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notes no more than the commencement of our spiritual life. Its subsequent support, its growth and increase, its renewal when decayed, its recovery when diseased, are provided for by other means. Further supplies for those purposes, and further means of obtaining them, are pointed out in holy writ. Diligent prayer, meditation on God's word, the observance of his sabbaths, attendance on his ordinances, and especially on that high and holy office, the communion of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper, are among the duties enjoined for carrying on the faithful Christian to that entire sanctification which is necessary to give him a joyful assurance that he continues to be vitally and effectually “a member of Christ, a child of “ God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of “ heaven.”

From all these considerations, it is evident that our growth in grace, though it originates and is carried on by the Comforter from above, depends in no inconsiderable degree upon ourselves. Exhortations to further its growth would otherwise be nugatory. Nor is this irreconcilable with the most unreserved acknowledgment of our dependence upon God for the ability “both to will and “ to do of his good pleasurep.” Our “ suffi

p Phil. ii. 13.

is necessary

“ ciency is of God”.” It is from Him that “ all good things do come.” It is by His holy inspiration that we “ think those things that “ be good;" and by His merciful guidance that we“perform the same.” His

grace to “prevent us in all our doings,” as well as to “ further us with continual help.” But in every stage of life, from the beginning to the end of our Christian warfare, our own perverseness or neglect may render that of none effect which otherwise would be sufficient. Throughout the holy scriptures, men are invariably addressed by the inspired messengers of God, as capable of improving or abusing the divine gift bestowed upon them ; yet this does not derogate from the value of the gift itself, nor ascribe to human ability what ought to be acknowledged as divine. Growth in grace, like the growth of our natural frame, results from due care and attention on our part; nor may we expect the continuance of either from God, if such diligence be wanting in ourselves. “ Unto every one that hath shall be

given, and he shall have abundance: but 6 from him that hath not shall be taken

away even that which he hath'." Not only no proficiency can be made in our spiritual concerns without our own cooperation, but the grace already given us may be withdrawn. 9 2 Cor. iii. 5.

Matt. xxv. 29.

Regeneration, therefore, must not be confounded with final perseverance. It is the seminal principle only of holiness and virtue, which are to be brought to perfection by subsequent supplies from the same heavenly source, accompanied with proportionate exertions on our part to render them effectual.

The foregoing observations may now be applied as a preservative against some dangerous errors and delusions, and serve to uphold the humble and unpresuming Christian in his endeavours to “make his calling and 6 election sure."

It is a dangerous error, to imagine that to any individual Christian there is not given a sufficiency of grace to “work out his salva“tion.” To suppose this, is virtually to charge God with requiring from man more than he is enabled to perform. To every one admitted into the Gospel covenant, the promises of that covenant are pledged and ratified by “ Him with whom is no variableness or sha“ dow of turning $;" nor can they fail when accepted by a faithful and willing mind.

It is a no less dangerous error, to suppose that the grace so given, though sufficient, will necessarily produce the effect intended.

s James i. 17.

He may

In other cases, as well as in this, what is sufficient for any given purpose, may be rendered insufficient by neglect, perversion, or misapplication. A man may have enough of this world's possessions to answer every good and useful purpose of life, and yet apply it to no good or useful end. He may have the best natural endowments of understanding, and yet miserably pervert them. He bury his talent in a napkin, or he may waste it in profligacy. He may consume his bodily strength in sensual indulgence, or his mental acquirements in promoting impiety and vice. In like manner, abundant means may be afforded him of spiritual advancement, yet may he turn them to no good account. However highly, therefore, we may be disposed to magnify the sovereignty and the all-sufficiency of the Source from which these blessings flow, we must bear in mind the evident analogy, in this respect, between the gifts of Providence and those of Grace; that neither the one nor the other are intended to operate to the exclusion of that free agency, by which we are to choose between the evil and the good, and are made morally responsible for our choice.

It is also a dangerous error, to conceive that at any period of life, or under any cir

cumstances of apparent proficiency in spiritual attainments, we may presume upon an absolute assurance of obtaining the prize of the high calling that is set before us. The further we have advanced in our Christian course, the greater probability there may be of our persevering to the end, and the more inexcusable shall we be if we eventually fail. But the awful warning of St. Peter may

well guard us against any implicit reliance upon such a presumptuous expectation, when, speaking even of those who had already made considerable advancement in Christian graces, he says,

“ it were better for them not to have “ known the way of righteousness, than, af“ ter they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them ”

It is yet another dangerous error, (perhaps, the most dangerous of all,) to presume upon any evidence of our being “ led by the Spirit “ of God,” unaccompanied with a correspondent practical effect upon our hearts and lives. When St. Paul says, “the Spirit itself bear“ eth witness with our spirit, that we are the “ children of God",” his meaning is explained by what immediately precedes the observation; “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall “ die: but if ye, through the Spirit, do mor1 2 Pet. ii. 21.

u Rom. viii. 16.


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