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became loathsome, so soon as it was not used according to the will of its giver.

Such passages of Scripture as that which I have chosen for my text, are in fact among the most useful touchstones by which the state of our hearts may be at once determined. Setting aside some few points in which difference of time and country, and national character, may produce some difference also in ourselves, it is clear that in the main the feelings and principles of true Christians in all ages of the world must resemble one another. When St. Paul says that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, there is no reason why his words should not apply to the present times as well as to his own; and we have seen that in fact they do so apply. When he says, that even we who have received the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, for the redemption of our body: it is still more plain that our case is the same as his; that we have not at


rate received a larger measure of the Spirit than he had; that our lives are not so much more heavenly and perfect than his as to leave us no reason to long, as he did, for the time when we should be more perfect. Either then we should feel as he felt, or we are not better, but much worse

than he was, and we do not understand at all the true state in which we are living.

If indeed we could be persuaded to observe the expression of the feelings of our Lord and his Apostles throughout the New Testament, and quietly to examine ourselves whether we felt at all as they did ; it would go, I should think, some way to shock us, and to make us perceive how very, very far, we are from belonging to the kingdom of God. I know that some will say, that it is to our actions rather than to our feelings, that we should look with anxiety; and that many who talk of their rapturous love of heavenly things, are in fact as much the slaves of earthly things as any of their neighbours. Many who talk of their love of Heaven may indeed be no better than other men, or even worse; but not many who really have the love of God and do not talk about it. There is all the difference in the world between talking about feeling, and feeling in reality; and in spiritual matters as in others, it is very often he who talks the loudest that feels the least. But I am speaking of people examining themselves, to see what is the state of their hearts towards God, not trying to put on an appearance of religion to deceive both themselves and their neighbours. And as to looking to actions rather than to feelings, no Christian would make an opposition between them : because, as there can be no goodness of life without goodness of principle, so neither can there be any goodness of principle that deserves the name, without its being shown in goodness of life. It is true also, that the Scriptures furnish us with touchstones in abundance, both for our conduct and our feelings; but in our church and in our country, there are few in comparison who are in danger of becoming wild talkers about religion ; but there are a great many who flatter themselves that their conduct is all as it should be, though their feelings and those of Christ and his Apostles should be as different from one another as light and darkness. Now that their conduct is not what it should be, is quite plain to all real Christians; but they fancy that all is right, that some of the precepts of the Gospel which they least relish were intended for other times and other circumstances ; and that they are leading useful lives, and so are practising God's commandments. Such persons should be earnestly entreated to read the language of our Lord and his Apostles, and then think if it finds any answering feelings in their own bosoms. If, instead of waiting for the redemption of their bodies, with a constant sense of their own great imperfections and those of the world around them, they consider such feelings as wild and unnatural, and are no way anxious to arrive at a state where goodness and peace will live in every heart without alloy and without an effort ; let them think why it is that they feel so differently; and the enquiry, if honestly pursued, will end in their answering, that it is because St. Paul and they are of a different spirit ; that while he was renewed in heart by the spirit of holiness and of love, that they are still in the bondage of the flesh, in that spirit of fear and selfishness which cannot please God, and the end of which is to be shut out from his presence for ever.


ROMANS vi. 14.

Sin shall not have dominion over you : for ye are not under

the law, but under grace.

The chief reason, I think, why St. Paul's epistles are often thought very hard to be understood is, because the picture of what Christians ought to be is so very different from the reality of what they are. Now we do not fully understand a man, unless we can in some measure enter into his feelings; if we cannot do this, we may indeed know the common meaning of the words which he uses, but the general substance of what he says will be lost upon us, and we shall certainly carry away no very lively impression of it, to influence our conduct afterwards. This is exactly the case with St. Paul's Epistles. His feelings towards Christ, and the way in which he looked upon the Gospel, are so unlike our own, that we generally never suspect him of meaning what he really does

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