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kept under absolute control. The deeds of the flesh must be mortified; its affections and lusts must be crucified. The baptismal vow must be fulfilled. The vain imaginations of the heart must be repressed; the malignant passions quelled; the aspiring schemes, the presumptuous confidence, the empty wisdom of unhumbled nature renounced. Every thought must be brought into subjection, reduced under captivity to Christ Jesus. There must be no reserve; no bartering and trafficking for heaven; no pretext of compensation for one sinful habit by many acts of obedience. The surrender of the soul to God must be total. The spirit of holiness must be obeyed in all things, and the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, must be thankfully surrendered to his guidance. Not some “filthiness,” but all tilthiness must be abjured: not all “ filthiness" of the “flesh” only, but all filthiness also of the “spirit." The purpose of “cleansing," the practical aim of
. cleansing, must be universal. Nothing which pollutes in the cyes of God must be tolerated. Not only must all filthiness bc cleansed away, but " holiness" must be perfected.” A negative character is unknown to the Scriptures. If you are anxious to be purified from iniquity; you are anxious likewise for positive acquisitions, for continual progress in holiness. For those acquisitions in that
. progress you are incessantly to labor. The pattern of your Saviour is to dwell upon your mind. To transfer into your own dispositions an increasing portion of His Spirit; to form your own conduct into a nсarer and nearer, however distant, resemblance of his excellence; to grow in grace, to add virtue to virtue, to press forward toward the mark, to surmount the remaining obstacles of sin, to break the bands which retard your exertions; to be holy as Christ is holy, perfect as he is perfect; to redouble your speed when you discover yourself to have lingered, your diligence when you perceive yourself to have been careless: behold tho tenor of your life if you are bent on perfecting holiness. But “ who is suflicient for these things?" No man. How, then, is holiness to be perfected?" In the fear of God.” Fear God, and the disficulties of a Christian course are no longer the subject of desponding apprehension. The scar of God insures the presence of his all-sufficient grace. The fear of God inspires lowliness; but in working lowliness it creates contidence in Ilim who has promised to uphold the humble. It summons to unremitting supplication; but teaches that Ile whom you supplicate is mighty to
save. “Go on," then, " in the strength” of “the Lord: make mention of his righteousness only.”
Picture to yourselves one of the children of this world grown old in sin and unconcern: and throwing his cye backward over the gloom of wasted years. Behold the hand of heaven “ writing bitter things against him," and causing him to possess “ the sins of his youth!” Can he recall the day that is past? Can be stretcla forth the remnant of his age to the measure of his past period of probation? Will regret transform the fruits he has borne unto sin into accumulated treasures of holiness? Suppose his heart broken and contrite. At what price would he not rejoice to purchase the chance of those years, which Providence may yet have in store for you! With what eagerness of holy exertion, with what determinations of righteous perseverance, would he enter upon his new career! With what solicitude would he watch over his heart; with what humility would he rest on the grace of his Saviour; with what zcal would he labor for a lot in the inheritance of the saints! To him this description is a shadow. To you it may be a display of realities. Do what the aged penitent would have done. Lose not a moinent. The span yet remaining to the aged penitent, scanty as are the limits within which the course of nature confines it, may be longer than that which you are to occupy. If you procrastinate your decision; he may be glorifying God in a Christian old age, when you have closed in death an unchristian youth. Hear the invitations of the Lord your Saviour! Devote yourselves to yourselves to that master, of whose service you shall never repent. Choose that
" good part which shall never be taken away” from you. Do I anticipate the aspirations of your souls?—“ O God we despise not thy promises; we disregard not thy mercies. Incline us, enable us, “to come forth and be separate.' Preserve us from the unclean thing: receive us to Thyself. Send down the Spirit of thy grace to dwell with us, to guide our hearts in thy testimonies, to establish our feet in thy paths. So shall we be thy sons and daughters, O Lord Almighty! We shall reign with thee, Jesus our Redeemer! We shall rejoice for cyer before thy throne, Our Father which art in heaven!"
By the Rt. Rev. DANIEL WILSON, D.D.,
Bishop of Calcutta.
MATTHEW, vi. 13.
Whey our blessed Lord had directed his disciples to implore the forgiveness of their trespasses, he taught them in the next place to pray for deliverance from temptation. Having sought pardon for our past sins, we must earnestly entreat to be preserved from the repetition of them. The mercy of God should increase our fear of offending him; and gratitude for the remission of guilt, should inflame the soul with a hatred of every transgression. None indeed can have a scriptural sense of justification, unless they diligently seek after sanctifying grace; of which one chief work is to lead us to shun the occasions and temptations to evil. Nor, indeed, can a more important subject than that of temptation be proposed to our attention generally. Our state on earth is probationary. Every thing around us and within us may be the means of ensnaring our minds.
Lct us then consider,
II. What is the force of the petition of our text with regard to it.
I. What is the nature of temptation.
Temptation is any thing by which we may be drawn or incited to cvil. It differs from a mere trial, as it includes in it, not only something which proves us whether we will keep God's com
mandments or not, bui also something which moves or induces to moral cvil. The word Temptation, is, indeed, frequently employed in the former sense, as when God is said to have tempted, that is, to have tried, Abraham; but in our text, as well as in the more ordinary acceptation of the word, it means some direct persuasion or enticement to transgression against God.
The sources of temptation are either inward or outward. The inward source of it is the corruption of our fallen nature, that “ sin which dwelleth in us,” that “fleshly mind," that “law of sin in our members, which wars against" the law of grace, and which, unless it be resisted, will bring us into captivity. “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn aside of his own lust and enticed.” This inward spring of evil acts in the unregenerate with its full force. They “ fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” They “ make provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Even in the true Christian, there remains a tendency to evil, which requires constant vigilance. His new and heavenly nature and dispositions are far from being complete. He is enabled, indeed, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, babitually to serve God in sincerity, and to “mortify the deeds of the body;" yet temptation still has a powerful influence on him; it defiles his mind, and impedes his progress in the path of duty. “The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that
The outward sources of temptations are Satan and the world.Satan is called by way of distinction the tempter—"then cometh the tempter," as if there were no other. It was he who kept not bis first estate, but fell from his original glory. It was he who deceived our first parents, and brought sin and destruction into the perfect creation of God. It was he who appeared among the sons of God with Job. It was he who stirred up David to number Israel; who induced Judas to betray Christ; and who " desired to have Peter, that he might sift bim as wbcat." He
lle has his own peculiar devices, arts and methods of assailing the heart of man. Our Lord speaks of "the depths of Satan"-an expression conveying the idea of that subtlety with which his plans are conceived and executed.
This dexterous enemy seduces men, blinds their understandings, fills their minds with evil suggestions; and disposes every thing within his reach to
awaken their evil propensities, stupify their consciences, and intiame their passions.
Ilis chief access is probably to the imagination, which he cxcites by presenting suitable objects to the senses. These allure the fancy, pervert the conscience, and obscure the judgment. The affections being enticed and taken captive, sinful acts follow. Thus Eve was first attracted by the appearance of the forbidden fruit, and Achan by the Babylonish garment. A vagrant curiosity, an unguarded and unsubdued imagination, “ thoughts only evil continually," wandering and fickle desires, aided by “ a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”—these are the strong holds of our spiritual adversary. This methods are adapted to the age, education, disposition, pursuits, knowledge, habits, duties and trials of men under every possible variety of circumstances. Sometimes he is represented as a “rvaring lion;" at other times as “the old scrpent.” In the first character he seeks to devour his prey; in the second to allure it into his toils.
It is to be observed, however, that Satan has no power to force us to the commission of sin. He may solicit and persuade; he may propose objects calculated to deceive our vigilance; he may by these ways seduce and intlame our passions; but he cannot compel us to yield. He has no dominion over the will. We are still rational and moral agents. lie cannot eventually hurt us, except by our own fault. This is a most important consideration on the present subject.
To Satan must be added the world, as an outward occasion of temptation. The world is the main instrument by which he assails the soul. He is called, with an emphasis suflicient to alarm the slothful conscience, “the God of this world.” Wicked men are his instruments; and assist in the temptation and ruin of others. Wicked customs, maxims, pleasures, pursuits, are the baits which he displays to us; nor is there any crcature of God, however good in itself, but he labors to enlist it in his service. And the world is well adapted to his purpose. It is cxactly suited to the taste of the natural man. By the fall we have lost our knowledge, and love of spiritual pursuits; we have become absorbed in sensible and carthly objects; and give them the supreme place in our affections. Every thing, therefore, of worldly business, gain, power, praise, grandeur, pleasure, becomes the appropriate instrument of Satan's temptations. Even things lawful in themselves