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travel towards our heavenly country, constantly following him with a resolute and accelerated
pace. The concern of purifying the heart in good earnest, taking proper measures for conforming the life to the rules of the gospel, is equally incumbent upon
all. For this is the great and true design of all divine worship, and of all religious institutions ; though the greater part of mankind satisfy themselves with the outward surface of them, and therefore catch nothing but shadows in religion itself, as well as in the other concerns of life. We have public prayers, and solemn sacraments; yet if, amidst all these, one should look for the true and lively characters of Christian faith, or, in the vast numbers that attend these institutions, he should search for those that, in the course of their lives, approve
themselves the true followers of their great Master, he would find reason to compare them to s a few persons, swimming at a great distance from one another, in a vast ocean*.'
It has been observed long ago by one, “ that in Rome itself he had found nothing of Romet;" which, with too great truth, might be applied to religion, about which we make so great a bustle at present: there is scarce any thing at all of religion in it; unless we imagine that religion consists of words, as a grove does of trees. For, if we suppose it lies in the mortification of sin, unfeigned humility, brotherly charity, and a noble contempt of the world
Apparent rari pantes in gurgite vasto. # Se in Romæ, Romæ nihil invenisse.
and the Hesh, " whither has it gone and left us*." As for you, young gentlemen, if you would apply to this matter in good earnest, you must, of necessity, bestow some time and pains upon it, and not fondly dream, that such great advantages can be met with by chance, or in consequence of a negligent and superficial inquiry. If we are to alter the course of our life for the time to come, we must look narrowly into our conduct during the preceding part of it; for the measures to be taken for the future are, in a great degree, suggested by what is past. He acts wisely, and is a happy man, who frequently, nay daily reviews his words and actions; because he will, doubtless, perform the same duty with greater ease, and to better purpose, when he is called to it, with more than ordinary solemnity. And, therefore, they, who have experienced how pleasant this work is, and what a mixture of utility is joined with this pleasure, will apply to it with a cheerful mind, whenever opportunity requires it; as to others, they must, of necessity, set about it some time or other : I say of necessity, if I am allowed to say it is necessary to avoid the wrath to come, and to obtain peace and salvation. Repentance may possibly appear a laborious and unpleasant work to our indolence, and, to repent, may seem a harsh expression; to perish, however, is still more harsh; but a sinful man has no other choice. Our Lord, who is truth itself, being acquainted with the cruel execution performed by Herod upon the Ga
Πε ποτε ημάς κατέλιπεν.
lileans, takes this opportunity to declare to his hearers, that, unless they repented, they should all likewise perish*.” The Saviour of the world, it is true, came for this very purpose, that he might save those that were miserable and lost, from the fatal necessity of being utterly undone; but he never intended to take away the happy and pleasant necessity of -repentance: nay, he strengthened the obligation to it, and imposed it as a duty, inseparably connected with grace and happiness; and this connection he not only preached in expressions to the same purpose
with his forerunner John the Baptist, but even in the very same words; “ Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at handt.” And in another place, having told us, that he came “ not to call the righteous, but sinnersf,” he immediately adds to what he called those sinners; not to a liberty of indulging themselves in sin, but from sin to repent
His blood, which was shed on the cross, is indeed a balsam more precious than all the balm of Gilead and Arabia, and all the ointments of the whole world; but it is solely intended for curing the contrite in heart.
But, alas! that gross ignorance of God, that overclouds our mind, is the great and the unhappy cause of all the guilt we have contracted, and of that impenitence which engages us to continue in it. Had men but the least kuowledge, how disagreeable and hateful all sinful pollution renders us to his eternal and infinite purity; and, on the other hand, what
* Luke xiii. 3. + Matth. iv. 7. Matth. ix. 13.
a likeness to him we attain by holiness, and how amiable we are thereby rendered in his sight, they would look upon this as the only valuable attainment, they would pursue it with the most vigorous efforts of their minds, and would make it their constant study day and night, that, according to the divine advice of the apostle, “ being cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, they might perfect holiness in the fear of God."
An EXHORTATION to the STUDENTS, upon their
return to the UNIVERSITY after the Vacation.
We are at last returned, and some, for the first time, brought hither by that supreme hand, which holds the reins of this vast universe, which rules the stormy winds, and swelling sea, and distributes peace and war to nations, according to its pleasure. The great Lord of the universe, and Father of mankind, while he rules the world with absolute sway, does not despise this little flock, provided we look
unto him, and humbly pray, that we may feel the favourable effects of his presence and bounty; nay, he will not disdain to dwell within us, and in our hearts, unless we, through folly, and ignorance of our true happiness,' shut the door against him, when he offers to come in. He is the most high, yet has chosen the humble heart for the most agreeable place of his residence on this earth : but the proud and haughty, who look with disdain on their inferiors, he, on his part, despises, and beholds, as it were, afar off. He is most holy, and dwells in no hearts, but such as are purged from the dross of earthly affections; and that these may be holy, and really capable of receiving his sacred Majesty, they must of necessity be purified. “ Know ye not, says the divine apostle, that you, even your bodies, are the temples of the Holy Ghost*,” and therefore are to be preserved pure and holy? but the mind, that dwells within them, must be still more holy, as being the priest that, with constant and unwearied piety, offers up the sacrifices and sweet incense of pious affections, cheerful obedience, ardent prayers, and divine praises, to the Deity of that temple.
* 2.Cor. vii, 1.
Of your studies, and exotic learning, I intend not to say much. The knowledge, I own, that men of letters, who are the most indefatigable in study, and have the advantage of the greatest abilities, can possibly attain to, is at best but very small. But since the knowledge of languages and sciences, however inconsiderable it may be, is the business of this society of ours, and of that period of
years you are to pass here, let us do, pray, as the Hebrews express it, “ the work of the
* 1 Cor. vi. 19,