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there is given you the same strength in which they so eminently prevail. It may be the experience of some among you, that you dare not commit a presumptuous sin; you dare not omit your hours of prayer; yet no love constrains you to your obedience; no joy in Christ moves you to pray. Nevertheless, desist not from these poor beginnings. Let not your adversary persuade you that, because you can do no more, you may as well relinquish these meagre performances. It is true, indeed, that the people of God regard not their heavenly Father as a hard taskmaster, nor yield to him the drudgery of a slavish obedience. They delight to do his will, and his law is within their heart. But persist you in your prayer for his Holy Spirit. Though “ out of the depths,” 4 yet cry unto the Lord; and be assured you too shall attain to the spirit of adoption. That which you now regard merely as your duty, it will soon be given you to realize as your privilege. Your communings with God will become the aspirations of a willing heart; more frequent, more cordial, more free from distraction.
Others, perhaps, feel sore “let and hindered in running the race that is set before” 5 you. Your conflict with temptation is to you an
4 Ps. cxxx. 1. 5 Collect for the fourth Sunday in Advent.
arduous and unremitting struggle. Wave after wave rolls onward; and though hitherto you have risen above their surge, the next billow threatens to overwhelm you. But you too will find that the path of the Christian is a progressive course. Each victory which you obtain prepares the way to another triumph. Each mastery of a temptation strengthens you against succeeding assaults. Be resolute in your perseverance; and the trials which now weary your spirit will soon be regarded by you as trivial. The enemy may make fiercer assaults on your faith ; but they shall all be baffled by your confirmed experience. And though unforeseen temptations assail you, they shall elicit from your lips no hasty expression; they shall awaken in your breast no sinful emotion. According to your faith it will be unto you. If you believe that in Christ God has given to you the Holy Spirit, and, in this belief, resolve to act in dependence on his strength, you will daily be renewed in the spirit of your mind, in righteousness and true holiness.
And shall the candidates for a corruptible crown comit no expedient which may qualify them for the race, when all that they hoped to gain was a garland of fading parsley, and no loss was to be incurred by the failure of their efforts ? and will not you, who are candidates for an incorruptible
crown, give all diligence to the work of your salvation, where life and death are the objects at stake? “ They which run in a race run all;" and your names have all been registered as candidates for a heavenly crown. At your baptism you were each enlisted among the competitors for the prize. Your feet were then placed at the outset of the christian race. You were put in a capacity for obtaining the crown of glory. And now our part it is to urge on you the injunction of Paul to Timothy, and exhort you to “ follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, ineekness. Fight the good fight of faith ; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto” you are “ also called, and” have “ professed a good profession before many witnesses.” You have seen that the christian career is a life of action; of strenuous, unremitted, unwearied action. “He that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved.” 7 “ There remaineth a rest for the people of God.”8 “Let us therefore labour to enter into that rest.” 9
6 1 Tim. vi. 11, 12. 8 Heb. iv. 9.
7 Matt. x. 22. 9 Heb. iv. 11.
i Cor. ii, 16, 17. “ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
The question proposed by the apostle, in this passage, is indicative of evident surprise. Was it possible that the Corinthian converts were ignorant that, as a church, they collectively constituted one temple, in the midst of which the Holy Spirit was personally dwelling?
And yet it is not too much to affirm that the solemn truth which the apostle marvelled was
The following was originally the subject of two dis
hidden from their minds, is scarcely at all recognised among ourselves. It is, indeed, generally admitted among Christians, that each believer in Christ is individually a temple of the Holy Ghost; but this, although true, is not the whole truth. The fact set forth in the passage now before us is of a distinct character. It is stated, not with a reference to individuals, but with respect to the Church collective. The question of the apostle is not, “ Know ye not that ye are temples of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in each one among you ?” It is, “ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God ?” that is, “ Know ye not that ye collectively constitute the one temple of God, and that in the midst of you collectively the Spirit of God is dwelling ?” The expression of the apostle, in his second epistle,2 is of the same purport:“What agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Here again the Corinthians are addressed as collectively constituting one temple ; and the expression, “ I will walk in them,” is evidently employed with reference to their collective, not to their individual capacity. In like manner, to the Ephesians the apostle affirms, ye ? vi. 16.
3 ii. 20—22.