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pride, to excite humility, watchfulness, and perseverance, this awful truth of what our last change shall be, is purposely involved in the dark issue of every thing future. But still there is enough revealed in the Word of God for individual application, to give us present peace, and to save us from ungrounded despair. To the judgment then, which our own conscience shall form, guided by the Scripture test of the fruits of the spirit of Christ, let us leave the solemn result of all that has been advanced. The road to salvation is straight before us all. The Gospel, that sacred covenant pledge of a Redeemer's unspeakable love, is our only rule of faith, our truest guide to the required practice of the spiritual life. Be the right understanding, the faithful following of the Gospel, therefore, the great object of our best endeavours, and most fervent prayer. "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus:" "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." If we have heretofore sought that gracious gift of God with sincerity of heart and life, let us go on unto the end, and trust implicitly to the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, for the entire fulfilment of the covenanted promises in His blood, for our present and eternal happiness.
If, on the other hand, this great and im
portant work of our salvation, hath not been our decided choice and consistent rule of life, henceforth, through God's implored pardon and spiritual help, let us make it so; and then to us also is preached forgiveness of sins; then will the covenanted mercies and future glories of a Saviour's love be our own. Under His manifold promises of forgiveness to the penitent, of grace and strength to the weak, of present peace and future happiness to every one who shall persevere unto the end, we need not despair. Our baptismal covenant is indeed broken; but through the forbearance and tender pity of our God, it yet remains. Through His Holy Spirit let us renew that solemn covenant, and keep it better for the time to come. Let us watch and pray against the enemies of our soul. Let no false feelings respecting our spiritual state, cheat us of our salvation by listening to their delusions and continuing in sin; and let no unwarranted conclusions of our own, so long as we strive for the faith and practice of the Gospel, lead us to despair. God's love and mercy are the express promise of a Heavenly Father, and they are freely, in Christ, offered to us all. To whomsoever among us that love and mercy shall not be finally shewn, the fault will be ours; our "sin will have found us
out," and its merited consequences will be upon our own souls. For can it be in reason or in Scripture right, that "we shall escape, if we wilfully and obstinately "neglect so great salvation"?
1 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 13, VERSE 13.
WHY Christians are not better than they are, or, which is the same thing, why the proper fruits of Christian knowledge do not more frequently appear in the conduct, in the dispositions, and the tempers of those who are members of Christ's holy religion, seems strange to every one who thinks upon these things, as he ought to think. We might find a sufficient reason for this lamented failure in moral conduct from several causes: our common fallen nature, our natural love of sin, our natural hatred of discipline and restraint; the force of bad example in early life, or the sad and general evil of false indulgence in childhood; imperfect rules of education, or good rules acknowledged, but not applied; the luxuries and refinements of an advanced state of
civilization; in all these may be found abounding cause for general wickedness. But perhaps no cause whatever could be given, so useful, so immediately applicable to each individual Christian as a plain and simple inference from the text of Holy Scripture now before us.
St. Paul, in these few words, seems to have given the very sum and substance of Christianity; and when he emphatically names
Faith, Hope, Charity, these three," he may be said to rest the whole weight of what God had commanded him to preach, upon this strong foundation. Thus considering it, may we not venture to assert that the only reason which need be given, why Christians in general are not better than they are, is simply this; that either faith, or hope, or charity, one or other of "these three," is not really understood, or honestly, sought after, or conscientiously applied; and that, of neces sity, there must be then some great errors in the principle and practice of those, who nevertheless call themselves Christians? Hoe
In this discourse, let us consider faith only. The word faith, in the sacred writings, is used to express several different meanings. But they need not be here enumerated. In the text it means such an entire trust in God's Word as shall lead us thoroughly to believe