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poison, and not a cure! And, therefore, if we are cheerful and happy, called good by others, not without some testimony of our own conscience that they call us rightly, then let us not be high-minded, but fear; then let us examine ourselves carefully, let us look to the height and to the breadth of God's law, and measure our own lives by it; and so learn our many neglects of Christ, and offences against him, and that our robe of righteousness ill becomes his supper, that it will not bear his questioning. So shall our increased knowledge of ourselves waken anxiety, and shame, and penitence; so shall penitence awaken faith; so shall faith, while most earnestly shrouding us under the robe of Christ's righteousness, yet most carefully, for love's sake, repair the breaches in our own, that we may be changed into his image. So shall we grow in grace, and with our hope more and more assured, by the timely awakening of our fear.

But in this wholesome and Christian examination of our hearts and lives, let us beware of a morbid and unwholesome scrutiny about the exact nature of our feelings. We are here treading on the verge either of presumptuous fanaticism or of madness. We do well to examine how we are spending our time or our

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money; whether we pray and read the Scriptures; whether we are kind, temperate in all things, pure, and true. But we do not do

well when we wish to scrutinize nicely the exact nature of our faith or our repentance; whether we were sorry enough for the offence which we had committed against God; whether we really abhor our own righteousness entirely, and have no lurking trust in our hearts, in any thing that we do; whether, finally, we love God truly for himself, or are most moved to do so by the hope of his rewards. These inquiries, vain and perplexing to all, are to some most fatal; they turn our thoughts to that which none can safely or healthfully watch, the actual workings of our own minds and feelings; they teach us to try to analyze what defies analysis, the mingled nature of our desires, and hopes, and fears; they make our spiritual state to depend upon our power of metaphysical observation. And the object of all this is to gain, what no sound mind can ever gain, an assurance of its own perpetual acceptance with God. All this unhealthy

restlessness is to ascertain that we have had true faith, as if then the work was done, and all the rest of our lives might be peace and security. But be assured that this is not the

self-examination which God's word, the pure and calm spirit of wisdom, encourages us to practise. It is easy to know generally whether we care for God or no, whether we believe in Christ, whether we are aware of the imperfection of our own goodness. But the more particular examination belongs to our actions; and from looking at them we can best judge of our feelings. "He that loveth me," says Christ, "keepeth my commandments;" so far as we do not keep them, our love is deficient; so far as we do not overcome the world, our faith is weak. Pray we that both may be increased more and more; but let us not turn our cares and anxiety from this wholesome prayer to the fond inquiry whether our faith is of such a kind as may release us from all further anxiety about it.


THERE has been no period since the apostolic age in which the truth enforced in this sermon has not been needed by the Christian church in practice. But in theory it would not commonly be disputed in any country where the Scriptures were studied; and it is only the recent revival of the doctrines of the nonjurors of the last century, which makes it proper to add some further explanation of it.

There are three characters which have belonged, either separately or jointly, to the ministers of religion; the characters of teacher, of governor, and of priest. Of these, one or other of the two first is essential to a minister of the Christian religion, and both together are perfectly legitimate; the third is absolutely inconsistent with his office, and cannot be assumed without profaneness.

We understand readily enough what is meant by a "teacher" and by a "governor;" but what is meant by "a priest," many perhaps would find it difficult to

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