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continue “ Christ's faithful soldiers and servants to our live's end,” we must not hesitate to discharge the obligations which we have taken upon ourselves, nor shrink from our duty in the day of battle.
And if we feel that, in ourselves, we are but weak, yet let us remember that our mighty Captain has led the way, and has himself shewn us how to fight and how to conquer. He has put into our hands the same sword with which he himself fought; he has given us the same Holy Spirit by whom he himself was guided; he has restrained the power o. that enemy, the force of whose full strength he himself resisted; and if we put our whole trust in him, we need not doubt of receiving to ourselves the full effect of the gracious promise, that “he will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it ?."
1 1 Cor. x. 13.
Which God of his infinite mercy grant, through him who liveth with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a moun
tain, and when he was set his disciples came unto him, and he opened his mouth and taught them.
THESE words are an introduction to that admirable and celebrated discourse of our Saviour's, usually called the Sermon on the Mount. In this it was that our Lord delivered a full, comprehensive, and yet brief summary of his doctrine, and of the conduct which it enjoined. As such, it is deserving our most serious attention, and with this view it has been selected for the subject of our present meditations.
In order that we may understand the beauties of this discourse, the pure morality which it inculcates, and the deepfelt devotion which it enjoins, it will be necessary for us to call to mind the state in which the world was, as to religious knowledge, when it was pronounced, in regard both to the Jews and the Gentiles.
For the Gentiles, a few words will suffice to shew the follies into which they had fallen. They had forsaken the worship of the one true God, and, having been left by him to their own devices, " became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasts, and creeping' things; wherefore God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts ?;" and the accumulation of vices and depravities into which they were led by these, and the devices of the Devil, can, in these days, be scarcely credited, much less conceived.
If the Jews, through the superiority of their laws, and in consequence of the divine interposition, escaped such a state as this, yet was there among them much which wanted correction, and sufficient which needed an instructor. Although they still reverenced, or, at least, professed to do so, the laws of Moses, and acknowledged their divine origin, yet had their obedience sunk into a formal performance of outward service, while the life and spirit of it was forgotten and neglected. It is true that they still kept the feasts which their great legislator had enjoined them; that they still observed the ceremonies in which he had instructed them; that they still fasted as he had required them to do; and the commandments which he had been commissioned to deliver to them, they still continued to profess to reverence; but, all the while, they were contented with the outward observance of all these duties, and felt not, in their hearts, the spirit or the efficacy of them. While they literally kept their sacred feasts, they felt no devotion; while they literally abstained
1 Romans i. 21–24.