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minister to the gratification of sensual passions but, in the language of the apostle, “ to bless us, in turning away every one from his iniquities :" and, therefore, we cannot celebrate his Advent as we ought, without preparing ourselves, by prayer and supplication at the throne of grace, to combat all the evil passions and propensities of our nature: for, before we can make



in the virtues and graces of the Holy Gospel, we must forsake those sins, to which we might have been hitherto addicted. “Let us,” therefore, in the language of the text, and in that of our excellent Collect for the day, “cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."

It should be a powerful inducement with all to enter speedily on this great work of repentance, and newness of life, that “the night is far spent, and that the day is at hand.” By "the night," the apostle doubtless means the portion of time allotted to human life ; and, considering how often it is obscured by cares and sorrows, by ignorance and vice, the metaphor will be allowed to be striking and jusť. In contrast with this, “the day” must indicate that glorious light, which shall be enjoyed, after death, in the regions of immortality, by all those who love God, and keep his commandments. Procrastination, even in our worldly affairs, is al. ways foolish, and often dangerous; but, in entering on the discharge of those duties, which regard our eternal welfare, it seems to border on presumption, and to imply all the wilfulness of sin.

When we have been enabled, by God's blessing, and the gracious aids of the Holy Spirit, to vanquish the lusts of the flesh, and to “ renew a right mind within us," we may then pursue our Christian task, at such a season as this, with greater prospects of success. Without confining our attention to any single point, we may humbly endeavour to shew ourselves, generally speaking, “ worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called.” Admitting that our faith is unfeigned, and such as “worketh by love;" admitting, also, that we are not negligent in the discharge of religious duties, both public and private ;--let us studiously cultivate those Christian graces, which ought to pervade our general conduct, and shew that the Holy Gospel has produced some of its genuine fruits in our hearts. Recollecting that our heavenly Father is pleased to call himself “the God of Peace," and that his only-begotten Son was announced to the world as “ the Prince of Peace;" considering, also, that Peace forms an essential part of the apostolic blessing, that it was the proclamation of angels on the birth of Christ, and that it was his last bequest to his faithful disciples ; let us earnestly endeavour, at this holy season, to be at peace with ourselves, and with our brethren. Founded on the sublime doctrines, and blended with nearly all the important duties of the Gospel, Peace would not be a mere passive quality, but a truly virtuous habit of the soul ;--not altogether a calm, quiescent effect ; but also a practical, operative principle of Christian gentleness and love. As such, it will, when duly cherished, propagate itself throughout the family of the truly pious man, and extend its influence to all around him encountering the proud and envious, the selfish, turbulent, and angry passions of our corrupt nature, with the most beneficial efficacy, and enabling us to “ walk,” as the apostle exhorts, “ with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbedring one another in love."

The only additional virtue that I shall at present particularly notice, as singularly proper to prepare us for the Coming of our Lord, is

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charity towards our fellow-creatures ;-a virtue of such paramount importance in the Gospel of Christ, that the apostle calls it “ the fulfilling of the law.” Without it, all faith, we are told, is as nothing, and the eloquence even of angels is “ as tinkling brass, or a sounding cymbal.” We must be careful, therefore, in taking this general view of it, not to restrict its operations within too narrow limits; for its duties, in the wide field of Christian morals, take a very extensive range. It is by no means confined to almsgiving, or to relieving the wants, and mitigating the sufferings of the poor, though these will always be some of its obvious branches ;- it will go much farther--it will make all due allowance for the hardships of their condition, for their prejudices and errors, their ignorance and improvidence; and, also, for the want of that ef. fectual discipline, which would teach them to

keep the heart with all diligence.”

Farther, it will endeavour, by “every good word and work," to prevent evil, as well as to remedy it; and, in certain cases, will always feel more pleasure in concealing the deformity of wickedness and vice, than in exposing its filthiness and contagion to the eyes of the world.

Charity indeed hideth a multitude of sins;"

nor is its divine love and compassion limited to any order, or condition of human beings the light of its benevolence, and of that “ Wisdom which is from above,” will be directed to the trials and temptations, the failings and infirmi. ties of the rich, as well as the poor ;-to the privations and distresses of the aged, as well as to the excesses of the young ;-to the arduous duties of those " who have the rule over us,?. and who always live as it were in the public eye, as well as to the multiplied complaints and sorrows of the weak and helpless.

Contemplated, therefore, and practised on this enlarged scale, the apostle might well say of true Christian charity, that it “never faileth;" for we may regard it, not merely as a single virtue, but as a general exemplification of the divine morality of the Gospel in human conduct, and as the natural and combined result of its wisdom, humility, and brotherly love. .. Allow me to observe, by way of conclusion, that the coming of Christ in the flesh, to en." lighten and redeem the world, naturally reminds us of that awful day, when, in the language of our admirable Collect," he shall come again in his glorious Majesty to judge both the quick and dead.” How near, or how distant, that

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