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light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them; and that he employs devices with respect to those who seem to begin well, but have some sinister end in view in assuming a religious profession, till he gain a complete ascendancy over them. The unclean spirit which seemed for a season to be expelled, finding the place which he formerly occupied swept and garnished, and every way prepared for his reception, taketh to himself other spirits more wicked than himself, and renders the last state of that man worse than the first. To constitute this awful state of apostasy, it is not necessary that the unhappy man should explicitly renounce his religious profession. If, after being suspended from church privileges by the religious society to which he belonged, for his unworthy conduct, he is not duly humbled before God, and gives no evidence of his entertaining a proper sense of the scandal which his conduct has occasioned, he is in fact an apostate, though he have not abandoned his profession, and may still go the round of its outward forms, to which he has been long habituated, by a kind of mechanical impulse. In these circumstances, his case is far more dangerous than that of the openly irreligious and profane. His guilt is greater, because he knows the truth and yet holds it in unrighteousness; his ingratitude is greater, because he has tasted of those pleasures, and enjoyed those advantages, which, if carefully improved, would have rendered him not only almost, but altogether, a Christian; and because the injury he has done to religion is inconceivably

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great and irreparable on his part. He, therefore, subjects himself to greater punishment. He must, indeed, feel the shock of condemnation more than another, because he once entertained hopes, and enjoyed prospects, very different. He has not even the consolation of many an unsuccessful candidate for temporal gain or honour. He cannot say, 'I did what I could.' On the contrary, he will have the inconceivable mortification and distress to know, that by listening to the father of lies he has lost the favour of God, and brought misery and ruin upon himself through his own fault. Thus will it appear, that he has added extreme folly to extreme guilt; that the way of transgressors is hard; and that there is no peace to the wicked. At the same time it must be acknowledged, that declensions in religion, especially such as are open to public view, would be far less serious, and might continue a much shorter time, were Christians to be more vigilant and faithful to one another. Many a one has wandered out of the right way much further and longer than he probably would have done, had not his former fellow-travellers, either through inattention, not adverted to the commencement of his deviation, or through mistaken tenderness and false delicacy, neglected to use means for recalling him. Too often, likewise, after passing sentence of suspension upon an offender, the members of the church to which he belongs dismiss him henceforth from their thoughts. Whereas, were they to use means for his recovery, to remember him in their prayers, and to encou

rage, in a prudent manner, the first relentings on his part, the pastor might in this way find his sheep that was lost, and, in conjunction with his flock, might be the happy instrument of saving a soul from death, and of affording matter of joy to the angels in heaven, who rejoice over one sinner that repenteth. With regard to restoring every such wanderer, upon repentance, to his former privileges in the church, a stronger motive cannot be urged than that of the apostle, addressed to the church of Galatia, (Galatians, vi. 1.) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness: considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.I proceed, as was proposed,

III. To direct your attention to that improvement of the subject which the apostle here suggests, Be sober, be vigilant.

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1. Be sober. Sobriety may denote the subjection either of the thoughts and dispositions of the mind, or of the appetites of the body, to the laws of reason and religion. In the former sense it is nearly of the same import with humility, and in the latter sense with temperance. Be humble, be temperate.

1. Be humble. Think not more highly of yourselves than ye ought to think, but think soberly. If the great enemy of human happiness is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour; if he can avail himself, not only of his own knowledge of human nature in all its varieties, from

the first fatal transaction in paradise to the present moment, but of that also possessed by an innumerable host of intelligences corresponding with him in views and designs; if knowledge is power, as it unquestionably is; and if this power and this combination of enemies are continually employed as they are here represented; and if there is besides, in each of us a traitor in conspiracy with our external enemies, an evil heart of unbelief that tempts us to depart from the living God-then it must follow, that, if our hearts are lifted up with pride, we shall surely fall into the condemnation of the devil. Be ye, therefore, says the apostle, clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. And the gracious invitation of our Lord, Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, is a plain testimony, that he particularly intended that part of his character as an object, not of our admiration only, but also of our imitation. It is the temper which, of all others, he most frequently commends, most uniformly enjoins, and which his own example most invariably exhibits. Without it we shall not see our need of the grace which is treasured up in him, nor of the strength which he imparts to them who have no might in themselves, that they may be able to stand in the evil day. None, therefore, but the humble Christian will put on the whole armour of God, and none other will pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, that he may not be led into temptation. If the proud man, therefore, fall into the hands of his enemies, as he inevitably must, he

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will have himself to blame. turned him aside that he cannot deliver his soul. Is there not a lie in his right hand?

2. Sobriety is also opposed to intemperance. Drunkenness is a voluntary madness. A drunkard either wholly or partially deprives himself of reason, and degrades himself below the level of the beasts that perish. His conversation at one time is that of a tongue which is set on fire of hell; at another time it is that of a tongue which is palsied, stammering and foaming out its own shame. At one time he is like the sow that wallows in the mire; at another, he is like the tiger, the object of terror and dismay. And there is a stage beyond this, in which the thinking and conscious principle seems to have fled, and the roaring lion takes full possession of the man, and gives an impulse to his arm, and to the weapon, (whatever it may be) sufficient to accomplish the horrid and premeditated deed— premeditated at least on the part of him who was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth. Woe then to the drunkards of our Ephraim, if even the cry of blood do not deter them from the tavern! We should but weaken the impression, did we attempt to recount all the other evils of excessive drinking; how it ruins the constitution, wastes the substance, impairs the judgment, destroys all taste for innocent pleasures, and all those finer feelings, those tender and endearing emotions, which render home delightful. The house of the drunkard is always the seat of disorder, confusion, and recrimination, and often of

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