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lost condition, and to accept Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord; then the Spirit of God enters his new dwelling. But the building is far from being complete. The new convert has some spiritual knowledge; but much more remains to be acquired: he has some faith in Christ, but the faith needs to be strengthened, purified, and increased: he has some power over his corruptions, but he must still grow in grace, and have his inward man renewed day by day. The work of grace, therefore, is a progressive and gradual work; and it is on this account fitly compared to a building; in which one stone is laid upon another, till the walls are raised, the roof laid on, and the whole edifice finally completed. The perfect edification of the spiritual building will take place in the kingdom of heaven; there the spirits of just men are made perfect; there the divine Architect will bring forth the head-stone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it!
The great care and concern then of Christians in this world, whether they live in times of persecution or of outward peace, is to see that this temple and house of God be carried forward. The city must be built, and the wall, even in troublous times. But how much more diligently should we labour after holiness, how much more constantly should our spiritual improvement be cultivated, when there are no wars and fightings from without to interrupt us! It was thus that the churches of Judæa, and Galilee, and Samaria were edified. They followed after those things whereby one might edify another; and while they sought the good of others, their own souls were built up in the knowledge, and faith, and love of the Lord Jesus. My brethren, have the Christians of England thus profited by their deliverance from persecution? With many, I trust, this hath been the case; but is it
so with you? Because you have the power of worshipping God according to your own conscience, and peaceably labouring for the salvation of your souls, have you therefore been the more active in seeking that salvation? Let me first inquire, Are you as yet on the right foundation? and if so, are you daily growing unto a holy temple in the Lord? Examine your state, and let the conscience of each faithfully answer these questions.
2. The spiritual improvement made by these churches of their season of rest, is more particularly described in the next words. They walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Happy Christians who thus walked! For indeed and in truth, there is no happiness on earth to be compared with that which flows from holy intimacy with a reconciled God and Father. O that we may all thus walk even as they walked!
The fear of the Lord here mentioned is not that slavish and guilty fear which torments the heart, and irritates the rebellious will; but a fear springing from love and gratitude. The whole of true religion, indeed, every grace of the renewed soul, is included in this expression. As an illustration of this remark, it may be observed, that that great act of Abraham in offering up Isaac, which is called in the Epistle to the Hebrews an act of faith, and in St. James an act of obedience, is recorded in Genesis as a proof that he had the fear of God before his eyes. "Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me." The truth is, that this comprehensive expression includes all those holy dispositions which the true Christian exercises towards God. It is love to God the Father; it is trust in God the Son; it is compliance with the suggestions of God the Spirit. What better use can be made of external peace, that this which
was made by the early churches? They had leisure for walking in the fear of God; and they diligently improved that leisure. And while they thus honoured God, he blessed and honoured them. A mutual interchange of service took place between the Lord and his people: on their parts, devout and reverential fear; on his part, spiritual joys and consolations. They walked in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Religious comfort is the completion of those gifts which Christ bestows on his people in the house of their pilgrimage. The instrument through which it is communicated is the Holy Scriptures: for there can be no well-founded comfort, but that which is built upon the express promises of God's word. But the agent by whom it is communicated is the third Person of the blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost. He it is who has created the true Christian anew, and formed in him that spiritual character, and those heavenly dispositions, to which the promises of the Gospel are addressed. Yet though he have given us both the promises and the character which these promises imply, such is the infirmity even of the renewed soul, that it is in itself unable to lay hold of the comfort thus provided for it. Therefore the Holy Spirit, by his direct and immediate influence, strengthens the believer's faith, and enlightens his mind, and removes doubts, and sheds abroad in his heart the love of God." He shines upon his own work in the soul," making the believer to see and know that he hath the witness in himself that he is a child of God. Hence arises a settled peace and confidence; and the Christian thus walks in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. It is certain, however, that the degrees in which this spiritual consolation is experienced are not always the same. And this may arise from various causes. Bodily distemper may cloud the mind; or God may see
fit, for a season, to withhold the cheering influences of his Spirit, in order to exercise the faith and patience of his servant. But the most frequent cause is, that the Holy Spirit has been grieved by some negligence or sin; and therefore comfort is withdrawn, that the Christian may be led to mourn over his guilt and folly, and to seek after his offended God. Generally speaking, they who most uniformly walk in the fear of the Lord, walk also most uniformly in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Nor is this to be wondered at; for in them the evidence of adoption and of the new birth shines the clearest. He who walketh carelessly must look to have his peace of mind interrupted. And it is a great mercy if it be interrupted; for what is to be more dreaded than a false peace? On the other hand, he who walketh uprightly walketh surely. His graces are kept in daily exercise. God the Spirit dwells with him as a sanctifier and a comforter; and from time to time fills him with joys unutterable, and such as none can conceive but those who have tasted them. Now this was the happy state of the primitive churches, when, having rest from all outward troubles, they walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. My brethren, are you making this spiritual improvement of the privileges which you enjoy? Have you found these holy consolations, in the daily exercise of repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ? or are you earnestly desiring, seeking, reaching after them, and praying for them? Why should not you also from this very moment and henceforward walk in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost?
3. Hitherto we have seen the benefits which the church itself derived from outward peace and rest. From these fruits there sprang another, in which their heathen neigh
bours also participated. Walking in this holy and happy manner, the churches were multiplied. They were lights set upon a hill, by which others were guided into the way of salvation. They were as leaven hid in three measures of meal, by which the whole was leavened. They were as a grain of mustardseed, small and diminutive, from which arose a large spreading plant, under whose branches the fowls of the air came to lodge. So enviable were the privileges of Christians, that (according to the prophecy of Zechariah) men out of all languages of the nations came and took hold of their skirts, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard, and like as we have heard so have we seen, that God is with you.
Upon this part of my subject I will make but one observation. It is manifestly the intention of our Saviour, that his religion should be propagated in the world by human means. Hence he has appointed human ministers to preach it, saying to them in every age, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." But it is not only to ministers that he has intrusted this work. The very humblest Christian, according to his measure of ability, is required to extend the knowledge of his Saviour and this not by words alone; not merely by teaching his children, his companions, or his family; but most of all, by the silent preaching of a devout and holy life. O my Christian brethren, we little think what effects may be produced by the simple influence of a consistent Christian example. Many, after hearing sermons in vain, have at length been won without the word-won over to Christ and happiness by seeing a parent, a friend, or neighbour made happy in life and death through the Gospel. They have begun to re
flect. They have secretly watched the fruits of Christian principles. They have seen the believer bearing with patience trials under which worldly men are overwhelmed. They have witnessed his love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness. This has made them listen afresh to the doctrines from whence these fruits of the Spirit proceeded. And thus gradually they have been compelled to lay aside their prejudices, and to seek for themselves a share in the believer's hopes and comforts. Thus it was that the early Christian churches were multiplied; and thus it has been, and shall be again and again, whenever the power of godliness shall manifest itself, either in churches or individual Christians. In this way, my brethren, the poorest among you, if he be a Christian in reality, may contribute his part towards enlarging the kingdom of Christ. Will not you, then, be ambitious of so honourable a service? Will you not tremble, lest through your inconsistent life the name of Christ should be blasphemed among those who know him not? O let it be your endeavour so to walk in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, as to be the means of saving both yourself and those among whom you dwell.
I conclude with the words of the Apostle Jude. "Ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
Now unto Him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
LINES BY A SUNDAY SCHOOL SCHOLAR,
OCCASIONED BY THE DEPARTURE OF MR. J. D. PEARSON FOR INDIA*,
"Tis duty calls, its summons I attend;
In Pagan lands his future life will spend?
What most I prize, for such a glorious end.
That I shall meet in heaven with one so dear.
O yes! there is a rest prepar'd on high,
For pilgrims tir'd of pain, and noise, and strife;
He will not turn away his pitying eye
From one who humbly seeks his smiles to share,
Assur'd that he delights to answer prayer.
Then I'll indulge the exhilarating thought
That I at length through mercy shall be brought
Then shall a separation be unknown;
For no wide sea shall ever more divide;
Why die the falt'ring accents on my tongue?
Shrink not, for we shall meet again ere long.
This gentleman is now Superintendant of the Honourable East India Company's native Schools, Chinsurah, Bengal.
ON EXTREME UNCTION.
AMONG the five Sacraments which the Church of Rome has added to the two which our Lord Jesus Christ himself instituted, extreme unction is reckoned the last. This is the name of the ceremony observed by the Papists in anointing the body of a dying person; and as it seems to have some support from the words of Scripture, and has thereby deceived many, it is important to show that extreme unction, as now administered by the Romish priests, is an unscriptural practice, and deludes, to their everlasting ruin, multitudes of persons, who trust in it as a means of removing their guilt, and affording them an entrance into heaven.
In the controversy occasioned by this subject, some have referred to our Lord's words, respecting the woman who anointed him with precious ointment; but the best informed, ashamed of attempting to support their cause by what so evidently relates to a totally different thing, chiefly rest their arguments on Jam. v. 14, 15: "Is any sick among you? let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."-Doway Testa
The first remark to be offered upon these words is, that anointing the sick with oil, was a common practice in hot countries, and is still used as a remedy for the plague; and as the Jews seldom administered any medicine without an accompanying prayer, there was a religious ceremony observed in making this use of it. In the miraculous cures performed by our Lord's disciples, we are told, that "they anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them"
(Mark, vi. 13). This anointing was an action significant of the miraculous power which healed the sick; and it was used as Moses used his rod, Elisha used Elijah's mantle, as our Lord put his finger into the deaf man's ear, and anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay; and as St. Paul, when he visited the father of Publius, " laid hands upon him and healed him :" neither the anointing nor laying on of hands could have cured the sick, had not a miraculous virtue accompanied the action.
Let us next consider for what purpose St. James, writing "to the twelve tribes scattered abroad," directs the use of oil to anoint the sick. It is plain, from the words he uses, that he referred it to the recovery of health; he says, any sick?" not, "Is any dying or past recovery?" he says, prayer of faith shall save the sick," not his soul, but his body; for he adds, " and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him." This last clause respecting the forgiveness of sins, relates to what the primitive Christians well understood, the infliction of sickness and death from God, as a punishment for sin. Such, St. Paul tells the Corinthians, was the case with them for the profanation of the Lord's Supper: "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (1 Cor. xi. 30.) Thus St. James says, if the sick man's illness were sent as a judgment from God for his sins, God would remove it, and restore him to the peace of the church. Further, we must observe, that he ascribes the sick man's recovery not to the anointing, but to the prayer of faith; he exhorts them to confess their faults one to another, and to pray for one another, that they might be healed; and to prove that "the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man