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favour and acceptance on the other. Our real hope and safety lie in self-distrust, in shunning rather than courting situations of ambitious self-devotion, in clinging to the homely duties of our daily life, in striving to fulfil the will of Christ in those stations in which He hath placed us,-not in seeking the temptation of a more conspicuous post, nor thrusting ourselves into duties to which we have no call from Him, nor in neglecting those offices of Christian brotherhood, which, though unseen and unknown by the world, are placed within our own immediate reach, and which, if we neglect them, will probably be neglected altogether. There are some whose characters are to be differently tried: Sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven, and come, follow me.These are they whose zeal requires to be enlivened, who are fond of the world, its pleasures or its riches; but there are others again who under the influence of temporary religious excitement need a different treatment, “ Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.

The circumstances under which men need to apply to themselves this precept of Christ, to check the inordinate excitement of a feeling of religion, that is, to check its violent and unusual efforts, not to destroy or discourage it, are various. Sometimes a fit of sickness by turning a man's thoughts suddenly and strongly towards the subject of religion, makes him think that he is ready for any

sacrifices. He has no hesitation in professing his anxiety to choose the better part which Mary chose; to be with Christ, which is far better. He believes himself to be deeply and indelibly impressed with religious earnestness. And deeply indeed he is perhaps, but not indelibly. With the return of health, the situations which he has formerly experienced recur; old temptations, old trains of thought rise naturally to his mind; the sudden warmth and fervour of religion cool : and if under that fervour he has taken any strange step of selfdevoting himself, if he has laid himself under vows, or in any manner bound himself to a particular religious course, this very thing becomes an additional snare to him, an additional temptation to desert the service of God.

The same is the case if affliction of any kind,the loss of fortune or friends,-have set the current of the feelings strongly towards religion. There is a blessed influence in sorrow, to soften the heart, and turn it towards God; wherefore our Lord has said, Blessed are ye that mourn, for ye shall be comforted.But in the midst of such affliction, when the mourner feels disposed to ask in bitterness,

Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of Thee,he needs to call to mind the refusal which Christ gave to the prayer of this Demoniac. He is ready to say with St. Peter, Though I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise." If any person suggests to him the possibility of these fervours of religion growing cooler, he treats the suggestion as injurious. He knows that he is sincere now; and he cannot conceive the altered circumstances under which his feelings will become changed again. But by degrees, the circumstances do alter. Fresh ties and interests take the place of those which were broken. The wound, which seemed as if it never could admit of palliation or cure, heals by slow degrees; and the warm excitement of religious feeling is apt to go off with the occasion that excited it. Well had it been for such an one, if he had rather “returned to his own house," returned to the simple discharge of his common duties, acknowledged in his heart the graciousness of God which had done so great things for him, which had wakened up this new feeling of religion in his heart, and striven, in quiet obedience, to keep alive that feeling by steady prayer, by daily diligence, by unwearied holy exertion in his own sphere!

Or take again a case more exactly similar to the one before us—suppose a man who has been either wholly negligent of religion, or so unhappily impressed with sad and ill-grounded notions of religion, as to despair of God's favour, and to be in the miserable state of feeling himself shut out from God. There is no doubt that there are many whom the evil spirit is thus permitted to assail with temptations to desperation, or to recklessness of most unholy living no less dangerous than desperation. If God be pleased to say to such an one Come out of him, thou unclean spirit !"-If He restore such an one by His grace, through the efficacy of preaching, or otherwise, to a sense of comfort and favour, he has need of much caution. In the excitement of his new happiness he is apt to think that he can never again be miserable. He overrates his own zeal. He cannot appreciate the gradual change of feeling ; he cannot tell how trying the temptations are, with which his religion, not yet habitual, will be assailed. If he overestimates his present steadfastness, which is not unlikely, it will be sure to recoil upon him hereafter. He will find that he is still the weak and frail creature that he was before; that though for a while temptation seemed to lose its force, and his heart to gain holy strength to resist every assault, yet that in truth the flesh is as weak as ever. Happy were it for him if this lesson of God's word, duly laid to heart and carefully obeyed, had caused him to return in simple gratitude to his own home, to his kindred, his friends, his common work, and common prayers,—had caused him (while he told them how great things God had done for him) to distrust his strength, to fear the decay of his present zeal, to pray more steadily, to work more diligently and obediently, to strive in the retirement of his own home to walk humbly with his God.

For the truth is, and it is a truth of exceeding

consequence to every Christian to remember, that excitement is one thing, and steady religious zeal another. Excitements are temporary, sudden, not to be depended upon. As long as they last they please and satisfy the man who feels them. A man is apt to be so pleased with the consciousness of a real warmth of feeling on these subjects, that his satisfaction often lasts after the feeling has almost or wholly disappeared, -when in fact his mind is less religious, and less open to religious impressions than if that feeling had never arisen. Alas then, for him who trusts to these excitements! who hails them when they come; who is half disposed to despair when they come not: who tries to arouse them artificially; who has no steady course of practical and habitual piety, out of which a more constant and regular flow of religious earnestness may rise! Whose religious life is full of dark and worldly intervals, whose comfort ebbs and flows, whose heart alternates between unreasonable confidence, and not less unreasonable fear !

Here, then, we see the great, the incalculable benefit of regular Church ordinances. The house of God is open to us, the quiet orderly service of the Church is duly performed. Here we meet friends and neighbours, all come upon the same errand with ourselves : here from week to week, from month to month, from year to year, we can form a fair and accurate judgment whether our progress in religion be advancing or not; whether

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