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those who presume to think differently from himself. Puffed up by the idolatry of his flock, he forgets that he professed himself to be the ambassador of CHRIST; and begins to preach himself, and to deliver his own message; and it is well, in the end, if he do not pay the penalty of "erring from the truth," and following the fancies of a vain imagination, by the loss of his own senses.
"See, then," my brethren, "that ye walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise; "redeeming the time, because the days are " evil." "Be circumspect" in religion, because (as Solomon says) a man may be righteous over much." Not that a christian can possibly be too good, since, after all our endeavours after righteousness, we are "but uuprofitable servants ;" but a man may call, or think, that, to be righteous, which is not so; and like the Pharisee, follow zealously and scrupulously vain fancies, idle notions, or insignificant forms; and omit the weightier matters of the gospel, humble piety, strict. sobriety, staunch integrity, personal purity, and universal charity. Be circumspect" also, my brethren, in the moral conduct; and remember, that where a true faith dwells in the heart, its fruits will be manifested in praiseworthy outward action. CHRIST himself was a pattern of perfection; and his
law, like himself, is infinitely pure, holy, just, and good. To the latter we are to look, for what we must do; to the former, for the manner in which it is to be done. We never can approach his goodness, indeed, but we must always be trying to imitate it: and nothing will assist us more in so doing, than keeping a constant watch on our hearts. and behaviour, and "walking circumspectly, "not as fools, but as wise."
[For the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity.]
EPHESIANS vi. 10.
My brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
HE epistle for the day contains one of the finest passages in all St. Paul's writings. He had been giving to the christians at Ephesus rules both of faith and practice; pointing out their duties to God and man; shewing them, fairly and truly, what their conduct must be, in order to secure everlesting salvation; as well as the difficulties they would meet with in fulfilling that conduct; and exhorting them to "quit them"selves like men," and endure firmly and faithfully to the end. In order to encourage them to this perseverance in their christian duty, he proceeds, in the epistle for the day,
to describe to them how they must arm themselves, and what assistances they must take for their spiritual warfare; likening, as he goes on, the different christian graces to the various pieces of armour which the ancient Greek and Roman soldiers wore, in order to defend their bodies when they were engaged with their enemies in battle. The passage is not only very beautiful, but contains much useful instruction; and may be considered as furnishing us, more especially, with these three important points of consideration. First, that it is necessary to distrust ourselves, and not presume upon our own strength; as if we were capable of pleasing GOD, and leading a life of virtue and holiness, without the assistance of his grace: secondly, that it is our duty to be constantly on our guard against those fatal enemies by which we are surrounded-the world, the flesh, and the Devil and thirdly, that Gou has provided us with sufficient means to resist and overcome them. "Brethren, says the apostle, " be strong in the LORD;" depend not on yourselves, but on God's assistance, who is mighty to save. Learn, in the first place, to distrust yourselves; acknowledge your weakness; renounce all pretensions to wisdom and self-dependence; and remember, that it is much better to be.
made sensible of your own frailty, by giving credit to God's word, (which tells us, that of ourselves we are nothing;) than to feel it to your cost, by being permitted, through the just judgment of GOD, to fall into some grievous, shameful, or destructive error; in order to convince you, that, without his protecting grace, your strength is but weakness, and your firmest resolutions. yielding as the spider's web." St. Paul next directs us to have "our loins girt about "with faith;" that is, to be fully persuaded of the truth of our holy faith; firmly be lieving, that the Gospel is God's word and will, given unto us by his own adorable Son, and containing all that we are commanded to believe and do, in order to obtain eternal life. The apostle then tells us to "put on "the breastplate of righteousness ;" that is,.. a conscientious discharge of all the duties of our christian calling; which, in the day of trial, will support us against all the assaults of the powers of darkness; will keep us cheerful and contented, tranquil and resigned, through life; and afford peace to our spirits, when we come to die. St. Paul further direcis, "that our feet be shod with the 66 preparation of the gospel of peace;" in other words, that we walk in the practice of that peaceableness and charity towards all