Imatges de pÓgina
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both when to keep silence, and when to speak. He reproves with skill. He gives with judgment. He

approves things that are excellent."

Thirdly. You are to avoid INTEMPERANCE. There is a sense in which this word may be applied to the mind as well as the body. For we are required to think soberly; to keep all our passions within due bounds; to moderate our desires to enjoy earthly pleasures, and our anxieties to acquire worldly possessions. Our Saviour therefore commands his disciples "to take heed lest at any time their hearts should be "overcharged," not only "with surfeiting and drunkenness," but also "the cares of this life, and so that "day should come upon them unawares." The mo tive is as pertinent as it is awful; for if we are to live in expectation of this important event, and are to be so habitually prepared for it as not to be taken by surprise when it comes; it is necessary that we should be temperate in all things.

The word however principally refers to moderation in satisfying our bodily appetites. But can it be needful to enlarge upon a subject like this in a Christian congregation? Surely something far short of the pure and exalted system of the Gospel would be sufficient to reftrain men from degrading themselves below the beasts that perish. Surely we need not interpose the authority of God, and reveal the misery he has prepared in another world, in order to keep them from being gluttons and drunkards. Against this, Heathenism exclaims; Nature rises up; Health preaches. Intemperance is arraigned and punished here. It impoverishes our circumstances. It beggars our fami

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lies. It renders the body lazy and sickly, and breeds all manner of diseases. It besots the mind, and stupi fies reason; it impedes with filthy crudities the way through which the spirits should pass, and bemires the soul so that it drags on heavily: it unfits for every duty, and prepares for every sin. Surely one half of this is enough to make you flee all intemperance; and to lead you not only to avoid the grosser excesses of this infamy, but to abhor every degree of approach to it.Shun therefore those "whose God is their belly, "and whose glory is in their shame." Scorn the bondage of corruption. Disdain to be the slaves of a pampered appetite. Never advance to the bounds of things lawful. Beware of beginnings, and the excuses which would authorize them. "But put ye on the Lord "Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to "fulfil the lusts thereof."

Fourthly. You are to add to your temperance PATIENCE. There is an obvious and striking relation be tween these. The one requires us to bear, the other to forbear. The one regards the good things, the other the evil things of the world. By temperance we are preserved under the smiles of prosperity, and by patience we encounter the frowns of adversity. These two therefore furnish us "with the armour of righ"teousness on the right hand and on the left." And the one is as necessary as the other. For you will not be assailed from one side only. When the weather is fair, the road agreeable, and the adjoining groves and meadows very alluring, you are in danger of pausing and wandering; but the storm driving in your face, and your feet sinking in deep mire where there

is no standing; you will sometimes be discouraged because of the way, question whether you are right, and debate with yourselves whether to advance or turn back. Yes, Christians, you will have need of pa tience, and perhaps of much more than you are aware. You know not what a day will bring forth. "Rich"es" may "make to themselves wings, and flee away." Your "friends may deal deceitfully with you as a "brook." Your present comforts may become your greatest troubles. Trials which so far from expect. ing never entered your thoughts, may suddenly arise. Has not this world been always a vale of tears? Did any of your brethren who were before you escape sor row? Are you not assured that it is through much tribulation you must enter the Kingdom? But patience will prepare you for every changing scene, and every suffering hour. What it cannot remove it will allevi ate; what it cannot diminish, it will strengthen you to bear. It will produce a composure which will allow you to discover every favourable circumstance in your situation; a silence which will enable you to hear every message of the Rod. "Let patience have "her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and en"tire, lacking nothing."

indispensable.

Fifthly. GODLINESS is GODLINESS is indispensable. Courage and Prudence, Temperance and Patience, would be no Christian qualities, if in the exercise of them we were not influenced by suitable regards to God.. Without this reference, our religion is nothing more than morality; our practice has no adequate principle; our duties are in vain as to their acceptance; and precarious, variable, lifeless, irksome

as to their performance. When we are governed by the authority of God, and make his word our rule, and his glory our aim, we please him; and though our services are attended with many imperfections, they are accepted. When we love and fear him, when we realize his presence, confide in his mercy, implore his grace, and maintain continual communion with him through the mediation of his Son and by the influences of his Spirit, our work becomes our privilege; all is enlivened; all is secured. In this Godliness consists; it is to bring God into every part of life and religion; to make him the alpha and omega of all we do. Though morality is distinguished from godliness, it always and inseparably attends it; and he never performs his duty towards God, who lives unrighteously towards man: "If a man say, I love God, "and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth "not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love "God whom he hath not seen? And this command"ment have we from him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also." Hence

We are to add to Godliness, BROTHERLY KIND. And who are our brethren? All Christians. However they may differ from us, in their age, their dress, their features, they are all children of the same Father, members of the same family, heirs of the same grace, travellers towards the same heavenly country. They have therefore claims upon us; and we are to aid and relieve them. "Whoso hath this world's "good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth

up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwell"eth the love of God in him? Let us not love in

"word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth." Who are our brethren; all mankind. "God hath "made of one blood" all the nations of the earth ; they possess the same powers of conscience, reason, and immortality; they are capable of the same privileges; need the same succours; are liable to the same afflictions. Hence love, good will to the whole human race finishes the train, and becomes "the bond of per"fectness." And

-To Brotherly kindness, CHARITY. Thus we are "the children of our Father which is in heaven: for "he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the "good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the un"juft." Thus every dispute concerning the extent or limitation of benevolence is settled. As we have opportunity, we are to do good unto ALL MEN, especially unto THEM who are of the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH. "To some indeed I am peculiarly bound, to few only "can I be personally useful; but my kind wishes and prayers extend to every individual of the human race. By the law of the Gospel I am required to "cherish in my bosom those sentiments of benevo"lence which are only hindered from being universal " in their exercise by inability and necessity.'

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Thus you are to add to your faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, patience; to patience, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. But let us,

II. Inquire how this is to be accomplished. The apostle tells us; It is by GIVING ALL DILIGENCE,

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