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before the judgment-seat of Christ. Will all those who love their Saviour make their hearty prayers to him that he will open the eyes and soften the hearts of those who have not yet truly turned to him; and that his word spoken in this Church to-day may not return utterly void, but may touch some one or two hearts at least, through His blessing who alone can make it prosper in the thing whereunto he sends it?
2 cor. v. 17.
If any man be in Christ he is a new creature ; old things
are passed away; behold all things are become new.
I CONCLUDED my Sermon last Sunday with
4 counsel or comfort at all.
to save his soul, and asking for directions to put him and to keep him in the right way.
First of all it may be right to mention that anxiety for the state of one's soul may
be equally real, and yet show itself in different persons in a very different manner. I believe that many good people have been very angry with themselves because they did not weep for their sins, and feel that lively grief which we read of so often in the Scriptures as accompanying repentance. Indeed, we are apt to set too high a value upon tears as a proof of X
a feeling; and often to think a person cold and hard-hearted because he cannot shed them freely in seasons of his friends' sorrow. But we ought to know or to recollect that tears are very much a matter of bodily constitution ; and that while they flow from some persons readily, nothing can ever draw them from others. In these things also a great deal depends on climate and national character. The people of warm countries, like Judæa, display all their feelings in a very lively manner ;-they scream, or wring their hands, or weep, on occasions which, to the natives of colder countries, seem trifling. We, on the contrary, are accustomed to laugh at such lively signs of emotion, and think it more
becoming to suppress them. We thus gain a habit, by which we are far less apt to have strong bodily feelings; and it would often be as impossible for us to weep at any thing that pained us, as it would be for a native of a warm country to forbear from weeping. It is of no use, therefore, to examine nicely into the vehemence or soberness of our feelings, whether of joy or sorrow, of hope or of fear; nor should any one think himself not in earnest because he cannot pass sleepless nights or shed floods of tears for the sinful state in which he has been living.
Connected with this subject, and of even greater importance, are the notions which people sometimes entertain of a sudden change to be effected in themselves at some one particular time, after which they shall have different feelings from those of their former lives, and the Spirit will have an undoubted mastery over the flesh. I am afraid that many of my hearers will be more inclined to laugh and sneer at what they call sudden conversions, than to expect such a thing too anxiously in their own cases : and certainly their chance of any conversion at all, either sudden or gradual, is far less than that of others who too eagerly, if
you will, superstitiously, look for more than they can reasonably expect to find. The
truth is, I imagine, that most men who have ever become Christians in earnest, can look back upon some one part of their life as on what I may call the crisis of their character, when the change in their principles and conduct first began. And it is often the case also, that they can remember some particular circumstance which first led to this change; something happening to themselves or their friends, or it may be some particular conversation, or sermon, which struck them unusually, and produced a lasting impression on their minds. But those must be persons of rare happiness, who can recollect that the improvement in their characters was very great all at once; in whom it was not interrupted very often by periods in which they grew worse rather than better, and whose feelings towards God were such as to prove that the Spirit had securely gained the victory over the flesh. I do not mean to deny that there have been such instances; I only mean to say that they are cases of such extraordinary happiness, that no man has the least right to expect them for himself. The change, indeed, from what we are by nature to the full growth of Christian holiness, is something almost beyond measuring; nay, the change of principle from the common lives of worldly men to that