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acknowledges the adversity as the just punishment of sin, and implores the Divine Majesty to give to himself, to his family, and countrymen, a due spirit of humiliation and repentance. And not forgetting, that the more active means of avert ing wrath are" to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to deal bread to the hun gry;" he and his family display their benevolence by seeking out proper objects, and, if able, by relieving them; or if unable, by re commending them to the notice of the affluent. But in his humiliation he endeavours to appear before men with his usual cheerful and steady countenance: and this he does in compliance with the direction of his Saviour; "Thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, which is in secret."

But besides these, many are the instances which will occur to afford subjects of improvement;-not only the fasts and festivals of the church and the nation; not only birth-days, anniversaries of marriage, and the baptism of children; not only war and peace, the seasons of the year, and the greater vicissitudes of life; but also the little and common in cidents, which abound in every family.

Let then all, who are dignified with the Christian name, be studious to improve the incidents of life. At no period has there existed a greater call for this, than exists at the present, when the powers of the world are shaken to their foundation, and the attention of most men is absorbed with contemplating the unprecedented events of the times. Without being depressed or elated with the different tidings, which are wafted over the earth, let them persevere in practising the duties of their sacred profession, consoling themselves with the reflection, that all things are tending to accomplish the purposes of their heavenly Fa

ther. In the word of prophecy, if judiciously investigated, they may find satisfactory reasons for the scenes of the drama now acting. Probably, from such an investiga tion the petition of the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come," will derive an interest, which will not a little affect their minds, and induce them to prefer it, in future, with more understanding and ar dour. The times, let it be repeat ed, imperiously call upon them to display their peculiar principles, and to shew themselves" a people zealous of good works." Impiety has been so signally triumphant, and the faith of multitudes is so languid and ineffective, that it be hoveth them to "let their light shine before men," that the wavering may be confirmed, and all may see in their example a proof, that Christianity is "not a cunningly devised fable." In a word, aš "time is short, it remaineth (to use the language of the apostle) that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.”

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Philippians iii. 12.-"Not as though
I had already attained, either

were already perfect."
THERE are two great objects of the
Christian ministry. The first is, to
direct men to Jesus Christ as the
only Saviour of sinners; and the se-
cond is, to urge them to a constant
progress in faith and holiness. My
present design is, to shew the im-
portance of the second of these two
objects. And I shall do this by
considering the example of St.
Paul, as it is described in the verses
connected with my text.
I shall
explain;

3

I. The state and the attainments of had "a desire to depart, and to be with Christ." He well knew that

the apostle.
II. His sense of remaining imper-

fection.

III. His pursuit of higher measures of holiness.

The state and attainments of the apostle are to be learnt from various passages in his epistles. The sense he had of his own imperfection is strongly expressed in the text. His ardent pursuit of higher degrees of holiness, is described in the words which follow it" This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." ver. 13, 14.

1. The actual state of the apostle was that of a believer in the Gospel. He had been apprehended of Christ Jesus," ver. 12. that is, he had been laid hold of, as it were, and stopped by him, in his mad career of sin. He had been brought back to God by sincere repentance: he had believed on the name of Jesus Christ: he had been justified by faith alone: he had become a new creature. In a word, he was reconailed to God, adopted into his family, sanctified by his Spirit, and made an heir of eternal glory. This

was his state.

With regard to his attainments in holiness, we may confine ourselves to a few instances taken from the epistle before us.

this was "far better" in itself, than a life of sorrow and persecution. Yet he was willing to abide on earth, for the good of the church. He could even "joy and rejoice in being offered on the sacrifice and service of their faith." Such love was surely never surpassed, except by Him who "gave his life a ransom for many."

His disinterestedness appears, in bis rejoicing when Christ was preached, though by persons who wished to lessen his authority as an apostle (i. 15-18). How excellent a spirit! Men are usually jealous of their authority, and specially of their just authority. To rejoice then because some good might arise, though his own inte might suffer, was a striking proof of St. Paul's freedom from every selfish motive.

resta

We see his regard for the church chapter (i. 24, 25). He

the same

Consider again his supreme love to Christ. He deliberately" counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord." (iii. 7-9). He not only preferred the knowledge of Christ to all those advantages on which he once relied for acceptance with God, but he looked on them as loss, as contemptible, as injurious, as not to be named, in comparison with the astonishing glories of his cross.

Consider, further, his spirituality of mind: "his conversation was in heaven." (iii. 20). How emphatic an expression! He lived as a citizen of a future world. His babitual temper and conduct already partook of that blissful country to which he was travelling. Heaven filled his soul, and engrossed his conversation.

His contentment is also worthy of notice. Though he lived in the midst of trouble and affliction and death, he had learned in whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content." (iv. 11, 12).

The consistency of his whole conduct was such that he could say to the churches; "be followers of me, and mark them which walk so, as ye have us for an ensample.” (iii. 17, and iv. 9.)

I only add his unfeigned humility. Notwithstanding all these high advantages in holiness, this eminent Christian counted himself "not to have apprehended," not to have yet reached, the point at which he aimed. He informs us, he" had not attained, neither was already perfect."

This leads me to explain, II. His sense of remaining imperfection.

St. Paul considered himself not to have attained that holiness which the Gospel taught him to seek after. Many will be surprised at this acknowledgment. They do not understand how persons can honestly use such language, whose conduct is uniformly blameless. This surprise arises from an ignorance of the case. All excellence is comparative. What may be a high attainment according to one standard, may be a very low one with respect to another.

The fact is this; the Christian judges of himself by a totally different standard from that of a worldly man; and the advanced Christian from that of an unexperienced

one.

The worldly man has no idea of God searching the reins and the heart; of the extent and spirituality of the law; how important it is that every action should spring from love to God in Jesus Christ; how necessary it is to maintain in lively and habitual exercise, repentance for sin, faith in Christ, watchfulness in prayer, mortification of every evil temper, spirituality of mind, indifference to the world, holy and devout affections, firmness in professing the truth, and circumspection in adorning it. All these things lie far above out of his sight. His views are bounded by outward behaviour, and external form. All beyond is confused, and indistinct.

The young Christian, though his mind is in some degree enlightened by the Holy Spirit, has also but limited views of what is before him. He thinks his course to be far more easy than he afterwards finds it. And he is apt to be a little surprised that eminent Christians should still Jament their great imperfection.

These impressions arise from inexperience. The same thing occurs in the ordinary concerns of life. It is the case with the study of all

the different branches of learning, or art, or science. In all these pursuits, the man who knows nothing, or knows but a little, is confident and eager. But he who seriously begins to make the trial, soon loses his presumption. He acquires by degrees a new standard of judging. New views present themselves. The circuit widens around him. point of perfection moves farther off. His first rude attempts are despised. And after years of patient labour, he still sees that he has really learnt nothing, in comparison of the unbounded field of attainment which stretches itself before him.

The

It is thus in the pursuit of personal holiness. The worldly man knows nothing of practical godliness; and therefore, if he speak of it, he will betray his total ignorance of the subject. The young Christian knows but little, and must therefore, at present, be an incompetent judge.

But let any one take up religion as the grand concern of a dying and accountable creature, and let him persevere for a course of years in the pursuit, and his confidence will lessen exactly as his knowledge increases. He will find, that after he has obtained some hope of being interested in the righteousness of Jesus Christ as his only ground of justification, and after he has been established in the grace of the Holy Ghost as the only source of holiness, the task he has still to perform is immense. By degrees his information will enlarge; his spiritual senses become more acute; he will daily find new sources of evil discovering themselves, and new points of duty calling for attention. He will become more quick in perceiving what is amiss, and more cautious in every step he takes. And he will be conscious, after all, that he cannot do what he would, nor be what he ought.

In this way, every Christian, as he grows in grace, enters more into the spirit of the apostle. He feels

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that he has not attained. He obtains daily a more accurate know Yledge of his own heart and conduct. He sees more of the holiness of God's law. He feels more deeply the defilement and the guilt of sin. He sees more clearly the beauty and excellency of obedience. His views of the glory and perfection of the divine character are enlarged. He contemplates with growing adadmiration and gratitude, the stupendous plan of redemption. He dwells on the person and work of Christ. ad He breathes after the blessed influence of the Holy Spirit. His affections are raised and purified by communion with God. The promises of the Gospel swell on his view. The special mercies he has be received present themselves to his semind. He considers at the same The time his talents and opportunities. And the more he can bring these points together, the more does he perceive his obligations to universal boliness, and his guilt and ingratitode when he commits sin. Thus, whilst he is really improving in all goodness, he seems still to remain at a vast distance from the perfect holiness to which he is called. His quickness in observing his own heart and conduct is such, that, like bjects seen through a microscope, evils or defects, before invisible, become manifest, while those which before appeared of small moment are magnified.

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The language of Pope on another
subject is so applicable to this, that
1 shall be excused for introducing

So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the

sky;

Th'eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem
the last.

But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way,
Th' increasing prospect tires our wand'ring

eyes,

His prep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps

arise.

III. We come now to consider
CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 110.

the apostle's ardent pursuit after higher degrees of holiness.

This ardour is expressed in the most striking manner; " I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of my high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

It is very important to enter into the full force of this language. The image is taken from the racer in certain games called the Olympic games, which have filled the world with their fame; and which were held at Elis, in Greece, after every fourth year. An entire city and district were consecrated to them; and a general truce was proclaimed during their celebration. Multitudes thronged to them by land and sea, from every part of Greece, and from distant countries: even ambassadors and sovereigns were in the habit of meeting there. Ten months' preparation was required of every one who took part in these games, and kings were often among the number. Eight judges of the games were solemnly appointed. The name and country of the person who obtained the victory was proclaimed aloud by the heralds; and while thunders of applause resounded, poets stood ready to celebrate his exploits, and "The Conqueror at Olympia" was added to his name.

Conceive, then, all the persons
about to engage in the foot-race
(the most ancient and honourable
of all the games), drawn up at the
line, waiting the signal. The name
of each is distinctly pronounced by
the herald; the unnumbered multi-
tudes animate them to exertion;
the judges at the end of the course
are watching to distinguish the
conqueror; and the prize itself is
sounds.
placed full in view. The trumpet
In an instant they dart
forth from the line, and soon reach

the goal. Imagine the feelings of
test.
the racer during the moment of con-
He is swallowed up in the

M

object before him. He forgets the ground he has passed over. He reaches forth, with the utmost eagerness, to seize the prize which is to reward his toil.

This striking image the apostle employs to describe the ardour with which he pursued after higher degrees of holiness. It is impossible for me to convey the full strength of his language; but his main design is evident. He had been "apprehended of Christ." He had renounced his own righteousness, to win Christ and be found in him. But is he satisfied with this? No such thing. His heart is fixed on being conformed to his Saviour's image. This is his habitual state of mind. And in this pursuit, his growing sense of imperfection stirs him up to redoubled diligence.

This one thing he did; his whole soul was engrossed by it. To know more of Christ and the power of his resurrection, occupied all his eare. Every thing else was uninteresting to him in comparison of this. He forgot the things that were behind. Like the racer, the advances he had already made were as nothing. The love, and faith, and obedience to which he had already attained, were but as a drop in the ocean. The immense prospect before him filled his soul. He saw there was so much more to be known, and felt, and performed, that he could not look back with satisfaction on his present attainments. He did not regard them at all. They were forgotten in his eager reaching forth unto those things which were before. Thus he pressed forward towards the mark of the prize of his high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He had the prize in view. On this his eye was fixed; even on that perfect holiness and happiness in a glorious resurrection, which should be the crown of the conqueror. This was his mark; and in pursuing it, every faculty of body and soul was exerted to attain increasing knowledge, fervour, spitituality, and obedience.

Such is the animating examp the apostle Paul. The applica of this to ourselves I shall res for another occasion.

In the mean time, let us ask selves these plain questions. Is religion like that of St. Paul my state before God like Have I repented and turned God? Have I been renewed by Holy Ghost? Have I believed Jesus Christ unto righteousne Are my attainments, though no great, yet of the same kind y those of the apostle? And whil am aiming at further progress my sense of imperfection as feigned and humiliating as b Above all, am I pressing towa heaven as my great mark? Is t my one object? Do I count p sent attainments as nothing, comparison of the immense fi which is yet untrodden? And a I

eagerly seeking to know more Christ, and the power of his resu rection, and the fellowship of h sufferings, resolving never to slack my exertions till death brings m to my eternal crown? Amen!

To the Editor of the Christian Observe I was somewhat surprised to read, i your admirable review of Bisho Horsley's Sermons, as follows: "Thi reference of the Psalm" (viz. xlv. "to Christ, is warranted by the con current judgment of antiquity; an though REJECTED, probably upon authority of Calvin, in the title pre fixed to the Psalm in Queen Elizabeth version of the Bible, was adopted the days of James the First by th framers of our present authorize version."-It appeared to me strang that, so contrary to the genera strain of interpretation which the prevailed, either of those authoritie should explain the Psalm in a sens which excluded its reference Christ. I therefore had recours first to the authorized version of th Bible in the time of Queen Eliza beth. The edition which I co sulted was printed by the deputi

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