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- LIFE THE SEASON FOR CHRISTIAN GRACES. 137 gress, it seemed to him much to give away a religious book that had cost a few pence; when more advanced, he gave scores of much more expensive books away; and I have understood, even sold part of his own library, to enable him to pursue this mode of promoting religion.
If then you would adorn the holy gospel, and walk worthy the character of a child of the holy God, let it ever be impressed on your heart, that it is not merely holiness, but ripening, advancing holiness, which you are to follow.
$ 5. Many are the weighty motives that urge upon the Christian the incessant pursuit of perfect holiness.
You should pursue holiness with all the energy of your soul; because this life is the only season in which some Christian graces can be exercised. It is now that we can serve the Lord, who redeemed us by his blood. Now, in sorrow we may practise resignation to the will of God: the Christian cannot in heaven: there are no sorrows there. Now must we learn lessons of forgiveness: the blessed will find no enemies to forgive beyond the grave. Now must we prove our faithfulness in the scenes of the Christian warfare ; for only this world is the field of conflict: no spiritual foes disturb the peace of heaven. Now should our tempers, amidst ruffling, disturbing things, acquire the serenity of Christ's: there is nothing to ruffle in the realms above. Now must we feed the hungry and clothe the naked :
“ In heaven are found no sons of need.” Now must we visit the sick and afflicted, or never; for above, the inhabitant shall never say, I am sick. Now must we instruct the illiterate and spread the gospel, or never : and as we sow, we shall hereafter reap. And would you not wish, in these respects, to copy him who went about doing good. The time for these will soon be passed ; and once gone, is gone for ever.
$ 6. Follow holiness ; because thus you may glorify God, and recommend religion to man.
Doubtless, in many instances, the calm but powerful eloquence of a holy life, has awakened the thoughtless to attention to their best interests, and taught even scoffers wisdom. Thus enforced,
" Truth from the lips has come with double sway,
(*) Eccles, ix. 10. (v) Matt. v. 14-16.
· HOLINESS HONOURS GOD The meek forbearance, that resents no injury; the calm submission, that never utters a murmur; the expansive love, that pities and blesses friends and foes; and all the unostentatious charms of Christian piety; these, even when they shine like the stars in solemn silence, yet like them utter a voice,
“The hand that form'd us is divine.” These impress hearts that no arguments would reach, no reasonings convince; and lead even some that know not God, to acknowledge that there is a power in religion to which they are strangers, a reality of which they have no conception.*
The eloquence of a holy life speaks in any land. After Mr. Peter had laboured for a length of time at Balasore, a young Brahmin, named Jugunnat'ha, embraced the gospel. Soon after, the brother of a native magistrate said to him, " • Do you believe this from your heart?' Jugunnat'ha said, · Yes.' '. Well,' said the other, we are watching ; you are making an experiment: if you live a holy life we shall know that this gospel is true. Padree-saheh has been preaching for three or four years; but we have our doubts, and cannot believe; none of the Ooriyas till now have embraced this religion: if you bear good fruit, many will follow your example.'”
Well indeed said the blessed Saviour, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” And do you not wish to promote this double object-the glory of God, and the eternal welfare of man? This double object occupied on earth a Saviour's hands, and in heaven engages that Saviour's at
one in a family in tore girl was much t; on the contrarme made
• Of the effects of consistent piety, the following pleasing anecdote furnishes one illustration out of many :
“ In a family in the north of Ireland, a pious young woman was engaged as a servant. The poor girl was much ridiculed for her religion by the young Jadies, but did not render evil for evil; on the contrary, she would allow them to laugh at her, and then mildly reason with them. She made it her study to be attentive and useful to them; took opportunities to speak to thein about religion; and would offer to read the sacred Scriptures to them when they went to bed. They commonly fell asleep, and that in a little time, under the sound; but she was not discouraged.-Having exemplified Christianity in her life, Providence sent a fever to remove her to a better state. The young ladies were not permitted to see her during her illness; but they heard of her behaviour, which did not lessen the impression which her previous conduct had made upon them. Soon after, the two elder began to make a profession of real religion: the little leaven spread; and now all the nine young ladies appear truly pious. Nor is religion, in this highly-favoured fainily, confined to them: other means were employed by God in producing this great change; but one in two who first became serious, informed me, that she chiefly ascribed it
ita and death of the servant-maid."
AND BENEFITS MAN.
139 tention ; this double object is the aim of those ministering spirits, which are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation, to diffuse happiness and holiness among beings destined to immortality, and to advance the honour of that God whom all the hosts of heaven adore. This is indeed a pursuit, in which an archangel might delight to consume myriads of ages ; and this in your sphere you may advance, by the silent lessons of a holy example. In the epistle to the Philippians, this subject is placed in a most important and striking light. “ Holding forth the word of life.”'y Preach the gospel in your lives; preach it by your conduct, and thus hold forth the word of life to an undone world, as a light-house displays its light, at the entrance of a harbour. Ă building of that description is designed to warn mariners of rocks or quicksands, and to show them a safe passage out of a stormy sea into a peaceful haven. Thus every Christian should stand, like a light-house on the edge of the ocean, to show all around him how they may escape the storm of eternal wrath, and where they may find a haven of repose; in other words, by a blameless life to teach mankind, that this is happiness, holiness, and life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.
Important situation! Who that feels one spark of love to God, or love to man, but must be anxious to accomplish heaven's benevolent design ? and, saved himself, to be the means of saving others ? Indeed, so powerful, so effective is Christian example, that it seems reasonable to believe, if individuals and nations, that have professed the gospel, had universally adorned the gospel, the whole world must long since have been brought to bow to the sceptre of the cross.
$7. The motives hitherto adduced for a devout attention to holiness have been chiefly of a pleasing description ; but there are others of another kind, which ought not to be entirely unnoticed. If holiness is not your pursuit, you have no evidence that you enjoy God's grace: you have evidence, that in your present state, you cannot enter his kingdom “ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” However fair your profession, however splendid your gifts, however extensive your knowledge, without holiness you are like a lifeless corpse, that has the human form, but wants the soul;
(y) Phil. ii. 16.
140 THE UNHOLY TRAITORS TO CHRIST, or like a whited sepulchre, fair without, but within full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. To such the Son of God declares, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works ? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."?
$ 8. Without holiness you would act the part of the worst of traitors to the Son of God. When Judas betrayed him, he professed affection and friendship, and kissed him, and said, “ Hail, Master !" while he pointed him out as the prey of cruelty and scorn. The inconsistent professor of the gospel really imitates Judas. He hails Christ as his Master and Saviour; while he exposes the cause of Christ to contempt and reproach, by his ungodly life. In the world, religion is scorned through him ; in his own family, it is hated through him. The world and his family think, If this is religion, we are as well or better without it. Satan injured Christ, but Judas must help him. So Satan opposes the progress of the gospel, and injures the religion of Jesus, but other Judases must help him now, or he would labour in vain to throw a shade over the bright glories of Christianity. He leads these insincere or careless professors of the gospel into dishonesty, or lying, or drunkenness, or some other crime; and then an outcry is raised against the religion of Jesus, through their wickedness, that are really strangers to religion and traitors to the Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly, such persons are described as enemies “ to the cross of Christ."a How terrific a description of any that have professed subjection to Jesus! ENEMIES TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST. The crossGod's grand instrument of saving mercy. The cross of Christ - where shines the brightest display of heavenly love. The cross of Christ-man's only refuge; the sinner's only hope. The cross of Christ--the means by which that blessed sufferer would subdue the world; and these, even while they profess subjection to his sway, enemies to his cross. Dreadful character ! (2) Matt. vii. 21-28.
(a) Phil. iii, 18.
AND ROBBERS OF GOD.
141 $ 9. Without holiness you would rob God of his right, and violate your own most solemn engagements. You are not your own; but God claims your services, your love, your life; yet to be inattentive to holiness, is to deny him all he claims. It is a great crime to rob a man of his property, but it is a
far more atrocious one to rob God of his glory; and not i merely to rob him of his right, but to blacken the villany,
by giving to the world, and sin, and Satan, the time, talents, I and obedience which God claims. And all this wickedness
is, in a professor of religion, rendered still more wicked, be-5 cause it is connected with the violation of the most solemn
engagements. Is not that man thought a poor, perjured wretch, who swears allegiance to his country and king, and then deserts and fights against both ? Is he not deemed still
more vile, if to perjury and desertion he adds treachery ? and Es while he acts as his country's enemy, wears her colours, and
professes to be a friend ? Such, or a still more wretched and