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faith and hope shall be no more, or shall be swallowed up in sight and fruition, then Divine love will abide for ever; for " charity never faileth." This leads him to contrast the comparatively dark and imperfect state of the believer in the house of his pilgrimage, with the perfect and glorious condition which awaits him in a better world. "For we know," he says, "in part, and we prophesy in part: but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face."

The illustration therefore in the text, appears, in its primary application, to convey to our minds this idea;-that the best estate of a true Christian here on earth, compared with what awaits him in heaven, is but as infancy to manhood-now he speaks as a child, thinks as a child, understands as a child-he is in a state of imperfection; his understanding is feeble, his religious faculties are weak, he is moved to joy or sadness by trifles, and is incapable of fully grasping the higher and more glorious truths which are shortly to be revealed to him.

But I apprehend that this illus tration will admit also of another view, and one that may yield us many topics of deep interest and importance. The glorified and immortal condition of believers in a future state is not more superior to their present powers and enjoy ments, than their present state is to that of the unconverted world around them. Until we are taught the realities of Divine truth, we are like children amused and engrossed by the trifles of a day; but when the all-important considerations of eternity are revealed to us, then we arrive at manhood, and "put away childish things." This is the view which I purpose, with the blessing

of God, to take of the subject before us; and may He assist our meditations with the grace of his Holy Spirit, that the veil may be withdrawn from our hearts, and that we may be enabled to view all earthly things in that light in which we shall behold them from the bed of death!

I shall first, consider the state of those who are wholly devoted to this world; and I shall endeavour to shew that every one thus engrossed, speaks as a child, understands as a child, thinks as a child: and I shall then describe the wonderful change which takes place in every one who is really awakened to a due consideration of eternal things he becomes a man, and puts away childish things.

I. Imagine to yourselves some glorious and angelic spirit from before the throne of God, commissioned to visit our earth, and to consider the occupations of the children of men viewing them as immortal beings, destined in a very short time to lay their perishable bodies in the grave, and to enter upon a new existence infinite and eternal, heirs of joys unspeakable, or of torments not to be described, and the alternative depending on their conduct while in this state of probation, how, think you, would the employments of most of us appear in the eyes of such a hea venly visitant? Would not his astonishment be great to behold the bulk of mankind living as though they were to live for ever here below; utterly heedless of the vast unknown which lies before them, and engrossed by trifles which cannot profit them hereafter? Would not the sports of childhood, the follies of infancy, appear wisdom and prudence, compared with the infatuation of those who can devote their whole time and their undivided attention to the pursuit of trifles, while they know, or should know, that they have a vast undertaking on hand, and that the time allotted for its performance may be

very short? Such men are in fact children with respect to that knowledge which is best worth attaining, and they may learn an important lesson from the state of childhood. As children are amused with toys, so are these persons delighted with the glittering baubles and foolish pleasures of the world. Gold is the pursuit of one man; honour and ambition of another; vice, with its brute indulgence, occupies a third; and amusements, display, ostentation, and vanity, engross the whole care of multitudes. About these they think, and talk, and argue, with a zeal and earnestness that prove the importance which they attach to them; nor could they be more entirely absorbed in their speculations, were immortality the subject of their discussion, heaven the object they would gain, and hell the evil they would escape. We smile at the petty objects which engage the attention of our infant children a toy, a trifle, calls forth all their emotions; the countenance is lighted up with joy by possession, and floods of tears and lamentations, or peevish altercation and sullen discontent prevail among the rival candidates, disappointed of obtain ing the new object of desire. To them the trifles of the nursery appear of infinite importance; their little bosoms swell with pride and indignation, and every passion which is developed in after life may be traced but too clearly even in children when they are under the influence of excitement. Every scene of life is exhibited in miniature among them they have their sense of honour, their desire of excelling, their pride of dress, of learning, of bodily prowess, and of hereditary nobility. And what more have the full-grown children of this world? Is the folly of maturer age less than that of childhood? Considered in connexion with eternity, do not the too-frequent pursuits of manhood bear a most melancholy and deplorable aspect? The boy who eagerly pursues the butterfly which

continually eludes his grasp, is far more rationally employed than many who followthe fleeting pleasures of the world, and run from vanity to vanity in pursuit of happiness. Is it not a fearful and affecting contemplation, to see those who are born for eternity engrossed in pursuits so utterly unworthy of their natures and their faculties? To look around and consider the importance which is attached to personal appearance, the extravagance of fashionable modes, the invaluable time that is thrown away in studied and anxious preparation for an evening's amusement, frequently as trifling and absurd as the most trifling sports of childhood; and then to reflect that these are immortal beings, yea, liable to be called at a moment's warning to exchange the gay and splendid scenes and trappings of fashionable folly for the cold grave and the winding-sheet; perhaps to pass from the soft and luxurious refinements of polished life, to the abodes of fallen spirits, the prison of despair do they not think as a child, speak as a child? and are they not wholly devoted to childish things? Will not these very persons see them to be worse than childish when they look at them from a sick, a dying bed?

And this reasoning will apply to every earthly pursuit which engrosses the attention of men, and leads them off from considerations of eternity. What can be more puerile than many of the disputes and contentions of the world? What more absurd than the test and criterion of honour and courage which it has established, and which, for an inconsiderate word, or an illtimed pleasantry, arms with deadly weapons two rational beings, who meet, certain that, if they take effect, one or other of them will thus be plunged into an eternity, which, under such circumstances, may well be dreaded. Do not such persons speak as a child, and reason as a child? or rather, would not the understanding of many a

little child be strong enough to discover their folly?

Nor are they who spend their lives in the exclusive pursuit of human science, entitled to the credit of more wisdom than the devotees of dissipation and pleasure. The only wisdom which shall sur vive the grave, is that which cometh down from Heaven; and is to be found in the pages of revelation; and all who, neglecting that, are not wise towards God, are still children under the elements of the world. He who with all his knowledge does not know himself, his own heart, and his own spiritual condition as a sinner before God; he who, ignorant of the love of God in Christ Jesus, has not repented nor believed the Gospel, is after all only a child, and occupied about childish things; things which will be as useless in eternity as the toys of infancy are now to manhood. Pursuits which in the present state of the world, if followed in subordination to higher and more momentous objects, are useful and excellent, are worse than useless to any man who sees not beyond them, and discerns not why his Maker has entrusted him with talents for their attainment.

In a

word, nothing is more certain than that all who live without God in the world, whose hearts are filled only with the things of time, and who aspire not after eternal rewards, are in a state of childhood; their mind, their understanding, their judgment, are weak and puerile-they mistake the shadow for the substance, "they put evil for good, and good for evil." They esteem that to be of the utmost importance, which is comparatively of very trifling interest; and the only subjects which are really vast, momentous, and of the most urgent nature, are deferred to the uncertainty of a sick and dying bed, or to the second childhood of old age. But let us now proceed, II. To consider the marvellous change which takes place in the

mind of one awakened to a due sense of the importance of eternity: "He becomes a man, and he consequently puts away childish things."

He is arrested in his vain course, perhaps by means of some providential dispensation which speaks as the voice of God to his soul; bereft of some idol which he adored, he is taught this world's vanity; or the whisperings of an awakened conscience excite his attention; or the word of God, either preached or written, is made effectual to convince him of sin, and to lead him to repentance and faith. Immediately a new world is opened before his view: he is astonished that the objects of time and sense should have so long deluded and bewildered him. Stretched out in boundless vision, he beholds the world of spirits, etherial, eternal, infinite; indistinct, it is true, but real, vast, and overwhelming. and overwhelming. On the one hand, regions of bliss and glory, inhabited by immortal beings pure as the God who made them, and happy in the uninterrupted enjoyment of his favour and blessing. Once they were sinners like himself, and they "came out of great tribulation; but now they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," and are therefore before the throne of God, and wear crowns of gold, and have harps of gold in their hands, and praise him for ever and for ever. On the other hand, a world of endless woe is revealed to him, where "there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth," "where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched." Thither he is told many have been led who have pursued the path of pleasure, of worldliness and vanity; and there they will bemoan their folly through endless ages. Then all the other great subjects of God's revelation are presented to his mind-his own state as a lost sinner is revealed to him, the love of Christ in dying for him, the grace of the Holy Spirit which is promised to renew, con

vert, and sanctify him. He is taught to pray in secret, not with the formal homage of the knee and lip alone, but with the earnestness and anxiety of one who indeed feels what he utters. The word of God, once a neglected book, is now his constant and delightful study; he meditates therein continually, and adds prayer to meditation. The house of God, and the preaching of the Gospel, to attend on which was once a weariness and a burden to him, are now the joy of his heart. But to trace the various new, interesting, and delightful contemplations which fill the soul of one who has passed from death unto life, or from the state of childish devotion to the world to the vigour, decision, and firmness of spiritual manhood, would be an endless task. He is "become a man," and the natural and necessary consequence is, that he "puts away childish things." What has manhood to do with the sports of infancy? As much as an immortal being has to do with the pleasures of the world! Things innocent and valuable in themselves, such as the arts and sciences, and the various pursuits of honest industry, which contribute to the useful employment and well-being of his fellow-creatures, will still indeed claim his attention; but he will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness: he cannot give the prime of his life and the best of his time, to those things which will die with him, and as to the pomps and pageantries, the amusements and pleasures of the world, these he altogether discards as "childish things." He does not stop to weigh the comparative innocence and guilt of various pleasures in the nice balance of that casuistry which seeks only to gain as much of the world as may be compatible with eternal salvation: he waits not to question what harm can there be in this amusement, or to prove that there is none in that -he puts them all away as "child

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his heart is occupied ; his conversation is in heaven, and therefore the flippancy of vain associates is as painful to him as his religious conversation would be irksome to them. He is alive unto God, consequently he is dead to the world: he enjoys spiritual pleasures, therefore with those which are carnal he can have no fellowship. His joys and his sorrows, his hopes and his fears, are derived from sources of which a thoughtless world knows nothing. What its votaries esteem the height of happiness he would consider not only vain but wearisome; and that which gives him all his consolation and all his enjoyment, is in their eyes but a gloomy superstition. How widely do these differ from each other! How opposite their pursuits! How different the motives which actuate them! And oh! how infinitely distant from each other are the regions whither they are journeying! Would to God that we might all try the state of our hearts by the illustration afforded us in the text!

that we might no longer measure ourselves by the rules of men, the maxims of the world, and the sentiments which pass current among us as received and established dogmas, but determine, by God's grace, to approach the infallible Word of revelation, taking that as our only rule and guide, to examine and prove our ownselves! Take, then, the substance of that which has been now advanced, and apply it to your hearts, and oh! that the Holy Spirit may carry home conviction to your consciences!-The vain things of this world, the Apostle declares, will be laid aside as "childish" by every one who becomes "a man" in spiritual feeling and understanding. Is

this your feeling and practice? infatuation, and to seek a new heart, With what eyes do you look upon and an enlightened conscience. the pomp and pride, the pleasure The door is shut, and the unseen and ostentation of the world, so far, world is laid open to their view only at least, as your age, opportunities, by the hand of death; "there is no and station in life may allow of your repentance in the grave" whither hoping for them? Do you detect we are hastening. God grant that yourself endeavouring to pacify you may be wise to know the day of your mind respecting many plea- your visitation; that now, "to-day, sures of a doubtful nature? Is it while it is called to-day," the spell your inquiry how much you may which binds you to the childish serve the world, and how little vanities of the world may be broken, will satisfy the claims of religion? and you may begin to live for eterWhat are the pursuits which chief- nity. "Arise ye, and depart; for ly occupy your attention, engross this is not your rest: because it is your time, fill your thoughts, and polluted, it shall destroy you even dwell upon your tongue? Does with a sore destruction." conscience whisper that it is some earthly toy which attracts you? whether it be fame and reputation among men the gay bubble which thousands watch so eagerly, till it bursts and perishes? Or gold, the glittering idol to which so many bend in eager devotion? Or the personal vanity which decks out your poor, corrupt, and perishable body in the absurdities of fashion? Whatever the object of your supreme attention may be, if it be something earthly, and such as you cannot bear with you into eternity, then are you convicted of the improvidence and folly so pointedly condemned in the passage before us; then are you devoted to child ish things, and you have need to pray earnestly to the God of all grace that He would be pleased to open your eyes to see your danger and enable you to flee from it. The time will come when you will be taught how utterly unavailing are such things to give you happiness; the realities of eternity, which you have practically treated as vision ary phantasies, wild chimeras, will one day burst upon your astonished soul. You will then see and feel that you have "spent your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not; " that you have refused the substance and embraced the shadow. Multitudes discover this only when it is too late to repent of their

And to you who profess to be alive to such considerations as these, who have renounced the sins, and idols, and pleasures of the world; who think, and reason, and act with a view to that state which is unchangeable and eternal, let me charge you conscientiously to "put away childish things." See that you act up to your profession→→→ dread the contaminating influence of the world-shun the trifling and vain society of those who are children still, and engrossed by the unreal, and unsatisfactory pursuits and toys of the world; let it be your daily prayer that you may see and understand more and more of the great subjects which should occupy the attention of an immortal being; cultivate communion with God meditation, prayer, confession, and praise; and avoid every thing which unfits the soul for these hallowed duties. As every day and every hour brings you nearer and nearer to the great and final change which awaits you, so let each day and hour find you more and more prepared for it; "growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

God Almighty grant, that we may all be convinced of the truth of the doctrine which has been enforced! May some thoughtless person be led to serious consideration! some one who has hitherto been wholly devoted to "childish things," be in

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