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none, in the pride of their own sufficiency, turn away from it. Are you already perfect ? If not, then you need the means of edification ; use them with diligence while you are in this world : In the future you will not necd them; there you will come to perfect men.
2. If Christ has given pastors and teachers for our edification, till we come in the unity of faith and knowledge to more perfect men, then such a conduct in ministers, or in private Christians, as tends to dis. unite the body of Christ, must be highly offensive to him. Ministers should remember, that they are ordained to bring men to a unity in the faith and knowla edge of Christ, and in love and affection to one another. They should unite their influence to accomplish this end. If they cause divisions and offences, they walk contrary to the doctrine which they have received. They serve not the Lord Jesus Christians should walk together in love, and study the things which make for peace, both in the church of which they are members, and among other churches of our common Lord.
3. What cause have we to be humble, that, under our means of growth, we fall so much below the stat. ure of perfect men ! Let us compare ourselves with the precepts and pattern of Jesus Christ. How much we come short of that purity which his gospel requires, and which his life in the flesh exemplified ! It would be useful, that we should take a frequent review of our lives that we should daily examine the temper of our hearts. Thus we may learn what manner of spirit we are of what progress we make, or whether any at all-in what respects our tempers need correction, and our lives amendment-and thus we shall be excited to come to the throne of grace, that we may obtain grace to help in the time of need,
4. Let us make continual improvement in religior. This is the best evidence of our sincerity. Christ,
who has given pastors and teachers for the ministry, has a fulness of the Spirit at his disposal. Of his fulness we may receive grace suited to our cases, and e. qual to our wants. While we attend on his institutions, let us implore his blessing to accompany them; and thus endeavor to rise above the world, to purge a. way our remaining corruptions, to strengthen every holy principle, and to abound more and more in every grace and good work, till we come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a per. fect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and ried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men,
and running craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ; but speaks ing the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ ; from whom the whole body,fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according 80 the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh inbrease to the edifying of itself in love.
In the preceding verses, the Apostle observes; that Christ instituted the gospel ministry for the edifi. cation of his body, the church, until we all come, in the unity of the faith and knowledge of Christ, unto a. perfect man. Wherein this complete manhood consists, and by what means we must endeavor to attain it, he instructs us in the words which have been read.
Christian maturity is a steady belief of, and obedience. to the gospel, in opposition to fickleness and inconstancy. The way in which we are to obtain and preserve this maturity is union with Jesus Christ, from whom the whole body of believers, compacted and cemented together by every joint of supply, according to its power in the proportion of every part, maketh inerease of the body to the edifying of itself in love. Vol. III.
The Apostle here describes the perfect man, or ma- rings
, ture Christian, both negatively and positively. He is so b not a child tossed to and fro, and carried about with ev. ery wind of doctrine : But he is one, who, having embraced and professed the truth with a real love of it, Te A grows up into Christ in all things.
We will, first, consider the negative part of this de. -da" scription.
Christ instituted the gospel ministry, that believers, arriving to maturity in faith and knowledge, should no At more be children, tossed to and fro, and driven about with every wind, by the sleight of men, and the cun. ning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
Several metaphors are here used to express that weakness and versatility, which some discover, and which honest Christians, under the ministry of the word, will endeavor to outgrow.
1. Christians must not remain children.
In humility, meekness and teachableness let them be children ; but in understanding, constancy and fortitude they should be men. While, as new born babes, they desire the sincere milk of the word, let them so use it as to grow thereby.
“ Call no man your father on earth," says our Lord, for
. but little knowledge, and but a weak judgment. They are guided more by the opinions of others, than by petsonal conviction. They may be led right or wrong, according as the examples which they see, and the counsels which they hear, are good, or evil. They believe hastily, and act implicitly. They are governed by passion more than reason-by feeling more than judgment.--Now, in distinction from this childish temper, be ye fully persuaded in your own minds. Judge for yourselves what is right. Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. Make the word of truth, not the opinions of men, the rule of your faith and conduct. Follow no man blindly, but look well to
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your goings. Judge of truth and error-of right and wrong, not by your occasional feelings, or the current of your affections ; but by the calm and sober exercise
2. The Apostle cautions us, that we be not tossed to and fro, like a ship rolling on the waves. “ He that wavereth,” says Saint James, " is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. The doubleminded man is unstable in all his ways." In opposition to this unstable, fluctuating temper, we are required to "hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering.”
The man who, without principle, knowledge and judgment, assumes the high profession of the Chris. tian, may appear steady in a calm season :: But, in times of temptation, he will be like a ship without pilot, anchor or ballast, tossed about by the power of a tempest, He is at the mercy of every rude gust. He is driven in any direction, as the wind happens to blow. He is elevated high, or sunk low, as the waves rise or fall. He makes no port.; but floating at large, on the troubled clement, he is, every moment, in danger of shipwreck.
The Christian, who embarks for the heavenly world, must consider, that 'the ocean on which he sails, is subject to changing winds, and perilous storms. He must not promise himself smooth waters, soft gales and clear skies; but go provided for all kinds of weather, The word of truth must be his compass, and faith his pilot ; hope must be his anchor, and knowledge and good works his ballast ; prudence must keep the watch, and sober reason hold the helm. Thus he may. sail with safety in all seasons.
3. We must not be carried about with every wind of doctrine.
False doctrines, like winds, are blustering and unsteady. They blow from no certain point, but in all