Imatges de pÓgina
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this imperfection of our faculties, therefore, we are quite familiar; but with respect to things that are contrary to reason, we may confidently affirm, that they will no where be found in those Holy Scriptures, which were inspired by divine wisdom, and which prescribe what we must be lieve and do, in order to obtain eternal salvation.

Could we, indeed, for a moment suppose, that when the Almighty had bestowed on us our mental faculties, and given us the capacity of recognising his own perfections ;—could we imagine, that, after He had made us feel and understand some motives and sanctions, He should require us to act from others, which are not only incomprehensible, but which appear opposite and contradictory to all our powers and opportunities of judgment, we might then be led to say, that Reason was made a snare to us; or only the source of cruel illusions; and that infinite justice and mercy, directed by Almighty power, had not, in this instance, adapted its means to the end proposed: but this would be a perfect anomaly in the works of creation, and involves a greater absurdity, than denying the first axioms of the geometrician and philo sopher.

If, therefore, in reading the Holy Scriptures, we might sometimes indulge the laudable ambition of removing difficulties, instead of marking those truths, and enforcing those duties, which are clear and obvious to all; and if we should sometimes be perplexed with doubts and discrepancies, which we may not be able to reconcile, let us humbly suppose, that further light might in time teach us more ;-let us imagine that there is some corruption, some misapprehension, or mistake;-in short, let us admit any thing rather than entertain a doubt, for one moment, either of the truth, the justice, or the mercy of God.

I cannot better conclude, on the present occasion, than by repeating the devout petitions of the Collect in our excellent Liturgy-petitions which are at all times seasonable, and in which every sincere Christian may cordially unite. "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour, Jesus Christ." Amen.

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Watch and pray, that ye enter not into tempta

tion.

THE Christian life, in our present state, has been deemed, with great propriety, a warfare with the world. Temptations beset us on every side; we are sometimes alarmed by unexpected dangers and calamities, or disappointments, originating from a variety of causes, perpetually surround us.

If we would, therefore, "fight the good fight of faith, and shew ourselves worthy of the Captain of our Salvation," we must add to every other virtue that of Vigilance. We must not rely merely on our prudence, fortitude, and dexte

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rity; but, as the Apostle exhorts, must "watch in all things,"-studiously avoiding every unnecessary danger, and trusting to the gracious assistance of God's Holy Spirit, co-operating with our own endeavours, to support us under those trials that must come. Let no one vainly imagine, that, in a world abounding with vice and folly, he has no evil to guard against; that would be presumptuous sin. The holy Apostle Paul could say, "I keep my body under and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away:" and our Lord's disciples, when only one of then was accused of betraying their divine Master, could all ask, in the wisdom of true humility, "Lord, is it I?" Human frailty therefore is not to be exposed to every hazardous encounter; but should be shielded by prudence, fortitude, and vigilance.

"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall," is a warning which the best of men may listen to with reverence. From this liability to evil, every individual may listen to the same exhortation, which St. Paul addressed to the Ephesians ;-" See that ye walk circumspectly;" and thus may we all hear with

reverence the words, which our heavenly Redeemer addressed to his frail disciples;-"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation."

This watchfulness, which our blessed Lord and his Apostles so frequently inculcate, should be directed to various objects, and distinct branches of duty, according to the different seasons and circumstances of life. The vigilance of the young may well be roused to guard them against the ardor of the passions, the rashness and errors of ignorance, or inexperience, and the flattering, but delusive pleasures of hope. Those in middle life should beware of the snares of ambition, the abuse of liberty and power, and the eager pursuits of gain; while numberless are the evils and infirmities both of body and mind, that require the watchfulness and circumspection of the aged.

Farther, in solitude, we should all guard against the admission of evil thoughts, of secret repinings, extravagant desires, and the first elements of vicious passions; and in society, we should beware of the temptation of evil company, and the allurements of pleasure. We should check the first emotions of envy and discontent, and indulge not a wish, much less commit any action that might injure the re

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