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glory at which the Christian ought to aim--the holy rewards to which he may aspire—the sublime promises which are set before him--the image of Christ, to which he is to be transformed. These particulars, however, I pass briefly over, and shall dwell upon two circumstances only, which appear to me more prominent than the rest.
The first is, that the commandments of Christ are not founded on terror, but on the love of that Supreme Being, at whose feet the most exalted intelligences bow with awe, whose voice shakes earth, sea, and heaven. This tremendous Being is man permitted, commanded, to love; this God, the Almighty, is Man's FRIEND. Does not the Gospel sufficiently honour its sincere follower?—Unhappy mortal! bowed to the earth, and enslaved to despicable offices, rise up
beneath the load of weariness and contempt which oppresses thee, in the midst of that abject condition in which thy years drag on, numbered by humiliation and sorrow! Let thine eye brighten, and thy bošom thrill;—thou art a Christian! God Almighty demands thy heart,
though rejected by thy fellow-men. to whom the highest lot is assigned—the rich, the mighty, the happy of this world, forget not that there are higher honours in reserve for you; you too, are Christians, and God demands your heart. Unwilling that you should fall asleep amidst the illusions of a visionary happiness unworthy of your regard, he claims for himself
your misapplied affections. He maintains a contest for their possession, with the world,
The second circumstance which I wish to advert to, as supplying an answer to those objections which the thoughtless and arrogant have brought against the Religion of Jesus Christ, is comprised in that express commandment which he has given us : “ Be ye perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”What! no limits appointed to the perfection of any being! God himself set forth as my model-His ways to point out my course-His footsteps to be my guide! Surely this is indeed to be unspeakably honoured, when the Ever: lasting God draws me to himself, and I am lifted
up towards heaven! The precept is not confined in its application to fleeting resolutions, or to the exertions of a limited period: you, who have accomplished much, have yet much to do; you who, for half a life, have been “
keeping your hearts diligently,” contending with unworthy inclinations, and striving to become perfect, you have achieved little--YOU ARE CHRISTIANS. In imitation of St. Paul, “ forget those things which are behind;” advance, advance; God is still far off-go on till death; then, gifted with new power, and accommodated with efficient means—unfolding new energies, and standing upon the vantage-ground of your endeavours and your progress in this world-you will grow incessantly, you will make nearer and nearer approaches towards God, the boundless and inexhaustible source of goodness and of bliss.
Having this “high calling," as Christ's disciple, shall I throw away any portion of my existence upon miserable complaints, mean passions, or disgraceful projects? Shall I defile my inheritance, by degrading myself? No: beneath the rags that cover, the disguise that conceals me, I will let some glimpses of my grandeur appear; exalted as I am by the Gospel, enabled to love God, and to follow whither He leads, I will not stoop from this height-I will not cast my sceptre in the dust-I will not drag my crown in the mire-I will neglect nothing, in order to render myself less unworthy of that God who hath honoured me by such a revelation.
These sentiments I have pleasure in believing yours. When I perceive how the Gospel esteems its professors, and how it studies to exalt them, it seems to me that there is nothing overcharged in the glowing images under which the Daniels and Isaiahs of old represented the evangelical times; I can conceive the extacy of Simeon, the desire of angels themselves to fathom this amazing abyss of love: looking upon man in the view which I have been displaying, he rises immeasurably in my esteem; I prostrate myself in admiration of the revelation vouchsafed to him; on my knees I bless my God and my Redeemer; I feel in the very bottom of my soul, the sacred want of loving and serving them—and I rise proud of being A CHRISTIAN !
III. We have not yet seen the full extent of the bounties of the Lord, or the blessings of Christianity. “THE LORD HATH COMFORTED HIS PEOPLE, AND WILL HAVE MERCY UPON HIS AFFLICTED:" there is “ balm in Gilead,” and Christ has poured it upon the wounds of his followers: he has provided for their natural distresses, he has healed the intenser sufferings of their guilty consciences.
There was a man--and the picture I am about to draw of an individual, represents, with a few modifications, a great number—there was a man who promised himself nothing but pleasure in this life; he expected only happiness, but misfortune made him its victim: his fondest hopes vanished, his best concerted schemes melted away, like the dew before the morning beams; malice imputed evil to him; he became a mark for calumny; and at the very time when he had need of all his strength to avoid yielding beneath the magnitude of the ills which