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And now, brethren, you may see from these considerations your own responsibilities and those of your ministers. Our duty is to set these glad tidings, which we are ordained to publish, plainly and fully before you your duty, on the other hand, is to endeavour to draw profit from the word, by listening in a spirit of humility and with a heart ready to learn, and prepared to receive edification, remembering that, in like manner as we are bidden to take heed to ourselves, lest, after having preached to others, we ourselves should be lost and cast away-so you are to take heed not to harden your hearts against conviction, nor to trifle with Almighty God. The religious services in which we engage, sabbath after sabbath, brethren, have either a good effect or an evil one upon us; they either edify and comfort our souls, and are to us what God intends them to be, means of grace, or they add to the mockeries of God for which we shall have to give account, and leave our hearts harder, and our spirits more un
sanctified than they were before we began. St. Paul suggests a very awful thought, where, viewing himself and his brother apostles as the appointed messengers of Christ to preach the gospel to the world, he says, "We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life;" and, then, as if powerfully impressed with the solemnity of the thoughts he had suggested, he adds, "and who is sufficient. for these things?"
Seeing then, my brethren, how great a work we have in hand, and with how holy and just a God we have to do, let us pray that we may be sincere as in His sight. And let us earnestly strive that we may not be led captive by the blinding power of the world, the flesh, and the devil; but that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, and the light of truth be permitted to shine upon Let us pray that we may be so spi
ritually assisted, that "we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the image of God, may be changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."* Christ is set before us in all His fulness of glory here upon earth. St. Peter tells us that the
spirit of glory and of God resteth,”† not "shall rest," but "resteth," abideth already, upon believers. The image of
Christ is created anew in them; their "bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost," and "they have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." § Here are our privileges, brethren; let us pray to act more worthily of them, lest we forfeit our " citizenship in heaven," || and with the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shining around us, like the lukewarm church of Laodicea of old, be "wretched and miserable, and
* Cor. iii. 18.
‡ 1 Cor. iii. 16; vi. 19.
+1 Pet. iv. 14.
|| Philipp. ii. 20.
§ 1 John i. 3.
poor and blind, and naked." Let us endeavour to contemplate Almighty God, not as a distant Being alone, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto, but as "dwelling with" every man of a humble and contrite spirit," and watching, guiding, and blessing all who in an honest and good heart, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of their salvation, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. So at last, when Christ cometh again to the harvest at the end of the world, we may trust to be gathered into the heavenly garner, and both "he that soweth and he that reapeth"* shall then rejoice together."
*St. John iv. 36.
2 COR. xiii. 7, 8, 9.*
"Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong; and this also we wish, even your perfection."
THIS Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians appears to have been written chiefly in order to vindicate his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ over other teachers who had risen up in the Church which he planted there, and who had
* Allusion is made in the course of this sermon to a spirit of dissent which had crept in among some of the people, to which the author felt it his duty to advert more particularly on occasion of his quitting the parish.