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we are to overlook and despise all the bounties of Providence, which are so abundantly strewed in our way. This mighty Conqueror overcometh the world, not by annihilating it; but only by repressing its exorbitant power. And it may with truth be affirmed, that the man whose faith raises his affections, in a great measure, above this sublunary scene of things, has more enjoyment even in the goods of this world, than his unbelieving and unrighteous neighbour. What though his inflexible probity has not stooped to those iniquitous means of increasing his stores, which the unbeliever embraces without remorse? What though his benevolence diffuses among the necessitous for useful purposes many superfluities, which the scornful infidel, having collected in fraud, dissipates in folly ? He enjoys what temperance requires, and he feels no painful void. Whatever he has obtained, his acquisitions are unmixed with anxiety, shame, and remorse; he views them, and exults in conscious innocence. His sobriety, it must be confessed, restrains him from many turbulent enjoyments, in which the sons of licentious ness revel; but then, he is much more contented in the just discipline of his passions. The world never obtains the mastery over him, because his best interest lies beyond the grave; and where his treasure is, there will his heart be also.

How different is the situation of the unbelieving sinner, whose hopes and wishes extend not beyond the things of this transitory scene. In the height of his temporal prosperity, he is like the troubled sea when it cannot rest; destitute of temperance and moderation, his soul must be perpetually agitated: and there cannot be a more melancholy object than such a wretch

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struggling with affliction, the bitter fruit of his folly and vice. See the prodigal reduced to poverty, and tormented by disease, the immediate consequence of his dissipation and debauchery! See the fraudulent man detected in his injustice, turned out and exposed to derision and contempt! See the more atrocious criminal shrinking from the hand of justice, uplifted to take vengeance on his aggravated crimes! Whence shall he obtain consolation and support ? Not from within: not from the world, which has hitherto engrossed his care and affection : not from heaven, while he remains impenitent, for there he beholds an angry Judge, and has nothing to expect but fiery indignation. The former companions of his crimes will forsake him in the hour of his distress. The good may pity his condition; but it is not in their power to afford him effectual relief. The Gospel alone has provided a balm for his wounded spirit; a remedy for all his maladies; but this Gospel he has hitherto neglected and despised. He has no faith; and, consequently, no hand to stretch forth to the merits of a crucified Saviour; no heart to entreat his merciful intercession. Should there be any such person present, let him begin at once to consider his ways; and may God, by the blessed influence of his Holy Spirit, work in him mightily all the good pleasure of his will! May God pour down upon him the abundance of his mercy, forgiving him those things whereof his conscience is afraid; and giving him those good things which he is not worthy to ask, but through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If faith, then, be a virtue so essential to the establishment of our present peace, and to the attainment of future felicity, will not every considerate person be

desirous to acquire and to retain il, until it gives place to perfect vision in the kingdom of glory? For this purpose, let me suggest to you three important directions.

In the first place, let those who are weak in faith, examine the Holy Scriptures with seriousness, diligence, and impartiality, as containing the revelation of God's will respecting the method of our salvation : the subject is one of the most important that can possibly engage the attention of the human mind. « Faith “ cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Consider the evidence by which this word is supported; the purity, excellence, and comprehensive riature of the doctrines and precepts there inculcated; the prophecies, miracles, and testimony of those who laid down their lives in confirmation of the truth of it. Imitate the noble Bereans, and search diligently to be satisfied whether these things be so; and conviction will be the result of this candid inquiry. Since, to a certain degree, we have a power over the mind, so as to attend or not, as we think proper, to any subject proposed to our consideration; remember, that if unbelief spring from the want of due attention, you are as accountable for this, as for any other crime. Hence it is, that faith is ranked with meekness, and temperance, and other virtues.

2dly. Look up to heaven with deep humility of soul, , and pray fervently for the aid of the Holy Spirit to give you at all times the hearing ear and the understanding heart; to enlighten your darkness; to beat down every rising spirit of pride and obstinacy; to work in you the meek, and docile, and affectionate disposition of children; so that on all occasions you may be ready to

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say with the youthful Samuel, " Speak, Lord; for thy “ servant leareth."

3dly. Enter cheerfully upon the performance of the duties which the Gospel of Jesus, the Son of God, has prescribed. They are so worthy of God, so conducive to the true honour and felicity of man, that in the keeping of them there is great reward. Setting aside the future joys of heaven, there is even now attendant on the performance of our Christian duty, a delightful conscioustiess that we are acting agreeably to our rank and station among intelligent beings. The more diligently we yield obedience to the precepts, the more thoroughly shall we be convinced of the truth of the doctrines: “ If any man, says our Lord, will do his will, he shall “ know of the doctrine, whether it be of God."

Ye, whose hearts are established in this faith, are to be congratulated on your happy condition. Walk worthy of your holy profession; and let faith have its perfect work in bringing forth all the fruits of a virtuous and godly life. Under the influence of this heavenly principle, let it be evident that you have obtained the victory over the world. Let not the pomps and vanities, the gaudy shows, the debasing pleasures of this corrupted world, divert your thoughts and affections from the great concerns of futurity. Let not the distresses which you are doomed to encounter in this scene of trial, diminish your trust in the wisdom and goodness of Providence: say not, “ I have cleansed my heart in “ vain, and washed my hands in innocency.” Rather remember the “ years of the right hand of the Most “ Highest;” and let faith be your support and consolation : “ let it be unto you, the substance of things “ hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”

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Let the awful objects of the eternal world, which can be contemplated only by the eye of faith, induce you to walk humbly before God. Consider the misery that may be endured, or the felicity that is to be obtained; and surely, you will take every step with holy reverence; you will work out your salvation with fear and trembling. This is the disposition which most becomes depraved and erring mortals. The meek and lowly heart is prepared for fresh communications of grace and heavenly benediction: this is the soil which is rendered most fruitful by the streams of lovingkindness, that are ever flowing from the great source of life and joy. The unaspiring valley is refreshed, while the lofty and rugged mountain remains barren and dry.

It is this divine faith which leads the Christian to the merits of his Redeemer for acceptance in the sight of God: “Of him,” says the apostle to some of the primitive Christians, “are ye in Christ Jesus, who of “God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, “ and sanctification, and redemption: that according

as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the "Lord.” Blessed condition of the true believer! By a sense of divine justice kept from presumption, and by mercy kept from despair, his course of virtue and piety is easy and uniform. The worst state of this mortal life is not void of consolation, and even the last stage of it is stripped of its terrors: For why should the soul of that man be cast down and disquieted within him, who is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation? Let the unrighteous infidel then, be persuaded to become wise; let him see the things which belong to his peace; and he will at once acknowVol. II.

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