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your peace are passing away from your eyes ! May a sense of your guilt and danger induce cry
for redemption through his blood; and may the view which we have taken of the character and departure of Simeon excite in you this wish, which the grace of God can and will realize in every sincere suppliant, “ Let me live the life of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."
der it happy. Sweet to the aged is the lesson of holy wisdom, and it hath a peculiar interest when read by the voice of youthful piety. Often hath this prayer ascended before God during such an exercise, that the passage read and heard may be made life and peace to both.
Let unconverted men reflect how different their character is from that of Simeon. Ye neither fear God nor regard man. You have not the Spirit of Christ, and the Saviour himself is the object of your neglect and hatred; and what shall be the end of such a course but death? not death in peace, but in horror ; or if there should be no bands in your death, it will be an aggravation of your perdition. It will give you no comfort when you are dying, that you have seen the world in its charms and sin in its pleasures, for this will render death more frightful. It will be vain to ask from God a dismission in peace, for this will be his answer," How can there be peace
when thy abominations are so many ?” The salvation of God you have never desired nor sought, and how shall you escape while scorning the only remedy, and persisting in the practices against which the wrath of God is revealed from heaven? Still Christ is in the temple, and he is here to be offer
“ Hearken to me, ye that are stout-hearted and far from righteousness; behold, I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off, and my salvation it shall not tarry. O regard this offer as you will wish you had done when the things that belong to
ed to you:
• Isaiah xlvi. 12, 13.
your peace are passing away from your eyes ! May a sense of your guilt and danger induce
you to cry for redemption through his blood; and may the view which we have taken of the character and departure of Simeon excite in you this wish, which the grace God can and will realize in every sincere suppliant, “ Let me live the life of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."
JAMES i. 4. Let patience have her perfect work, that
ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
THOUGH various assertions and injunctions in Scripture have been considered as strange and unaccountable, such reasons may be assigned for them as will satisfy every candid mind that they are both wise and good. The declaration of Solomon, that it is better to go to the house of mourning than that of feasting, has often been ridiculed by the gay libertine ; but it is certain, that in the scene of sorrow the mind is formed to humility and sobriety, while in jovial scenes the folly of the heart is encouraged, and every thing interesting to us as immortal beings is forgotten.
Our Lord, in his Sermon on the Mount, pronounces his blessing on the poor, the mourners, and the persecuted; and their happiness, even as to the present life, will be evident to every person who considers the protection which humility affords from envy and violence, the solacing influence of godly sorrow, and that supernatural fortitude, and that perfect peace, with which God supports those who suffer for righteousness' sake.
In the second verse of this chapter, James exhorts the saints to whom he wrote to count it all joy when they fell into divers temptations. To some this will
appear a hard saying ; and it is true, that we cannot rejoice in affliction considered merely in itself; but when we think on the fatherly care from which it proceeds, the lessons it powerfully teaches, and the improvement in grace and peace to which it leads, we must admit the truth of the Psalmist's statement, “ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest out of thy law.”* In accordance with it the Apostle shows, that those trials of their faith produced patience, and form that ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God great price. Having mentioned this result of sanctified tribulation, he, in the words of the text, calls them to the assiduous cultivation of this grace, as essentially necessary to Christian perfection. Though the persecutions of the primitive Christians rendered it peculiarly necessary to address to them such exhortations, and called on the Apostle James to commence this Epistle with them, they are required in every age by the disciples of Jesus. Even the youngest should learn to possess his soul in patience; and to the aged it is a virtue for which there is an increasing call in their gathering darkness and daily infirmities.
In the following discourse I shall explain the nature of this grace ; illustrate the exhortation, Let patience have her perfect work; and point out the strength of the motive here used to enforce it.
I. In explaining the nature of patience, I begin by remarking, that it is a grace of the Holy Spirit, and
* Psalm xciv, 12.