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what our Lord has said of the deceitfulness of riches, especially since he has so solemnly declared that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man, or as he himself explains it, them who trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Often do we see his curse fearfully verified. Woe unto you, ye rich, for ye have received your consolation. Mistake me not, brethren. I mean not to rail against wealth as a thing evil in itself, nor to insinuate that the enjoyment of it is a crime. All the creatures of God are good ; and if he has distinguished you by opening his liberal hand and pouring plenty into your dwellings, these gifts of his bounty are to be received with thankfulness and improved, with care. But that they expose you to dangerous temptations, that they have actually proved a fatal snare to many, you must acknowledge ; and if you belong to Christ, it will not be difficult to' convince you that you need more watchfulness and more grace than others, and that there is much necessity for this divine caution, If riches increase, set not your hearts upon them.
The same may be said of the honors of the world. Hurried with the business of office, surrounded by the irreligious, and flattered by the obsequiousness of those who court their
favor, men of high station are in circumstances very unfavorable to warm and humble piety. And although it may be thought superfluous to enlarge on this topic, as there appear to be
earthly dignity and power, yet it is not superfluous to entreat them to guard against an anxiety for a situation that will lay them open to the hazard of many sinful compliancesthat will cool their ardor in pressing forward toward the mark, the prize of their high calling in Christ Jesus--and be to them hereafter a fruitful source of bitter regret, Whilst the old leaven remains, they will sometimes feel the workings of a temper which loves the praise of men more than the praise of God; and as they are required to run with patience the race set before them, they should listen to the voice from heaven, commanding them to lay aside every weight, and not incur the guilt of disobedience by tying new ones about their necks.
If riches, if honors, are hostile to the travelers who are marching to Zion, surely carnal pleasure cannot be their friend. The desire of ease and sensual gratification is so interwoven with man's present frame, that he seldom makes a resistance so feeble and ineffectual, as when attacked in this quarter. Never does he commit such egregious blunders, as when
he undertakes to value the enjoyments of sense. Viewing objects through a false and jaundiced medium, he must inevitably pronounce a false and pernicious judgment; whilst unhallowed propensities giving him frequently no time for reasoning or reflection, urge him into rash and destructive actions. We cannot advance far in the ways of Christ, without knowing the painful struggle which is necessary to withstand the allurements of pleasure. Let those who profess the religion of Jesus fix it in their minds as a most important truth, that we must employ continued vigilance and prayer if we would escape her entanglements. To those particularly who are in the bloom of life I address myself. Flee from her blandishments. Her cords are silken, but they are strong, and draw to ruin. Taste not the mixture of her cup: 'tis sweet indeed, but fraught with death. Trust not her innocent and en- . chanting appearance: it is the cloak of treachery; and whilst you listen to her syren tongue, and are fascinated with her bewitching smiles, she is aiming at your bosoms a mortal blow.
What think you now, brethren, of the Christian life? Is it not a life of toil, of hardships, of peril? Is the representation now given of it widely different from that which
your experience has realized ? Has the profession of the gospel cost you no fightings, no fears, no trouble? Then, brethren, deceive not yourselves: you have serious reason to doubt your relation to the Lord Jesus; and this alarming idea will be confirmed when I tell you that you have not yet heard the whole of those trials which fall to the lot of a believer. He finds a
Third class of terrible enemies in the corruptions of his own heart.
A Christian is a singular phenomenon-he has within him two moral principles directly contrary to each other, both in their nature and in their operations. They must, therefore, and do keep up an unceasing conflict. The flesh, says Paul, lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these two are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. On this text, the daily experience of God's people is the best commentator. Every rising and setting sun furnishes them with some new proof, that though implanted grace, when succored from on high, overcomes, it cannot extirpate corruption. Their old man is indeed crucified, but he still lives. He is dying, 'tis true, but he dies a lingering death; and in struggling for life he will make many violent exertions before he expires. Followers of Jesus, you can easily enter into my meaning. However the apostle's language may have puzzled speculative men who decided concerning their own hearts, you comprehend him without difficulty when he says, I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin and death which is in my members. You know the truth of that humiliating declaration. The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. You know what it is to
insensibility, impurity, unbelief, and all the other evil affections which are expressed by the term of indwelling sin. You know that there is in your souls, notwithstanding all the goodness and all the love of your Redeemer, such a propensity to depart from the living God, that were not the everlasting arms continually underneath you, your feet would soon slide into the paths, would sink in the mire, of the grossest sin. Distressing situation ! To be surrounded with foes thirsting for our blood is painful enough ; but to harbor in our own bosoms traitors who are leagued with these foes, is beyond measure afflicting. How sweetly and serenely would the Christian's days glide on, were it not for the power of