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have never participated in their joys. They have experienced some of the disadvantages of ignorance, but they have reaped none of the advantages of religious knowledge. They have yielded to indifference, and they have done it willingly, because they were afraid to lose the world's favour. They have never, in short, sought the honour that cometh from God. The Saviour reproves them when he says, “ Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.”

But to return to him who has profited by his inquiries. Though his situation is favourable and desirable, yet it is proper to remind him, that great circumspection is necessary to his peace and comfort. While called upon to contend with human beings, whose conduct is not only likely to grieve, but also to irritate by exciting angry feelings, how necessary is it to be watchful over his own temper and spirit. The manifestation of petulance or resentment will be matter of triumph to scorners. The company of such persons ought indeed, as much as possible, to be avoided ; but where this is impossible, show them by your firm demeanour that no effort will succeed in deterring you from attending to true religion ; but at the same time take care to do so in the spirit of meekness. When bantered about your new views and practices, receive it with good humour; for even this will tend to deprive it of its venom and its point. Besides, there may be occasional opportunities of doing good to your op. posers by a hint, and sometimes by a look,

While there is, however, an earnest desire"to al

quire knowledge-while there is an eagerness of pursuit somewhat proportioned to the importance of the subject-care should be taken that there is no neglect of other duties--no inattention to matters which have a just claim on your time and thoughts. Imprudence here will strengthen prejudice against religion, and give the enemies of the truth more to say against it. It will be their wish to prevent farther inquiry, by trying to show that it is incompa tible with a due regard for the proprieties of life.

Be it your concern, by carefully attending to every domestic, relative, and social duty, to prove that this is a great mistake. Let there be no éncroachment on the time properly allotted to see cular objects, but let the time once spent in sinful or trifling pursuits or in unnecessary indul gence be devoted to your new and nobler pursuits. A conscientious regard should be paid to every thing which in your situation of life demands atten tion, and thus you may show the compatibility of real religion with the pursuit of worldly business This will not only serve to silence the objections of the ignorant against religion, but, which is of still greater moment, it will show a proper regard for that supreme authority which says, “ Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”.

At the same time, how necessary is it, in all your "intercourse with society, in all the various and conficting engagements of human life, while meeting with opposition, contempt, and ridicule when conscientiously obeying God's commandments, and seeking an increasing acquaintance with his will how

necessary to look beyond the present scene, from what your fellow-creatures may think and say, to that solemn day, when Jehovah himself will call you to his bar, and decide respecting your destiny. When the approbation or disapprobation of your fellow-mortals will be all forgotten as a dream, and only His approbation be of any value, whose favour is life. Thus the maxims and opinions of the world will have lost all their influence and be divested of their plausibility. Then it will be found that there is only one standard of truth, by which the nations shall be judged. However severe and strict that standard may appear to men now, and though opposed by them in heart and life, it must then be pronounced, even by its bitterest enemies, holy, just, and good.

And is the consideration of these things suitable only in moments of sickness, or in seasons of adversity ? No, in the time of health and prosperity it seems even more necessary, for we are then so much in danger of forgetting our latter end. These are subjects which, sooner or later, must be attended to, and it is well when they receive that attention while the powers of the mind are in full vigour, and while the body is free from languor and pain. Happy is the inquirer who has attended to these things in time. He will now be prepared by divine aid to 66 endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." He will exercise confidence in his goodness, and depend upon his promises, and thus be enabled to surmount all difficulties and finish his course with joy.

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CHAPTER VII.

THE DIFFICULTIES ARISING FROM THE CASE OF

BACKSLIDERS.

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WERE there no backsliders from a religious profession, we should be tempted to question the truth of some parts of revelation. The scriptural statements of the evils of the human heart would seem to be too highly coloured, and the dangers to which all were exposed in the journey of life made too prominent. The solemn warnings and admonitions addressed to professors of religion, relative to the necessity of watchfulness and prayer during their Christian course, would appear to be unnecessary, and the examples of backsliding and apostacy, recorded in the sacred volume, would seem to refer to another race, and to belong only to times that will never return.

When we hear then' of those who once made a profession of religion, and who for a time appeared zealous and active in the cause of truth, renouncing their Christian name, or at least committing sins which render them undeserving of it, we see strong confirmation given to the declarations of Scripture. The necessity appears great, not only for the ad

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monitions of the Bible, but also for Christians seeking that help which God is ever ready to impart. Thus the case of backsliders, when properly considered, ought to stimulate instead of repressing religious inquiry. Yet there is reason to regret that the latter is too frequently the effect produced.

It is not the design of the present paper to state the causes or point out the symptoms of backsliding, or even to mention particularly the way by which backsliders may return to God, though these things will of course be noticed incidentally. The chief object is to mention the effects produced in many minds by the conduct of backsliders ; to state some reasons why none should stumble at the backsliding or inconsistencies of others; to describe the conduct which inquirers ought to pursue, while exposed to the influence of such things; and close with a few remarks to the backslider himself.

The term backslider may include both real Christians and those who have only had a Christian profession. In employing the term, however, we wish to be understood as referring chiefly to the latter individuals, because they are not only more numerous, but also in general go to greater lengths in sin and open hostility to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The backsliding of real Christians is more confined to the heart, or at least does not so frequently manifest itself in gross sins. But there is another reason, When the conduct is evidently contrary to the precepts of Scripture, we cannot make any distinction between a backsliding Christian and a mere professor. That is the work and the prerogative of Je

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