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languid, or rheumatic, or nervous—always full of trouble. Like Diogenes, he is always searching in vain for an honest man. He can trust no one-suspects every one-and speaks against all; and though surrounded by every comfort that society can impart, or competency can confer, he laments that he has not a friend in whom he can confide, nor one relative that treats him with proper affection. Matilda was a lady of this class; to visit her was a task, on account of her propensity to murmur and find fault. Gloom and melancholy were depicted in her countenance, and her manners were cold and forbidding; instead of conversing with cheerfulness, and relating the mercies she possessed, she groaned and sighed and complained ; and her visiters, instead of deriving pleasure from seeing her, were vexed and mortified. What a contrast to the character and conduct of Aaron, who, under one of the most trying visitations of divine Providence, “ held his peace!” A good man may feel when he does not murmur.
6. The deceitful tongue is full of mischief and iniquity. The words are smoother than oil, but war is in the heart. It blesses with the mouth, but curses inwardly. Of all the evil tongues this is one of the greatest; it is a world of iniquity. “0! I am so glad to see you,” said Belinda to Augusta; “ it seems an age since you were here: why do you not give me the pleasure of seeing you more frequently?” As soon as Augusta had taken her departure Belinda testified her joy that her friend was gone, and that she never wished to see her more. Disagreeable creature," said she, “ I hate the sight of her.”
" THE RACE SET BEFORE US." And what is this race? --The universal race is that from time to eternity. Swiftly we pass along the course of life; time recedes, eternity advances on us. And when we arrive there, it will not be as a goal, which when once reached is no longer important: but as the entrance on a new and never-ending scene. Our steps, swift as they may have bee we can never retrace: and to all the objects which present themselves, we may say,
“ We shall behold you again no more for ever.” Which then should most engross the thoughts and anxiety of an immortal mind; those passing shadows which are seen and temporal, or those vast realities which, though
unseen are eternal? In answer to such a question, we are ready to exclaim, —“Surely there must be something so overwhelming in the contemplation of an endless existence, that had we been left in ignorance of the nature of that state, the soul might almost have slighted present good, while wearing itself out in conjectures respecting futurity. But how different is the fact with mankind in general. By yielding to the solicitations of sense, our first parent enslaved his nobler spirit. The soul cast off its allegiance to Him, who would have been its light and happiness ; upholding it in spiritual life, and giving it the body, with all its faculties, for an obedient servant. In forsaking his Creator, man said in effect to that body,—“ Thou shalt be my ruler :”—and henceforth with a debased, an earthly, and a sensual nature, he chooses his erring way, according to the course of this world.
For though the race from time to eternity is one which we must all run, yet are there two ways marked out ; differing as widely as their ends are opposite. And the nature of the enquiry which the traveller urges at his first setting forth, as most important, determines his entrance on the one or the other,—“ What shall we eat, what shall we drink, wherewithal shall we be clothed ?” is the voice of the multitude. And in reply, they are directed to a wide gate, and a broad way; where they soon join themselves to the many who walk therein. But this is not the race set before us. Rather is it the crooked path into which sin, and Satan, and the world allure us. It is thick set with dangers, and its end is death. Yea, even now, flowery as it may sometimes appear, the way of transgressors is hard. Self-will continually desires to have things otherwise than they are; while evil passions, like serpents and reptiles, start forth on every side. Can a wise and gracious Being then have created us to this life of fruitless labour, with its end destruction ? Oh no! far different is the voice with which He calls to glory, honour, and immortality. When, by the gracious operation of his Spirit, our earthly desires become subordinate, and our hearts are inclined to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteonsness, his blessed word points us to the way everlasting. We now set out with the more rare enquiry,
“How shall I have my sins forgiven,
And safe and surely get to Heaven ?
And lo, rising before us, we behold the way of salvation; narrow indeed at the entrance, strait, and at times uninviting in its course; while few comparatively walk therein. Yet shall experience say, the path is peace, the companionship most blessed, the end eternal life. Such, my young friends, is the race set before us : let us examine somewhat more particularly its various stages, or rather its combined features; for we do not pass them in succession, but find them blended in lovely union, throughout our whole progress. And while engaged in this contemplation, may the language of our hearts be,
If I have never yet begun
To tread the sacred road,
To Zion's blest abode.
Or if I'm trav’ling in the path,
Assist me with thy strength :
And reach thy Heaven at length.
Be all comprised in this,
And then partake their bliss.
Before, however, we look upon the way itself, let us gratefully remember the means, through which alone we have access to it: even by virtue of that everlasting covenant, entered into with our great Redeemer, on behalf of ruined man. For we by choice, were hastening onward in a contrary direction; loaded with ingratitude and guilt we deserved the misery that awaited us; destitute of all goodness, we could prefer no claim to the Divine favour; without strength we were unable to return to our forsaken God: and having lost his holy image were altogether unfit to be placed among his children. No way of life, therefore, could spread before us, if the Lord of life himself had not borne the chastisement of our wanderings; wrought out, by his own perfect obedience, that righteousness which is our only ground of merit; and procured for us the gifts of the ever-blessed Spirit to strengthen and sanctify our souls. For as the church of the redeemed is one body, whose members live and grow only because they are united to Christ their glorious Head : so the blessings of salvation and the graces of the Spirit, form one unspeakable gift, which can only be enjoyed as the purchase of Him who is the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof. For of Him, and to Him, and through Him are all things; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
And now, what is the way into which redeeming grace rejoices to bring its beloved ones? The entrance is conversion, through which they emerge, from darkness into light, from the dominion of Satan, into the kingdom of God. Oh how wonderful is the change, when that which was all, becomes as nothing; and that which before was nothing, becomes all in all: when the soul turns from earth and its vanities, seeks present happiness in the Divine favor, and future bliss in the presence of the Lord Jehovah. Here lie the safe and heaven-ward paths of repentance, faith, and love.those paths, into which the apostles, who had drunk deep from its fountain-head the spirit of compassion, earnestly sought to lead their fellow-men. When a convinced multitude cried out,-“ Men and brethren, what shall we do?”—with an earnestness suited to the value of his instruction, Peter replied, “Repent and be converted,
that your sins may be blotted out.” And when the Philippian jailor anxiously enquired, “What must I do to be saved ?" What delightful assurance marks the answer, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” For every soul that sincerely enters the paths of repentance and faith, shall find itself indeed in the way of salvation : yea, and will also find itself upheld therein, by a power that will never withdraw its aid, and which cannot be conquered. Lift up therefore the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees; while yielding yourselves to the guidance of heavenly wisdom. And though that portion of the road you call repentance be sometimes rough, and that named faith occasionally overspread with darkness; know for your comfort, that in the sweet border of love, which runs beside them, is a path smooth and pleasant, verdant and refreshing. In that path difficulties are comparatively small: obedience and resignation shall be given, as two lovely companions, to cheer your onward journey; the prospect, as seen from thence, is gilded with the beams of mercy and truth ; and along the beauteous way spring forth on every side the fruits of the Spirit;—fruits not merely for effect or ornament, but ready for continual use, yielding their heavenly juices for the refreshment
of yourselves and others. Gathering them with the hand of prayer, and grasping in that same hand the staff of everlasting promise, you may go on your way rejoicing. A voice of singing is heard around you, far sweeter than all the warblings of the grove, for thanksgiving is that voice of melody; and should death himself meet you here, it will be with the countenance of an angel, to invite you to the joy of your Lord.
My reader! have you experienced any measure of the blessedness we speak of? If you have, be encouraged to press onward in the Divine strength, singing in the ways of the Lord, that great is the glory of the Lord; and looking, with humble confidence, for the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
But possibly some one may be ready to exclaim, “ Truly the picture thus drawn is pleasent and alluring; but is it a scriptural representation? Where is the trial of faith, the Christian warfare ?"
" May we be carried to the skies,
Thro’ flow'ry paths of ease;
And sail'd thro' bloody seas. The question is forcible, and calls for a reply: for most certain is it, that through much tribulation the redeemed of the Lord enter into his kingdom. Yet is the provision for their happiness complete. Seen abstractedly, as we have hitherto viewed it, true religion is in itself a way of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace. Unmingled peace would the believer find, if the renewal of his own nature were equally perfect. But he carries with him a restless band of evil inclinations; while, called and encouraged by these enemies within, and led on by sin, Satan, and the world, innumerable foes advance against him.
Yet let him neither shrink from the combat, nor doubt the final victory. Let him look upward to the Captain of his salvation ; and while, by his imparted strength, one and another is struck down before him, let him resolutely press onward in the path to glory. Let him choose, as has been said already, the path of love, and though enemies may assault and disquiet him, yet shall they not prevail, nor rob him even now, of a peace superior to the highest worldly joy. Believe it, ye young enquirers! who perhaps are halting between two opinions, the ungodly find a conflict far more terrible in the contentions of their raging passions, and in the vehement desires and aversions with which they regard