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cluding the execution of Christ's office as a king, as well as that of a priest and a prophet, is not admitted ; and thus, under high-sounding commendations of evangelical truth, and high-sounding words of ill-repute against legal preaching, the man conceals the corruptions of his heart, lives in delusion, and dies in danger, for which buman language hath no words. My brother, it is God's truth, relish it how we may. “ He that doeth righteousness, is righteous, even as God is righteous ;” and “ except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees (who were the most flaming religionists of their day), we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The faith that justifies me before my God, will sanctify me before my family and before the world. I receive not the Gospel of Christ, unless I receive the whole Gospel, unless I welcome Jesus Christ as a king to reign in my heart, and to subjugate every feeling of my mind, as well as a priest to atone for my sins, and a prophet to shed light on my benighted understanding.
While we look up to heaven, and bring down strength from above, let not that strength, like the talent of the slothful servant, be hid in the ground. Let us use manfully and Christianly the strength we receive; and let it be our concern, that there may not be a family, a church, or an individual, more like Carmel and Sharon than the family and the church to which we belong. Let this be the generous emulation, who shall excel in gentleness, meekness, and brotherly kindness; who shall be most willing to make sacrifices for a brother's welfare ; who shall be most like the Son of God. Let this be the only strife in which we are engaged. Then shall we be as Eden, the garden of the Lord, and as a field which the Lord hath blessed. These holy tempers and dispositions of soul will perfume the atmosphere around us, and will be the best argument in favour of the divinity of our cause. “ Can their religion be a fable,” infidelity will say, “which produces such effects? Look at that family. What gentleness! what kindness! That man loves his wife as Christ loves the church; and in their common intercourse of life, behold what industry and what integrity!"
Christian men ought to read the Bible with a humble and teachable spirit. Our understandings are very limited, while the subjects of divine revelation are grand and sublime. There is a great chain let down from heaven, and I see but a few of its links. I rise from the dust, and look around for a few years; I see but a part of a great plan, whose beginning is involved in mists and obscurity, and whose close is beyond the ken of my penetration. The Author of my being has graciously put into my hand a manual of divine instruction, by which some light is shed on that glorious plan which we call providence; but still shadows, clouds, and darkness, are round about the throne. There is a deference,-a homage of mind due to the Father of Lights. He that says to my will,“ hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther,” says the same to the other powers of my nature; and is my understanding the only faculty that is not subject to his control ? The ways of Providence, in a thousand instances, I cannot account for; the operations of God upon my mind are above my comprehension. Of the manner in which my body shall be raised up again, I can say nothing with clearness and precision : and this knowledge is unnecessary to me—for I am not to raise the dead. I am not to rule the world; and it is sufficient, that He who has undertaken the task possesses power to accomplish it. My business is to be humble,—to adore,—and to think it no discredit to my understanding implicitly to believe my Creator. I know that the present is but the beginning of my existence; and I expect that, when in the future world I arrive at manhood, I shall understand more of these things; but should I not then understand them, must I cease to believe and to adore till I have the powers of Godhead to comprehend? There is an indecency in the conduct of infidel men and Socinians for which they ought to blush before God and the world.
With a humble and teachable spirit, then, my beloved young friends, maintain the right of judging for yourselves in matters of religion. - We claim no authority over your consciences; we introduce you to the Teacher from God, and with him we leave you.
We ought also to search the Scriptures with accompanying applications of the word to ourselves. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation; but it is so only to those who apply it to themselves. When God deals with the heart, he so levels the truth as to secure an entrance into the conscience,--he so applies the word, that the man says, (however numerous the congregation), “ he means me, that is my vulnerable part he is attacking.” My brother, God hath found thee out, beware of shrinking from his presence, beware of resisting the force of conviction,-bow thy knees, bare thy bosom, spread thy hands to heaven, and implore the pardon of thine offences,-return and read the word of God, apply to thyself its promises, its threatenings, its laws, its examples, especially the example of the Son of God. To-day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God. Say to yourself, “ How did Jesus Christ spend his sabbath evenings?” O! had we been present at Bethany, where he frequently spent his evenings,—where all the family loved him, and all were beloved by him,--what a pattern of sanctity, of gentleness, of tenderness and affection. should we have witnessed! They who understand best the character of Jesus, and who study most to conform their own to its likeness, are likely soonest to arrive at the fulness of the stature of a perfect man. In reading the Bible, search out the plague of thine own heart,
discover thine inward corruptions, bring them forward to the front of the battle, and retire from them that they may be destroyed. Say of thy corruptions, “ They are condemned; Christ hath condemned them on the cross; and cursed be the eye that spares them, but blessed the hand that first puts the sentence into execution."
We shall now propound to your teachable spirits a few scriptural directions and counsels, calculated to prevent the dire consequences which will ever arise from men's hearing the word, and not receiving the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Our appeal will be made at every step to the book of God: we tremble at the thought of leading the human mind into the wilds of fanaticism, especially on a subject which has suffered so much from the weak and wandering imaginations of good men. Our first counsel, then, to the hearers of the Gospel is, that they study to make their minds acquainted with the mind of the Holy Ghost. This is to be found in the Bible. The Bible is our polar star, by which, in the navigation of life, we are always to regulate our steering. Rome has turned away the eyes of her sons from this star; hence her delusions. Be it your concern, my beloved friends, to lay up in your minds, as in a treasury, the laws of God; for in them the mind of the Spirit is heard,—the promises of God, for thence the consolations of the Spirit are to be gathered,- the expostulations of God's word, for these are the strivings of paternal affection. These laws, these promises, and these expostulations, will be found to be the springs of vital godliness,-a defence against temptation, and an antidote in the midst of an infectious atmosphere. “ Thy word have 1 hid in my heart, (said David), that I may not sin against thee.”
Our second counsel is, that in hearing the word we must beware of indulging those tempers and dispositions which grieve the Spirit of God, and prevent the efficacy
of the Gospel on the heart. Pride of understanding, conceit of attainments, a worldly spirit, the lusts of the flesh, which war against the spirit; secret indulgence of malice, envy, of resentment, and all dispositions allied to it; obstinacy of mind in the ways of sin, amid the convictions of duty - a habit which hinders a man from surrendering his mind to the force of truth, and honestly following up the convictions of his own conscience; a careless frame of spirit, a disposition to hear for any body but ourselves; and other similar and equally dangerous frames of mind. If hearers of the word indulge in these tempers, what benefit can reasonably be looked for from the preaching of the Gospel ? Peter, adverting to these dispositions, says, “ Lay aside all malice and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envy, and all evil speakings; and as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." There are latent diseases in the constitution; and however good, succulent, and nourishing the milk of the word, if the constitution be under the influence of these moral diseases, the unadulterated milk of the word will not cause the mind to thrive, grow, and do well.
Our third counsel is, that in hearing the Gospel we encourage habitual desires after the present helps and assistance of the Holy Spirit; and this may be done without disturbing your neighbour by your ejaculations. You must come also to the house of God regularly, and come that you may receive spiritual benefit. We must dismiss all expectation of a sanctimonious entertainment,all expectation from any thing connected with a display of talent or of polished fancy.
Our fourth counsel is, that in hearing the word we devoutly cherish the risings of every good purpose in the mind. When purposes are formed of walking more