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when happily united and cooperative, they will ensure to the possessor of them (through the merits and mediation of Him, for whose sake alone our best services can be accepted) the reward of eternal life.

And now, what has the unbeliever to put in competition with these inestimable gifts, or what can he substitute in their stead ? Acknowledging no guide but his own fallible reason, no Saviour to atone for his failings or transgressions, no sanctifier to correct his evil propensities, or to aid his imperfect endeavours, his faith is but self-confidence, his hope but doubt and darkness, his charity little better than an animal instinct, which may as often lead him wrong as right, or a sordid selfish feeling, prompting him to seek the good of others with no other motive than as it

may subserve his own personal interests.

On the other hand, what has the enthusiast to offer, which, in his zeal to renounce all selfrighteousness, can supersede the necessity of bringing these Christian graces into united operation ? He boasts perhaps of his faith, and of something more than hope, of absolute election, of indefectible grace, of an experimental assurance of his salvation. But unless his

. faith “ work by love," and be “shewn by his “ works,” unless his hope be that which “ maketh not ashamed,” diffusing a salutary influence over his whole life and conversation; what will these avail ? What will it avail, to plead the promises of the Gospel, without adhering to its stipulations and conditions ?

y Gal. v. 6.

Let it, then, be our first care to “examine “ ourselves, whether we be in the faith ~;" — whether we be firmly rooted and grounded in those fundamental articles of our belief, the direct tendency of which is to influence every part of our conduct, to give a right direction to every thought and purpose of the mind, to pervade every inclination and affection of the heart. Having laid this sure foundation of what is good and acceptable in the sight of God, let us constantly set before us that blessed hope, which is the immediate result of such a firm conviction, and affords the most powerful of all encouragements to perseverance unto the end. Thus fortified and supported, let us “ go on unto perfection "," by cultivating that charity which springs from “ a pure heart and a good conscience,” as well as from “ faith unfeigned.” Let this be manifested in the diligent performance of whatever belongs to our Christian profession; in that regulation of the temper, the appe2 James ü. 18. a 2 Cor. ii. 15. b Hebr. vi. 1.

tites, the passions, the affections of our nature, which will shew that we are really “ led * by the Spirit of God, and are solicitous to 6 adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in “ all things d.” So shall we fail not, through the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, to obtain “ the end of our faith, even the salvation of “ our souls."

c Rom. viii. 14. d Titus ii. 10. € 1 Pet. i. 9.

SERMON XVIII.

MATTHEW xi. 30.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

the cer

It is hardly possible to reflect

upon tainty that we are hereafter to be called to give account of our present conduct, without being continually anxious to assure ourselves that we are in a state of safety, with respect to the judgment we must then undergo. Whether we look to the promises or to the threatenings of the Gospel, whether we contemplate our own insufficiency and imperfection or the infinite perfections of the Almighty, solicitude on such a subject is unavoidable, whenever we suffer these considerations to make their due impression upon our minds.

It is the desire to set the mind at ease upon this subject, that has probably led persons of different tempers and dispositions to form various and sometimes contradictory opinions respecting the measure and extent of their Christian duty; that some, through excessive dread of falling short of what is required of them, represent Christianity as a harsh and rigorous service; whilst others would fain persuade themselves that it requires nothing of considerable difficulty, nothing that calls for strenuous exertion or for restraint upon their natural inclinations. Thus may extremes be produced, destructive either of that sober and tranquil state of mind which is intended for our present comfort and

support, or of that caution and vigilance which are necessary in every stage of our progress to preserve us from falling.

Christianity itself, however, ought not to be made responsible for these inconsistencies: and it is of importance to vindicate it against any misrepresentations, intentional or unintentional, to which it may thus be rendered liable. For as the one of these extremes tends to encourage men in a careless and libertine practice, so the other affords to unbelievers, and to the thoughtless part of mankind, a pretence for rendering it odious or contemptible in the general estimation. Whereas the Gospel itself gives countenance to neither of these parties. It is not so lax and accommodating in its nature, as to adapt itself to our corrupt inclinations; nor is it so irrecon

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