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of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Reuben and Gad would have been ill contented, had the men of Israel deserted them, before they had obtained a settlement in Gilead. They were therefore, engaged to stand by the side of their brethren through all the battles yet before them. We should equally regard ourselves injured, should they who ought to remain in the same rank with ourselves, and to fight the battles of the Lord, against the mighty, retreat, in the love of ease and self-indulgence, and coldly leave us without an effort, or a prayer in our behalf. Whatsoever therefore ye would that men should do unto
ye even so to them. Are you
the redeemed children of God-conscious that his vows are upon you, devoted to his honour, and zealous for his glory? Does your heart exclaim, as each of you surveys his obligation to the riches of his Saviour's love. “Here am I, send me ? ” Do you ask for opportunities of bringing others to a knowledge of the truth, that they may be saved ? Survey the scene around you. Behold a world dead in trespasses and sins. Does it not abound with persons ignorant of “that eternal life which consists in knowing the true God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent?' Are multitudes now living without him in the world ; uttterly estranged from that appointed Mediator “who is the way, and the truth, and the life?” Are multitudes walking in the way of death, denying the Lord who bought them, scoffing at the unsearchable mercies of his cross, or contemning the sole and almighty efficacy of his blood for justification, by attempting to establish a righteousness of their own! Are inany slumbering at the post of duty, when they should be engaged in conflict with the powers of darkness ? Will ye then say, that ye have no means of saving them? Can nothing be done to make the ignorant wise unto salvation through faith that is in Cbrist Jesus? Is it impossible to direct the scoffer to look on him whom his godless ribaldry has pierced, and to mourn because of him ? May not he who has hitherto refused the salvation of Jesus Christ, fall down at his feet, and exclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” -or with Peter, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head?” May not the Pharisee be convinced of his transgression ; and taking his lowly station by the cross, exclaim in the fervour of a broken and contrite spirit, “God be merciful to me a sinner?” May not he who has allowed himself to sink into the lethargy of sloth and security, be pricked to the heart, and aroused to cry, “What must I do to be saved ?” Surely, with the Most High all things are possible. And as he often works by the most humble instrumentality, in order that the excellency of the power may be of him, and not of man, is it beyond the limit of hope and probability, that he should make you helpers and blessings to your brethren in the holy cause?
Are there moreover, no dark and distant lands upon which the Sun of righteousness hath never arisen-no millions of your fellow creatures sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, to whom, as you point them to the day-star of salvation, which the gospel reveals, you may cry, Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee? Are there no institutions appointed for sending forth the scriptures of light and truth, “that God's way may be known upon earth, his saving health among all nations?” Are there no missionaries who are gone forth, filled with the love, and zealous for the salvation, of the Son of God, to wage their holy conflict with the powers of darkness, and to cast down the throne of Satan, even where he seems to have seated it most firmly? Are there no efforts made to advance the kingdom and glory of our God and Saviour both at home and abroad? There surely are. Will
then doubt whether you can serve the cause of Israel and be useful to the camp of God? Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
II. As an additional incentive to this duty, we should consider, that a selfish inattention to the spiritual welfare of our brethren tends to depress their ardour, and diminish their strength for the war against sin and Satan.
" Wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the Lord hath given them?” The soul of this timid unbelieving people had been already much discouraged, by reason of the way. Their spirit had failed and fainted at the prospect of war with the sons of Anak, and with the high and fenced cities of Canaan. If, with the complete array of the twelve tribes they dreaded to join battle with their enemies, the desertion of two tribes and a half would greatly increase their terror, their infidelity, and consequently their guilty disobedience. Soldiers in the
presence of a formidable adversary, already fearful of their inferiority, and almost despairing of success, would feel increased alarm and despondency, should a large detachment from among them desert their post, and flee to a place of refuge and plenty, heedless of their endangered fellows. Even so, weak and doubting Christians, more alarmed by the power of their foes,
and by their own weakness, than encouraged by the presence and all-sufficiency of their Saviour, would be still further tempted to faint, should they see others, on whom their eye
is fixed, going back, and walking no more with Jesus ; or so much occupied with their own privileges and inheritance in the mercies of the gospel, as to cast no look upon them. A spirit of selfish inattention—that spirit in which all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ, when each ought to direct a friendly eye, and extend an aiding hand to the concerns of others, is a stumbling stone, and a rock of offence, as dangerous as it is common.
In the same proportion that it is delightful to take sweet counsel with the servants of Christ, and to walk with them in the house of God as friends, is it discouraging to be neglected and forgotten. Timid spirits, who cannot bear the world's scorn and ridicule with composure, often take courage from finding themselves with those who are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. On the other hand, they often shrink from avowing him, when, like the children of the captivity, they are called to pass alone through the fiery furnace of opposition, contempt, open mockery, or silent derision. They who are commencing the divine life, with all the elements of their new and heavenly being feeble, and almost un