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lamentable excesses of enthusiasm, or we sink from a height too dazzling for our weak powers, into the vale of dejection, melancholy, and despair. We were formed for the world, its duties, its pursuits, and its innocent joys. To serve the Lord, who made, and who will finally judge us, is indeed the end of our being; and while we fulfil our obligations to him, and keep his service constantly and supremely in view, we shall prevent our diligence in business from quenching our pious fervour, and our pious fervour from leading us to neglect the necessary duties and occupations of life.
Admirable and appropriate, therefore, is the injunction of the apostle—“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”
Alas! how many separate duties, which ought ever to be united! View that votary of the world, that slave of business, ever alert, ever pressing forward, ever occupied. See you him in the temple of his God! The world is the only temple in which he worships, mammon is the idol which receives all his homage-he has none for the Being who made, and sustains, and who is to judge him. See you him retiring to his closet, to offer his prayers and praises to the Author of his being, the Benefactor of his life? His closet witnesses only his vows of devotion to the world it is the scene only of worldly cares and concerns. Look into his heart. Glows it with pious fervour, with divine and holy emotions ? The love of gain is the supreme passion which has drawn within its corrupting vortex all his powers and affections. What must the end be of such a man? Surely he is not fitted for the presence of his God. What must his end be, but everlasting destruction with that world which he
has made his portion-the bitter pains of eternal death.
Turn your view to an opposite character, more rare indeed, but almost equally hostile to the true Christian spirit. See that misguided.zealot. Puffed up with spiritual pride, or deluded by a heated imagination, he looks down upon and denounces the pursuits, and duties, and enjoyments of life. He estimates the power of religion solely by the fervent emotions which it excites in his soul, and not by the effect which it produces on bis tempers, his life, and his conversation; and thus devotes his time almost entirely to religious exercises and contemplations, undervaluiny, if not neglecting, the social and relative duties of life..
Brethren, be it our care to avoid these dangerous extremes. Let us consider diligence in some lawsul pursuit as the law of our nature, the dictate of reason, the command of God. But let us also remember, that pious fervour of spirit, holy love and devotion to the Lord, can alone preserve us from the corrupting power of the world, and qualify us for the enjoyment of our heavenly home. Let us check our immoderate ardour for the things of the world, by the solemn question, which we cannot too often address to ourselves, “What will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?" To serve the Lord, who made, preserves, and redeems us, and thus to secure our eternal salvation, when the world and all that it contains shall have passed away-let this be our supreme concern. In the busy scenes of life, let our hearts ascend in prayer to God for the comforts of his mercy and the guidance of his grace. In the midst of the enjoyments of the world, let VOL. III.
us check our immoderate indulgence in them, by ascending in heart and mind to that heavenly country, where is reserved for the servants of God, a happiness which eye hath not seen, which ear hath not heard, and of which the heart of man cannot conceive. Let us constantly remember, that (to use the expressive language of our liturgy) “we are set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that, by reason of the frailty of our nature, we cannot always stand upright.” Let our dependence, therefore, be placed upon that grace, without which we can do nothing. In the language of the liturgy, let us beseech God to grant us such a measure of his grace, that we, running the way of his commandments, may obtain his promises, and be made partakers of his heavenly treasures. “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit,” let us pass the time of our probation on earth in “serving the Lord.” Then, though, when we have done all, we shall be unprofitable servants, yet we have the unchanging promise of our gracious God, that, through the merits of our all-prevailing Mediator, an entrance shall be administered unto us, into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
CHRIST RIDING INTO JERUSALEM.
St. MATTHEW xxi. 10, 11.
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved,
saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
AND, my brethren, were strangers to us and to our religion to appear on this day, for the first time, among us, and to witness the general burst of .joy which marks this festive day, and to hear that it was called forth in commernoration of the birth of some celebrated personage, his would be the inquiry which was excited by the advent of Christ to Jerusalem, Who is this? And ours would be the answer of the multitude who accompanied him, of the admiring thousands who hung upon the words that proceeded out of his mouth, of the celestial harbingers of his birth, This is Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee—the Teacher sent from God, who spake as never man spake-the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
The individual who comes forward as the Guide and Instructor of mankind, must expect his pretensions to be strictly scrutinized, and his character and qualifications to be brought to the ordeal of severe investigation. Who is this ? is a question which not merely idle curiosity, but sober reflection, will prompt. And when the subjects on which
this personage professes to cast the light of truth, respect not physical, intellectual, or political, but religious knowledge-not the evanescent life that now is, not the transitory concerns of the world, but the never-endiug existence, the enduring scenes beyond the grave the claims which be advances to our confidence and submission become infinitely exalted in importance.
Never was the solemn attention of the world called to a personage so interesting as he whose birth we this day commemorate, Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. In the fulfilment. of predictions which, shining with the increasing lustre of ages, had from the beginning marked bim as the desire of all nations, and the hope of his chosen people Israel, he appeared, to accomplish the stupendous object from which cherubim and seraphim would have shrunk—to take away sin, to make atonement for transgression, to bring in everlasting righteousness: he appeared, to perform what had hitherto bafiled the mightiest efforts of the human intellect, to unbar the prison-house of the grave, and to open the mansions of the eternal world.
And surely every one who reflects that he possesses a spiritual and immortal nature, must instantly feel the carnest and deeply-solicitous desire that a personase, whose errand is so benignant, whose designs of mercy are of such infinite moment, may evidence those qualifications and exhibit those testimonies which would irresistably prove that God is with hiin:
Let us then with humility and reverence investigate the personal character of him who, as at this time, appeared as the divine Messenger of the Father, the powers which he exercised, and the offices