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here and hereafter. The power of the Saviour is working as effectually now upon the souls of men, as it was on their bodies, when he sojourned in the flesh upon earth; and on those who are willing to believe what he says, and to practise what he commands, the miracles of his grace will descend in the same rich profusion, as his "gifts of healing" were experienced by the first believers. He, it is true, is gone to heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Majesty on high; but he is still ready and willing to send down from thence medicine to cure our sickness, and help to assist our infirmities; if we will but apply to him, with a deep sense of our sad condition, and with an earnest wish to use those means which he has appointed for our restoration.
What these means are, you can be at no loss to understand; the gospel of CHRIST; the church where that gospel is preached; and his ministers, who there deliver the message of your Saviour; will give you full information on this important point. They tell you, that the means of restoration from spiritual death; of recovery of sight, to those who are spiritually blind; and of health, to those who are spiritually sick; are, deep repentance, sincere faith, and a thorough reformation in heart and conduct. By the
first, we acknowledge our many sins, infirmities, and weaknesses; and our lost state, without the assistance of the physician of souls; and bitterly lament that corruption which has reduced us to this situation. By the second, we see the means of cure; and look up to the cross, as the perishing Is raelites did to the brazen serpent, for rescue and salvation. And by the third, we prove, that we are sincere in our sense of sin, and desirous of relief; are rendered acceptable to VOD, through the merits of his Son; restored to spiritual soundness; and made meet to be partakers of the kingdom of heaven. In other words, repentance is a heartfelt sorrow, for having flown in the face of our' Almighty Father, and merciful Redeemer ; self-reproach, and remorse, for our ingratitude and unworthiness; earnest prayers for pardon and forgiveness; and solemn resolutions to be more careful of our future conduct; more watchful over our treacherous hearts; and determined, by GoD's grace, to root out every unchristian feeling from our bosoms, and conquer every evil habit in our lives. Faith is believing, from the bottom of our souls, that every syllable of the word of GOD is true; which tells us, that we were all dead in Adam, and shall all be made alive in CHRIST, if we embrace his gospel, and obey its commands.
Reformation is, putting all this in practice. It is the crowning act of salvation; the last medicine for the healing of the soul. By it, man becomes "a new creature;" his former lusts, and passions, and evil habits, are put away; and, instead of continuing under the bondage of that sin, to which he was before a slave, he is now admitted into the glorious liberty of the sons of GOD. His soul is now raised from the death of sin, rescued from its blindness, and healed of its disease; and whenever it shall be called before its Maker, will have its portion with the redeemed through CHRIST. This, my friends, is the cure of all our spiritual ills; the final and most glorious miracle of JESUS CHRIST our LORD. It will not, indeed, remove the pressure of bodily ill; it will not give strength to the feeble, nor soundness to the sick; but it will do infinitely more for us. It will give us peace here, and happiness hereafter. It will enable us to bear, all that may afflict this poor mortal body here below, with patience, resignation, and submission to the will of God; and when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall be "clothed with immortality;" it will remove the unincumbered happy spirit into the glorious presence of the living God.
For the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity.]
EPHESIANS iv. 1.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.
HE epistle from whence these words are
taken, was written by St. Paul, when he was in bonds at Rome, for the sake of the Gospel, to those inhabitants of the great heathen city of Ephesus, who had been converted to the religion of JESUS CHRIST. You may form some notion of the sad state of idolatry, or false worship, into which the people of Ephesus were plunged, by the account of the tumult that took place in that city, recorded in the nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles: and you may judge, also, of the great regard which St
Paul entertained for the converts he had made in the same place, from what is related, in the succeeding chapter, of the last interview which he had with the elders of the Ephesian church, when they met him at Miletus, as he was going to Jerusalem. All the particulars of this meeting are very affecting; nor shall we find any thing in the whole New Testament, (except the discourses of CHRIST,) more moving or affectionate, than the address which St. Paul makes to the Ephesians, before he bade them farewell. The effect produced by it on the hearers is told by the sacred historian in these simple and beautiful terms. "And
they all wept sore, and fell upon Paul's "neck, and kissed him; sorrowing most of "all for the words which he spake, that 66 they should see his face no more." kind and affectionate feelings which had been thus manifested, both by the apostle and his Ephesian converts, at their final meeting, continued to warm their hearts, after their separation from each other; as is sufficiently proved by the epistle before us, which overflows with expressions of endearment and love; and is full of affectionate congratulations on their proficiency in faith and grace; of cheerful encouragement under the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed