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ciple will proceed until mortality is swallowed up of life. Our vile bodies shall be changed, that they may be fashioned like to Christ's glorious body, he will perfect his work in righteousness, all shall be holy and without blemish, every man shall be presented perfect, in Christ Jesus.
"Grace will complete what grace begins,
"Eternal mercy ne'er forsakes."
From the whole of this subject, let us derive some further benefit in the way of caution and consolation.
1. Be on your guard against restricting the operation of God's mercy; our text speaks of the ordinary method of Divine procedure, but as he giveth not "an accouut of his matters," as there are diversities of operations by the same spirit, let us not deny that to be the work of God, which has not occurred exactly in the way we have been accustomed to trace it. Incalculable mischief has arisen in the church from this disposition; a certain standard of feeling, both as to nature and degree, has been established in the opinions of some persons, and whatever be the hopes or habits of such as oppose these preconceived notions, it is directly concluded
they have neither part nor lot in the matter-are totally destitute of real religion.
Again. Caution is likewise necessary lest any should, from what has been advanced, shelter their indecision of character, and their ambiguity of conduct, under the supposition that real piety is so personal and hidden as to be imperceptible to others. Recollect, we have not been pleading for that equivocal sort of religion, which neither brings happiness to the possessor, advantage to others, or glory to God in the highest. The metaphor in the text, is altogether subversive of this conclusion. However gradual the operation of leaven in meal may be, it at length renders itself apparent and perceptible to all the senses; its effects may be tasted, felt, and handled.
And finally; let us beware of that leaven, against which, both our Lord and his disciples cautioned their hearers. Unholy principles, like ungodly men, work secretly, and often in the dark; in this particular, they indeed resemble those who shrink from observation influenced by the worthiest motives, even as he who is the Prince of Darkness, assumes for corrupt purposes, the appearance of an Angel of Light. But how widely different are their motives for retirement, and the consequences of their conduct :-the results of one are purifica
tion, of the other pollution, defilement; one worketh life-the other death: the emblem of the first is, that benevolence that suffers not the right hand to know what the left doeth; of the other, that' assassin who said, Art thou in health my brother? and at the same moment, thrust a sword into Amasa, and killed him.*
2. Accept the consolation this subject so liberally offers. It addresses itself to such as are suffering under the most painful of all solicitudes, and seriously enquiring whether the work of grace is begun in their hearts; who are honestly endeavoring to ascertain if they are born again; whose language is,
"'Tis a point I long to know,
"Oft it causes anxious thought, "Do I love the Lord or no
"Am I his or am I not?"
Cherish those hopes which Jesus himself sanctions; rejoice if you can discover the smallest portion of this hallowed leaven; indulge a confident conviction that it will proceed to its destined prevalence; that no opposition will destroy it; and that at length, the whole lump will partake of its useful and purifying properties. Plead our parable as a
* 2 Samuel, xx. 9.
promise; ask and ye shall obtain evidences of safety; peace which passeth understanding; a full assurance of faith.
Let such as are interested in the welfare of others, reflect with delight on these sentiments. Mothers, especially, who resemble the female spoken of in the parable, who early took of this mystic leaven, and exerted themselves to the utmost to introduce it into the corrupt mass of their children's hearts. They watched the operations of these better, but alas! alien principles; many fears arose, lest through their want of skill in kneading well these truths, their efforts should fail. Consolatory instances of success are left upon record. Holy women, whose names are remembered with reverence, instructed Timothy, when a child, in the Scriptures, by which he was made wise to salvation. God has signally honored maternal zeal and diligence; the agency of woman in these spiritual labors has been abundantly prospered; and are there not many of us who have now a good hope through grace; who indulge the pleasing persuasion that we are brought into the kingdom of God, and shall be kept in it; who impute these benefits to the early instructions, the affectionate tears, and fervent prayers, of a beloved parent? Yes, with emotions which cannot be described, and with a reference not to be mistaken, we say of grace in our
hearts :—“ The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, " which a woman took and hid in three measures of "meal, till the whole was leavened."
Let this encourage others; the work belongs to all, but let it ever be remembered, that the customs of society, the approbation of God, and the very nature of this pleasant service, pronounce, that it is appropriately a mother's care.
The Christian is often made in the nursery. Religious knowledge has seldom been inefficacious when early imbibed. The leaven may have been long concealed, but at length has leavened the whole lump. "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, al
ways abounding in the work of the Lord, foras"much as ye know that your labor is not in vain "in the Lord."*
Will this reward be inadequate? Are these inducements insufficient?-The universal reply is from every parent's lips-" I can have no greater joy, than to see my children walking in the "truth." t