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least one day in seven; and will soon be sensible of that secret satisfaction and blessing, which always accompany the conscientious observance of the sabbath day.
Let me implore you, thirdly, to attend, regularly, the Holy Sacrament; by which you will both obey your Saviour's command," Do this in remembrance of me;" strengthen every good resolution, which you may form; and obtain grace, to enable you to keep it.
Let me recommend to you, fourthly, to read, daily, some portion of the holy scripture, particularly the New Testament, which
is able to make you wise unto salvation, "through faith in JESUS CHRIST." passage, a verse, a line of scripture, has sometimes set a man upon thinking; which, by degrees, has ended in his thorough reformation.
Let me exhort you, in the last place, to be diligent in that state of life, in the which it has pleased ALMIGHTY GOD that you should be placed; and to be very careful to avoid all bad company. Idleness lays a man open to the snares of the Devil, who seldom troubles himself to tempt those whom he finds honestly and soberly employed in their own lawful business: and, with respect to company, take this for a rule, that he who delights in the con
versation of wicked or profane persons, cannot be a truly good man himself. We are ordered to "avoid all temptation to sin; "all appearance even of evil." "Can a
"man touch pitch, and not be defiled?" In other words, can a man run knowingly into danger, and be assured he shall escape unhurt? Our blessed LORD has taught us thus to pray: "Lead us not," that is, suffer us not to be led into temptation, but "deliver us from evil."
From what has been said, my brethren, you may safely draw the following conclusions. First, no person will long remain in the same state of wickedness; but will either become better, or go on from sin to sin, until he be utterly depraved. So long as the Spirit of God rules in our hearts, we shall go on " from strength to strength," as the Psalmist expresses it, until we "become
perfect in well-doing." But, if by preferring a sinful course, we "grieve the Holy "Spirit," reject his guidance, and force him to forsake us; then, indeed, our case is most alarming; and much may it be feared, that we shall fall rapidly from one ill habit into another, until at length we sink into everlasting destruction.
Finally, my brethren, we may conclude, from what has been said, that God never with
draws his Holy Spirit, whilst there are any hopes that his grace and mercy shall not continue to be abused; "for, like as a father <t pitieth his own children," so GoD acts to wards his creatures. He leaves no method untried, which may become a merciful parent, and a just creator, in order to bring us to our duty here, and everlasting happiness hereafter. As you value your souls, therefore, fellow christians, let me intreat you to take heed to your ways, that "you grieve not the "good Spirit of GOD," by wickedness and folly, carelessness and indifference; but, make his abiding with you sure and certain, by using all the means of grace, and prac tising all the virtues of a good, a sober, and an honest life; "putting off the old man,' according to the advice of the apostle, "which is corrupt; being renewed in the
spirit of your mind; and putting on the "new man, which after GOD is created in "righteousness and true holiness."
[For the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.]
EPHESIANS v. 15.
See, then, that ye walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise; redeeming the time, be. cause the days are evil.
N the former part of the chapter from
St. Paul had cautioned the Gentile part of the christian converts, to whom he was writing, against those wicked practices, and particular vices, to which they had been addicted in their state of heathenism; shewing them, how disgraceful these vices were to those who practised them; and how contrary to the purity of that religion, which they had now embraced; and finishing his representation, with this solemn call to attention
and diligence in the affairs of religion: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from "the dead, and CHRIST shall give thee
light." He then proceeds to give them that useful advice and admonition, respecting their future conduct, which is contained in the epistle for the day, beginning with the words I have chosen for my text: "See, then, that ye walk circumspectly; not as "fools, but as wise; redeeming the time, "because the days are evil," This advice was more particularly applicable to the early christian converts; because, the days in which they lived, were in a more especial manner "evil" to the followers of CHRIST. All the governing powers of the world were then unfriendly to the christian cause. The religion of CHRIST (as the Jews told St. Paul, in Acts xxviii.) was every where spoken against. They who preached it, were persecuted; and they who professed it, were hated or despised. Hence, you perceive, that it was highly necessary for the early christians to be extremely cautious, and guarded in their conduct; and to "give no "offence to any," not merely that they might avoid those dangers, by which they were surrounded; but also, that they might not bring any blame or disgrace upon the faith they professed; for you must be aware,