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SERMON X.

HEBREWS iv. 15.

But was in all points tempted like as we are, yet

without sin.

WE

E are told in three of the Gospels, that

after our Saviour was baptized, and before he begun his ministry, he was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. It is not perhaps possible for us fully to understand the nature of that temptation ; but I will lay before

you what I apprehend we may learn from the account which is given us of it, and then proceed to consider how far it is in our power to imitate the bright example of our Lord and Master.

We know from the Bible that the evil spirit, called the Devil and Satan, has been from the beginning the enemy of mankind. We know that

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he tempted our first parents; that they yielded to the temptation, and by so doing, lost the favour of God, and the happiness of Paradise, and became subject to sin and death. We are told that this enemy of God and man still goes about seeking whom he may devour; and that the servant of God must - resist him, and not yield to the temptations which he offers to draw him from his duty. Some men resist with more constancy than others; but such is the weakness of our nature, that it never can be said of any man that he is without sin. “ If we say we have no sin,' we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."*

But those temptations to which Adam and all his 'sons have yielded, were presented in vain to Jesus CHRIST. He resisted every art of the deceiver; and having been in all things tempted like as we are, he was still without sin. During the whole of his life he was perfectly innocent; and though it is impossible for us to be like him in that respect, yet we must constantly set his bright example before our eyes, and come as near it as we possibly can, We must imitate his spotless purity, and freedom from every kind of vice; his humility, his charity,

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* 1 John i, 8.

his resignation to the will of God. In youth and in age, in life and in death, we must still look unto Jesus, the pattern of every virtue, as well as the sacrifice for sin; the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Judge of the world. • Having already considered the situation in which we are first placed in this world, when our actions are under the controul and government of our parents, and when obedience to them is our principal duty; I proceed to the period when a man begins to act for himself, and to be his own master. To this period children often look forward with impatience, as the beginning of their enjoyment of life, as the time of liberty and of happiness. Alas! my brethren, how soon do we learn that this is a mistake! Happy is it for those who know this from the experience of others, besore they learn it to their ruin from their own.

Let me entreat those who are yet young, and free from great crimes to listen with attention, whilst I speak to them the language of experience and truth.

Let it not be supposed that I wish to check the innocent cheerfulness of youth, or to discourage hope, by representing the world as a state of continual disappointment and sorrow.

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far from considering it as such. God has given us many comforts, many pleasures ; and I only wish to secure these blessings, by teaching the young man to enjoy them like a Christian. At our entrance into life we commonly possess many very great advantages, and Providence allows us to enjoy them.“ Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth."* It is the season

” of health and vigour of body. The spirits have not been broken by affliction, and the heart beats high with hope. All the pleasures of life have the charm of novelty, and we pursue them with eagerness. Impatient for liberty, and often feeling much confidence in our powers of body and mind, nothing seems too hard for us. Rejoice, O young man ; but do not forget that for all these things,” if indulged beyond their due limits, “God will bring thee into judgment.” If youth be the season of pleasure, it is also the season of danger. Many are the temptations to which it exposes every man; and from those temptations no man will escape, who is not guarded by firm principles of religion. To this point, my young friends, the Christian preacher would wish to call your attention. Rejoice in the blessings which God has given you; but never lose sight of this great truth, that our chief business in this world is to make ourselves fit for heaven. The pleasures of this life

* Eccles. xi, 9.

may be enjoyed, as far as can be done with innocence; but they must never be the principal

; object of our pursuit. Perfect liberty, and per. fect happiness, are not allowed to man in this state of trial. Though we are no longer restrained by the authority of our parents, we must be for ever restrained by the authority of God. Though happiness be the object of all our wishes, it is not placed within reach in this world. The door of Paradise is shut. The angel with the flaming sword guards the way of the tree of life. It can only be found by the narrow path of virtue : and opened to us by him, who is the way, and the truth, and the life. Listen to the great Captain of our salvation ; “If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me.”

“ Ye must through much tribu. lation enter into the kingdom of God." “ In the world, ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."* On

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• John xvi. 33.

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