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short-you know not how short. It invites you to enter upon a real repentance, a course of unfeigned obedience. It solemnly reminds you of that much sorer punishment than the punishment of the rich man in the parable, who despised Moses' law, of which he shall be thought worthy, who treads under foot the Son of God, and counts the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and doth despite unto the Spirit of grace.
The Son of God, who uttered these words of warning, who knew that they who despised Moses and the Prophets would be too hard hearted to believe though one rose from the dead, has for us died and risen, and ascended into glory. At the right hand of His Father's majesty He ever liveth to make intercession for us-for us, for whom He prayed in the last solemn prayer before His agony, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me." According to His holy promise He hath sent His Spirit to sanctify our hearts, to assist our efforts to obey Him, to quicken our faith and love.
Let it be our serious and resolved purpose to cherish that holy influence, conscious that without Him we cannot live, or love, or hope aright,--conscious that without Him our life is full of sin, and
our prospect full of danger. Let us anxiously set ourselves to use the means of grace: to pray night and day, that our hearts may not be blinded by the deceitfulness of sin; to pray, in public and private, alone and in our families; to read His Word, to attend His holy table, to sanctify His sabbaths. Let us convince ourselves, or rather beseech Him to convince us, that it is by doing His will, that we are to learn His doctrine. Let us seek for no religious excitements, no extraordinary visitations of light, no miracles, no new witness, no Lazarus from the dead: but, as baptized Christians, awake under grace, to the inexpressible importance of living and dying in the faith and fear of God, earnestly convinced that there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus,-that there is none other strength whereby we can please God in the least degree, except the strength of His blessed Spirit let us strive to perfect holiness in His fear :-praying always; for efforts to obey without prayer are infidelity: endeavouring to obey ever ; for prayer, without constant effort to obey, is presumption and superstition :—and may God, in His infinite mercy, who, having received us into His Church, did once begin a good work in us, perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!
ST. JOHN xii. 39.
"For this cause they could not believe, because Esaias saith again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; lest they should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and I should heal them.”
THERE are few subjects of consideration more appalling to a religious mind, than that to which these words naturally refer--a judicial blindness. It is impossible not to feel the greatest horror at the thought of a condition in which all the motions of the Holy Spirit in the breast are stilled, the suggestions of good discontinued,-the reckless sinner left to ruin himself, without any further hope or prospect of rescue. If the light within us be darkness, great and terrible indeed must be that darkness.
That God has threatened so to deal with the perseveringly impenitent, is clear from many very
passages of Holy Scripture. The passage of Isaiah referred to in the text declares it in the way of prophecy; the same passage, six times quoted in the New Testament, declares it in the way of fulfilment. The dealings of God with Pharaoh, as related in the book of Exodus, and repeated in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans; and with the Gentiles, as described in the second chapter of the same Epistle, prove it. It is further clear, from those places, in which we are taught that 'the Spirit will not always strive with man, that the Spirit, whereby we are even sealed to the day of redemption, may be so grieved at our sin, as to depart from us.
Thus clear upon the page of Holy Scripture, this doctrine demands our full and unhesitating belief. Terrible as is the thought of being thus deserted by the Comforter, thus given over to a reprobate mind, yet in this, as in all other matters of plain revelation, we must bow every thought and feeling before the letter of the Bible, and earnestly believe that every thing which God has declared is true, and every thing which God has decreed is good.
But many of the particular revelations of Christianity, and especially those in which the designs of God, and his dealings with men, are made known, are capable of being regarded in many a different spirit, and of being unfolded in many a different
1 Gen. vi. 3. Eph. iv. 30. Is. lxiii. 10.
tone, without any compromise of the truth, or any departure from the exact word of Holy Scripture. There are some persons, who, stern in their own character, see nothing but sternness and inexorable justice in the character of God. Anxious to see clearly, and apprehend at once, the code (if I may so speak) of an immutable and perfect Deity, they perceive, in the revelations of His will made known. to man, a tremendous simplicity of design, and an equally tremendous rigour in the execution of it. And it may be not inconsistent with the purposes of God, that persons of such character may find, in the contemplation of His judgments only, that incentive to practical holiness, which is the design of all revelation. They may be like the few hardy plants, which can arrive at their perfection only beneath the keen breath of the earliest spring. But when these same doctrines are to be unfolded to the mass of Christian people, when every variety of temper is to be interested, every variety of character to be incited by revealed truth to use those talents that are intrusted to it, then the views which may be fitted for some, are seen to be grievously mischievous to many. Many are frightened and dismayed, while only few are touched,-many are discouraged and despairing, while only few are rendered more zealous of good works. Lamentable, indeed, would be the wreck of the beauty and the joy of summer, if the inclement blasts of the early spring were to continue through the whole year!