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suffer we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. If our hearts are still alive to all the things which charm the natural man, and in an equal degree; our hope, if we entertain one, is only a delusion, and the sooner we rid ourselves of it, the better will it be,
The passage which we are attending to brings not into view the condition of the wicked. But they will rise in their order, though it will be to shame, and everlasting contempt. Are we not interested in the consideration of their sad case? May it not be our own; and can we be unconcerned, when things of infinite importance are at stake! Shall sufferings that must have a speedy termination, be regarded with horror; and shall the endless sufferings of a hopeless world, be passed over with a slight notice! This is commonly the case; but what infatuation does it betoken. It may however, be thought, if not said, as it was said in the days of Ezekiel, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come; and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. How far off the corning of the Lord may be when he shall come to raise the dead, and to judge the world, is known only to himself. But as the day of death will settle every thing in relation to our condition, it is essentially the same as if upon that day, the Lord should actually make his appearance in the clouds of heaven. Now, can any one say that that day is far distant, when life, at the longest, is but a vapor, and a dream? Let each one ask himself, as Pharaoh asked Jacob, How old art thou; and measuring the time which may belong to life, by that which is actually passed, let a fair estimate be formed. Were this to be our practice, should we not soon be disposed to say, Arise, let us go hence.
HOW WOMEN MAY LABOR IN THE GOSPEL; AND HOW THEY SHOULD
PHILIPPIANS iv. 3.
And I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women
which labored with me in the gospel.
When God has a work to be done, he can raise up men to do it, and furnish them with qualifications; and he can cause the efforts of the most violent opposers to further his own designs.
Saul of Tarsus appeared very unlikely to become a christian and an apostle, when he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious; and Philippi, where this same man, afterwards engaged in the best cause, was so shamefully treated, appeared a very unpromising spot, when he first visited it, apon which to erect a flourishing christian church. But · all this, we know was brought about in due time. That power which removed the scales from the eyes of the blind persecutor, implanted a holy zeal in the heart where furious passions had been accustomed to reign; and the same power, by converting Lydia, the jailer, and others, formed a company to advocate the truth, where Satan had maintained almost undisturbed authority. His Philippian brethren were so regular in their conduct, and evidenced so strongly their sincerity, that St. Paul was greatly comforted on their account, and gave thanks to God upon every remembrance of them.
Though the church at Philippi equalled, and perhaps exceeded any other of which we have an account, it had, as we find, something of imperfection belonging to it. Between Euodias and Syntiche, two female members of distinction, from some cause not stated, and probably not of sufficient consequence to be mentioned, there was a coolness of affection, if indeed, the variance was not manifested in indecorous, uncharitable, and harsh speeches; and in acts of conduct, negatively, or positively, inconsistent with their profession; and with the near relation which they sustained towards each other, as members of the church of Christ; and situated in the same place. Without undertaking to justify either of them in an affair which allowed of no justification, and without attempting to determine to which of the two the greatest share of blame belonged, the apostle addressed them both in the language of charity, and tenderness, and said, I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntiche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. He then addressed some one, whom he called a true yoke-fellow; but whether the husband of one of these women, or some faithful minister of that place, we are not informed, and entreated him to help those women; testifying that they had helped him in his ministerial work, and expressing a belief, amounting to assurance, that their names, as well as the names of Clement, and that of others, who had labored with him, were written in the book of life.
With these introductory remarks the passage chosen as the theme of discourse is brought forward at this time, with a view of pointing out several ways in which women may labor in the gospel, or be instrumental of doing good; and also to suggest the duty, and importance, of helping them in the business.
When God made our race male and female, he intended, that both sexes should inhabit the same world, and live in the same society; and each should have an appropriate sphere and possess and exert, an influence in its connection with the other. That the influence of the female sex has ever been great with the other, is apparent from circumstances; and facts, too numerous to be collected; and though this influence, independently of its consequences by the intervention of a Savior, was very unhappily employed in the garden of Eden, much good has undoubtedly resulted from it, in a multitude of instances. Godliness is the prime qualification for men and women, and without it all other things, much as they may excite attention, and be coveted are but tinsel charms.
To understand the good that women may effect we must take into consideration the unmarried state; and the state of wedlock.
Titus was directed to exhort young men to be sober minded; and as a second cause, perhaps nothing could be more influential to bring about the object of this exhortation, than for young persons, of the other sex to discountenance sin in every way in which it is manifested; and to avoid, as much as possible, all connection with those who are addicted to sinful practices. Were profanity, intemperance, debauchery, and open infidelity, to be frowned upon,
in every reputable female circle; and were such as are characterized by either of these things, to be driven for company to their own sex, or to females as unprincipled, and abandoned as themselves, a reformation would at once be effected, in morals at least, if not in heart, and very widely extended. Men despise and forsake those women whom they have been instrumental in seducing; and from this well known fact it is apparent, that however at variance a man's own practice may be with virtue, he will esteem others in proportion as they possess it; and especially prize the company of those females who give evidence in the whole of their deportment, that they fear God, and intend to live in the faithful observance of all his commandments.
Were any thing to be said against card playing, dancing, and what we commonly understand by parties, it might be charged to a rustic uncultivated mind, and to a cynic disposition; and a plea for these amusements might be grounded on the supposition, that these must be continued, or society must be broken up; and then a monastic life would succeed to that life of pleasant intercourse which is now generally maintained. But since drawing conclusions without premises is like leaping in the dark, let us consider
that if this supposition be well founded, either these amusements are consistent, not only with the christian character, but also with the actual exercise of faith, and its kindred graces in the soul; or that christianity is ill adapted to our world, and, that the more the effects of it are experienced, the more things will be turned upside down, and the more dismembered, and chaotic, the human condition will appear. It is in vain to say, that many, who profess to be the followers of Christ, advocate such amusements, and indulge themselves in them; for many too of this description, though they may not advocate swearing, or intemperate drinking, practise both. The record of Christ's life is indeed concisely written; but if it were sufficiently copious to embrace every particular, an example could not be found for any thing, which deserves no higher name than amusement. The very persons also, who have spent much of life at the card table, the ball room, or in parties, which they once thought innocent and improving, now in great numbers, bear their united testimony, in the most decided manner, against these things, as a waste of that time which ought to be redeemed; and every moment of which, is wanted to prepare for eternity. So much more rational and refined are the pleasures of religion than the pleasures of sin, that if we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we can no more be induced, while such is our state of mind, to try other methods of gratification, than he who is seated at a table of delicacies, can be induced to rise from it, and fill himself with the offal which is thrown into a kennel of hounds. It is only when the animal gets the asce ndency over the intellectual part that, we walk through dry places, seeking rest and finding none; and wander far and labor hard, for that to make us happy, which if we ever find it, must be found in God.
So confident am I with regard to this point, that I hesitate not to say, that with that divine blessing, without which no good purpose can be effected, it is within the power of the youthful part of the female sex to give a new direction to the youthful part of the other sex, and to lay a plan of intercourse which would be mutually, and forever, advantageous. Experiments have often been made when chance