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of your hope that you are in a state of falvation. Fix not your thoughts on those portions of your conduct which
esteem the faireft. Look also to the duties which you neglect, to the transgressions in which you wilfully indulge. Say not; “ I know " that I reverence God, because I do many " things for his fake.” Ask yourself whether it be your desire, and your aim, to do all things for his fake. If there be any practice which you pertinaciously hold fast in oppofition to his revealed will ; you deny his authority, you reverence him not. Say not; “ I am confident that I am re
ligious and shall inherit the kingdom of “ Christ; because I am not unchaste, nor a
thief, nor a drunkard, nor a reveller, nor
heretical, nor feditious.” Examine whether you are not covetous. If you are pure from covetousness; search whether you are not addicted to envy. If neither covetous nor envious; are you not a reviler? If clear from these fins; do not you cherish hatred ? Proceed in this method through that catalogue of sins which St. Paul has displayed before you: from that catalogue pursue your enquiry through the other heads of offences, to which by his concluding general expression he refers you:
and learn whether there be not some one habitual fin, which you obstinately cherish.
. If that be the case; believe the word of God, believe the solemn and repeated declarations of the Holy Ghost, that this very fin, unless through the divine grace, which awaits your prayers, it be abandoned, will cast you into hell.
into hell. Hear St. James illustrating by a specific example the import of his doctrine. If any man among you feem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceivetb bis own beart ; that man's religion is vain. The man who bridleth not his tongue, however religious he may in other respects appear, is not religious : he may persuade himself that he is religious, but he deceiveth his own heart: his religion may be outwardly specious and imposing, but it is not religion ; it is a hollow, empty, unsubstantial appearance, a vain delusive, unprofitable shadow. His unbridled tongue shall be his destruction. Shall his unbridled tongue destroy his soul, even though in many points he acts in conformity to the precepts of religion ? Alsuredly. By refusing to curb his tongue he proves
that very conformity not to flow from religion. Were his obedience in other points genuine, it would not be limited to
them. He is not religious: therefore he justly perishes. In the place of an unbridled tongue substitute the sin which you retain, and apply this reasoning to yourself. Deceive not your own heart. Beware left you only seem to be religious. Beware left your religion be vain. If you prefer any one finful habit to the command of God; you are not his servant. If you suffer any one finful habit to stand between you and heaven; you deserve to forfeit heaven. You confess that God has authority to forbid every
fin. You confess that he has forbidden every sin. You hear his voice in the Scriptures. His warnings are urged upon you by his ministers. You are fatifi fied that you can obtain falvation in no other path than that which he has traced. You are fully apprised that, unless you labour to obey Him in all things, the severity of his wrath will abide upon you. With this conviction to awaken your conscience, do you say unto the Most High; “ These
things will I do for Thee: but this thing I “will not do for Thy fake. Thus far I will
obey Thee: but here I will be master?” Do you speak thus, and presume to affirm that you pay respect to the fovereignty of the Almighty? Do you act in this spirit;
and hope to be accepted by Him? Is this to love holiness? Is this to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Is this to mortify your corruptions, and to live unto Christ who died for you? A good man may be overcome by a sudden temptation : but he will be humbled in sorrow to the dust, and will be led by remorse to encreased earnestness in watchfulness and prayer. He who has not been fully instructed may long remain in blindness and guilt: yet let his heart become turned unto God, and the eyes of his understand ing be opened, and he will abhor himself and repent. But the man who, with an unclouded knowledge of his duty, refuses to aim at universal holiness, and perfifts in the reserved indulgence of some unchristian temper or practice; be that temper or practice what it may, shall find its fruit to be everlasting condemnation.
On Sins of the Tongue.
PSALM cxli. 3. Set a watch, O Lord! before my mouth :
keep the door of my lips. WORDS,” exclaim the inconsiderate
, “are empty air; formless shadows: " transient pictures of the inclination of the « moment. Even when most reprehen
sible, we have intended little by them. They were the offspring of surprise.
They were faults, if faults, which died « in their birth. The wind carried them
away and they were forgotten. God “ looks to substantial deeds. We shall be recompensed according to our works.”
Death and life, replies the voice of the Most High, are in the power of the tongue. By thy words thou shalt be justified; and by