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the conversation we hear, the objects that surround us, tend to draw us, and do in fact draw us, into debauchery and licentiousness, we must fly from the place, the company, and the objects, no matter with what reluctance we do so, or what loss and inconvenience we suffer by doing it. This may appear to be a hard lesson; it is, nevertheless, what right reason dictates, and what, as hath already been observed, our Saviour himself enjoins, in terms made as strong and forcible as he could make them.

Sometimes men are led by prudential motives, or by motives of mere inclination, to change their employment, their habitation, or their station of life. These occasions afford excellent and invaluable opportunities for correcting and breaking off any vicious habits which we may have contracted. It is when many associations, which give strength to a sinful habit, are interrupted and dissolved by the change which has taken place, that we can best resolve to conquer the sin, and set out upon a new course and a new life. The man who does not take advantage of such opportunities when they arise has not the salvation of his soul at heart : never: theless, they are not to be waited for.

But to those sudden changes which we recommend, will it be objected that they are seldom lasting ? Is this the fact ? Are they more liable to fail, than attempts to change gradually? I think not. And there is always this difference between them. A sudden change is sincere at the time: a gradual change never is such truly and properly: and this is a momentous distinction. In every view, and in every allowance, and in every plea of human frailty, we must distinguish between what is consistent with sincerity, and what is not. And in these two methods of setting about a reformation, by

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reason of their different character in this respect, the first may, though with fear and humility, expect the help of God's aiding Spirit, the other hardly can. For whilst not by surprise and unpremeditatedly we fall into casual sins, but whilst by plan and upon system we allow ourselves in licences, which, though not so many or so great as before, are still, whenever they are indulged, so many known sins; whilst, in a word, though we imagine ourselves to be in a progress of amendment, we yet deliberately continue to sin, our endeavours are so corrupted, I will not say by imperfection, but by insincerity, that we can hardly hope to call down upon them the blessing of Almighty God.

Reformation is never impossible; nor, in a strict sense, can it be said to be doubtful. Nothing is, properly speaking, doubtful, which it is in a man's power to accomplish ; nothing is doubtful to us, but what is placed out of the reach of our will, or depends upon causes which we cannot influence : and this is not the case with reformation from sin. On the other hand, if we look to experience, we are compelled, though with grief of heart, to confess, that the danger is very great of a man, who is engaged in a course of sin, never reforming from his sin at all. Oh, let this danger be known! Let it stand, like a flaming sword, to turn us aside from the road to vice. Let it offer itself in its full magnitude. Let it strike, as it ought, the souls of those who are upon the brink, perhaps, of their whole future fate ; who are tempted; and who are deliberating about entering upon some course of sin.

Let also the perception and convincement of this danger sink deep into the hearts of all who are in such a situation, as that they must either reform or perish. They have it in their power, and it must be now their

only hope, by strong and firin eserta = TEST selves an exception to the general loa beza sa It must be an exception. If the lezte a ser course, they will share the fate in bat es involved in guilt like themselves, end the only by a most strenuous effort they can rexie THPI-selves from it. We apprize them, that the best dyre is in a sudden and complete change, sarees bestion faithfully persisted in ; broken, it is possiaan frailty, but never changed ir:o a CDL Ite declining into a compromise pari, pana en: on the contrary, resumed with the same dan that with which it set out, ad sam is lution, and an earnestress of e, so I portion to the clearer state and the danger and of their wan:.

XXXIII.

RELIGION NOT A MERE FEELING, BUT AN

ACTIVE PRINCIPLE.

Matt. vii. 21.

Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall

enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

These words are addressed to mankind at large. They are not, like some of our Lord's discourses, relative to the particular circumstances of those who stood round him at the time. Christ here speaks to all his disciples, in whatever country of the world they may live, or in whatever age of the world they might come to the knowledge of his name. He speaks, in this text, as much to those who are assembled here in his worship, as to the very people who received the words from his mouth. The words themselves are the conclusion of our Saviour's celebrated sermon on the Mount, and they close that divine discourse most aptly and solemnly.

When the fame of our Lord's miracles had drawn great numbers after him from every quarter of the country, from Galilee you read, from Decapolis, from Jerusalem, from Judea, and from beyond Jordan, he deemed that a fit opportunity to acquaint them with those great moral duties which they must discharge, if they meant to be saved by becoming his followers : for which purpose he went up into a mountain, for the conveniency, it is probable, of their hearing and of his own retirement, and also in imitation, perhaps, of Moses, who delivered the blessings and curses of the old law from the summit of a hill. When the people in great multitudes were assembled round him, he

pronounced that great lesson of duty, that summing up of weighty precepts, that statement of Christian morals, and of a right Christian disposition, which you read in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of St. Matthew ; and when he had finished the particular precepts he had given them, the several distinct commands which he enjoined upon his followers, he concluded with this reflection, which was applicable to them all, and was indeed the great point he wished to leave upon their minds, and not only upon theirs, but upon the hearts and souls of all who should afterwards profess his religion;

“not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

It was very natural for those who attended our Lord to feel a glow of zeal and affection, to be transported with admiration, to cry out “ Lord, Lord,” from the very fervency and ardour of their love and reverence, when they beheld the astonishing works which he wrought, and heard the words of salvation which flowed from his lips, or saw the sufferings which he underwent, or his meekness and resignation under them. It was natural for them, and the same thing is natural

When we meditate at all upon these subjects — when we turn our thoughts towards the great author and finisher of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ-when we reflect that he is our way and our life, that what we know concerning the life to come proceeds from

for us.

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