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himself time seriously to reflect that there is a God, a judgment, an eternal existence-obduracy will soon seal his heart; given up to a reprobate mind, God will not be in all his thoughts. Arouse, then, sinner; reflect on the guilt and danger of thy impenitent course : seek thy God while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.
This sacred communion with the heart is also necessary to the sincere Christian.
It is necessary to his perfection in the Christian graces, and to his enjoyment of the Christian hopes.
In proportion as you retire, Christians, from the bustle and gayety of the world, to commune with your own hearts, to hold converse with your God, to meditate on the mercy and love of your Saviour, on the riches of the eternal inheritance which he has provided for you, will be your progress in piety and virtue, and your consolation and joy in your holy course. Blessed is the privilege of meditating on heaven and heavenly things! Happy above the happiest moments which you can find in the world, are those which are devoted to your God, to communion with bim, to the anticipation of the bliss prepared for you in his presence. In these devout exercises you will find a solace for all your cares, a healing balm for your wounded spirit. In sacred communion with your hearts, you will experience that God is gracious; that blessed are all they that trust in him; that you are strengthened against temptation; that you are raised above the imperfect joys of the world, and prepared for that heaven where there is fulness of joy, and where there is pleasure for evermore.
CONSIDERATION OF TEMPORAL AND SPIRITUAL DUTIES.
ROMANS xü. 11.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
These words are an admirable summary of the duty of a Christian ; they are an appropriate and forcible exbibition of his external conduct as it regards the world, of the temper of mind which he should cultivate towards God, and of the great end at which he should aim in all his actions, and the principle by which he should regulate all his dispositions and affections. As it respects the world, he is enjoined “not to be slothful in business ;” as it respects his piety to God, he is to be “ fervent in spirit;" and the great end at which he should aim in all his actions, and the principle by which he should regulate all his dispositions and affections, is “serving the Lord.” He is not permitted to extenuate' or excuse his indolence or negligence in the concerns of the world, by the plea of being engrossed by the fervour of his religious feelings. He is not to excuse his lukewarmness in the exercises and duties of religion, by the care and diligence which his worldly affairs demand. Nor is he to defend either that excessive devotedness and diligence in the concerns of the world, which lead him to neglect the duties of a fervent piety, or that immoderate fervour of religious feeling which prompts him to neglect or contemn his worldly business, by the pretext that God is to be served solely by worldly industry on the one hand, or religious fervour on the other. No; according to the injunction of the apostle, these duties are all of indispensable obligation, and all strictly compatible; and they have an important influence upon each other~" Not slothful in business ; feryent in spirit; serving the Lord.”
Let these then be the divisions of our discourse: 1. These duties are all binding upon us. 2. They are strictly compatible with each other.
3. And they have a mutual and important influence.
1. These duties are all binding upon us. “ Not slothful in business."
The universe is full of motion; countless worlds incessantly rolling through immeasurable space, proclaim that activity is the first law of nature. The great Creator himself is unceasingly occupied in superintending that universe which his power called into existence, and in diffusing through its almost infinitely distant parts, life, and glory, and felicity : his eternal perfections lead to incessant and ineffably exalted activity,
That blessed personage who, the brightness of the Father's glory, went through a series of the most active and painful labours for the salvation of the human race, is still incessantly engaged, at the right hand of the Father, in pouring forth intercessions for those for whom he shed his blood, in dispensing his truth and his grace to guide and defend his redeemed people.
Angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim,
the most perfect and the most blessed of the numerous ranks of created beings, find their felicity in unceasing activity-in doing the pleasure of Him whose throne they surround, whose glorious praises they cease not day nor night to celebrate.
Even those lower ranks of beings who are destitute of the active principle of intelligence, are urged by that instinct with which Almighty Power hath endued them, to industry and labour-industry and labour often even more than necessary to their preservation and comfort.
Shall then the universe, through its boundless range-shall the Creator of the universe, the eternal Fountain of being and felicity-shall the Redeemer of the world, God over all, blessed for evermore-shall the host of heaven, foremost among intelligent creatures shall they who, guided only by instinct, rank lowest in the scale of animate creation shall all these be active and industrious, and in that activity find their perfection and bliss ; and shall man be sluggish and indolent, man who, made but a little lower than the angels, ought most to resemble them in vigour and activity ? No; the powers of the human mind, so vigorous and inquisitive, prove that man was designed for action, for labour, for industry. By exercise only can his intellectual powers be preserved from decay, and be advanced in strength and purity. By useful employment only can that vacuity of mind be prevented which is the bane of real enjoyment, and in which, as a hot-bed, shoot up the rankest vices. By industrious application of his body and mind only can he provide for the comfort and welfare of those whom nature hath made dependent on him, and discharge his duty to society, which, extending to VOL. III.
him protection and support, demands from him that exertion which is necessary to preserve and advance the strength and the purity of its institutions.
Thus then do the most powerful considerations enforce the obligation of the duty “not to be slothful in business."
To the injunction, “ not slothful in business," the apostle joins “ fervent in spirit.”
By this is meant spiritual fervour, temporał zeal being already sufficiently enjoined in the prior command, “not to be slothful in business."
There is not a consideration which has been urged to establish the obligation of diligence in our temporal, which does not apply, with increased force, to prove the duty of zeal and fervour in our spiritual concerns. Eternity, in its duration, its occupations, and its enjoyments, infinitely transcends the duration, occupations, and enjoyments of time. A spiritual and immortal life infinitely exceeds in value a life corporeal and mortal. The eternal Fountain of being, perfection, and happiness, is infinitely exalted above any object which can here occupy our labours or claim our exertions. If then temporal zeal be incumbent on .us, how great must be the obligations of fervour with respect to those spiritual objects which are of infinitely transcendent importance !
But the pious fervour which is thus of indispensable obligation, is not that extravagant fervour which, consisting in inflamed passions, prostrates the reason and the judgment; which, following the impulses of a heated imagination, violates, in its religious exercises, what in all cases ought to be observed, the dictates of common sense, and