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into the mortified soul of the self-judged supplicant for a renewed heart, and will thereby render him progressively meek, placable, kind, and heavenly. The inward man will then be renewed and strengthened more and more continually, and, under the guidance and sanctification of the Spirit of God, human infirmity will not issue in sin. That feeling which the real duties and difficulties of life will from time to time call forth, and prompt to virtuous exertion in ordinary intercourse, as well as in sudden and extraordinary danger, will then not be anger; for “ anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”
The Spirit of man will more and more become calın and peaceful and kind, under the holy influence of the Spirit of God; human weakness will then be perfected in the Redeemer's strength; and the victory over indwelling sin and natural evil shall finally be completed. Then, in a world where nothing tempts, and nothing of perfect holiness fails, shall future glories be the recompense, in a Redeemer's blood, for present pains in spiritual conflicts; and the full possession of the promises, become the inherited enjoyment of the redeemed in the Kingdom of Glory and peace. For the promise is to those only who overcome: it is of the righteous said in the book of life, “ blessed are the dead, for they
rest from their labours;" and we know who hath left us His dying consolation under all our conflicts against what keeps us from heaven: “In the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
ROMANS, CHAPTER 12, VERSE 15. “ Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that
It is a very false assertion which the enemies of the Gospel have made, when they have said, that it contains no rules, nor encouragement for friendship. On the contrary, it is so full of rules and encouragements of that very kind, that it really does seem as if the objectors had either never opened the New Testament, or had purposely denied, or wilfully perverted what it contains. Were there nothing more said
upon the subject of Christian friendship, than the few words which form the text of this discourse, it would be quite sufficient to disprove what the enemies of the Gospel have advanced herein against it. For if, as Christians, we are commanded to " rejoice with them that do rejoice, and to weep with them that weep,” (this description including all who are in sorrow, and all who are not in sorrow, that is, all our fellow-creatures ;) we
must feel, that, in this enjoined sympathy, consists the very essence of real friendship. ;)
Taking, then, no further notice of an assertion, which is disproved by the whole spirit and by multiplied positive texts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, let us proceed to such conșiderations as the words before us strongly suggest, when we view them as a rule of duty incumbent upon us all.
When we duly consider what our present mixed state of good and evil requires, of help and of comfort, from each other, we shall be prepared to estimate those advantages, which our holy religion has given for the promotion of human friendships, at their proper value. ?
No rules of human wisdom, no natural feel ings, can ever bind man to man in so lasting a, bond of real friendship as the truths, the promises, and common blessings of Christian ity. It gives the rules and encouragements of friendship far more powerfully than any earthly considerations could effect; and when those encouragements are received, and those rules acted upon, it not only establishes and elevates the character of true friendship, but, in the highest sense of the word, causes a man to be the friend of all men; nay, it makes even “his enemies to be at peace with him.”
In proof of this, examine what the effect of the Gospel is upon the hearts of all those who cordially receive and act upon its sacred doctrines. It goes to the
goes to the very root of those evils which ruin friendship and all other sources of spiritual peace and social happiness. It lessens, in importance and effect, all those multiplied causes of grief and vexation, by which friendships, even of the closest kind, but formed upon mere natural feeling, worldly policy, or similarity of habits and pursuits, are continually broken. For it is the care and love of the things of this world, whence follow selfish ness and irritability of temper, which are the bane of human friendships; and this care and love of earthly things no worldly wisdom, no maxims of philosophy, no rules coming from man's device, can ever overcome. They will yield to the holy doctrines, and discipline, and spiritual aid which the Gospel affords, but to nothing besides. : As, then, these bad feelings and dispositions are the great hindrance to real friendship, the victory to be obtained over them, through the Gospel alone, at once shews that Christian friendship can be secured by that only,
There is another consideration in the formation and endurance of friendship, which gives all the advantages on the side of Christianity. Whatever arises from mere earthly views and motives, belongs and is confined to earth; and thongh, in friendships formed and