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light is given. He is astonished at till they learn to think lightly of the importance of objects, which he them; and such must often be the bad hitherto overlooked. He sees temptation of those, who have been every thing through a new medium. mercifully preserved from the grosser He finds God in every thing ;--some- vices of our nature. Sin, say they, thing that is that may remind him of is the transgression of the law. Our his goodness, or that may be done, lives have been free from any flagor sacrificed, for his glory. His con- rant violation of it. We have borne duct is changed ; not so completely a reputable character. We have disas he wishes it to be ; but still the charged the duties of our station. We daily course of his life is spent, as have been just in our dealings, and far as human infirmity will permit, in courteous in our behaviour. We have the service of his Maker. His mo- respected the forms and ordinances of tives too are changed. Even when public worship. We have not been occupied about the same things with wanting in sympathy or assistance to those around him, as he must often our fellow creatures. It is too much be, his feelings have a reference to to confound us with the herd of vulhis Master's will, and thus he makes gar profligates, with the drunkard, his ordinary duties an acceptable ser- and the blasphemer, and the sabbath vice. His desires are changed. He breaker, and the adulterer, and all no longer seeks to live to himself those, who act in defiance of the comalone, and fulfilling the lusts of the mon decencies of life. Surely it is flesh; but his ambition is to imitate a mere love of singularity, that would the pattern, which his Lord has given class our failings among the sins, by him. He delights to think of God, which God's vengeance is provoked, to hold communion with him in and which are the proper objects of
salvation from day to day. He prays gression of the law; and this is its first to be drawn continually nearer to him. and great commandment. Thou shalt He longs to be received into his eter- love the Lord thy God with all thy nal presence.
heart. Can any of you plead guilt“Marvel not then, that I have said less? There may be great variety in unto you, ye must be born again." our offences. There may perhaps be And yet the world does marvel at degrees in the measure of our guilt, this truth, and rejects it with irrita- though I believe far less than is comtion and disgust. It cannot believe monly supposed. Whatever man has that this is a doctrine of universal done, unregenerate man is always application. It looks on such a capable of doing; and we owe far change as is here spoken of, as needed more to the absence of temptation, only by those flagitious characters, or convenient circumstance, than to who have outraged the feelings of any virtue of our own. Happy are society. But what is the first and you however, if your consciences acgreat commandment? Thou shalt love quit you of those scandalous enorthe Lord thy God with all thy heart, mities, which burden the memory of and with all thy soul, and with all others. You have cause for gratitude, thy mind. Brethren, who can think though not for pride. But what saith of these words without a solemn im- the law? How readest thou ? Thou pression of his own sinfulness ? Men shalt love the Lord thy God with all may frame excuses for their faults, thy heart. Here is a commandment, the first and greatest, containing the worldly objects, because we are assubstance of our duty to our Maker, sured of a better inheritance. It which shuts us up in common con- closes the avenues of temptation, by demnation. Unless the love of God restraining our thoughts, and putting has been the constant, active, para- a guard upon our looks. It begets mount motive of our conduct, we have personal humility, by shewing us the broken the whole law, we are guilty depth of our wretchedness; wbile it in all its parts, we are liable to its gives us a higher sense of the dignity heaviest penalties.
of human nature, by pronouncing us But, say the world, if we cannot heirs of immartality. It teaches us perform all our duty to God, without unbounded love towards our neighthis renewal of the heart we may still bour, because he is the partner both perform our duty to our neighbour: of our infirmities and our hopes; this is the most important part of re- because the Saviour died for him; ligion, and if the end be gained, what because that Saviour has asked this signifies disputing about the means. charity at our hands as a token of I answer, that a right faith in God gratitude to himself, It sets before is always insisted on in Scripture us such glorious prospects, as makes as a most necessary part of Christianit at all times our interest to be virobligation, as the foundation of every tuous. It affords us such gracious thing like real virtue; and it seems assistance as alone could enable us a poor defence for the negleet of one
to be so. essential duty, to say, that we may It is true, we see much that is amistill pay some attention to another. able and honorable in worldly men; Moreover I appeal to your own ex- but is nothing of this owing to the deperience, whether those, who have sire of a fair reputation, and of enbeen taught by the Spirit to love God, gaging the affections of those around are not always the most forward to them ? The test of our character love their brother also. Who are then must be in abstaining from that, the most diligent and untiring ad- which the world allows, but which vocates of benevolence, but those Gop bates, and because he hates it. whose charity has been lighted up Besides the moral principle of such from the altar of religion? And it men is not regular and universal in must be so in the very nature of its operation; and it often happens things. Morality, pure and consis- that a slight indisposition, ar an untent morality, such as embraces all toward accident, will endavger this subjects, and is ready on all occa- virtue, which was to merit heaven! sions, can spring only from Chris- | And then, corrupt as human nature tiąn principles. This makes us hate is, it can hardly be acted upon at the sin, because it crucified the Son of same time by opposite vices. DifGod. This causes us to strive after ferent men have constitutionally difpurity, because we are Christ's mem- ferent temptations. In some there is bers, and the temples of his Spirit. an evil concupiscence. In others a This enables us to forgive the in- / greedy desire of gain. In others a juries we receive, and the enemies proud look and impatient temper. who inflict them, in memory of his dying love. It leads us to give none
(To be continued.) offence, by declaring that we must give account of every idle word we utter. It makes us less careful of
( Rev. F. J. Stainforth’s Sermon concluded.) All have their trials, differing in kind, not left himself without a witness in rather than in degree; and too many your consciences. Listen to that congratulate themselves on refrain-heavenly monitor, and you will graing from those sins, to which they are dually know more of the doctrine not naturally inclined, and from whether it be of God. When you which their very failings may contri- feel the Spirit striving with your bute to preserve them. But it has hearts, convincing you of sin, and albeen well remarked, that in the cha- luring you to repentance, oh! seize racter of our great Pattern nothing those golden moments, for they are was prominent: every virtue had its the precious season of offered mercy, proper place, because it was his de- Do not wait till your heart is cold, or sire in all things to do the will of his occupied by other thoughts, but cry heavenly Father. Add to which, true mightily to God to enlighten and benevolence is not confined to tem- sanctify your souls, and his hand is porary objects, but concerns itself | already open to supply all your chiefly about higher matters. What wants. Use diligently, and consciis called humanity is always a popu- entiously the means he has given you, lar quality; but Christian love reaches and doubt not he will increase them especially to the souls of men, be- more and more, according to his cause its main desire is to glorify word. For to him that hath, and imGod, and to confer the best and most proveth the talent committed to him, lasting blessings upon his creatures. shall more be given, and he shall
Marvel not then, that I have said have abundantly. The very idea of unto you, ye must be born again. a new birth implies a state of helpBut how, as Nicodemus said, can lessness at first. We must be chilthese things be? Not certainly dren before we are men. But if the through our own efforts. We are limbs of a child were never exercised, never foolish enough to think we they would soon lose the power of caused our first, or natural birth ; , motion altogether. We do not conand it is quite as absurd to suppose clude from this that we created our we can be the authors of our second, own nerves and muscles, but we find or spiritual birth. Creation must in by experience that they are invigoevery instance be the work of God; rated by use. Thus the effect of conbut this work he is willing to perform version is often gradual in the mind. for you for Christ's sake. He has When the film first falls from our
eyes we see men as it were trees | sound thereof, but cannot tell whence walking. Every thing is indistinct it cometh, or whither it goeth. You and doubtful to us. But our vision see the effect, that is, though you are is rendered stronger by perseverance. unacquainted with the cause. So is The prospect begins to brighten. every one that is born of the Spirit. Things assume their proper shape While he gratefully acknowledges, and colour, till we exult in the full en- with the Apostle, By the grace of joyment of our emancipated powers. God I am what I am, he strives to
Every thing then is the gift of labor more abundantly than all, and God; but it is given through the in- he does so with the better hope, betervention of means, and those means cause he can add, it is not I, but the must be carefully improved, if we grace of God that is in me. Though desire to obtain the blessing. His he cannot account for the change that usual mode of dealing, both in provi- has passed upon him, by any natural dence and grace, is to place his mer- means, he feels that he is changed cies within our reach, to grant us the indeed. In prosperity he feels gratenecessary assistance to enable us to ful to the Author of all good, and secure them, and then to make us anxious to improve his gifts. In adanswerable for our choice. Is it not versity, he considers that the apthus with all around us? He gives pointed suffering is less than he had deus, for instance, fruitful seasons, and served, that it is intended for his good, we thank him, as in duty bound, for that it is not worthy to be compared the food we eat; but this indulgence with the glory that shall be revealed. does not dispense with the toil of the The first thoughts that crowd upon husbandman. One soil may be more him in the morning, are remembfertile than another, but none will rances of God's goodness, and desires yield a harvest without our labour. to promote his glory. His last moDo you sit still then, and say, if it ments of consciousness at night are be God's will he can make the corn spent in committing himself to the to grow in my field, and all exertion care of his wakeful guardian, and on my part would be presumptuous ? anticipating the time, when he shall Oh, no! There is no such folly in rest for ever in his bosom. He looks worldly matters. You are up early, on those around him with compasand late take rest, and work unceas- sionate interest, and delights to labor ingly for the bread that perishes. But for their improvement. He is in the you are content to trust in divine world, but not of it. He takes a part mercy for your hope of future happi- in its duties. He enjoys many of its ness, without seeking it in the ap- pleasures. But he is not distracted pointed way. This shews that you with its cares, not troubled about its do not value spiritual things, that, censure, not engrossed with its dethough light is come into the world, lights. He has no abiding city here, you love darkness more than light, and therefore he weighs every thing and truly for the old reason, because in the balance of futurity. He is your deeds are evil. And this is your content to live, but not afraid to die ; condemnation.
or rather he looks to death as a deWhenever a saving change has liverance from his toils, and the comtaken place in you, you will know it mencement of his reward. He is a by its certain consequences. The new creature indeed; a wonder to
our Saviour, bloweth himself, and to all about him. He is where it listeth, and ye hear the brought from darkness into marvel
Jous light, and feels dazzled by the run as it were under ground, unchange. He is escaped from the noticed by the eye of man, but it snare, and is surprised at the consci- shall issue forth at last in light and ousness of his freedom.
gladness, and carry health and fertiBut to such also I have a word of lity in its train. And why should we exhortation. If you have been born murmur at the bitter pangs, that atagain, be not content with the feeble- tend this, the travail of our souls, ness of infancy, but seek to “grow in when we shall soon remember no grace.” Men often value religion more the anguish, for the joy that is chiefly because it exempts them from set before us. Our heavenly Father the punishment of hell, and they does but try us with sufferings here, think, if that point can be secured, in order that he may indulge us the they need not trouble themselves more hereafter. But he sees that we about further progress. But this is a have much yet to learn, both of our very inadequate conception of the own weakness, and of his all-suffisubject, even in a selfish point of cient grace. He knows we are still view, as well as a proof that it has too prone to lean upon an arm of not obtained its proper influence over flesh, or covet those gratifications that the heart. Though Scripture tells would prove our ruin. He finds that us, our own works can never entitle we are not sufficiently humbled under us to a place in heaven, it seems to his mighty hand, or conscious of his represent the degree of happiness we inexhaustible love. And therefore shall enjoy there, as depending upon he suffers us to be led as it were into our present diligence. This doctrine the wilderness to be tempted of the may be thought liable to abuse ; but, Devil; but he is still present with us, if rightly received, it is a most valu- and if we do not tempt him by disable truth, because it affords a con- trust, his everlasting arms will be stant and cheering stimulus to ad about us to insure our safety. Or he vancement in holiness. The nearer may permit us to be cast into the you draw to God, the more devotedly fiery furnace of affliction, but he will you love, the more closely you re
be seen to walk with us through the semble him, the happier you will be flames, and nothing but the bonds of both in time and in eternity. Though sin, wherewith we are tied and bound, none of the family of heaven may shall perish from their fury. Though there feel any deficiency of enjoy- ye have lien among the pots, for a ment, they may yet be capable of time depressed by sorrow, or grovelvery different measures of it, because ling in uncleanness, ye shall yet rise their hearts have been differently and disport yourselves in a purer atprepared for its reception ; “just as mosphere; with your wings like two vessels may both be full, though silver wings, and your feathers like one may contain a much larger quan- gold. Something of this triumphant tity than the other."
feeling may be enjoyed even in our Lastly, be content to bear your pre- present state. And when, at length, sent trials, considering the many we shall lay aside the burden of the comforts that are given to refresh you flesh, with all its infirmities, and the here, and the certain reward that is mind shall be free from temptation, laid up for you hereafter. Be not then shall we be born once more into discouraged if your improvement is a purer and happier existence. Then slow, and confidence is delayed. The shall we find rest from sin, and every current of your affections may long inclination to it. It would be no