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work of graee which is not eviilence of vital and practi. cal godliness. While we study to pursue the path of holy obedience respecting both our faith and practice, let us exercise a godly jealousy over ourselves, that we do not mistake our moral characters,-that we do not mistake what we wish to believe, for truth, and what we choose to do, for duty. Let us at all times be willing to discover erors, and renounce them. to diseern duty and perform it. Sueh ehanges instead of manifesting weakness are marks of true wisdom. Lit us not ve over confident on points where we have but little light from heaven. cherish a favourable opinion of the man who has long led a prayerful, exemplary life, though in some things he may
differ from us. If he appear to have more sang. tification, he may have mpre spiritual knowledge than we with less outward advantages. Let us judge of our Christian attainments, by the progress we have made in the path of the just. Let us not complain of not enjoying increasing light when we are wandering from the narrow path. Since God is the author of sanetification, in every stage, let us be much engaged in praying that he would sanctify us in soul, body, and spirit. And to our prayers, let us add a diligent use of all those means which he has appointed to promote an increase of our knowledge, sanctitiration, ani comfort. THIRDLY; Is sanetification progressive, then we are
to expect great evidence of piety from sick bed ex. ercises, thougli we would not limit the Holy One of lsrael. He may, in some instances, renew and suddenly ri. pen a sout far glory. But high transports in death, with recent hopes are very doubtful evidence. Let us not speak of such in the circle of our friends and acquaint. ance in a manner which shall in the least countenance & disposition to delay repentance to a siek bed and a dy
And as we value scriptural evidence and ho. ly tranquility in the hour of our own dissolution. let us not madly procrastinate the business of religion till then.
FINALLY ; Perfect day may well reconcile the Chris. tian to death. In the contemplation of that event, there is a terror which we feel in common with animals. It is inore awful still to consider ourselves amenable at the tri. bunal of Omnicient Purity, and to view death as the officer wbieh ushers us into the more immediate presence of
Eternal Majesty. But when Christians look around on the moral darkness of our world, when they look within on the state of their own souls, and when every thing in their moral horizou is obscurity at best, the bore of a glorious, unclouded, and eternal day, beyond the grave tends to reconcile the pious mind to death. Compared with this hope, how worthless and vain the hopes of the Infidel and of the worldling in a dying hour.
SELECT BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.
Justin, surnamed The Martyr, appears to have been the first man of learning after the Apostles, who was eminent in the Church of Christ. He was a native of Neapolis, in Samaria, ancienily called Sychem; and by his father's desire was educated in all the learning and philosophy of the Gentile world. Coming at length to the far famed school of Alexandria, for still further improvement, he studied the various doctrines of the dif. ferent philosophers, and was alternately dissatisfied with each of them; till at length he cordially embraced what is called the Platonic system. He now lived in a very retired manner, and seemed to be established in his own sentiments; when an unforeseen eircumstance took place, which led to his conversion to Christianity. Whilst one day taking a solitary walk by the sea side, he providentially met an aged Christian. They soon entered into conversation. One question led to another, till at length, the venerable stranger recommended him tu read the writings of the Old Testament prophets, as more ancient, and infinitely wiser than all tbe works of heathen philosophers. He then unfolded to him the leading doctrines of Christianity, and coneluded his discourse with this truly important advice :-“ Above all things, pray, that the gates of light may be opened to ou : for these things cannot be discerned or understood, by any one, except God and his Christ grant to a man the knowledge of them.” That this divine illumination is absolutely necessary to enable any one properly to un.
derstand and relish real godliness, is declared in various passages of Scripture, and especially in St Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians," The natural man," says be, « receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness auto bim ; neither can ho know them, because they are spiritually discerned."-ii. 14.
The venerable stranger having finished his discourse, immediately departed, and was nerer after seen by Jus. tin. His words however made a deep impression on his mind. From that time he carefully read ihe Seriptures, felt an increasing interest in their important contents, and in due time experienced that genuine consolation, which Christianity alone can confer on the troubled mind. To use his own expressions, " I found,” said he, “Christianity to have a formidable majesty in its nature, admirably adapted to terrify those who are in the way of transgression, as well as a sweetness, peace, and serenity, for those who are conversant in it.” In another place he remarks, that the calmness and patience of Christians, under the most dreadful persecutions, confirmed his faith in Christianity: for Alexandria, and indeed almost every country, where the religion of the Redeemer was known, was polluted with the blood of the martyrs.
Justin, after his conversion, still wore the usual dress of the heathen philosophers, which shews that be retained a relish for the studies of his youth; and indeed it is to be feared, that this very circumstance tended to obscure his views of divine truth, though not in such a degree as to prevent his sincere attachment to the gospel.
Coming to Rome about the year of our Lord 140, he earnestly opposed the blasphemous errors of Marcion. He also shortly after published his excellent apology for the Christians, against whom the most dreadful calumnies had been reported, to make them the more odious in the opinion of the people. Amougst other things, they were accused of devouring infants--of committing incest--and of putting out the lights in their places of worship, in order that they might indulge themselyes without restraint in the grossest sensuality. By thes: glaring misrepresentations, the rage of the heathens was for a time inflamed to the utmost against the Christian name, and a bandle was afforded for the most barbarous treatment of the best of men. Time, however, detected
the falsehood of these accusations, and all who made any pretensions to eandour became, at length, ashamed of affecting to believe, what was in its nature improbable, and was supported by no evidence. In his apology, Jastin completely refutes the charges brought against them, describes their mode of worship, and vindicates its purity and simplicity. This apology, which was addressed to the Emperor, Antonius Pius, appears to have had a considerable influence on his future conduet towards the Christians. Though indifferent himself about religious truth, he was nevertheless a man of sense and humanity, and was anxious to do justice to all his subjects. He therefore bore an honourable testimony to the moral character of the Christians, and issued a decree, that if any of them for the future should be accused merely of being Christians, they should be acquitted, and their accusers punished.
Whilst we admire the amiable character of this Emperor, and the justice of his sentence respecting the Christians, we cannot but regret that he never seriously studied the gospel for himself. A fatal indifference to religion, too common, alas! in our own day, gained full possession of his mind; and hence, while he was a ter. ror to evil-doers, he never seems to have reflected that he had a soul accountable to the Supreme Being, and that, that soul was polluted in his sight
Justin having observed in his apology, how few Jews had ein braced Christianity, and that the Seriptures were fulfilled in them, was attacked by Trypho, a learned Jew. The substance of their dispute is still extant.
After some years had elapsed, Justin again returned to Rome, and in consequence of the bloody persecution of the Christians under Marcus Aurelius, who had now succeeded to the throne, he wrote a second apology, and presented it to him. But if he supposed" he should have softened the present Emperor's mind towards them as he had that of his predecessor, he was much mistaken. Aurelius was an implacable enemy of the Chris
tians, and hence the arguments and the philosophy of po Justin were alike despised by the Emperor, who, remark
able as it may seem, on other occasions, manifested the greatest reverence for men of learning. Crescens, a profe ligate philosopher, who had been rebuked by Justin for Sec. Edit.
his iniquities, procured his imprisonment, and shortly after, his martyrdom, for a crime of all others the most odious in that day, his being a Christian.
The Præfect or Governor, before whom Justin and six of his companions were brought, had beeị the tutor of the Emperor, and had been celebrated for the moral duties he inculcated on him : but alaş! what would these wretched fig leaves of morality avail, whilst the tutor and his royal pupil remained the enemies of God and his Christ! At first he attempted to persuade Justin to obey the gods, and comply with the Emperor's commands.The martyr defended the reasonableness of his religion. The Governor then inquired in what kind of learning apd discipline he had been educated. He then told him he had endeavoured to understand all kinds of learning; but finding satisfaction in none of them, he at last had found rest in the Christian doctrine, however fashionable it might be to despise it.
“ Wreteh!" replied the indignant magistrate, art thou captivated then by THAT RELIGION !!!
“ I am,” said Justin, “I follow the Christians; and their doctrine is right.” 6 Wbat is their
doctrine po, " It is this: we believe the only one God to be the Creator of all things visible and invisible ; and we copfess our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, foretold by the prophets of old, and that he is now the Saviour and teacher of all those who humbly submit to his instructions; and that he will hereafter be the judge of mankind. As for myself, I am too mean to be able to say any thing becoming his infinite Deity ; this was the business of the prophets, who, many ages ago, foretold the coming of the Son of God into the world.
The Præfect then asked, “ where do the Christians usually assemble P"
On being told that the God of Christians was not confined to any particular place, he inquired where Justin instructed his scholars. Justin informed him.
The Præfeet having severally examined his companions, again addressed Justin-Hear thou, who hasi the character of an orator, and imaginest thyself to be in the possession of truth, if I scourge thee from head to foot, thinkest thou, that thou shalt go to heaven po