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the Gospel be found to answer as fully our intellectual wants as we know it to answer to our moral wants, even when our knowledge of it is far less perfect.


June 28th, 1835.




COLOSSIANS, iii. 17.

Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the

Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.

This is one of those passages in the Scripture, which are quite familiar to the ears of us all; which we receive as a good and holy command; but which, I think, we seldom follow up into its real meaning, or rather into that multitude of lessons for our daily life which lie wrapped up as it were within it. One great business of Christian preaching, as it seems to me,—of preaching, I mean, as a part of our Church service, in distinction from the prayers and psalms, and the reading of the Scriptures,—is to form the link between human things and divine: to form a bridge, so to speak, by which the truths taught and the feelings ex

pressed in the other parts of the service may be joined on to the common business and common language of life, and not allowed to remain apart and unapplied; respected, indeed, but powerless. And this same thought is contained in the words of the text. The Apostle had been speaking of acts of direct religion. “ Let the word of Christ," he says, "dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” And then he proceeds to speak of all the various acts of human life which are not in themselves acts of religion: “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” That is, let all your actions and all your words be done and spoken as in Christ's presence, and as done and spoken by His servants and His redeemed.

Many actions there are of our daily life which it would be curious to paint in what I may call their dead state and their living: first, I mean, describing any given action, the choice of a profession or calling, the purchasing or selling of property, the contracting marriage, the engaging in a lawsuit, or any other of our more serious acts, as done under the influence of our common and worldly feelings only; and then describing the very same things as done in a Christian spirit, and with Christian resolutions and feelings; or, in other words, as done in

the name of the Lord Jesus. But there is one act which I would wish now to consider in this double form; an act which ought, it should seem, to be all but an act of direct religion; and yet which is many times done under the influence of worse motives than almost any other of a man's life; the act, I mean, of making a will.

“ A testament or will,” says the Epistle to the Hebrews, “is of force after men are dead.” Therefore I said that it might seem to be properly all but an act of direct religion. For the very notion of our last will and testament implies the notion of our death: what we write, is absolutely written only for that time when we shall be no more in the land of the living. There is something exceedingly solemn in writing words which shall not be read till we can write and read no more; in sealing a paper which shall not be opened till we are laid in our graves. And thus one would think that the bare thought of making our will, the mere consciousness of writing and sealing an instrument so full of death, if I may so speak, in every line, ought in itself to be the most impressive of sermons.

There is another thing in the act of writing a will, not nearly so obvious as what I have just noticed; not known perhaps, certainly not considered, by all of us; but yet which deserves our notice. We are so accustomed to hear and talk

of men's wills, that we regard them as matters of course; as what always has been and must be. Yet it is a great power to be able to act when we are dead; to dispose at our pleasure to this person or to that, on such or such conditions, of lands, money, goods, over which we can exercise no control, and which we can by no possibility enjoy. And thus history and law tell us of a time amongst several nations, when wills were either unknown, or were but a request of the dying man, which might after his death be either granted or refused. A state of things is on record, when the succession to all property was fixed by a general law, and a man's power over his own ended when, to speak properly, it was his own no longer. And in one sense of the word, this state of things was the natural one; natural according to that perverted meaning of the term, by which we lose sight of our own proper nature, and speak of that nature only which we have in common with the brutes. For in so far as we are creatures who, in a few years, must cease to be, and, when dead, can do nothing and enjoy nothing in this world, so far is it natural that all our will and all our power should end with us in our grave. But in so far as we have another nature than this, even as far as regards this world; as we are connected with our fathers and our children with us, and we can in no manner get rid of the manifold influences of the

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