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licentiousness in sensual pleasures, the general carelessness and searing of heart and conscience which are displayed in unprincipled soldiers and sailors. Then the familiarity with danger and death is no longer heroism, but brutishness: it is but one more check to evil taken away from us. Then as passion or prejudice may lead, how fearful is the amount of guilt often incurred, and of suffering to others unscrupulously occasioned! Most true is it that here, as in other things, great opportunities of grace, and great temptations to sin, lie close beside each other; and in proportion to the high crown of glory to be won in these callings by Christ's true servants, is the portion of deep guilt and condemnation reserved for those who enter upon them without one single feeling of offering up in them their daily sacrifice.

If then there be any here who are thinking of becoming soldiers or sailors, let me conjure them to examine well their own hearts, and to remember whose pledged soldiers they are already. If true to that service, and judging soberly of their own particular faculties, they think that Christ's call, as signified by the nature of his gifts to them, invites them to serve him in an active life, where the bolder

and harder virtues will be most exercised, let them not fear to obey the call; but rather let them bear earnestly in mind that he is calling them, and let them never cease to follow him. But if it be idleness, impatience of restraint or work here, a foolish vanity, or a sinful carelessness, that prompts them; if they dread the yoke of Christ, and think that as soldiers or sailors they will be less required to take it upon them, then let them be assured that God's curse is on their heart's desire so cherished; that their thought is not of faith, but of unbelief and wickedness; that they are devoting themselves without a struggle to the service of sin and of death. It is vain for them, and is no more than self-deceit, to ask advice of their friends in such a matter: their friends cannot see into their hearts, nor judge from what motives their desire of any particular profession may arise. But you can judge for yourselves; and you are to judge at your own peril. Be assured, that whatever your outward dress may be, you received alike in your baptism the marks of the Lord Jesus; and these no after difference of worldly calling may efface or alter. Christ's soldiers you are and must be, whether, as far as concerns your ministry amongst your brethren, you are

called upon to minister at home or abroad, in peace or in war, in the battle field or in the house of God. In all these different callings, he, in his goodness, allows us to glorify him, and to benefit our brethren; in all we may offer to him, our gold, our frankincense, and our myrrh; whatever accomplishments of body or mind, whatever faculties, whatever affections, he has given us most abundantly. And in all, and surely not least in that which seems freest from temptation, we may withhold our sacrifice: in all we may live, as too often we do live, not to him, but to ourselves; and then living to ourselves, we shall die unto ourselves also, and shall arise to be again with ourselves and for ourselves; that is, lost to God and to his light and life, in that state where there is neither the will nor the power to offer any sacrifice, but that eternal one, salted with fire, the sacrifice of the sinner to God's justice.

SERMON XVIII.

OUR HOPE TOWARDS GOD.

I PETER III. 15.

Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

It may possibly have been remarked by some who have attended the service in this chapel for a considerable time, that I have scarcely ever touched in this place upon what are commonly called the evidences of Christianity. I have not attempted to give the proofs either of what is called natural religion, or of the divine origin of the Christian religion in particular. I have generally taken these things for granted, and have endeavoured rather to enforce the conclusions which flow from them, if they are taken as premises, than to establish them as conclusions themselves from other premises. And surely it must be a strange

sort of Christianity which should be constantly busied in making good its title; we are little likely to bring forth the fruits of Christian faith, if that faith itself is as yet unsettled. It has always seemed to me, that the proper course of Christian education is to begin with taking the gospel for granted; to endeavour, if possible, to make the affections and conduct Christian, without forestalling the order of nature, and presenting to the understanding that food for which it has, as yet, no desire. Now if in this attempt we fail, either through our own fault or that of the persons instructed, or through the fault of both together; if a person grows up without Christian affections, and not leading a Christian life, I am not one of those who think that a display of the evidences of Christianity will give him either the one or the other. It is the moral part of his nature that we should rather attempt to touch, than to convince his understanding. But if he be touched morally, either by direct persuasion, or, as is far more likely, by God's grace in some happy moment, making him listen to the call of the circumstances of life; if he be disposed to seek truth, and from the nature of truth does not conceive it possible that goodness can be separated, then the evidences may

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