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He is looked up to and respected by all classes of society.

But he loves to get more. He is a covetous manan idolater. True, he despises the poor miser who spends his nights over his money-bags,“ holding strange communion with his gold;" delighting his heart and feasting his eyes with the very sight of the fascinating dust, refusing himself and his family the common necessaries of life ; going about in rags and wretched. ness, rather than spend a penny of the precious hoard; who loves money, not for what it can get or give, but simply for its own sake; who loves to accumulate, not that he may spend, but that he may hoard; whose one ruling desire is to die worth so much wretched duststrange, contemptible desire !

Now these two are apparently very different, but they meet in one point; they stand on one common platform; they are both covetous, they are both idolaters.* This may sound harsh and severe, but it is the truth of God, and we must bow down before its holy authority. True it is that nothing is apparently more difficult to bring home to the conscience than the sin of covetousnessthat very sin which the Holy Ghost declares to be idolatry. Thousands might see it in the case of the poor degraded miser, who nevertheless would be shocked by its application to a merchant prince. It is one thing

* The two Greek words to which we have alluded in the text are, πλεονεξια (pleonexia the desire to get more), and dilapyupla (philarguria—the love of money). Now it is the former that occurs in Colossians iii. 5—“Covetousness, which is idolatry;” and there it stands in the terrible category with some of the very vilest sing that stain the pages of human history.

to see it in others, and quite another to judge it in ourselves. The fact is, that nothing but the light of the word of God shining in upon the soul, and penetrating every chamber of our moral being, can enable us to detect the bateful sin of covetousness. The pursuit of gain—the desire to have more—the spirit of commerce

-the ability to make money—the “fac rem"'--the desire to get on—all this is so“ highly esteemed amongst men,” that very few, comparatively, are prepared to see that it is positively “an abomination in the sight of God.” The natural heart is formed by the thoughts of men. It loves, adores, and worships the objects that it finds in this world ; and each heart has its own idol. One worships gold, another worships pleasure, another worships power. Every unconverted man is an idolater; and even converted men are not beyond the reach of idolatrous influences, as is evident from the warning note raised by the venerable apostle, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John v. 21.

Reader, will you permit us to put a plain, pointed, question to you, ere we proceed further? Are you converted ? Do you profess to be so ? Do you take the ground of being a Christian? If so, have you turned from idols ? Have you really broken with the world, and with your former self ? Has the living word of God entered your heart, and led you to judge the whole of your past life, whether it has been a lifo of gaiety and thoughtless folly, a life of busy money, making, a life of abominable vice and wickedness, or a life of mere religious routine-Christless, faithless, worthless religion ? Say, dear friend, how is it? Be thoroughly in

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earnest. Be assured there is an urgent demand for out-and-out earnestness in this matter. We cannot hide from you the fact that we are painfully conscious of the sad lack of thorough decision amongst us. We have not, with sufficient emphasis or distinctness, “ turned from idols.” Old habits are retained; former lusts and objects rule the heart. The temper, style, spirit, and deportment do not bespeak conversion. We are sadly too like our former selves—too like the openly and confessedly worldly people around us.

All this is really terrible. We fear it is a sad hin. drance to the progress of the gospel and the salvation of souls. The testimony falls powerless on the ears of those to whom we speak, because we do not seem as though we ourselves really believe what we are talking about. The apostle could not say to us, as he said to his dear Thessalonian converts, “From you sounded out the word of the Lord . so that we need not to speak anything." There is a want of depth, power, and markedness in our conversion. The change is not sufficiently apparent. Even where there is a work, there is a tameness, feebleness, and vagueness about it truly deplorable and discouraging.

But more of this in our next, if the Lord will.

OBEDIENCE: WHAT IS IT? AND ARE WE

YIELDING IT ?

It is of the very last possible importance for the Christian to have a clear apprehension of the true character of christian obedience. It is, of course, perfectly evident that I must be a Christian before ever I can yield christian obedience. A child can understand this. I must be in a position in order to discharge the duties which belong to it. I must be in a relationship ere I can know, feel, or display the affections which flow out of it.

If we keep this simple principle in our minds, it will prevent our attaching a legal idea to the word obedience. There is not, and cannot be, a single trace of legality in the obedience to which we are called as Christians, seeing that, ere we can take a step in that most blessed path, we must have divine life. And how do we get this life ? “Not by works of righteousness,” surely; not by legal efforts of any kind whatsoever, but by the free gift of God-all praise and thanks to His holy name! “ The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And how is this life communicated ? How are we quickened, or born again? By the word and Spirit of God, and in no other way. We are by nature “ dead in trespasses and sins." There is not in any son or daughter of Adam a single pulsation of divine life. Take the very fairest specimen of mere nature—take the most refined, cultivated, moral, and amiable person in the very highest circle of social life; take the most religious and devout person in mere nature, and there is not so much as one spark of divine or spiritual life.

This, no doubt, is very humbling to the human heart, but it is the plain truth of holy scripture, which must be constantly maintained and faithfully set forth. We are by nature alienated from God, enemies in our minds by wicked works, and hence we have neither

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the will nor the power to obey. There must be a new life, a new nature, before a single step can be taken in the blessed pathway of obedience; and this new life is communicated to us by the free grace of God, through the operation of the Spirit, who quickens us by the word.

A passage or two of holy scripture will set this matter clearly before the mind of the reader. In John iii. we read, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Here we have the word presented under the figure of water, as we read in Ephesians v. of “the washing of water by the word.” Again, in James i. we read, “Of his own will begat he us, by the word of truth." It is not possible to conceive anything more entirely independent of human effort than the new birth as here set forth. It is wholly of God, of His own will, and by His own power. What has a man to do with his natural birth? Surely nothing. What, then, can he have to do with his spiritual birth? It is of God exclusively, from first to last. All praise to Him that it is so !

Take one more uncommonly fine passage on this great subject. In 1 Peter i. 23, we read, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Nothing can be more precious than this. When the glad tidings of salvation fall with power upon the heart,

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