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putting on the whole armour of God, continuing instant in prayer, seeking those things which are above, mortifying your members, avoiding inordinate affections and covetousness, which is idolatry, are not applied to the prophane, or even to the careless, but to those who had made a great proficiency in religion; not to novices, but to saints. These are continually cautioned against sitting down at ease in their religious possessions; they are exhorted on the contrary to augment them. It is not, as an able writer says,
longing after great discoveries, nor "after great tastes of the love of God, "nor longing to be in Heaven, nor "longing to die, that are such distinguishing marks of a perfect Christian, as longing after a more holy heart, "and living a more holy life.” *.
The apostle shews that we must not sit down satisfied even in the habitual
* Dr Owen on the Holy Spirit.
desire, even in the general tendency to what is right. He frequently stirs up the reader to actual exercise, to quickening exertions; without such movements he knew that desire might sink into unproductive wishes, that good tendencies might come short of their aim. This brief but comprehensive hint-not as though I had already attained frequently recollected and acted upon, will serve to keep up in the mind that we are capable of much higher things than we have yet achieved and that while we are dili
gently ascending by each progressive step, we must still stretch forward our view to the culminating point.
If, then, even the most conspicuous converts of Saint Paul required to be confirmed by incessant admonition; if he did not think the most heroic Christians so established as to be arrived at their ultimate state; if he did not think the most advanced so secure as to be trusted
to go alone, so complete in themselves as to lose sight of their dependence; if they required to be exhorted to go on unto perfection to be renewed from day to day to stand fast-to quit themselves like men to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might to stand against the wiles of the Devil, and having done all to stand-"let us not be high"minded, but fear." If we believe that the spirit was poured out in more abundant measures in the incipient state than on us in the more established position of the Church; yet we see their superiority in this respect neither lessened the necessity of caution in the instructor, nor of diligence in the hearer.
ON THE SUPERIOR ADVANTAGES OF THE PRESENT PERIOD FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF KNOWLEDGE, RELIGION, AND HAPPINESS.
E have heard of a Royal infidel, who was impious enough to declare, that had the Maker of the universe consulted him at the Creation, he could have given him hints for the improvement of his plan. Many, who do not go so far as to regret that their advice was not asked when the world was made, practically intimate that they could improve upon the scheme of Providence in carrying it on. We have met with persons, who, not fully satisfied with the evidences of Christianity, at least not quite firm in the practical
adoption of its truths, have expressed a wish, that for the more complete confirmation of their faith, their lot had been cast in this, or in that particular age, in which they might have cleared up their doubts, and removed their dif ficulties.
Now, though it is not permitted to indulge any wish contrary to the appointment of Him who fixes the bounds of our habitation, and ordains our whole lot in life; yet it should seem that we, in this age and country, have the most abundant reason, not only to be contented with our allotment, but to be peculiarly grateful that it has fallen at this precise period. Who, that reflects at all, will maintain, that any æra in the history of the world, whether antecedent, or subsequent, to the institution of Christianity, could have afforded clearer lights or higher aids than the present? or would have conduced to make us wiser, better,