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finite importance. If we give up called constitutional sins," the sin any one, we shall lower and weaken which doth most easily beset us.” the rest. We must above all hold Here sin will work with most subfast that grand doctrine of revela- tilty. Our natural temperament, our tion, that “ Jesus Christ and him disposition, our age, and other circrucified," is our only hope. cumstances, will lay us more open
2. We must watch against any to soine sins than to others. We decays in spiritual affections. Such must find out what these are, and decays always begin in the heart. pray and strive against them with Men first become cold, and then more than usual earnestness. dead in their souls. The foulest
Lastly, The formation of bad apostacy was at first no more, per- habits is to be opposed with all our haps, than a slight abatement of our might. We are the creatures of love to God.
habit; and when a habit is once 3. We must obey the voice of formed, men act under its influence, conscience even in the smallest things. almost without knowing it; and To disobey conscience is a sure way conscience, after, perhaps, many of quenching the holy light of the fruitless struggles, becomes silent Spirit of God in our hearts.
with respect to it. It is important 4. We must beware of justifying then for Christians, and especially or palliating any sin. Many do this, young Christians, to guard against by calling things by soft and un the formation of sinful habits; and scriptural names, by speaking of even of habits, which, though not their natural depravity as a sort absolutely sinful, are yet unfavouof escuse for sin, and by talking rable to tenderness of conscience of the necessity of divine grace in and growth in grace. It is lamena way which lessens, instead of in- table to think how much evil, in creasing our sense of accountable thousand ways, is forgotten, ness and guilt.
merely because it has become ba5. We must dread every approach bitual. It is greatly to be feared to impurily. There is no sin to that many are satisfied with their which the young are so much ex state, notwithstanding unholy temposed, or which in its nature is so pers, occasional violations of the deceitful and insidious; and, gene- Sabbath, minor frauds on the rea rally, we must shun all temptation, venue, a tendency to disloyalty, for it is this which opens the door to unnoticed falsehoods in their dealiniquity. Such is our weakness, ings, an increasing love of wealth, that if we venture on occasions of a growing conformity to the world, evil, we cannot expect to be safe. a scanty benevolence to the poor, a We are therefore daily and hourly low standard of piety, and little, if to pray “ lead us not into tempta- any, real growth in holiness ; merel tion,” and we must act in the spirit because their early uncorrected ha
bits, or the ordinary practice of their 6. We must consider that there trade or profession, or the manners are sins to which our particular em of their associates, have “accustomed ployment, or the circle in which we them to do evil;" while their conmode, exposes us. We are insensibly tracted views of duty, and the unfa. influenced by surrounding objects, , vourable cast of their religious inand we insensibly catch more or struction, have not tended to remedy, less of the spirit of those with but rather to increase the evil. in whom we live. And if we do not this way, immense mischief is done. anxiously guard against this ten VIII. If we would advance in dency, we shall be drawn in by religion, we must improve the dispenthe current before we are aware. sations of Providence. Afictions are
7. With still more anxiety must 'sent " for our profit;" and whether We watch against what may be they affect our own persons, our fir
of this prayer.
milies, our friends, the church, the peace and obedience has been nation, or the world at large, it is greatly clouded; so that at times you our duty not to “ despise the chas are ready to despond. But be not tening of the Lord;" although the swallowed up with over-much sorrow. nearer they come to us, the stronger These feelings of disappointment is our obligation to improve by should, indeed, lead you to daily them. They are designed to wean repentance and humiliation, to freska us from the world, to shew us what applications to the merits of Christ, is in our heart, to quicken us in to more earnest prayer and watchprayer, to teach us the hardest of fulness; but they should by no all lessons, humility of soul, and re means produce discouragement or signation to God's sovereign will; despondency: The fact may be, and it would be criminal to lose the that your abhorrence of sin has bebenefit of such instruction. The
come greater, and your perception blessings of Providence are likewise of it more acute, and that, therefore, to be improved. In prosperity, we your remaining imperfection has are in danger of forgetting God. We become a more grievous burden to must pray,' therefore, for double you. And thus it will be till we watchfulness and simplicity; for in- lay down this inortal flesh. Till creased gratitude, love, and praise; then our life will be a warfare, a for greater activity in duty, and a race, a struggle ; nor shall conscientious use of the mercies we ever, in this world, be able fully have received. And this habit of “ to do the things that we would." noting events as they occur, should Gal. v. 17. be extended to the return of par Lastly, Avail yourself of the privie ticular seasons. A new - year; a leges and promises of the Gospel ta birth-day, the anniversary of any encourage you in your course.
No important occurrence in life, the man can be active under great difproach of the Holy Sacrament, the ficulties, unless hope animate bis religious Fasts and Festivals of the exertions. The Christian who is Church are proper occasions for habitually cast down will have little self-examination, and for the re- heart for duty. Let us then cultinewed dedication of ourselves to vate a lively recollection of the pe" God, according to the Covenant of culiar privileges of a believer in Grace in Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ. Unbelief saps the IX. After all the directions that very foundation of holiness. It is can be given, you will feel that you only as we see, or hope to see, God do not run the race to heaven 10 reconciled to us by the death of his swiftly or so steadily as you most Son, that we can exercise love to ardently wish to do. Although, him, oppose corruption, and be acthrough Divine grace, you walk tive in good works, It is only by outwardly as a Christian, yet in the “receiving the promises” of God , state of your atfections, in your that we can be made partakers of love to Christ, in your faith and a divine nature." hope, in your motives and thoughts, The belief of the doctrines of in your desires and pursuits, in your grace is necessary not only to our tempers, in' your domestic and secret being at first brought back to God, devotions, you see the most painful regenerated and pardoned, but to and humiliating, traces of evil
. our daily progress in the way of Even when you have prospered for holiness. And if, deriving our a time in yoar spiritual pursuit, and hope of heaven not in any respect have hoped you should never lose from our obedience, but only from the fervour and simplicity of your' the merits and righteousness of mind, somethiog has come in to Christ, we continue to dread all sin, hinder you and draw you back, to abhor ourselves on account of it, and your prospect of constant to labour against it as our greatest
enemy, and to live soberly, right- remember, that “ without holiness eously, and godly as Christians, all no man shall see the Lord;" that the consolations of Christ are ours : "Christ is the way, the truth, and we may rely firmly on the faithful- the life ; and that no man cometh ness of God:
we may humbly unto the Father but by him ;", and trust that we shall be « kept by his that "
except a man be born of the power, through faith, unto salvation.” Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of
Having now completed my de- God.” "To-day, then, if thou wilt sign in these sermons, it only re- bear his voice, harden not thine mains for me briefly to apply what heart.” The course is yet open. has been said to different classes of Thou mayest yet enter upon it, by persons.
the grace of the Holy Spirit; and I. The merely nominal Christian run, like the blessed Apostle, tomust surely see how vain is his re wards eternal glory. The prize is ligion. His conscience must tell placed full in view. And all who him that he knows nothing of that begin the course of faith in Christ, ardent pursuit after growing holi- and go forward in it by constant ness, which has been described. advances in grace, shall at length He may believe in Christianity, be- receive “ the crown of life.” cause he was born in a Christian II. The subject of growth in country, or because he has studied grace may well alarm the declining the evidences of it. He may be de- Christian. Let such “ remember cent in his outward conduct, just in how they have received and heard, his dealings, amiable in his tempers, and hold fast, and repent.” Let kind to the poor, and attentive to them be “ watchful, and strengthen certain religious observances. But the things which remain, that are if this is all; if he has never felt ready to die." You were once simhimself to be a sinner before God, ple, and fervent, and holy. You were the subject of spiritual death; if once separated from the world and he has never deeply repented of its pleasures. You once delighted in sin, and, despairing of help from any communion with God and converother quarter, come to Christ forsation with his people. You were pardon and peace through the blood once diligent, punciual, and watchof the atonement; if he has never ful in the use of the means of
grace. seen the necessity of an entire You avoided the beginnings of sin, change of heart, and under this con like poison. You renounced what viction earnestly sought the in- you found to hinder you in the ways fluence of the Holy Spirit of God of God. You adorned religion in to renew him in the spirit of his your family, in the church, and in the mind; if he has formed no deter- world. You walked humbly with mination to run, with the eagerness God. Your whole soul was in a of a racer, after the highest mea- good measure fixed on pressing forsures of faith, love, and spiritual ward toward heaven. In a word, obedience ;—then is he a Christian you could say, with the apostle, “ I
He has “ a form of am crucified with Christ; neverthegodliness without the power."
less I live; yet not I, but Christ "Awake, then, thou that sleepest, liveth in me; and the life which I and arise from the dead, and Christ now live in the flesh, I live by the shall give thee light.
I cannot faith of the Son of God, who loved call on thee to grow in grace, for it
me and gave himself for me.” But is too evident ihat thou art as yet what is now your spirit as a Chris. “ without God in the world.” But tian? What your vigilance, your I call on thee to " repent, and turn spirituality, your love, your holito God.” I call on thee to " believe ness? Have you not been gradually on the Lord Jesus Christ, that thou declining in your religious characmayest be saved." I bid thee to ter? Is there not some secret deChrist. Observ. No. 113.
only in name.
cay, which has long been withering dust, and lead you to quicken your all the beauty of your profession, pace for the time to come. Thus and at last left little more than a you may hope that God will at shadow of your former self? It may length restore to you the joys of his be, you do not now hold the trutbis salvation,” that he will heal your of the Gospel in their full and genu- backslidings, and love you freely." ine extent, or you may have learnt III. Young and inexperienced to pervert them to purposes of licen. Christians may learn, from wbat bas tiousness. Or, supposing your no- been said, how much is before them. tions remain correct, they are now, The danger of their state arises very perhaps, little more than a matter much from their being, when they of sprculation. Their life and power least suspect it, “ wise in their own dre gone. And what has been the conceit.'' It is most important for gradual effect of this change on the them to remember, that they are to state of your heart, and on your con• be learners all their life; that at duct? Let conscience testify whe, present they are only entering on ther your dispositions are as holy as the race, and know scarcely any they once were, and whether your thing of its real nature and difficulconduct is as consistent and spiritual. ties; that the prime grace of ChrisIt is true, you may confess your sin- tianity is genuine lowliness and fulness, and state many truths con- humiliation of soul; and that there cerning the imperfection of the best is no more certain way of hindering characters. But is not this now themselves in their course, than to become a sort of excuse for sin? imagine that they have already And does it not supply the place of completed it. Let, then, the young exertion, and watchfulness, and Christian keep his eye on the chamortification ? The active Chris- racter of the Apostle Paul, Let tian, indeed, makes similar acknow.' him “count all things but loss for Jedyments ; but then he cannot be the excellency of the knowledge of easy under the sense of remaining Christ;" let him make it his first corruption : he loathes it as the most concern, “ to be found in Christ, painful disease, and labours to gain not having his own righteousness, a growing victory over it. You, on which is of the law, but that which on ifte other hand, can remain indo. is of the faith of Christ, the righlent, dull, and formal: your confes- teousness which is of God by faith." sions are rather intended to prove In the strength of that Saviour, to your orthodoxy, and obtain ap- whom he will thus be united, let him plause, than to express real humi- then fix his whole soul, like the racer Jity.
in the Olympic games, on growing Consider, then, “ from whence in faith, love, and obedience; and thou hast fallen, and be zealous, and thus let him eagerly “reach forth repent." Separate from your secret unto the things that are before," resins. Enter on a new course of solving to prefer to every other purprayer and self-examination. Hum- suit, that of the "prize of his high ble yourselves under the mighty hand calling in Christ Jesus.” of God. Pray for the Holy Spirit IV. Lastly, The advanced Chrisof God to return to your heart. tian may derive, from what has been Your decline began in your closet : offered, some useful reflections. your recovery must begin there too. Ist. How excellent and efficacious Remember, "if you watch not, is real Christianity !-What other Christ will come upon you as a system can pretend to put a man thief, and you shall not know what on that ardent pursuit of holiness hour he will come upon you.” Be- which has been described ? What gin then again to run the race set a solid foundation does it also lay before you. Let a sense of your for humility! It is vital Christi. past miscarriages humble you in the anity alone, which makes this grace
to be a point of the first moment in there is between us and all this the disposition of fallen man; and blessedness. Let count the it is vital Christianity alone, which sufferings of this present life not can produce it: for, as we have worthy to be compared with the seen, while it holds out to the be- glory which shall be revealed in liever every encouragement, and us!" Let us be “ looking for that bestows on him the most exalted blessed hope, and the glorious apprivileges, it still keeps him lowly pearing of the great God and our in his own eyes ; ever sensible of Saviour Jesus Christ !" Let the his great imperfection, ever intent thoughts of heaven warm and anion higher measures of obedience, mate our hearts as we run the heaever dissatisfied with himself, and venly race! Let the prospects of gloever panting after the perfection of ry be our “ song in the house of our holiness in a glorious resurrection. pilgrimage!" Let our faith be fixe
2d. How essential are the doctrines ed on Christ, our “great high-priest, of grace to the promotion of Chris- who is over the house of God;' tian duties !-No inan would contend and who, as“ the forerunner, has for for these doctrines as matters of us entered within the veil." And opinion merely. The reason why let us be assured, that, when“Christ, Christians contend for the funda- who is our life, shall appear, then niental truths of original sin, salva- shall we also appear wiih him in tion by grace, justification by faith glory ;” and there for ever sing, alone, illumination and strength by "Unto him that loved us, and washthe influences of the Holy Ghost; in ed us from our sins ja his own blood, a word, for “ eternal lite being the and hath made us kings and priests gift of God through Jesus Christ our unto God and his father; to him be Lord,” is this, that without the be- glory and dominion for ever and lief of these truths there can be no ever. Amen." real godliness. It is only by receiv. ing these truths cordially, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and To the Editor of the
Christian Observer. acting upon them continually, that a man can enter on the race to hea- A FRIEND of mine, who was some ven, or press forward in it, or reach weeks since presented to a living, at length eternal glory.
has pul a question to me, which I 3d. How obvious a duty is lender- think you so much better qualified ness and forbearance to others ! -As to answer than I am, that I resolve we are still imperfect, there will be to turn it over to you. His query is failings in the best of men; and this: “In what degree ought 'a differences of opinion, and evils of minister, appointed to a cure where various kiuds, will spring up. Let the peculiar doctrines of Christianity the Christian thea be iender-hearted; have been either wholly neglected, or forgiving injuries, forgeuing pro negligently stated, by the preceding Vocations,
“ bearing all ihings, minister, to bring these doctrines at believing all things, hoping all once beiore bis andience? Should things, enduring all things." Espe- his ministry commence with broad. cially, “if any man be overtaken in ly stating his difference of opinion a fault, let them which are spiritual with sone of his bretiwen; and earfestore such an one in the spirit of nestly inculcating the doctrines of meekness, considering themselves, justitication by faiih alone, converJest they also be tempted.” Gai.vi.l.sion by the Spirit of God, the free
Finally, How delightful will hea ness of divine grace, and the practical ven be ! -Let us think on the glory, consequences which flow from these the bliss, the company, the employ. doctrines : or should he begin by ments of that divine abode, wbich is stating the points on which he and the prize of our high calling! Let his new flock are speculatively as often consider what a short space agreed, and endeavouring to coo