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tites, the passions, the affections of our nature, which will shew that we are really "led 'by the Spirit of God," and are solicitous to "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in "all things"." So shall we not fail, through the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, to obtain "the end of our faith, even the salvation of 66 our souls."

c Rom. viii. 14.

d Titus ii. 10.

e 1 Pet. i. 9.

SERMON XVIII.

MATTHEW xi. 30.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

IT is hardly possible to reflect upon the certainty that we are hereafter to be called to give account of our present conduct, without being continually anxious to assure ourselves that we are in a state of safety, with respect to the judgment we must then undergo. Whether we look to the promises or to the threatenings of the Gospel, whether we contemplate our own insufficiency and imperfection or the infinite perfections of the Almighty, solicitude on such a subject is unavoidable, whenever we suffer these considerations to make their due impression upon our minds.

It is the desire to set the mind at ease upon this subject, that has probably led persons of different tempers and dispositions to form various and sometimes contradictory opinions respecting the measure and extent of

their Christian duty; that some, through excessive dread of falling short of what is required of them, represent Christianity as a harsh and rigorous service; whilst others would fain persuade themselves that it requires nothing of considerable difficulty, nothing that calls for strenuous exertion or for restraint upon their natural inclinations. Thus may extremes be produced, destructive either of that sober and tranquil state of mind which is intended for our present comfort and support, or of that caution and vigilance which are necessary in every stage of our progress to preserve us from falling.

Christianity itself, however, ought not to be made responsible for these inconsistencies: and it is of importance to vindicate it against any misrepresentations, intentional or unintentional, to which it may thus be rendered liable. For as the one of these extremes tends to encourage men in a careless and libertine practice, so the other affords to unbelievers, and to the thoughtless part of mankind, a pretence for rendering it odious or contemptible in the general estimation. Whereas the Gospel itself gives countenance to neither of these parties. It is not so lax and accommodating in its nature, as to adapt itself to our corrupt inclinations; nor is it so irre

concilable with those affections and desires which belong to us as human beings, as to be justly deemed an unreasonable service.

To this view of the subject we are led by our Lord's declaration in the text. Having adverted to the obstinacy and impenitency of certain cities in Judæa, where his doctrine had been rejected notwithstanding the mighty works he had performed, he invites his hearers in the following affectionate and impressive terms:-"Come unto me, all ye that labour "and are heavy laden, and I will give you "rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn " of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; "and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For

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my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Here it is to be observed, that our Lord appears to speak of His yoke and burden as distinguished from some other yoke and burden to which his hearers were already subject. The persons whom he then addressed being principally Jews, the expressions may undoubtedly be understood to intimate, that the Gospel was intended to release them from the yoke of the Mosaic Law, and to substitute less burdensome ordinances for their observBut they are capable also of a more extended application; an application which will include all who may be said to "labour,”

ance.

and to be "heavy laden;" that is, all who feel the burden of their sins, all who are conscious of their infirmities, all who, though desirous faithfully to discharge their duty to God and man, are convinced how impossible it is to deliver themselves from that bondage of corruption under which every man labours during his continuance in this earthly state. They who are duly sensible of this their condition may be said to seek "rest unto their souls;" and that rest they are assured of finding by sincerely embracing the terms of the Gospel. To all such, therefore, whether Jews or Gentiles, our Lord declares, that "his yoke is easy, and his burden is light."

If, then, there be any who, upon a review of the system of salvation revealed to us in the Gospel, esteem it to be a yoke that is not easy, and a burden that is not light, we may presume it is because they have not yet sufficiently reflected upon the weight of that burden from which it offers to release them ;because they do not consider what it is to labour under a weight of trespasses and sins without the hope of a Redeemer, to struggle against infirmity and corruption without help from above, to fight against their spiritual enemies without armour or weapons powerful enough to resist their attacks. Were this

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