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him fast to his destruction, and would have kept him a prisoner for ever, in spite of all his wishing, now and then, that he were better, had he not been delivered through Jesus Christ. And I said, in conclusion, that if you could bring yourselves really to feel this, then you were ripe for the great message of God which is called the Gospel; namely, the message in which he tells us that he has sent his Son into the world, that the world through him might be saved. I said, that you were ripe for the great message of God, if you could bring yourselves really to feel this; but I know, full well, how much there is in this if ; no less, indeed, to speak shortly, than the whole work of your salvation. To say, “If you can bring yourselves really to feel your sin and danger,' is to say, • If your hearts can be changed, by the Spirit of God, from stony, or shallow, or choked up with weeds and briers, to that soft, and strong, and clean soil, in which the seed of eternal life will bring forth fruit an hundredfold. Nothing, indeed, can be more easy than to tell you of the salvation offered by Christ Jesus ;-that he died for us, and rose again ; and that, having overcome the sharpness of death, he has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. I could tell you this, as you have often heard it before; and the words would seem so old and familiar to your ears, that you could hardly fix your attention on them: while the thing itself would be so strange and foreign to all your feelings and notions, that you would not bring it home to your hearts and lives. Our Lord had been speaking to Nicodemus about his sinful nature, and the necessity of its being changed; and even then Nicodemus did not enter into his meaning. Much less, then, could he enter into the great doctrine of salvation through Christ; he could not attend to what was said of the means of curing him, if he did not feel that he was sick. And, therefore, Christ well said to him, “ If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things ?

This, then, is the difficulty-how to make you, particularly the youngest among you, understand and enter into the truths of the Gospel. It is not that they are, properly speaking, hard to be understood; it is not, like some hard matter of science, or some very difficult passage in a book, which you really are not old enough to understand, if you were to try ever so earnestly. The words in which religious truths are taught are as plain to you as to me. You know what is meant by death, and heaven, and hell, and repentance, and salvation, when you hear them spoken of: but the truth is, you do not care to think about them, because you have no interest about them. Generally speaking, we can understand and do well what we are fond of; however dull we may be about things that we dislike. You know how common it is to see a boy very dull about his lessons, yet very quick and active in other things. Now he is dull about his lessons, because he does not like them; because his mind is, as it were, asleep to them, and wakes up for things which he likes better. Real dulness of understanding shows itself in a very different way, and is, in comparison, very uncommon. If a boy is heavy and slow at all times,—dull at his plays as well as at his work, unable to amuse himself, and seeming to enjoy nothing but the lowest pleasures of all, eating, drinking, and sleeping,—then, indeed, we may say that the fault is, in a great measure, in his understanding—that he wants the power as well as the will. But, in the things of religion, it is the will that we all want, and not the power; it is the appetite for our spiritual food, and nothing else, that is required; it is our hearts that are sick and weak, rather than our understandings. And what is it by which we can make them strong? What is it, indeed, and who can give it us? No friend, no teacher, no minister of the Gospel; no parent, however watchful, however tenderly affectionate. No man can deliver his brother, no friend his friend, no parent his child. All that the utmost care and kindness of man, or even of angel, could do in our behalf, is to point out the spring of the water of life : but to drink it depends upon yourselves only; and to desire to drink it depends on the gift of the Spirit of God. If we are sick and weak, and our appetite for our food is gone, it is of no use to tell us to eat, or to put food before us : we must first get the appetite, and then we shall eat naturally and healthfully. And we know that there are means by which our appetite, when lost, may be regained. If we are sick and weak, it does not follow that we shall never be well and strong, if we use those means which common sense, and the experience of others, have told us to be useful. So also there are means by which the appetite of our souls may be recovered; there is a way by which they may become well and strong : and common sense, and the experience of all good men, and the word of God himself, has declared to us what these means are. You

. all know that I speak of the habit of

prayer: you want the will to come to Christ; you want to love good more strongly than you now love it; you want to love it so much as never to love any sin better. But you want what neither others nor yourselves, by yourselves, can give you. “No man can come unto God, unless God will draw him.” You may say, • Perhaps he will not draw me; and, therefore, I never shall be able to come to him.' Nay, but hear his own promise, as it was read to you this very morning in this place :-“ No father will give his son a stone, when he asks for bread; and if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children,”—if you know, by experience, how kind are your earthly parents, how much they would give up for your good, how carefully they would do all in their power to benefit you,—“how

, much more shall your Father that is in heaven give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?”

Be assured that no request which you can make to the kindest of earthly fathers will ever be so sure to be readily granted, as

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