world, that desire to devote the whole soul to God, which are said to be characteristic of the true Christian; but I do not find that the occasional indulgence of besetting sins, or falling into the spirit of the world, when it comes in my way, deprives me of my relish for the truths of the gospel, or disqualifies me for looking to my Redeemer and my God with feeling and devotion, in public or in private. Surely these things are the necessary infirmities of the flesh, and the Saviour will not reject at the last one who looks to him with such feelings, and has shared such communion with his people as I have done." What! has he not used the expostulation, "Why call ye me Lord! Lord! and do not the things which I say?"* Has he not solemnly declared, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord! Lord! have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I pro

*Luke vi. 46.

fess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' To whom are these warnings addressed, if not to you? For whose instruction and for whose salvation were they uttered, if not for yours? Oh! rouse your attention, then, to the momentous enquiry, on which we purpose to enter, and in the meanwhile reflect upon those awful declarations of your Lord, with which he seems to have concluded more than one practical discourse to the people, "Whosoever cometh to me and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like. He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that, without a foundation, built an house upon the earth; against which the storm did beat vehe*Matt. vii. 21-23.

mently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

3. But there is a third class to whom I must not neglect to apply this subject; those real Christians who from some cause or other have never risen to a high standard of christian practice, or who have fallen from their first estate and their first love, into a cold and formal and almost heartless adherence to a profession that was once as sincere as it was earnest. This lamentable effect may have ensued from the gradual and unsuspected influence of the world without, or some bosom sin within. At first, it may be, you carefully secluded yourself from every hurtful influence, and kept a strict watch upon every besetting sin; and you vainly imagined that you were steeled against the vanities of the world, and that the lusts of the flesh were so mortified that they could never injure you again. This delusion threw you off your guard. The world made its ap

* Luke vi. 47-49.

proaches in some of its least questionable shapes; you partially returned to your former intercourse with irreligious friends in the hope of doing them good; mutual concessions were made, until they had insensibly brought you down to their own standard, instead of your raising them to yours. Or if these dangers were avoided, the easily besetting sin began to


peep and to mutter," and when these first symptoms of returning life gave no alarm, and were not in consequence vigorously suppressed, it grew bolder and stronger, until at length it was once more in a condition to struggle for the mastery. Or in the absence of all this, secret prayer was neglected, meditation on the word was not delighted in as formerly, the powers of the spiritual life became gradually sapped, and the strength of christian character began to decline. From whatever cause, you allowed the force of your early conviction and the fervour of your youth to pass away without improving them to the

formation of a healthy and consistent character, and you settled down into a low and spiritless standard of religion.

Time does not allow me to enter further into detail, but to a conscience that has been once awakened, unless indeed it be seared as with a hot iron by repeated violence, few words are sufficient. If you feel within "that aching void the world can never feel," you are the persons to whom I address myself. You probably can enter fully into the feelings of the dying pastor in his sublime strain of self-communion, and join fervently in the earnest aspiration,


May I die the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like his !" It would be but a trite remark to remind you, that if you would "die the death," you must live the life of the righteous; and probably there are times when your soul rises to something of his ennobled views of a Christian's responsibility. But there are others, and, alas! they are the most frequent, when your judgment is warped by

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