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ing and evening with their little flock thus committed to their care ; you would observe them studying the scriptures and religious books more frequently than any other, instead of grudging the time now bestowed upon them; you might follow them to the abodes of poverty and sickness, seeking out objects of charity, or at least opening their hands wide to promote any work and labour of love deserving of their care; you would remark some curtailments in their expenditure or personal indulgences, for the express purpose of having more for the relief of those in need ; you would see them temperate in their diet, and simple in their clothing ; you would take notice that their most intimate and valued friends, and most familiar companions, were those whose principles resembled their own, devout and holy persons, with whom they could sometimes talk of the common salvation, and freely enjoy the interchange of Christian sentiments; and in that ordinary society into which they might occasionally enter, you would find that they never bowed the head to Rimmon for the sake of accommodating themselves to the views of the company around them; that they never connived at any light or irreverent treatment of sacred and serious subjects, but that their presence was a rebuke to every thing approaching to profaneness, and that where they could do it discreetly, without the risk of casting pearls before swine, they would always put in a word for the honour of God, and the spiritual improvement of those whom they addressed. If parents, you would behold them anxious above all things to give their children a truly Christian education, and to " bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I will not detain you, yet I might go through all conditions, all ranks and circumstances of life, and show you how these would conduct themselves with regard to the particular duties of their station, whose whole study, it was “to live unto the Lord ; ”-how masters and servants, husbands and wives, rich and poor, tradespeople, labourers, and all classes of society, would behave in those respects in which there is any thing peculiar to their several conditions. But I do not think that if your hearts are truly bent upon living unto the Lord, you will have any difficulty in determining how you ought to act under all these circumstances. Your rule is the will and approbation of Christ; that will never mislead you when rightly understood ; all that is needed
hearts to make it the rule.
and after we have lived faithfully unto the Lord our destined time, may we also die unto the Lord, and enter into his joy, and be with him for ever and ever:
1 COR. xii. 1.
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant
There is this great and fundamental difficulty in religion, generally, that it is a life of faith as opposed to sight; that we have to combat the world and its allurements, objects present and visible, by acting on the belief of things distant and invisible; that our hopes are directed to future rewards, and our fears to future punishments; and that the aid which we are offered against the temptations that so importunately assail us, is the aid of an unseen Being, and therefore only to be trusted in through the medium of faith which confidently relies on the revealed promises of God. But since we believe in the scriptures,
which contain these promises, why should we create difficulties in calculating on their fulfilment? Why should we interpose our weak reason as affording an argument against the truth of them? In fact, whatever be the difficulties, we have but this choice, either to receive the whole gospel, or to reject the whole gospel. We are not at liberty to select for ourselves what seems most reasonable, or worthy of our belief; all vain reasoning about spiritual things is unbecoming in such ignorant mortals, who in such matters have only to believe what God has been pleased to communicate, without setting up their own knowledge or understanding as a test of the truth.
That the scriptures inform us of the absolute necessity of the operation of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts to teach them heavenly truths, to purify them from sin, to dispose them to the service of God, and to the practice of all the virtues of the Christian life, we cannot deny, for nothing is more plain ; we must therefore believe and act upon this doctrine, or away with the hope of our calling altogether. You say you do not perceive the necessity of a supernatural influence upon your minds, nor can men possibly be assured that their thoughts and feelings do not originate in their own bosoms. But is that an answer to the word of God, which says that the "carnal mind
is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” and that if we would attain unto life, we must “through the spirit, mortify the deeds of the body?” And suppose we do not feel this influence in such a palpable way, as to be able immediately to refer every good thought to its divine origin-suppose God works upon our minds in a gentle and imperceptible manner, not by any violent manifestation of supernatural power,—what of that? Will you
therefore deny him the praise and gratitude which are due to his favours, merely because you do not understand how they are bestowed ? For instance, will you deny that he supports your life, merely because you do not see the operation of his secret energies? Or that he rules the world, sustains the whole creation, and guides its several parts in such harmonious order, merely because you are not admitted (as it were) behind the scene, nor allowed to observe how he sets the springs in motion, and regulates all the movements of the vast fabric? You know not how your own minds act upon your own bodies. You cannot explain how your members are so readily obedient to the invisible will which actuates them; and surely it is no greater mystery that an invisible Spirit should mingle with the essence of