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will he be able to say for himself that his life was what a Christian's ought to be--that in his swearing, and in his neglect of outward religion (as it is often contemptuously and erroneously termed), he was laboring to be accepted by his Savior ?

To say so would be an impious mockery; and yet if he were not so laboring, can be expect to be accepted in the great accounting day? Will his punctuality, or his civility, or his seldom swearing, or his general respectability, save him in that day? That day, I say, when (as the Holy Spirit himself has put the question before us), “ if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ?"

Again, to persons who have some degree of what is called seriousness in religion, but at the same time are no bigots, who think one profession as good as another-in other words, who abhor the thought of abiding in meekness and humility by the ancient and severe rules of the holy catholic church; to such persons the words of St. Paul are most valuable, as a means of leading them to ascertain their true spiritual condition.

To them the question may be put--are you indeed laboring, whether present or absent, to be accepted of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it to please your Savior that you go about from one place of worship to another, to judge of doctrines, to criticise preachers, to set at naught unity, to encourage divisions? Do you do this to please your Savior, or rather is it not to please yourself?

And then, what is the value of what you call your religion—your high-wrought feelings-your ill-grounded confidences? Do they not rather endanger the soul than edify it ? Can anything in short really edify it, except love for our blessed Lord and Savior, and a constant uniform endeavor or (as the text says) “labor" to please him? And can it please him to see Christians careless and indifferent about the sacred rules of order and unity, and communion with that church which he has purchased with his own blood ?

The time I am persuaded is not very far distant, when a good many thoughtful persons, both churchpeople and dissenters, will see and lament their erro. neous and deficient notions on this great subject of church unity. In the meantime it must be right and necessary for us all to labor in this respect, perhaps above all others almost, to seek out what is well pleasing to our Lord and Master, and then to act up thereto, be the consequences what they may.

And in like manner, of those who are in profession church-people, it greatly indeed concerns us, more doubtless than we are aware, to take care that our churchmanship is well founded that is, founded not on mere fancy or prejudice, or self-interest, but on a thorough conscientious desire to do what is acceptable to the Lord Jesus Christ, and so to be a true member of the church, which is his body.

As to the dream and delusion of an internal unity without external-of people being united in faith and love who will not kneel down together at the same altar—this need only be mentioned to be set aside as what I said it is, a mere dream and delusion.

But then unity, though essential to the church, is not everything in it: there must be doctrine and discipline as the Lord hath commanded, and if in any branch of the catholic church there is any falling away or deficiency in either of these respects; the duty of each member is not to separate and depart from the body, but to use all holy and lawful means to restore things to their primitive state, so far as may be. Whoever does this with humility and caution, out of pure love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and seeking only his glory, such an one acts on true church principles; his ambition and his labor is according to St. Paul's rule in the text, that whether present or absent, whether successful or not in his wishes and endeavors, he may at least be approved and accepted of his Savior.

But chiefly and above all things, does it concern the sincere member of Christ's church, to keep watch over himself and his own heart and conduct, to remember that as in holy baptism his body was made, as St. Paul

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says, the temple of the Holy Ghost; so in the other holy sacrament, the benefit, whereof he and all faithful Christians are partakers, is no less than the body and blood of their adorable Savior.

These thoughts, I say, make the sincere churchman look on himself and his condition with awe and fearwith awe when he considers the greatness of his privileges-with fear, lest he should do anything to forfeit them.

Nevertheless these fears do not overcome him, and get the mastery of his feelings, but still he goes on with the apostle in the text, laboring and endeavoring that, whether present or absent, he may be accepted of his Savior.

Perhaps, now, some person may think this is a poor kind of life to be always laboring and endeavoring to be acceptable to God: it would be better surely for us to know that we are accepted, and then we need fear no more, nor labor no more. To this we can only say in answer, St. Paul thought it necessary to labor that whatever befell him, he might be accepted of his adored Lord : surely then it must be as necessary for us, unless we would pretend to be wiser and better than that most illustrious apostle.

It may in some sense, and to the eye of the world, be a poor kind of life to be for ever endeavoring and laboring to please an unseen Master. Nevertheless that Master is our God and Savior; except in him we can have no hope either now or through the great approaching eternity. He is so kind as to watch over us; to be pleased when we endeavor to please him—to be grieved when we neglect or disobey him. Is it then a poor kind of life to spend it in the service of such a great and glorious Master, and one, too, on whom all our dependance must be, as we cannot deny?

Rather, I should think, it is a poor kind of life, to rest satisfied with what we are, to be afraid of being righteous over much, but to have no fears of being righteous over little ; to desire chiefly to feel safe and secure of Heaven, without regarding much the strict


and holy rules of Christ and his church. Thus to go on in a half religion, is, indeed, a poor kind of life.

But to labor like St. Paul from day to day, whether present or absent, in happiness or in grief, to be accepted of our Lord and Master, to do everything with a view to please him, to make his will our will, his displeasure our displeasure: this, whatever it may be in the world's opinion, is to the eye of faith and of pure religion the noblest of all courses; and yet, too, the only one that it is safe for any individual to follow.

It is plain then, from what St. Paul says, that a life of labor, of earnest endeavor to please our Lord Jesus Christ, is the sort of life we ought all to be leading. If we are not so endeavoring, we are unworthy of the great name of Christians.

Everybody almost will say the times are bad, and not without reason.

The faithful member of Christ's church must, therefore, rouse himself to new, probably, and peculiar trials fast approaching. He must not lie idle, and think that nothing is to be done in the holy cause of God and truth; nor again, in false humility, is he to think that he can do nothing.

Everyone can labor, that whether present or absent, whether apparently successful or unsuccessful, he may be accepted of his Lord and Master.

Every one can endeavor to know more of the nature of the gospel and of the constitution of Christ's church catholic, than he does at present. Every man can endeavor to follow more steadily the rules of that branch of the church to which we profess at least to belong. Every one can endeavor to be more consistent in his religion, not to profess one thing and practise another; not to mind being laughed at, scorned, and pitied; not to give up good practices hastily, because we do not find all at once so much comfort or advantage as we expected from them—to be more than ever strictly honest, punctual, temperate, kind, forgiving, charitable, devout, self-denying, dead to this world, and resigned to the disposals of our heavenly Father and Redeemer.

These things we can endeavor and labor after, and only so far as we do endeavor and labor after them are we worthy to be accounted members of Christ's holy catholic church, and of the communion of saints, so far only have we right to expect to be admitted hereafter to the blessed company of angels, of apostles, and martyrs, of the spirits of just men made perfect, of those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Things cannot long continue as they are going on now, that is quite certain.

Some great changes of necessity must take place ere long in the external condition of the church among us. The tide sets, as it were, strongly, not so much against particular opinions as against the truth wherever it shows itself. Against this the majority are plainly united, as indeed they always have been.

But this need not disturb us. What ought to disturb us is the recollection that we have not labored as became us as Christians and as churchmen (if such a distinction may be made) that, whatever befalls us, we may be accepted of our great Lord and Master.

Let us then in this respect repent and amend. Let us cast off all selfishness, all indolence, all mean cowardly fears, and set before ourselves as the single object of our anxiety to be and to do what will be pleasing to our gracious and adorable Redeemer.

In such labors and endeavors we shall not in the end fail of success, by the promised aid of the Holy Spirit, the giver of life.

I say, we shall not in the end be disappointed. But at present we must not look for much comfort or immediate reward, but be contented to bear the burden and heat of the day; any of those peculiar trials and afflictions which the true member of Christ's church must expect to have laid on him.

And then, from time to time, he may refresh himself by thinking what good men of old time have endured in the same holy cause, and be thankful if he may be at all

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