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with our necessity; if in patient continuance in well-doing we wait for his salvation; we need not despair of attaining his great compassion. He will grant us more than we can ask or desire, and the bounty which he bestows is limited only by the measure of his eternal love. The very crumbs of his table are light, and life, and bliss." What then must be the riches of that unfading inheritance, to which he will introduce his redeemed people, when the banquet of his almighty love shall be spread amid the fulness and the glory of God's own house for ever!

SERMON IX.

THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.

EPHESIANS ii. 19.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

The great and precious promises which God has given to his church, the high and invaluable privileges which he has vouchsafed to his people, are declared in Scripture to be so afforded for their progress in holiness of life, for their advancement in meetness for his everlasting kingdom. It becomes, then, our highest interest, as it ought to be esteemed our bounden duty of gratitude to him who gives them, to value and improve these means of grace, for the use of which we shall one day be called to render a strict account. In order to this, we ought gladly to embrace every privilege; we ought earnestly to examine every promise; we ought to allow every motive of godliness to exert its full force upon our hearts; we ought to cherish

impulse of humble gratitude to kindle our affection and our zeal. But, alas ! how feebly and imperfectly are our hearts influenced by these feelings ! How little do we regard the spiritual application of God's holy word! how little do we value the blessings of the covenant of grace! Perhaps the state of Christianity contributes in no small degree to the prevalence of these dispositions. The great mass of mankind around us profess themselves to be Christians. We are familiar from our childhood with the prominent doctrines of Christianity, (at least they are continually presented to our minds, whether they make a due impression on our hearts or not,) and thus, as we are accustomed to think but little of the regular return of day, or the regular changes of the seasons, so do we habitually forget God's unspeakable gift, and lose sight of its importance, from the very circumstance that its blessings are within our reach. Hence arises our lukewarmness in the duties of religion ; hence our habit of generalizing the declarations of God's word; our tendency to be conversant with the theory, rather than the practice of Christianity. We “go round about Zion, and tell the towers thereof;" we admire the beauty of her palaces, and the security of her defences; yet we linger without her gates, as if we knew not that within her walls alone is our appointed refuge, and that the avenger of blood is behind us.

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It cannot be denied, that in proportion as we are careless or ignorant of the privileges which belong to us as members of Christ's church, we do, in the same proportion, come short of that character, which, as members of Christ's church, we are bound to attain. The enjoyment of the means of salvation is not, of itself, salvation; the offer of eternal life does not, of necessity, involve that he to whom that offer is made shall undoubtedly be partaker of the blessing. Those servants who diligently employed the talents committed to them, found a reward and a blessing in their increase ; while the talent that was laid up in a napkin became a source of deeper condemnation, and more terrible shame, to that slothful servant who despised his master's bounty. It matters not then what may be our outward privileges, if we neglect to improve them. It will be to no purpose that we profess the faith of Christ's universal church, that we partake her sacraments, and worship amid her congregation ; unless we are united to the same living head, the Lord Jesus Christ, unless we are sanctified and ruled by the same Holy Spirit, and endued with that love to God and to each other, which is the bond and token of our fellowship with Christ.

With these views, I propose to examine that article of our Creed, by which we confess our

belief in the communion of saints; and to endeavour to point out and establish the doctrine which the article contains, and the important practical considerations which are deducible from it.

Having professed our belief in the Holy Catholic Church, we proceed to enumerate the privileges with which it is endowed. We believe that there exists a society of men professing the religion of Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth ; agreeing together in the belief of the doctrines which he has revealed. This society is not necessarily united by civil and secular bonds, but extends through all ages and through all nations. It is a spiritual church ; holy in its separation from the corrupt principles of the world; holy in its worship of the one true God, and its devotion to his service: and also universal in its extent; embracing all who, under every clime, and in every age, have kept that faith which the apostles preached. It follows, then, from this description of the church of Christ, that none can be truly members of its communion who do not accept that form of doctrine which the apostles delivered, in all the force of its obligations, its duties, its demands. None can be truly members of this church but those who not only believe the doctrines of the Christian religion, but conform their whole lives to its precepts; who not only have a holy faith, but are purified

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