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He who spends not his life in doing well, will never attain Heaven by simply thinking well. The unprofitable servant in the parable, who does not appear to have been deficient in belief, since he acknowledged the authority of his master, was, nevertheless, cast into outer darkness. Why? Because he did not employ to advantage the talent with which he had been furnished. He was able to improve it, but since he had neglected all endeavours to do this, the talent had been bestowed upon him in vain. His faith, then, was insufficient to procure the approbation of his lord, only because it was inactive, and brought not forth its proper fruit.

All the divine gifts are imparted to us for good; if we neglect to turn them to account, we make void the intention for which they were bestowed, and thus sin against the Almighty Giver. Christ by his atoning sacrifice, has put us in a condition to “ work out our salvation"; we are now, therefore, in a situation “so to run, that we may obtain the prize of our high calling" The more we exercise ourselves in doing good, the more will our inclination to do evil decrease, and the stronger will be our disposition to perform good actions so that the ten talents, the five, or the one, may be doubled according to our several abilities, if we only use our best endeavours to employ them to advantage. Faith will quicken our industry, and the wholesome fruits of our industry will nourish our faith. Our greatest

security in the next life, is derived from an active performance of our duties in this; nevertheless, we must be indebted for the consummation of our brightest expectations to the mercy of God, through that only Son who died to restore us to his forfeited favour.

The doctrine of faith without works is, in truth, a most fatal error, however we may endeavour to modify or recommend it. It tends, in the first place, to blight all the social qualities of man, by hardening his heart towards his neighbour, and by drawing all his feelings to the centre of his own presumed sanctity. It teaches him to make himself the idol of his own homage, and to act towards the Deity as if He were only a secondary object of his worship. God becomes with such a man, as it were, an after-thought. He acknowledges, it is true, his omnipotence and unbounded perfections ; he professes to believe, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save him from an outcast condition; and yet he imagines, that this mere passive assent will constitute that saving faith which is to bring him finally into the Paradise of God. Without one act significative of his belief in the atoning sacrifice of a Redeemer; without obeying one single precept of that Redeemer, whose object was every where to enforce beneficence, he fondly presumes to imagine, that he shall sit with him, at the consummation of all things, on the right hand of the mighty Majesty on high.


If such doctrines are not universally maintained —and God forbid they should, whilst man's salvation hereafter must depend upon his actions here! —they form, nevertheless, the professed creed of many, Let us not, however, “be weary in welldoing,” but by a life of Christian benevolence towards men and devotion towards God, so prepare ourselves for that most solemn inquisition at the great day of account, when good works, the fruits of faith, shall be the test of our fitness for eternal glory, that we may be numbered among the successful candidates for Heaven, and hear the approving voice of our most merciful Judge—“Here are they that kept the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ.”




“Oh that there were such an heart in them that they would

fear me, and keep all my commandments always.”

The inference to be drawn from this portion of Scripture—for it is as applicable to this generation as it was to the Hebrews-is, that a fear of God and obedience to His commands are much too little thought of in the world. And really evident as this inference is, that it should be so sadly realized among us, is a matter not a little surprising, when we can none of us be ignorant that the consequences which arise from it must universally tend to misery

A neglect of religion can by no possibility be productive of good; on the contrary, daily experience shows it to be the unfailing vehicle of evil. While on the other hand, nothing can be less equivocal, nothing certainly so tranquillizing and so


consoling as the meek dictates of piety, to such as love to resign themselves to her benignant influ

“ She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her.” There is nothing that more rapidly increases in efficacy by encouragement, and nothing less subject to change, where sincerity has prepared the heart to hail her as its inmate. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” How, then, comes it to pass that the rich vintage of piety is so imperfectly gathered in by the labourers in Christ's vineyard? Because the culture is neglected, and, in consequence, like the fig-tree cursed by our blessed Saviour on his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, its produce is leaves only, instead of fruit. But let us here inquire how it is, that the heart so frequently relaxes in its devotions towards God, as to render us lukewarm in our piety, languid in our obedience, and careless in our homage. A chief cause of this arises from the too prevailing disposition to exclude from our minds the spirituality of religion; from allowing its essential principles to be neutralized, by attaching a paramount importance to mere moral and civil duties ; in short, from permitting secondary views to supersede primary ones.

Various, indeed, are the causes by which the former of these melancholy tendencies is induced. They begin in infancy, and are confirmed in manhood, when habit renders them too influential to

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