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thing of the sweetness, beauty, and refreshment, furnished by the fruits of which they have gathered it may be, a cluster, as a specimen. Whence then, it will be asked, arises the evil report which they still bring of the character of religion? They would not revile, malign, or undervalue it, did not a cowardly timidity, arising from a love of ease and self-indulgence, invest their spiritual enemies with proportions as gigantic as their own terrors. They are unwilling to go forth unto the battle, with the Lord, against the mighty. A course of strict and severe self-mortification must be commenced and continued. Sins which do most easily beset them, must be renounced. Carnal indulgence, dear as the right eye, apparently necessary as the right hand, must be renounced. Pride must be abased, self-righteousness must do homage before the cross.
The prodigal must return to his father, in unconcealed shame and wretchedness. The moralist, convinced of guilt by the purity of the divine law, must flee from the quicksand that would ingulph him, if he should persist in resting his hope toward heaven upon it. Even he must speed his better way to the atonement of Calvary, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Thus discouraged by the apparent difficulties before him, bound in the fetters of worldly love, and shrinking from an unremitted warfare with his temptations and sins, he resolves to have his portion below. He turns back, like the faithless disciples, and walks no more with Jesus. Some report, however, must be made to others, which may account for this desertion ; and therefore, he traduces the blessings, and magnifies the hardships of religion. Believing it necessary to vindicate his own consistency, he gives a testimony concerning the privileges, duties, hopes, and trials of the gospel, which can serve no other purpose, than to dishonour its eternal Author, and to impede the salvation of his brethren. Beware, my dear friends, of the dreadful error of the faithless spies. Look to its unhappy consequences, before ye desert the lists of that combat where the Lord Jesus Christ himself hath placed you. Be not of those who draw back unto perdition ; but of them who believe, to the saving of the soul.
II. “As there is no society free from some corruption, so it is hard, if in a community of men there be not some faithfulness.” Such fidelity was exhibited by Joshua and Caleb, men of another spirit-men who followed the Lord fully and undauntedly. Their example stands in bright and honourable contrast with the exaggerated terror, and injurious report of their unworthy colleagues. Most promptly did they contradict the statement made by the other ten; and endeavour to prevent the baneful effect which it was calculated to produce upon the minds of the men of Israel. Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Mark, then, my brethren, the fearless confidence with which one who has devoted himself in simplicity to God, speaks of his past experience in religion, and of his hope, that he, and all his brethren of the camp, may go forth to war in the strength of God. The language of the ten is that of despondency. The language of Caleb and his fellow-soldier, for whom also he seems to speak, breathes nothing but the expectation of success, and the full assurance of victory. The Israelites do not hear him say, Let us go up and contend for the land which lies before us, in all its beauty and fertility; but let us go up and possess it. A brightness so great rests upon the triumph, a glory so transcendent gilds the reward, that he seems to overlook the difficulties of winning the country by the sword from its possessors; and to consider the advance of the congregation, as a march to certain triumph.
It is also generally supposed, that as only Caleb and Joshua wished faithfully to declare what they had seen, they carried the bunch of grapes between them, and brought this magnificent cluster into the congregation, as the best evidence in favour of the land which they had surveyed.
Such is the testimony borne by a sineere and zealous Christian to the character of a spiritual life; such the specimen of its blessings which he will exhibit, and of the good which it will bountifully and eternally impart to the spirits of just men made perfect. Faith and courage are inseparably united with a holy chastened boldness in the heart of a devoted servant of Jesus Christ. Infidelity is the parent of cowardice. Not rashly led away by the expectations of good, or by a partial experience of the blessings of the better part, to overlook the difficulties that will beset him, in making his calling and election sure, the Christian soldier, surveying his conflicts, his mercies, his hopes, his rest, his reward, with the eye of faith, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, is strong and very courageous for the war. The Lord his God will fight for him; and the victory cannot be doubtful. His enemies are many and mighty; but the Lord who dwelleth on high is mightier. While anticipating future conquests, and his own distinguished portion in the allotments of everlasting blessedness, he takes of the fruits of the land by the way. He finds, that the God of
his salvation hath sealed him for heaven, and given him, as a gracious refreshment in the hour of his conflict, some present fruits and joys of that love, which is unspeakable and full of glory. He finds also, that the Holy Spirit has stamped his soul with a new and sacred impress, the proof of his adoption into the family of the redeemed. And while this new-creating power thus likens him to the household of God, its graces and consolations are pledges and foretastes of the heavenly country which is shortly and irrevocably to become his own. The Apostolic testimony applies itself to him in its most extensive appropriation ; In whom also, after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance. Undismayed therefore, by what he reads in the word of God, and finds confirmed in his own experience, of the power and malignity of his spiritual enemies, he declares his firm persuasion of an ultimate and .glorious victory, which God will enable him to achieve.
These, and men like minded with them, are they, in whose reports of heaven and heavenly things you should confide. They have diligently examined the way and character of salvation. They can shew you of the fruits which they have gathered in their heavenward journey—the righteousness,
peace, the joy, that is in the Holy