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men? Is there not reason to fear, that they are supremely attached to earth, and are as yet aliens from the commonwealth of Israel?
Wbat shall we say of those who love the circles of fashion, more than the associations for prayer? and who court the friendship of the rich, the gay, and the honorable, more than that of the humble disciple of Jesus? What of those who send forth their little ones bike a flock, and their children dance;, who tuke the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ? Was Job uncharitable, when he ranked persons of this character with those who say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways?
What shall we say of those, who are for ever varying from the path of duty, lest it should be unpopular; who never lisp a sylla. ble, or lift a finger for the honor of God, lest they should displease the world? What, but that they love the praise of men more than the praise of God?
Conformity to the world, is to be expected from the professed worldling. It is the character of the worldling. But is it to be expected from the professed disciple of Jesus? Is it the result of the habitual determinations of a heavenly mind. Is it the character of one who looks on things that are unseen and eternal; of a stranger and sojourner; of one who sets his affections on things above, and not on things on the earth? How many, like the young man in the gos
pel, exhibit a decent and regular outward profession, who are wholly devoted to the world! Here their affections centre. From this polluted fountain all their joys, flow., They had been Christians but for the world. But the worldi is the fatal snare. They have plunged down the precipice, and drifted almost beyond the hope of recovery.
2 "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The expression of the Apostle is not too strong: To be carnally-minded is VEATH. Show me the men who imbibe the spirit of the world; who choose the company of the world; who imitate the example of the world; conform to the max. ims of the world; are swallowed up in the gaiety, fashions, and amusements of the world;
behold these are the ungodly, whe are brought into desolation as in a moment! I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not; yea, I sought him but he could not be found. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castest them down into destruction."
GROWTH IN GRACE.
How beautiful is the light of the morning. Behold it lover'ing over the distant edge of
the horizon, and shedding its cheerful beams upon the hills. It is a morning without clouds. But how soon is the prospect overcast! The atmosphere is obscured by vapors, and the sun is darkened by a cloud. Again the mists are fled; the clouds are passed over; and the sun is still advancing in his course. Thus he rises; now behind the cloud, now, in all the greatness of his strength, shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Such is the path of the just. In the present world, good men are very imperfect. The best of men have reason to complain bitterly of the body of sin and death; and the best of men too, have the most ardent desires that the body of sin and death may be crucified with Christ. The highest point of Christian experience is to press forward. It is a ditsinguishing trait in the character of every good man, that he grows. in grace.
There are various similitudes used by the inspired writers, that are significantly expressive of the advancement of Christians in knowledge and in piety. The young convert is likened unto one that is newly born. There is a point of time in which he begins to live. At first, he is a babe; then a child, till he finally attains onto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. The kingdom of heaven is also compared to seed which is cast into the ground. First, cometh up the tender blade; then, the thriving stalk; then, the ear; after that, the full com in the car,
ripening for the harvest, and preparing for the garner of the husbandman. It is also compared to a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. No imagery in nature can more fully illustrate the growth of grace in the heart. The righteous,
shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger. This is the prominent feature in the character of the good man: he shall hold on his way. «s'The youth," saith the evangelical prophet, “The youth shall faint and be weary, and the Joung men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shan run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." With inimitable beauty, is the good man described by the - Psalmist. “And he shall be like a tree plantesl by the rivers of water, thatbringeth forth bis fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever le doth shall prosper.
Grace in the heart as certainly improves and advances, as a tree thrives in a kindly and well watered soil. It flourishes in immortal youth, and blooms for ever in unfading beauty.”
The certainty of the believer's progress, however, rests on a surer foundation, than either the degree or the nature of his religion. “We are not sufficient,” says the Apostle, “to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." That the people of God will grow in the divine life,
till they reach the stature of perfect men, and are meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, is beyond all controversy. But the reason, and the sole reason, of this is, that it is God that worketh in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Covenanted grace is the support or the believer through every step of his pilgrimage. There is nothing in the nature of holiness that is incapable of corruption. Adam fell; Angels feil. And such is the awful depravity of the human heart, that left to himself, the holiest saint on earth would draw back unto perdition. Still he shall progress in holiness throughout interminable ages. It is the economy of divine grace, where God has begun a good work to carry it on; where he has given one: holy exercise of heart, to give another and another, until the subject is ripened for i glory.
The hypocrite, when once he imagines himself to be a Christian, views his work as done. He is satisfied. He is rich, and increased in goods. But it is otherwise with the true Christian. Conversion is but his first step. His work is all before him. His graces are increasingly constant and in. creasingly vigorous. The more he loves God, the more he desires to love him. The more he knows of His character, does he contemplate the manifestations of his glory with rising delight. "As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so doth his soul pant after God." Having once tasted that the