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" Thus men go wrong with an ingenious skill ;
“ It is an easy matter for a man to run hard for a spirt, for a furlong, for a mile or two: O, but to hold out for a hundred, for a thousand, for ten thousand miles--that man who doth this, he must look to meet with cross, pain, and wearisomeness to the flesh, especially if as he goeth he meeteth with briers and quagmires, and other incumbrances that make his journey so much the more painful.”-Bunyan.
Our blessed Lord has taught us the necessity of deliberate moral calculation.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it ? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”
It is a great mistake to suppose, that it is an easy thing to live as a true Christian—to persevere and prosper in the divine life. Some vessels may leave the port, and go to the farthest part of the world in safety: others sail prosperously for a time, and then encounter storms, and are dashed against rocks: and others soon return, from apprehended storms or discovered defects, to the harbour which they had left. The application of this common imagery to the Christian life is obvious.
All that lies before us in the voyage of life is allotted us by Him who knows our frame, and what discipline and trial are proper for us. But let us not form any vain ideas.
Trials and dangers may be expected in every stage of our existence; and it is important that we should be acquainted with them. If, my young readers, you go on well for a season, until you have gained strength and experience, it may reasonably be hoped that you will go on well afterwards. I suppose that you have left the port; that you
have begun the voyage: and I would here point out a few of the dangers to which you may be exposed in the earlier part of the Christian life. I will address you in the way of caution.
1. Beware of transient piety. Many circumstances may have induced you to consider religion, and apparently to embrace it. You heard it; you read about it: the heart was affected, and the fancy was charmed. You associated with the
good, and did many things gladly, and assumed à very pleasing and hopeful appearance. You weighed anchor-hoisted the sail+quitted the haven-saw the vast and wide sea :--are you certain to proceed? There are those of whom it may be said —" your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it passeth away.” There are those who “receive the seed into stony places that hear the word, and anon with joy receive it yet they have no root in themselves, but dure for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by they are offended." Sound views, real conviction, deep earnestness, and fervent, persevering prayer-where these are not, what can we expect but transient piety?
2. Beware of sentimental piety; or of that piety which exists in the imagination and feelings. Elegant language, fine thoughts, remote andi lofty speculation, exquisite taste, delineations of abstrace tions and possibilities--these are the aliment of sentimental souls. The plain truths, and the plain facts, and the plain duties of the Christian life are tame, dull, insipid, and common-place matters to such. There is much the same difference between sentimental and true piety as there is between a piece of fiction and a real history. Beware of ideal religion-of moral non-entity-of that attenuated material which cannot be grasped. Ever keep down and keep close to the plain and sober reality of things.
0:3. Beware of ultra piety. There are extremes in all things. If you be cool in constitution, and timid in spirit, you may not go far enough: and if you be sanguine and bold you may go too far; passing due limits, showing an intensity in action, moving in an orbit very eccentrical and irregular. You will look on most around you as cold, sleeping, creeping beings who do not know their privileges. Your imagination is ardent, your feelings are excessive, and
select a line which you propose to yourselves as the standard of excellence. Ultrapiety is not the piety of the Bible: it is piety mixed with strange fire with the passions of human nature. If you would shine in the majesty, propriety, and beauty of the Christian character, deficiency must be supplied, and exorbitancy corrected.
4. Beware of notional and party piety. already know, or at least will soon know, that the Church of Christ is a divided and a subdivided body; and that some Christians hold one class of sentiments; and others, another class. Your associates will wish you to think as they think. You may sometimes fall into the company of others who will be anxious for you to adopt their opinions. Your minds will be called into exercise. You may examine various subjects: but guard against the adoption of those speculations which form the basis of party piety. Why should you think of embracing as undoubted verities notions that origi
nate in rashness, ignorance, or mistake? Be plain, sound, humble Bible Christians. Let the spiriti. of the Anglican Church be your spirit. Enlarge and modify your views in the course of time, así God is pleased to enlighten your minds. If you: enter into speculation and party, the mischief will: be great-your views will be partial and limited; prejudices will be generated, or strengthened; and the heart and life will be neglected.
5. Beware of superficial and semi-piety. It is to be feared that this accommodating sort of moral: material too widely prevails among us. A few right views, pleasing dispositions, benevolent actions, patronising good plans--with plenty of worldly conversation and company, and with no aversion to some of the world's vanities and amusements-how often does this
pass for piety! These persons talk freely of religious characters, books, schools, charities, societies—but when do they talk of religion-of spiritual things in a spiritual manner? I would caution you against a piety that does not pervade the soul, and rule all the faculties of man. We are not to judge others :> but persons who show so little abiding and infla=; ential spirituality of thought and feeling cannot be contemplated without some painful feelings.
6. Beware of loquacious piety: that is, of a voluble mode of talking about religion, with little reflection and feeling, as a mere matter of course, The sacredness of the subject, and the persons whos