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draw near, and to take refuge under the shadow of his wings. “ Thus they enter not in, through unbelief.” Unbelief keeps them from coming to Christ; leaves them under the curse of unpardoned sin; and brings down upon them the heavy wrath of an of. fended God; whose mercies they reject, whose Son they contemn and crucify afresh. Oh! my Brethren, from unbelief and hard. ness of heart, from contempt of God's Holy Word and Commandment, may the Lord deliver us!
But how does this matter stand with ourselves? Putting all others out of the question, bring this subject home to your own hearts, and see whether you believe. It is an easy thing to profess belief; but a mere profession ought not to satisfy either you or me. I cannot but fear that there may be some who as yet have not entered into the Rest, of which i have been speaking; and if so, we have seen the Reason. You enter not in because of unbelief. This is the real cause why you enjoy not this heavenly Rest. You do not with your heart believe the Word of God. All however are not alike in this respect. There are degrees of unbelief. Some may be further off from Rest than others; and I will try to adapt my application to different states and cases.
Perhaps you have no belief at all with re.
spect to this promised Rest. You do not believe that the real Christian has any peculiar privilege of this kind. You do not believe that he is happier than others, or possesses a source of peace and joy which you have not. While such are your thoughts, it is clear that you will never enter in; for you will never seek an entrance.
But let me reason this matter with you. And may the Spirit, whose office it is to convince the world of unbelief, convince you of yours !
Christ hath said, “Come to me, and I will give you Rest.” He hath promised to bestow on his people an inward peace and satisfaction, which the world cannot give. Now this promise you do not believe. But how unreasonable is your unbelief! Surely, God who made the soul, is able to make it happy. And He has said, that He will make it happy. Why then should you distrust His word? You cannot produce a single instance, in which He ever has broken his word. Did He not say, that day and night, and summer and winter, and seed-time and harvest, should never fail? And they continue according to his word. Did He not say, that He would raise Himself from the dead on the third day? And exactly at the time predicted the event took place. Did He not say, that the Jews, for their unbelief,
scattered among all nations? And this word has been most literally fulfilled. You cannot deny, you cannot disbelieve these things. Why then should you disbelieve, that He will give to His people the Rest which He hath promised to them? Why in this instance also should not his word be fulfilled? Have you any reason to offer to the contrary ?Take another mode of removing your unbelief. Enquire of those who have already believed the word, and complied with the call of Christ. Ask them whether they have entered into Rest; whether they have found the promise true, and have experienced a peace and joy, which they never knew before? I will tell you what their answer will be. They will say, We have found Christ faithful to his word. He has given us Rest. He has satisfied our soul with good things, and has made us glad with the light of his countenance. Since we have come to Him, and have been taught to serve Him with our hearts, we have enjoyed a complacency, a security, a delight, of which we before had no conception. Such will be their answer. And can you resist such testimony: the testimony of those who have made trial of Christ's ways, and have found them pleasantness and peace? Will you persist in believing that the Land of Promise is an unfruitful land, when those who have already
searched it, assure you of its fertility, and shew you the rich clusters of the vine, which they themselves have gathered in it? Can you doubt any longer, whether Christ gives to his people Rest, when you yourselves see them a happy, contented people; rejoicing in his favour; delighting themselves in his ways; accounting his service perfect freedom; and possessing a peace, an inward, heavenly peace, to which you yourselves are strangers? Yes, my Brethren, to which you yourselves are strangers. I repeat the sentence, for I know it to be true. While living in unbelief, you can have no Rest. Nothing which you have or seek, can satisfy you. The world cannot give you Rest: for it cannot meet your wants; and has nothing solid and substantial in it. Sin cannot give you Rest; for it wounds the soul, and leaves a sting behind. There is no rest but in Canaan. The Wilderness cannot furnish it. Drought and heat, and fiery flying serpents, the enemies of rest and peace, are its only natural productions. My Brethren, there is nothing in the paths of sin and in the mazes of the world, but sorrow and trouble, but vanity and vexation of spirit. I am sure that you find it so. I am sure that you have been disappointed in every expectation of happiness in your present state of unbelief. It cannot have been otherwise. Would then that, wearied and heavy laden, you
might now be persuaded to come to Christ for rest, to believe His word, and to try His ways! He will not disappoint you. He will give you Rest. Come to Him in faith. He is the door. Enter by him into the spiritual Canaan, and you “shall go in and out and find pasture.
But probably there may be others present, whose unbelief is not so great as that which I have just described. You feel the truth of inuch which has been said. You are persuaded, that there is a Rest for the people of God. You are convinced in your minds, that those who come to Christ and live by faith in Him, are a happy people, and have a peace anu a pleasure peculiar to themselves. So far you seem to believe: but here you stop. You enter not yourselves into this Rest. You look at the Land of Promise. You see it flowing with milk and honey; a land of fertile hills, and fruitful vales ; à land of springs and rivers, of flocks and herds. You stand as it were on the borders of this land ; you hear yourselves invited to come in, and share its wealth and joys: but still you enter not. And why? Because of your unbelief. You do not with the heart elieve the things which you profess to see and hear. They appear to you more like an illusion, than a reality. You cannot venture to cast yourselves entirely on Jesus Christ; to take Him at His