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tions, and there is a zeal like that of the Jews, which is destitute of knowledge. On points of importance like these, I might profitably enlarge, but time forbids me. I have said thus much simply as a cautionary matter. There are true marks of religious progression, and these are so plain and palpable, that they cannot be mistaken. Progression in religion demands an increase of humility. This is the first of the Christian graces, and it implies a constant and increasing estimate of our own unworthiness; a constant and increasing distrust in our own understandings; and a lowliness of mind which is disposed to esteem others better and wiser than ourselves. Progression in religion implies that we grow in faith; and this consists in living daily upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We grow in faith when we go through life leaning on his arm, calling on his omnipotent grace in every emergency, and constantly feeling the force of the apostolic statement,—" when I am weak then am I strong." Faith possesses all this power, as it leads us out of ourselves and to an entire dependence on the fullness of Christ for all things. The Church at Thyatira was commended for progress in this grace, and our prayer should be, “Lord, increase our faith.” Progression in religion implies increase in the habit of self-denial. It was the saying of the SaviourIf any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Progression in religion implies growth in the purity and ardour of our love to God and man; in simplicity and ingenuousness of mind; in a separation from the things of this world; in a tenderness of conscience which dreads every approach to sin; and in

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VOL. II.

a beauty and harmony, and consistency of Christian conduct. In fine, progression in religion necessarily presupposes increase in faith, increase in hope, increase in charity; a real, substantial growth in every grace which brings glory to the Lord, who hath called the Christian, as St. Peter says, to glory and to virtue. Take the Church at Thyatira for your model of emulation, as well as your model of self-examination, and let all among you cease from this instant to speak peace, peace to their hearts, while there is not that progress which will meet the commendation of God.Your Saviour, Christians, expects that

your path should be as the shining light, and his

eye

of piercing flame is on your hearts. If he sees declension where he should see progression ; if he marks that your advances are less than your profession and your privileges demand, then shall he withhold from you the commendation, and he will write on your character, and on your destiny, unless you repent and do works meet for repentance, the marks and the catastrophe of Babylon's youthful king“ Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting." See to this, ye who are called Christians, for it concerns your everlasting welfare.

2. Hear what the Spirit saith on the subject of being drawn away into those worldly compliances which make shipwreck of the faith and holiness of the Christian calling. It is impossible to read the epistle to the Church at Thyatira without being persuaded that it was the effort, and the successful effort of the woman Jezebel, to entice professors to a conformity with the world; and where this is done, I care not by whom, Gospel faith and holiness trem

ble on the very verge of destruction. On this subject, however, I may not now enlarge. In my practical remarks on the censure cast upon

the Church of Pergamos, I carried out this train of reflections to its full extent. You

may have forgotten the exhortation, but I must not repeat the subject, as it would leave me no space for other considerations. Yet suffer one remark. Worldly compliance is the first step to practical unbelief; and if in this respect ye become the followers of Jezebel, remember that God hath said, “I will kill her children with death.” He whose eyes are as a flame of fire, sees your hearts; and with his feet of fine brass, terrific emblem of his wrath, he will trample on you in his hot, though just displeasure.” Look to it, ye who essay the impossible conjunction between God and mammon; ye who think that God will be satisfied with any thing short of an undivided heart; ye who think conformity to the world at least indifferent. Look to it; look to it. “I will kill her children with death, that all the Churches may know that I am he which searcheth the reins and the heart, and give to every man according to his deeds.”

3. Hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches on the subject of perseverance to the end—“Hold fast till I come; keep my words unto the end." Many, alas many, are they who set out well, and run well for a time, but they grow wearied of the service; and though having put their hand to the plough, they look back, and are pronounced unfit for the kingdom of heaven.

That religion, my friends, which is a principle of grace changing and purifying the heart, is not the mere meteor of a

moment, extinguished almost as soon as enkindled. Herod for a time heard John gladly; and for a short space

of awakened conscience Felix trembled; and the apostate Demas for a while followed in the train of the true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. But religion, which is possessed of saving traits, demands infinitely more than this transient service. How explicit is the language of the Scriptures—“Beye followers of those who, through faith and patience, or perseverance, inherit the promises.”—“He that endureth unto the end, shall be saved.”—“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”—“He that keepeth my words unto the end," says Christ, “shall be blessed.” Perseverance, brethren, may be called the last and best triumph of grace in the soul.' It is not in the infancy of personal religion, when it comes to us in all the bloom and freshness of novelty, in that spring-time of our spiritual existence, when the flowers of hope and joy are scattered so richly over our path ; it is not then, that the course of the Christian is most difficult. It is when all that is pleasing to the natural man has vanished; when the novelty has passed away; when the love and tenderness which first cheered us on the way to Zion are silent; when many prospects of usefulness are closed; when perhaps we have been made to feel that it is rather by suffering than by doing that we are to pursue our way to glory; when our motives have been misrepresented, our principles traduced, and our zeal and love treated with neglect and scorn; then it is that our religion is in danger of flagging. But this may not be if we would be safe. He who would enjoy the crown, must persevere unto the

end; he must set his face like a flint against every corruption; he must resist, even unto blood, the contradiction of sinners against the Master whom he loves; he must adopt the language of the Apostle“By honour and by dishonour, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well known, as dying and behold we live, as chastened and not killed, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things.”

Let every one of you, my brethren, who has set out on the way of religion, beware the danger of halting in the course. If you would be saved, your eye must be steadily fixed upon the end. You may seek to serve God, and you may apparently do it for a month; ay, for a year; ay, for three score years and

if

you do not persevere, you will fall short of the kingdom, and instead of the morningstar, herald of everlasting day, your little light will be quenched in everlasting darkness; and like the rebellious Israelites, on the very borders of the promised land, you will perish, though within the very sight of the kingdom; and your wretchedness will be doubly aggravated, because you may have been near to the attainment of the glory. Yes, my friends, hold fast that which you have; keep the words of Christ till the very end of your mortal career, for on no other terms can you expect the day-star of hope to shine on the darkness of the hour which severs you from time and unites you to eternity. Without perseverance to the end, all your struggles will be fruitless; all your spiritual toil but vanity and vexation of spirit. You will, indeed, have disquieted yourself in vain, and your feeding will have been

yet,

ten; and

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