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an opinion is greatest when we feel ourselves least secure in reason from its influence; we endeavour in a manner by the loudness of our voices to conceal our secret fear. It is no hopeful symptom to see those of any age, least of all the young, particularly forward in religious dislikes : but it is a good symptom in old and young to be eminent for their religious affections ;—not to be loud in denouncing heretics, but to be simple and earnest in loving Christ and their brethren. The love of truth is the only sure way of teaching us to dislike error aright; to dislike it in itself and for itself; -to dislike it reasonably, calmly, charitably ;-to be most secure from being misled by it ourselves, whilst we make the largest and most Christian allowance for the men who hold it.


April 1st, 1838.



St. John, ix. 4.

I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day : the

night cometh, when no man can work.

In these words of our Lord there is nothing which peculiarly belongs to His divine nature, nothing even which belongs to Him as a prophet; they were spoken as by one who was in all points tempted like as we are, by one who became fully partaker of our flesh and blood. They are His words spoken, as He is our great example. It is no presumption, no claiming to ourselves any portion of His power, either as prophet or as king, if we pray and labour to be able to repeat them ourselves truly. This, indeed, is the great difference, that whereas Christ not only said the words of the text, but did accordingly. So if we repeat them, it is too often like the son in the parable,

whom his father had told to work in his vineyard : his answer was, “I go, sir,” but he went not. So we may say, that we must work the works of Him that sent us while it is day; but we do not actually work them. We may say that the night cometh when no man can work; but we live as if the day would last for ever.

Many and many are the words of our Lord, the riches of whose wisdom will far outlast the longest life in its attempts to come to the end of them. From the first time when our childish attention was drawn by the mere beauty of the story in His parables, or the solemn and affectionate impressiveness of His promises and commands, down to the latest hour in which our unimpaired faculties can ponder over them, their wisdom and excellence seems continually to be rising upon us,-the light which streams from them appears to be growing ever more brilliant, ever more searching, ever more cheering and more delightful. Every year's experience, both of our own hearts and of the lives of others, sets their manifold truth more fully before us. In every fresh combination of thoughts and ideas, in every new view which we acquire of the bearings of the world around us, their universal range has gone before us ;-we find them the light and life of every new country which our minds discover, no less than of that with which we have been long familiar. I speak thus on pur

pose, not that I suppose it possible for many who hear me to enter at present fully into the truth of what I have been saying ; but to tell them beforehand what will hereafter be their own feelings if they continue faithfully to study Christ's word. There are persons to whom the Scriptures are now their daily bread of life, who would find it impossible to express their admiration and delight in them, whom I could startle by recalling to them their words when they first began to study themI do not mean words of profaneness, but expressing their strong sense of the difficulties of what they were reading, and doubting how that could ever be so intensely valuable which they found at that time so obscure.

For all those, then, who loving what they can understand of the Scripture, yet find themselves unable fully to enter into the excellence of many parts of it ;--nay, who though they love the plainer parts, yet do not see in them that perfection of wisdom which they hear ascribed to them;—for them there is a most encouraging prospect if they do not cut themselves off from it. If they were to hear such language, as I have been using, ten or twenty years hence, it would then seem to them not exaggerated, but inadequate; their own sense of the treasures contained in the Scriptures would go far beyond it; or else—and it is a fearful alternative—the language would sound not exagge

rated merely, but utterly wild and extravagant: those who now can go with it a certain way, would then despise it altogether. So surely do advancing years tell upon our minds for good or for evil ;so surely will your full manhood be greatly improved in the knowledge and love of God, or greatly fallen back in it; it most certainly will not be fixed at the same point at which you are arrived now.

I was led to say thus much by thinking over the words of the text, and considering how complete was the lesson which they contained. And then connecting them with the parable of the sower, and with other parables which I have from time to time alluded to, it was very striking to compare the picture there given with what is daily passing before our eyes, and to consider its perfect and startling truth. “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day ;-the night cometh, when no man can work.” We must work, and that diligently; but not Satan's works nor our own, but the works of God. The soil must bear much, but its strength must not be wasted on weeds, however luxuriant; it must bear that which will be kept for ever. We must work while it is day, for the night is coming. Even while working busily, and working the works of God, we must not forget our own infirmity. We must not repeat those other words of Christ, “ My

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