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affectation. “I have thought of others with suspicion. But it seemed only sagacity and just discernment. Now, I detect the secret coils of envy and malice. I have cast my stone to the pile under which public censure has buried one who has abused confidence. Justice, I reputed it: with me it was passion,—revenge! It seemed to me at times, that to yield would be weakness. And thus I broke the law of charity by violence, as Moses threw down the sacred tablets. How often has my profession of kindness been the substitute for active charity ? How often has duty been done, because I have felt and confessed it to be too clearly a duty ? What vanity has made me affable, without kindness of heart! How much of mere custom, unmixed with any emotion of pity, forms my lamentation over the sins and aflictions of mankind !” Out of a pure heart, with anxious diligence, examine your secret and unsuspected motives.

And such is the human heart, laid open under its delusions, as they steal upon the piety, the purity, and the charity of man. While so much may be distrusted within us, on what foundation rests happiness ? Until the spirit and motive are right, duty is nothing worth. Hence, life, to the self-ignorant and selfbetrayed, is a pile of strong delusions. Those masses of vapor in the air are not strong battlements of a fortress, however they may appear. No more are our firmest reliances, without the discipline of the heart. Without this, what is worship, obedience in deportment, and an honorable name, but the dark mass which hides man from himself, and would hide him from bis Maker? God, in the whole of life, expects to see the heart in it, at every point. And life must be pure, and clear, and thus transparent, that the precious gem of a sincere and hallowed spirit may shine through it brightly, when the eye of God rests upon it. “My son, give me thy heart.”

On what basis but that of a deceived heart, do men erect their commonest delusions ;—their seeming security in the prospect of death and of judgment? The terrors of the LORD pass by, as the thunder of a summer's day in the sky. His mercies, like gentle rain upon a rock, leave no proof that they

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have been distilled upon it. For God is nothing, heaven a dream, and judgment a jest to every one, who bas a deluded, neglected heart. Keep then the heart with all diligence.

O ! think of it as the temple, where your spirit is to hold communion with the Holy of holies, and the Father and the Son have come to dwell !

0! think of it as the region, where, one day, the voice of a righteous Judge shall summon every affection, every passion, motive, and thought, into fearful distinctness, for an accurate decision, whose consequences are eternal !

It asks, indeed, for all your care. The rule for it is simple, but its cases demand patient thought. Resolve to act, at every moment of every day, from supreme love to God, and benevolence to man; and ask, as each day closes, why the resolution has not been kept ? And God's blessing shall be with you in this most solemn inquiry, and his aid shall lead you to a successful result.

But, after all our efforts, "who can understand his errors ?" Let your whole diligence be followed by prayer to “Him who remembereth that we are but dust.” He will cleanse the humble from undetected sins. Unite, then, with me, in the fervent prayer of the Psalmist; “Search me, O GOD! and try my heart; prove me, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me to life everlasting !"

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Though oft with sins, and doubts, and fears,

My soul is much cast down; And though o'erwhelm'd with sighs and tears,

"My God will hear me groan.'

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HYMN.

Your harps, ye trembling saints,

Down from the willows take; Loud to the praise of love divine,

Bid every string awake.

Though in a foreign land,

We are not far from home; And nearer to our house above

We every moment coine.

His grace will to the end,

Stronger and brighter shine; Nor present things, nor things to come,

Shall quench the love divine.

When we in darkness walk,

Nor feel the heavenly flame ; Then is the time to trust our God,

And rest upon his name.

Wait till the shadows flee;

Wait thy appointed hour; Wait till the bridegroom of thy soul,

Reveals his love with power.

The time of love will come,

Then we shall clearly see
Not only that he shed his blood,

'But each shall say, “ FOR ME.”

PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL PULPIT.

VOL. III.]

SERMON BY THE REV. BIRD WILSON, D. D.

DECEMBER, 1833.

THE MANNER OF RECEIVING AND IMPROVING
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION.

A Sermon,

BY THE REV. BIRD WILSON, D. D.,

PROFESSOR OF SYSTEMATIC DIVINITY IN THE GENERAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF THE PROT. EPIS. CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES.

Ezek. xxxiii. 30-32.-"Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking of thee by the walls, and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every man to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.

[NO. XII.

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not."

THE manner in which we should receive and improve the religious instruction communicated to us in the public worship of GOD, ought to be seriously considered. It is one of the means of grace divinely appointed, and is peculiar to the Church of GOD. Out of that Church it was unknown. To receive it is an important blessing, designed to promote our spiritual improvement, and well adapted for that purpose. But it depends on the use which we make of it, whether, instead of promoting the welfare of our souls, it may not increase our condemnation. "Take heed," our LORD therefore said in his explanation of the parable of the sower,* "take heed what," "take heed how ye hear." The faults of the Jews, described in our text, will give us much instruction on this interesting subject.

The office of the prophets in the Jewish Church was not confined to delivering the extraordinary messages of GOD, and predicting, by divine inspiration, the events of future times.

* Mark iv. 24. Luke viii. 18. VOL. III.-31

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