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FRAME OF SPIRIT.

“ There are in this loud stunning tide

Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide

Of th' everlasting chime;
Who carry music in their heart
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,

Plying their daily task with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat.”

Christian Year.

“If we do not live for God in our religion, we must live outwardly, and so shall endeavour to make a fair show in the flesh: but if we have His presence indeed, the truest part of our life will be hidden, and we shall much and gladly retire within to enjoy it .... We shall aim, through grace, to be gracious, rather than to appear so.”-Ambrose Serle.

HAVING stated in the preceding chapter the nature of Christian Separation, I shall pursue the same subject through this and the following chapter, and set before you the frame of spirit which you are to cultivate, and the exhibition of piety which you are to make, as the peculiar, distinct, or separate people of Christ—in the world but not of the world.

The careful cultivation and maintenance of the Christian frame of spirit is a matter of the highest importance. Few things are more difficult: but much here may depend on constitution, education, and previous habits. The spirit of human nature and the spirit of the gospel are different things. But I cannot enter here into a prolix examination of particulars. It will be sufficient for me to advance so much on the subject as will enable you to prosecute it to whatever extent you please with an immediate reference to yoúrselves.

As a general remark, it may be observed, that the true Christian spirit is a crucified spirit. It essentially implies a self-renunciation-a mortification of our own self-will. There is in it a chastening, curbing, restraining, controlling, denying of our inward selves. This is necessary until we are made perfect above. There is always so much of the old Adam within us, that it requires an effort of self-denial to yield ourselves as we ought to the government of our new nature. You are, spiritually viewed, compound beings, and the prosperity of the spiritual mind very much depends on the crucifixion of the carnal mind.—This being premised, I observe,

1. That the true Christian spirit is an humble spirit. We are naturally proud. We may even think, in our proud moments, that our goodness is a ground for our esteeming ourselves and despising others. Painful and inconsistent conduct!

6. Be

ye clothed with humility." Crucify pride. Always remember what sinful, feeble, and imperfect creatures you are; that

you have nothing but what you have received from above ; that your attainments are comparatively nothing. Always consider how hateful pride is in the sight of God. Meditate on the mind, the humble mind, that was in Christ Jesus. Further, I remark,

2. That the true Christian spirit is meek and gentle. Some persons have a natural mildness of character; and they may need exhortations to firmness and decision. But haste, quickness, impetuosity, asperity are more common characteristics of our nature. In a religious character, boldness, roughness, positiveness, obstinacy are very offensive, and are proofs of an unsubdued and undisciplined spirit. Let allowance be made for constitution, habits, and so forth; but meekness i and gentleness are to be highly valued and carefully cultivated. He who is naturally irritable has great need to watch over himself. Our blessed Lord was

“meek and lowly in heart." You dislike a rough spirit in others: beware of it in your selves. The Christian character should be attractive: the soft graces of the gospel shed upon it that emerald-lustre which renders it so. Again, let me say,

3. That the Christian spirit is benevolent. Let charity, as mild and pure as heaven's sunshine, glow and beam in your words and actions. A

cold and narrow spirit, unkind, sarcastic, censorious ;-frigid parsimony in relieving distress ; harsh and unsparing remarks or decisions respecting others ;-guard most carefully against every thing of this sort. Can the myrtle become a thorn, or the dove a vulture, or a lamb 'a savage tiger? Beware of all such inconsistency. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” “Love the brotherhood." Be benevolent in heart and conduct to all. Crucify every malevolent feeling of the natural heart. I must also maintain,

4. That the Christian spirit is forgiving. Unkind actions, words, and measures will sometimes try your temper. They naturally lead to anger, revenge, retaliation. The true Christian must not act on such principles. “Father, forgive them"was the petition of Jesus on the Cross, even for His murderers: and can His followers hesitate for a moment to forgive those who offend them? If we do not from the heart forgive all who offend us, a miserable portion of the old leaven remains in our bosoms. Let love be empress of the heart; and all injuries will be forgiven and forgotten. Further, be it noticed,

5. That the Christian spirit is patient. You will experience the perverseness of different sorts of persons. Your plans may be opposed, and your designs frustrated. You may have to contend with pride, or ignorance, or malice, or self-will, or prejudice, or with other corrupt passions. Such

circumstances are apt to produce a sad commotion in the breast. Keep your hearts with diligence in the moment of trial. Let patience have its perfect work. The lovely plant was beaten by the storm: it waved about and trembled as in distress: but it stood in its own mild serenity: and when the storm was over, it appeared altogether uninjured, and shone with a brighter lustre than before. Be mild and patient while the hurricane of passion rages around you: then it will do you no harm: and when it has subsided, a brighter light of celestial beauty will rest upon you. Let it also be observed,

6. That the Christian spirit is sedate. Religion acts both upon the mind and heart: but the mind ought to be the leading power in man. We admire a calm and thinking person ; and we often censure those who suffer themselves to be hurried along by their feelings and passions. A sober, reflecting, deliberating mind, which has solid reasons for what it adopts and rejects, is unspeakably valuable and highly ornamental. It gives stability, respectability, and dignity to the religious character. Feelings are often the parents of a numerous family of absurdities. A sedate person rules his feelings, and follows the guidance of his judgment. This particular branch of the Christian frame of spirit especially demands the attention of persons of naturally ardent dispositions. We see nothing but calmness, sedateness, and correctness in the spirit

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