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yet fundamental point? You must be aware, from the express language of the text, as well as from the confessedly corrupt state of many Christian churches, that there is such a thing as retaining the one, whilst the other is denied. Ilave you, then, ever suspected yourselves? Have you considered, that the very circumstance of belonging to a pure and reformed church, may possibly assist to betray you into an error upon this point? llave you ever reflected, that there is, possibly, somcthing higher and more spiritual in religion than you have as yet discovered, something more delightful and elevating, something that engages and fills the heart, something that brings back man to God as a failer, something that unites him to the cross of Christ, that separates him from the world, and fixes his whole soul on cternity and heaven?

Rcad, only with a teachablc heart, the plain language of Holy Scripturc. Mark what ii states, in every place, of the power of godliness. Open, for instance, the 6th chapter of St. John. All is spiritual and Divine. Christ is spoken of as “ the bread of life”—Tlis " flesh is the life of the world”—“ Except we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we have no life in us.” Now, let me simply ask if you ever experienced any thing of this union to Christ by faith? Turn again to the 5th chapter of the 20 Epistle to the Corinthians. The Apostle there speaks of the constraining love of Christ,” of our being “new creatures in Ilim," of our being “reconciled to God" through Ilim who was “made sin for us." Now, has this solcmn transaction of the soul with God, this reconciliation, taken place? Ilas it led you to a supreme love to

a Christ? Are you new crcalures?—Once more, for almost any part of Scripture is sufficient for this purposc, read the 8th chapter to the Romans; reflect on the two states thcre described—the being "in the flesh," and the being in the Spirit"—the "carnal" and the “spiritual mind"—the indwelling, the leading, the consolation of the Spirit of God, and the minding and following the things of this world. Did this subject ever occupy your thoughts? Can you hope that you are actually led by the influence of the Holy Spirit?

But I need not press you on these or similar points. You must acknowledge that your religion has never gone so deep as these and other passages of Scripture obviously and necessarily requirc. You know that you have never prayed with a humble and contrite

heart; that you have never sought reconciliation with God by a living faith, nor been justified by the alone righteousness of Christ, nor been born again of the Holy Ghost, nor endeavored to walk according to the Spirit. Your religion has never changed your heart and broken you off from your secret sins. Your religion has never brought you in tears io the foot of a Saviour's cross. Your religion has never made you “delight in the law of God after the inner man.” You have a form, and little more than a form, of godliness. You are, in fact, dead as to spiritual life and feeling. You are, after all, establishing your own rightcousness on the ruins of the Cross. You pursuc, without pleasure or meaning, a weary and accustomed round of mere external duties and forms.

Awake, then, from your fatal security. Learn what true and spiritual religion is, and what it must effect in you, if ever you go to heaven. Behold, the penetrating eye of an all-sccing God is fixed upon you! Hearken to those awsul words, as to a voice of thunder, addressed to the Jews of old, but in their main intention applicable with double force to professed Christians: "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices, unto me, saith the Lord; I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required

hand to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of asscmblics, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even your solemn mecting." All mcre forms, then, are abominable in the sight of God, if the heart be wanting. What can the mask and shadow of religion avail with lim? The scmblance of justice and benevolence may, indeed, impose on men like yourselves; but it can never for one instant deceive the Most High. Even in this world, what bencht would the notion of life, or healing, or wealth, or deliverance produce! What good would arise from the mere machinery or implements of skill or benevolence? Would they raise the dead, restore the sick, enrich the perishing, or release the prisoner? And much less will the mere form of pardon, and grace, and purity, change or sanctify the heart.Beseech, then, of God the gift of his Holy Spirit. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." Surrender your heart to God. Never rest contented till the whole power of religion, like a gentle, and steady, and copious

this at your

а.

stream, refresh and renew your soul. Renounce your reliance on a hcartless semblance of picty which only impedes and postpones your conversion; and embrace, as penitent sinners, the offers of grace made you in the Gospel. Thus shall you bc, not only almost, but altogether Christians. You shall no longer“ balt between two opinions,” but boldiy and fully follow the Lord. And you shall feel all the grace and blesscdness of the converted and devoted servants of Christ.

But I address, in the next place, 2d. Those who have neither the form nor the power of godliness.

If persons who wear the cxternal semblance of picty, and yet want its vital efficacy, are in the state which I have described, what must be your danger, who are utterly careless and indifferent, and do not preserve even the decencies of an external religion? If those who have only one part of godliness be in this awful condition, what must be yours, who have no part of it at all? He who has only a form of devotion, says Bishop Hall, is a hypocrite: he who has not even that is an atheist. And yet in this Christian country how many thousand persons have no pretence to picty, and are not concerned to have any! They live almost as hea!hens. They have some regard to the laws of the land, the law of honor, the rules of a profession, the orders of trade, and the prescriptions of usage; but as to spiritual religion, the faith of Christ, the public worship of God, family picty, the observance of the Sabbath, purity of conversation, regard for conscience, the moral and religious cducation of children, scli-government, and a preparation for death and eternity--these things never occupy a scrious thought. They have not even the form of them; they have nothing to represent them; they are things which lie quite beyond their vicw. And yet they call themselves Christians. Lct them Icarn, then, to be alarmcd at such an irrational course of conduct. “ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God!" Know ye not that the swearer, the Sabbath breaker, the unclean person, the proud, the covetous, shall not see the happiness of heaven? Know ye not that godliness is the highest duty of man? Know ye not that you are sinners; that you must repent or perish; that you must believe in the Son of God for everlasting lise, or be condemncd? Know yc not that you have the power, as well as the form, of godliness to acquire, and only a moment, perhaps, for this difficult acquisition? Know ye not that God will have all the heart or none; and that the more general acknowledgment of his being, and a loose adherence to a church, whilst you have not so much as a decent semblance of picty, will only aggravate your condemnation? In forming your estimate of those who have the form of godliness, and, as we fear, only the form, we may sometimes err; but in our judgment of you who carry on your very forehead your determined negligence, and, perhaps, scorn of all serious religion, we cannot be mistaken. If there be any truth in the Bible, you are in imminent danger of perdition. Consider, then, your ways; turn to God; resolve carnestly to serve Christ, as you have been earnestly serving the world. Do not satisfy yourselves with assuming only the name of piety; but begin with the life of it, and this will bring along with it the name. Decide now for heaven; renounce your sins; yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead. How shall you cscape if you neglect so great salvation?

Allow me, before I conclude, to address,

3d. Those who have both the form and the power of godliness. I say

those who have both the form and the power, because it ought to be our concern to unite the two. When in a pure Protestant church, wc rise from the mere external to the vital and internal part of religion, we are not to neglect the first, but to take care that it be animated and invigorated by the second. In domestic life, principles of obcdience without order, will soon lead to inextricable confusion. In the state, patriotism without subordination and subjection to law, will soon become wild and sellish. And thus even in the church of Christ, godliness itself, without proper attention to external form, may quickly be accompanicd by irregularity and innovation. Perhaps the temper of the present day inclincs

us, in some cases, too much to neglect ecclesiastical discipline. Schisms and divisions are less carefully avoided than the Scripture directs them to be. Let us, then, whilst we leave to

wc our brethren of every confession, the most entire liberty of conscience, honor and value our own sacred services, and our own wise and scriptural system of church polity. Let us be careful to worship the Lord according to them," in the beauty of holiness." Let us aim at obtaining a mock, solid, decent, cheerful, and permanent religion. Let us be grateful to God for our scriptural and truly devotional liturgy; and in using its prayers, confessions, and thanksgivings, let us ever add the power of picty to these

instructive forms. Let us thus endeavor to obey the command of our Saviour, when speaking of the smaller observances of the law, compared with the weightier matters of it, “ These ought ye to have done, and not to have left the others undone."

56

SERMON XLVI.

THE LAW OF PEACE.

By the Rev. EDWARD CRAIG, M. A.,
Minister of St. James' Chapel, Edinburgh.

Romans, xii. 18.
If it be possible, as much as in you lieih, live peaceably with all men.

This is one of those practical prccepts which are addressed in the Epistles to the belicving church of Christ, to those who are considered to be possessed of Christian principle and motive; and who are therefore competent subjects to be exhorted to Christian practice. And this is a very important point in the consideration of such precepts. They proceed upon the basis of Christian doctrine, and upon the ability of the individual to bring all the force of Christian motive to bear upon his own mind, for effective obedience. A Christian man is enjoined to seek for peace, as a disciple of the Prince of Peace, as a believer in him who died for us a humiliating death, that we might have peace; and he is enjoined to bring these sacred recollections in all their force and perpetual freshness, to bear upon all the facts of his intercourse with his fellows, that “ if it be possible, as much as in him lies, he should live peaccably with all men.”

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