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mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will
5. Declare to all, that the reception of Christ's Gospel is designed to lead us to the practice of
holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” And let us always shew, by its effects on our own conduct, “ that the love of Christ constraineth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works?.”
Now, when others see in you, Christians, these lovely fruits of faith, they will be induced to pay a more respectful attention to your instructions, and to admire the efficacy of that divine principle which has produced them.“ All they who see it shall say, This hath God done ; for they shall perceive that it is His work."
** Is.lv. 7. John iii. 3. * Tit. ii. 11,15. “Ps. lxiv. 9.
In prosecuting this laudable object, of trying to bring men to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, a believer will decline no trouble, and withhold no assistance which he can afford. He will read and explain the Scriptures to those who are ignorant and out of the way ;” and, as far as his means permit, he will assist in furnishing the poor with copies of the Word of God, and such religious books as are written agreeably to its sacred dictates.
By thus endeavouring to discourage and prevent evil, and by scattering the seeds of righteousness, the Christian treads in the steps of his adorable Lord, who went about doing good to the souls and bodies of mankind.
By labouring to instruct men in the doctrines and precepts of the Christian religion, we concur in the same merciful work in which the Spirit of God is constantly engaged. And is it no honour to cooperate with the Lord of Heaven in the salvation of the lost?
And how exalted is the benevolence of such conduct! To assist in “converting a sinner from the error of his ways," is the greatest act of godlike kindness which we are capable of displaying towards him. If we succeed but in saving one soul from death, who can calculate the quantity of good which has been effected, by the blessing of the Almighty, on our instrumentality? The good thus done, as much exceeds, any temporal benefit we can confer, as perfect bliss in heaven transcends the most exquisite happiness on earth.
When we can adequately conceive what the torments of the damned will be through never-ending ages, and can fully ascertain the exalted nature and
u James v. 20.
degree of that happiness which is prepared for the righteous, then we shall be able to speak more correctly of the value of those pious efforts, which are made the means of delivering men from enduring the former, and of raising them to the enjoyment of the latter.
And what satisfaction can equal that which acerues from the reflection, that Jehovah has made us the honoured instruments of imparting everlasting blessedness to our fellow-sinners, whose guilt once doomed them to unceasing sorrow?: If but one person shall rise up in the realms of glory, and say, Under God, your labours of love were effectual in bringing me to this happy place, would you not derive, from that declaration, a sublime pleasure, which would be an abundant recompence for your patience, and zeal, and compassion ? Every thing prompts" you, Christians, to embark in this charitable undertaking with holy ardour, and to persevere in it with unabating constancy. The success which, in all ages, has followed such endeavours, is sufficient to encourage the most sanguine hopes. And the promise of God, respecting the future triumphs of his Gospel, invites you to exertion :-“ My word shall not return unto me void ; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it b." And not less encouraging is that assurance ; “ They, who turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever! Isa.lv. 10, 11.
• Dan, xii. 2, 3.
ON THE DUTY OF PERSONS IN A MARRIED STATE.
1 Pet. iii. 7. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according
to knowoledge; giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life ;
that your prayers be not hindered. We sustain a near relation to some of our species, which lays us under peculiar obligations to seek their welfare, both temporal and spiritual. God has inercifully appointed this close connexion, with a specjal design that those who are thus united may, by a mutual interchange of affection and kind offices, alleviate each other's burthens, share in one another's sorrows, and be a source of reciprocal comfort in sickness and adversity. Now these objects are more likely to be secured by such a relation, than if each one were left to the casual sympathy of others; who, for want of such bonds and natural ties, would feel åt liberty to occupy themselves entirely with their
The duties of those who live in a married condition are first to be considered.
“God hiinself ordained the conjugal union, before the entrance of sin by the Fall, for the most wise and kind purposes. He saw that "it was not good for Adam (even in a state of innocence) to be alone," and that there was " no help-meet for him” to be found among all the other creatures ; no one suited to engage his affections, participate liis enjoyments, to be his companion, or to unite with bim in the worship of God. He was therefore pleased to form the wolnan froin his side, as "bone of his bone, and flesh
• Gen. ii. 18.
of his flesho;" to lay the foundation of a moderate subordination, and most rational affection. God made but one woman for Adam; intimating that a desire of polygamy could not enter man's heart so long as he kept his integrity. He joined Adam and Eve together, blessed them, and pronounced the union indissoluble by human authority; for no cause of divorce could have existed in holy creatures:-and hence, He added, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife ; and they shall be one flesho."
But many and great changes have taken place in consequence of the Fall. Unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant, in either party, dissolves the -union, as by a moral death : and where it is clearly proved, without any suspicion of collusion, a divorce ought to be easily and certainly attainable.
Those duties which are mutually binding on husbands and wives arë as follow : : 1. Both parties are alike obliged, by their matrimonial vows, to be faithful to each other; because, by their union in marriage, they are no longer their own, but the property of each other. If either of them yield to the embraces of another person, the marriage-bed is defiled; the covenant made betwixt them is immediately broken and annulled : and a divorce ought, in justice, to follow; because the law of God is violated, which declares his intention to punish whoremongers and adulterers .
Inconstancy and lewdness, in those who are married, are crimes of great enormity in the eye of a sin-avenging God. All, therefore who would guard against His frown, must not only refrain from such cruel injustice to each other, but avoid, in their dress,
Gen. ii. 21-24, cib. ii. 24. - Heb. xiii. 4.