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for his name; the Christian cannot be a profane man; he cannot habitually " take in vain/' in the light manner of the world, the great and fearful name of the Lord his God. And this principle will ensure his sacred regard to the Holy Sabbath, the Bible, the house of God, the preached Gospel, the table of the Lord, and every means divinely appointed for his growth in grace.
3. SPIRITUALITY is another essential part of the Christian temper. This is a necessary effect of regeneration; for, "as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Every nature generates its own likeness.
We derive from our first parent the likeness of his apostate nature, earthly and sensual, not having the Spirit; but, if begotten again by the Holy Ghost, we derive from him a nature that is spiritual. Natural men, " mind earthly things;" they understand, pursue, and relish, only things of a worldly nature, while the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to them;' but the believer, being born from above, minds heavenly things, and sets his affections supremely on things above, and not on things below. This constitutes the grand difference between the children of this world and the children of God; and our future destination will be accordingly: for, to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." While we are in the world a due regard must be paid to our worldly callings; for religion, so far from encouraging sloth and idleness, requires us to be " diligent in business ;" but it requires us also to be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." The things of this world, however great and important in some views, will be considered, in the light of eternity, as empty bubbles, insignificant trifles, and childish toys. The Christian weighs every thing in the balances of eternity. He considers what their value will be when he is on a dying bed; and judges how far they may be made conducive to his
everlasting interest: for he "walks by faith, not by sight."
Besides, he is "crucified to the world, and the world to him," by the cross of Christ. Our gracious Lord never discovered any taste or relish for the pomps and vanities of this world. As Lord of all, he could have commanded every thing that was noble and great. But it is evident that he poured contempt on worldly grandeur. His whole life, death, and doctrine, tended to stain the pride of human glory, and to sanctify to his humble followers that lowly state he intended forthem. Luxury of living, gaiety of dress, and conformity to the vain world, can plead no countenance from the example ,of Christ; but self-denial, plainness of living and manners, deadnessto the world and heavenly mindedness are the very mind that was in Christ, and will be in us if we are his genuine followers.
4. CONTENTMENT is another feature of the Christian character. And this will result in a happy degree, from spirituality and heavenly-mindedness. A proper view, by faith, of eternal things, and a good hope, by grace, of an interest in them, will occasion a holy indifference about worldly matters, and render us contented with our present lot. Of old time, those persons " took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, who knew in themselves that they had in heaven a better and more enduring substance." Heb. x. 34. The way to be happy in this world is not to elevate our station to our mind, but to bring down our mind to our station. The first is, perhaps, impossible; for the ambitious mind of the prosperous man continues to rise with his lot; so that he is never satisfied. The last may, by divine grace, be accomplished. The Christian believes that God reigns, that his providence is universal, that a sparrow does not fall without his observation, and that the very hairs of his head are numbered ; and if so, he has reason to - conclude that a special and most gracious Providence presides over all his affairs. The believer, therefore, having committed all his concerns to the Lord's care, in the diligent and prudent use of means, will rest satisfied with the disposal of Heaven. He will say, "It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good." We are led to expect trouble in this world; man, being born in sin, is born to trouble: and instead of wondering that things are so bad, we have reason to wonder 1;hat they are no worse. He who knows the evil of sin, and the plague of his own heart, will say, at the worst of times, " He hath not dealt with me according to my sins, nor rewarded me according to my iniquities." Besides there is generally some cause for praise.
"There is mercy in every case;
And mercy (encouraging thought!)
And reconciles man to his lot."
Thrice happy was the apostle Paul, who could say "I have learned in whatsoever state 1 am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."—Should you think this a difficult lesson, and that in certain cases you could not practice it, mark what follows: " I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me." Phil. iv. 11, 12,13. St. Paul, in himself, was as weak as another man; but he had learnt to live upon Christ, and by faith to receive out of his fulness, grace for grace. Every believer may do the same. And let him remember.this patient temper is "the mind that was in Christ." Through a whole life of poverty and sufferings here, we read not of a single murmur; and when, in his agony, the bitterest cup that ever was mingled was put into his hands, he said, " The cup which my Father giveth me to drink, shall I not drink of it 1 Not my will, but thine be done."
5. MEEKNESS must also be mentioned as an amiable branch of the Christian temper. Jesus Christ was remarkably meek; and he pronounced a blessing on his meek followers: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." We read of "the gentleness of Christ." How calmly did he endure the contradiction of sinners against himself! how meekly submit to the vilest indignities! Happiest they who most resemble him! It is a great victory for a man to subdue his own angry temper, and to preserve a sacred composure amidst all the ruffling storms and tempests of cross affairs, affronts, lossess, and injuries. This meekness is not the effect of constitution, a temper naturally mild, nor the result of art and deceit, but a truly Christian grace, wrought by the Holy Spirit, arising from self-knowledge, self-possession, a sense of the goodness and love of God; it is seated in the heart, and will discover itself in the countenance and in the language. The meek Christian may be angry; but meekness will restrain his anger within proper bounds, as to the degree, duration, and effects of it; he will not be easily provoked, he will readily forgive, and will acquire that happy, useful art, the government of the tongue. A loud, clamorous, boisterous, boasting professor, little resembles the meek Jesus; but the meek Christian adorns the doctrine of God his Saviour, greatly reeommends the Gospel of Christ, and enjoys a tranquility of soul, which is heaven begun on earth :—a blessed foretaste of the undisturbed serenity of glorified saints.
6. MERCY was a distinguishing grace in the character of Christ, and must be the prevailing disposition of his followers. Compassion to perishing sinners brought him down from heaven: compassion dictated all his words, and directed all his actions; and, blessed be God, we have still "a merciful and a faithful High Priest, who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on those who are out of the way." When the sick and afflicted were brought to Jesus, he had compassion on
them, and healed them. When the multitude who followed him from far, to hear him preach, were hungry and faint, he had compassion on them, and fed them. He went about doing good. O let us be like him!
Hard as a rock is the heart of man by nature. Anger, envy, malice, revenge, and selfishness reign, and make men resemble the Devil. The greater part of men called Christians "live to themselves," and are satisfied if they do no harm, though they do no good; are secure, selfish, angry, peevish; confine their kindness to their relations; do little good but what they are pressed to; esteem all lost that is done for the relief of others; and think it wise to be cautious, and disbelieve the necessities of men: in a word, they make SELF the end of their lives; whatever their profession be, they very little represent or glorify God in the world. But on the contrary, a man whose nature is cured and rectified by grace, freed from pride, envy, and selfishness, and thence rendered benevolent and useful to his fellowmen, is the best representation we have of God upon earth, since the human nature of Christ was removed from it.
"Blessed are the merciful," said the benevolent Redeemer, "for they shall obtain mercy." We are not to purchase God's mercy by our mercy; but it is a good evidence of being ourselves "vessels of mercy," when we are inwardly disposed to be merciful. We are exhorted to "put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies." If we have felt the need of mercy, and tasted the sweetness of mercy, we shall find a divine pleasure in being merciful to the sons and daughters of affliction; we shall be forward to give and forgive, to pity and relieve them.
The souls of men claim our first regard. Millions of men are perishing for lack of knowledge. The merciful man will not only pray for them, but will gladly endeavour to send the glorious Gospel of Jesus to them; he will cast a pitying eye upon the poor ignor