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rely for support in time of need upon him alone who can bestow it effectually. I would ask if any other human virtue can so directly tend to cherish within us such approveable dispositions as humility ?—and humility is co-essential with religion. They cannot exist apart. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” Humility not only fortifies our piety and subdues our pride, but also arms us against those perils by which we are constantly beset. The world abounds with adversaries, and we bear within our own bosoms the most fatal enemies to our repose. We are the slaves at once of our passions and of our pride. The lures of interest, a prejudiced mind, and depraved heart, are the evil powers by which we are so perpetually dragged into the paths of error. And here our self-sufficiency, despising the dictates of humility, only urges us further into the labyrinth, instead of preparing us for a timely retreat. Our passions are so many flaming swords, which drive us from the sweet Paradise of religion, causing us “to start aside like a broken bow,” from the strait gate which conducts to everlasting life. Our pride revolts against obedience, and we split upon the rock of rebellion. Our very friends, too, by overlooking or compromising our faults, may unwittingly become the instruments of our ruin. It is, indeed, difficult for the most wary to avoid all the temptations by which we are allured; and no single temptation can be successfully resisted, unless we are defended by the “sword of the spirit,”—unless the divine aid be vouchsafed to us in our spiritual warfare. How imminent then must be the danger of those whose wilful ignorance of religion has left them nothing but the naked dictates of their own hearts to guide them! We dare not calculate their peril. They who have trifled with opportunities can have no claim to God's compassion. They have rejected his grace, and must abide by the consequences of their folly.
How greatly are all the evils of life aggravated to man, by an overweening confidence in his own superiority! a superiority, it is to be remembered, merely relative, as contrasted with unintelligent natures, and for which he is solely indebted to the beneficence of his Creator. “ Seest thou the wise in his own conceit?" says the divine proverb;“ there
“ is more hope of a fool than of him.” “ Let nothing, therefore, be done through strife and vain glory; but, in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves.”
Various as are the motives which attach us so exclusively to our temporal interests, and wither the growth of piety in the human heart, the pernicious feeling of pride more or less accompanies them all. This lost a Paradise, and established the deadly dominion of sin. While seduced by the attractions of riches, how do we neglect that God from whom they were derived! How many
have sacrificed their reputation to the flatteries of the insidious, and discovered themselves at length to be only the sport of those of whom they imagined they had been the idols. But “where pride cometh there cometh shame." Among many who are not born to lofty expectations, a longing after those vain distinctions which wealth can every where purchase, often supersedes that more becoming taste for industry and retirement, which snatches the heart from the vanities of life, and directs it to the desirable acquisition of heavenly treasures. They feel a distaste for those avocations adapted to their sphere, and make a vain confidence in their own imagined deservings the medium through which they would exalt themselves above the natural mediocrity of their condition. They are the dupes of self-love.
Let it not be objected that we have taken too gloomy a view of human frailty. The Bible and our own experience will sufficiently prove the reverse. Let us remember, too, that we meet not here to be amused with speculations on the pleasures of life, or the temporal happiness of man. We assemble in the sanctuary for the better and holier purpose of directing our thoughts to God, of humbling ourselves before Him, of confessing our sins, and imploring his pardon. By submitting our hearts to an impartial inquisition, our minds will the more naturally be elevated to devotion.
Clearly as the ways of salvation are pointed out to us, still piety must be the staff on which alone we can securely rest during our brief but arduous journey through this “vale of tears." By piety only can our best hopes be sustained :—it is the rock of our spiritual strength. Let us then treasure up that knowledge to which it directs our search. Let us familiarize ourselves with those sacred depositaries of wisdom, which contain the oracles of God, and are the dictates of eternal truth. Let us assume the shield of faith, that, having “ fought the good fight," we may “ finish our course with joy.” Let us remain “ grounded and settled” in those principles which our blessed Saviour established
upon earth during his existence in the flesh. Finally, let us endeavour to le the life of the righteous, that our “ last end may be like his."
ON THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.
St. John, xix. 17, 18.
“And he, bearing his cross, went forth into a place called
the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha; where they crucified him and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst."
If there be a scene above all others calculated to awaken our tenderest emotions and deepest sympathies, it is that so pathetically described in the gospel of this day. Here is the description of an event, stupendous beyond human conception, which made angels adore and devils tremble. Here, through a scene of uproar, darkness, confusion, and horror, death was subdued, and life and immortality were brought to light. Here the convulsion of nature, the rending of rocks, the yawning of graves, the darkness, and the earthquake, were the awful harbingers of “ righteousness and peace for evermore.”
The whole account of the Saviour's sufferings and death, from the period when he last supped