply rooted. Be earnest that it fpread further into thy heart and life, that thou mayest bring forth fruits meet for repentance.-When following on,

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5. You muft habitually attend upon religion, and make it your chief business: 1 Theff. v. 15, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” Fits and ftarts of religion cannot be reckoned a following on, or holding our hands to it. You must labour to weave the whole life into one continued web of religion 1 Pet. i. 15. As he which hath called you is holy, fo be ye holy in all manner of converiation." Whatever way you may turn, you fhould ftill be pointing towards God. You must not be fober at home, and loofe abroad; not a churchfaint, and a house-devil; a pretender to piety, and a renouncer of honefty. You must say to all temptations which would take you off your way, as Joab, in his pursuit, 2 Sam. xviii. 14. "I may not tarry thus with thee."When following on,

6. You must be refolute and vigorous in your endeavours: Ecclef. ix. 10. "Whatfoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Mere endeavours will not reach heaven: Matth. xi. 12. "The kingdom of heaven fuffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Our iron is blunt, we must therefore apply the more ftrength. Our work is great, our ftrength fmall, our oppofition

powerful;

powerful; but we must do or die. The work of religion will not profper with only good wishes and folded hands. No; we must exert our hands, and set down our feet: Prov. ii. 4. 5. « If thou feekeft her as filver, and fearcheft for her as for hidden treasures; then fhalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." -When following on,

7. You must entertain a hope of fuccefs. No man will pursue but in hopes to overtake. We will have difficulties to grapple with in this purfuit; but let us "who are of the day be fober, putting on the breaft-plate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of falvation." When the heart grows hopeless, the hands will hang down, and the knees be feeble: Heb. x. 35. "Caft not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward." You must learn to hope against hope. You have the promise in the text to encourage you. What though many attempts mifgive? The tree falls not down at the firft or fecond ftroke of the axe; and the water, by continued dropping, wears the ftones. When following on,

Laftly, If you fall, you must get up again, and quicken your pace; and the fooner the better. The longer you lie, you will find it the harder to get up. If you find the impreffions on your fpirit begin to decay, take them in time, and go to God with them for a revival: Rev. iii. 2. "Be watchful, and ftrengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die."

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FROM what has been obferved, we may learn, that the world fhall never be able to ruin religion, as long as there are some remaining who will ho neftly follow after it. The hoftile defigns against T3

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