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not: for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them':"-" and Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." The Christ
ian vision strongly resembles this. The glorious company of the apostles—the goodly fellowship of the prophets the noble army of martyrs-are all encamped, with the celestial King of the spiritual kingdom, around the dwellings of the just: and the holy Church throughout all the world bears ample testimony to the revealed and ever-blessed will of God, the Father of an infinite majesty—his honourable, true and only Son, and also the Holy Ghost the Comforter. When you have considered all this in the piety and integrity of your hearts-lift up your voice in holy transport, and exclaim, O Lord! in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded!
Are any of us so pure in heart, as not to require an instance of an obstinate, uncontrollable purpose of spirit, in opposition to the word and will of God? See the haughty and unrelenting character of Saul, who was degraded and dethroned for the unsubdued stubbornness of his soul!" Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry; because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath rejected thee from being king." The proud
1 2 Kings vi. 16, 17. 2 Te Deum laudamus.
31 Sam. xv. 23.
sinner cannot bear contradiction: he is indignant at the slightest opposition to his preconceived opinion. Who wonders at the hardness and pertinacity of such a mind? Himself, if I may so say, is his own dungeon'. Such is man under the influence of an unrenewed spirit. Let us contemplate him in a more pleasing light. "I beseech you," says St. Paul, "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ 2!" The very words diffuse a charm around them. They melt the hard substance which possesses the breast, and supply its place with a soft and yielding principle which circulates cheerily through every vein, imparts its grateful feeling to the frame, and prepares it for eternal blessedness. Under the terms of meekness and gentleness we are directed to the practice of almost every Christian grace; for a constellation of these graces constitutes the" ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price "."
In truth, humbleness of mind is good-nature in its genuine sense, and implies the most happy, complacent, teachable disposition; indeed, all that is amiable in the character of man. True religion is its source: true religion is its end. This truly forms an habitation for the Spirit of God; for when it arises from a pure and holy faith, which is essential to its existence, it becomes the perfection, as it is often called in Scripture, the work of our salvation.
1 Milton's Comus.
2 2 Cor. x. 1.
31 Pet. iii. 4.
meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save "Those that are meek shall he guide
your souls 1."
in judgment; and such as are gentle, them shall he teach his way "."
"HE that has the love of God residing in his soul is master of all the distinctions of morality." This is, as it has been called, a weighty sentence; and implies such a state of human perfection, as it is delightful to contemplate. As the mind of man therefore works best upon the best models, there can be no presumption in selecting this, with a design to imitate the imitable parts of the most inscrutable perfection; that is, to imitate them in detail, at the same time that we remark with wonder and admiration the united glory of the whole design. This is consistent with the governing principle suggested and supported by the infallible word of revelation. The doctrine of the Gospel, allowing for recovery from a state of sin, through the invaluable blessing of redemption, and the sufferings and merits of a crucified Saviour, expects a renovation of the whole man, and a consistency of character and conduct suitable to the new, and spiritual state, in which he is placed. "If we live in
1 James i. 21.
2 Ps. xxv. 8.
3 Bp. Jebb.
the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit'." If we are built up in Christ, as our profession implies, we are one with Christ, and Christ with us. "As ye therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught "."
The language of Scripture supposes this holy and happy state more or less attainable by every faithful servant of the Gospel. When the true Christian, therefore, has reached the high eminence of this celestial grace, he comprises as it were, a code of laws in his own breast. The detail, as well as the sum of Christianity, will be inscribed on his heart. But though I have imagined this character of a Christian, I must, as an observer of mankind, seriously inquire, "Who is sufficient for these things?" If we apply this character to ourselves, there is danger; for the remains of sin in us speak caution to our souls: and the humbleness of heart in a true believer, is at a great distance from one who is induced to say to his neighbour, "Stand apart, I am holier than thou ""
To him, whose constant prayer, and constant aim are to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, this language will be perfectly intelligible. To such a consistent Christian, St. John's strong expression of confidence will be truly applicable: "who
1 Gal. v. 16.
2 Col. ii. 6, 7.
3 Is. lxv. 5.
soever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God":"-not that he has an indemnity from sinning which cannot be overcome, but that the principle of Divine love has taken such deep possession of his heart, that the most impossible thing in nature may be expected, rather than that he should become a renegade to God, and a betrayer of his Saviour. When a good man is falsely accused of a specific crime, the indignant answer is, It is impossible-he could not do it. This appears to comprehend the obvious interpretation of this rather difficult text. A confirmed Christian never can consent wilfully to transgress the declared will of the Almighty. When such is unhappily the case, our sympathetic tear will flow, and we shall reluctantly exclaim, "Alas! my brother!"
Christian stability, then, though attended with many difficulties, must be thought to imply an attainable state of perfection. The Apostle Paul binds this injunction warmly on the consciences of all his converts. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith; quit you like men; be strong;"-" finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus-therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable "."
Men, of every rank and every age, are deeply con
11 John iii. 9. 2 1 Cor. xvi. 13. Eph. vi. 10. 2 Tim. ii. 1. 1 Cor. xv. 58.