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positions amended, and our affections purified—in short, that everything which promotes our salvation, proceeds from God. All that is good in us is his gift, and it is our use or abuse of this gift which shall determine our condition in the life everlasting. Salvation can belong to none of us, because the disobedience of Adam in Paradise, who was the representative of the whole human race, voided the title, and left us utterly dependent upon God's favour. He is the only author as well as the giver of all good ; and, therefore, I repeat it, all that we do enjoy here, and all that we shall enjoy hereafter, are, and will be the benefactions of his bounty.

Thus have we completed our view of the text, having considered it wholly and separately—“ by grace are ye saved, though faith; and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God.”

In conclusion—from our state of entire dependence upon the divine mercy, we can have no hopes of obtaining this mercy, but by so performing our duties, “ in that state of life unto which it has pleased God to call us,” as shall approach nearest to the standard of Christian perfection, which the gospel of Christ has so distinctly marked out as our guide, “ in running the race that is set before us.” If it be only through the divine grace that we can pass from the trials of this world to the glories of a better, who shall deny, that it should be our first and constant aim to secure this




by going where we may receive it, and by using those means, to the proper exercise of which it is not only promised, but invariably accorded. Faith must supply the pillars of that spiritual edifice, which religion shall erect in our hearts, else it will be like a house upon the sand; the blasts of infidelity will assail and finally overturn it, and great will be the fall thereof,” because it will involve eternity in its consequences.

Let us be well assured how, and to what extent, we believe. If we are satisfied that our minds have not yet arrived at conviction, upon points on which the gospel appeals to our belief, let us earnestly come to God, beseeching him, that we may be filled “with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Let us not trifle with our souls by flattering them with the fond persuasion, that simply to confess Christ, is to have faith in him. The greatest, infidel may do this, and still deny him. If we come to the worship of him who “endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,” without a full, perfect, and sufficient faith, we have no right to expect that our offering should be accepted; for, he who demands our whole “trust and confidence,” is slighted and dishonoured by receiving it only in part. Search the Scriptures. Let your faith in them be undivided.

. Remember the words of


Abraham to the rich man in torments, referring to his five unbelieving brethren—“If they believe not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” So desperate is infidelity! “Wherefore, brethren, lay you aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."



Psalms, LXV, 4.

“ Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to

approach unto thee."

Every man is, indeed, blessed in this world in proportion as his hopes are confirmed of being blessed in the next; and these hopes are, more or less, excited according as religion establishes her influence upon the heart. It is to religion that the Christian owes all the pure enjoyments of this life, because religion only can give him assurance of bliss beyond the grave: and where there is no such expectation, there can be no happiness ; for all wickedness either relative or positive, “is as a two-edged sword, the wounds whereof cannot be healed,” unless the remedy be promptly and perseveringly applied.

Experience will show us that, even in this world, we must prepare ourselves for its pleasures before we can enjoy them ; that is, we must take care to


remove all impediments to such enjoyment, or we shall fail in securing the pleasures. If the glutton, for instance, were continually to gorge himself, like the poor prodigal in the parable,“ upon the husks which the swine did eat,” he could have no relish, whilst so gorged, for the most tempting delicacies that might be set before him. Where the sensualist allows his appetites to be palled by excess, the capabilities of enjoyment relax, until at length, a barren appetency alone remains, when the power of gratifying those appetites has subsided.

It is precisely thus with religion. If we do not prepare ourselves for its pleasures, we shall certainly miss them—and that it does furnish pleasures of the most refined and exalted description, they can abundantly testify, who have made its precepts the rule of their lives ;--if, whilst we cultivate its impressions, we indulge in all our gross animal inclinations, we shall never be in a condition to receive those impressions; the “law in our flesh” will constantly war with and overcome “ the law in our minds, and bring us into captivity to the law of sin.” Where there are two interests dragging us different

it is evident that we cannot resign ourselves exclusively to both. To whichever our dispositions incline, if we obey their impulses, there we shall fix our thoughts, and, giving up ourselves to the one, entirely resign the other. If we serve God, we cannot serve Mammon; and conversely, if we serve Mammon, we cannot serve


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