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whole of our life becomes disordered; the main spring, which should keep us right, is broken : we are apt to mistake, in many instances, evil

, for good, and good for evil; we do not see how we ought to settle the claims of our several duties upon us, and we are not sensible of the sin of wasting our time, or misspending our talents, because we lose sight of our Maker, to whom we ought to be accountable for both. And when we consider that this life is but the childhood in which we are to be trained up to the manhood of eternal life; that we are to learn here the character of the inhabitants of heaven, in order to be fit to take our places hereafter amongst them; it is manifest, that he who lives

; to himself and to his friends, instead of to God, is doing nothing at all to fit himself for heaven, and that he is neglecting the very


purpose for which he was sent into the world. Just in the same way, a boy who takes no pains to improve himself, and to gain the knowledge which is to be useful to him in after life, is wasting his childhood, and displeasing his parents, however good-natured he may be to his schoolfellows, or whatever may be the address and activity which he displays in his boyish sports and amusements.

This, then, is our lurking disease, of which

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it becomes us to be fully aware. This is the weak point about us, for which we must seek a remedy, and which, if suffered to go on, will destroy us altogether. It is for this chiefly that we require to be born again. Partial faults may be corrected by other physicians ; our worldly interest will often cure idleness and wastefulness; our natural affection and humanity will make us kind to our relations and friends, and dispose us to relieve the distresses of our neighbours; our regard to our bodily health may keep us free from sensual indulgences; our sense of honour may preserve our tongue from falsehood; but this is only removing a local complaint, while the general decay of the constitution is going on as fast as

Christ only can make us sound from head to foot, in the body and in the limbsfree from outward sores and from inward weakness and sickliness. He alone can give us a new and healthy nature; he alone can teach us so to live, as to make this world a school for hea

All that is wanted is, that we should see our need of Him and fly to him for aid. He came into the world to give sight unto the blind; but they are his own words, that he also came to make those blind who thought that they saw; to ensure, that is, a heavier condem




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nation to all those who refuse the cure that is offered them, because they do not feel their sickness; they will naturally perish in their folly, and the offer of assistance having been made and rejected, only serves to make their folly more evident.

One of the main uses which I would make of the fact, that our nature is evil from our youth, is in correcting a most common and most mischievous practice of using the word “natural," as if it were the same with “excusable," or “ pardonable.” It is commonly said, “Such and such faults are so natural at such an age, or under such circumstances, that we cannot pass a severe judgment upon them.” Now to a certain degree this is said with justice. We cannot pass a severe judgment upon them, because he who judgeth another condemneth himself; for he who judgeth, doeth the same things. We must not blame harshly natural faults, because we are ourselves so often guilty of them. So far, then, as an argument to make us charitable, the word "natural" may usefully

“ be employed; but with regard to our own conduct, or that of those for whom we are at all answerable, we must remember that to call a fault natural, is merely to enforce the language of the Scripture, that they who are in the flesh

cannot please God; that the flesh and the spirit are striving against one another; and that if we live after the flesh, that is, according to our own natural inclinations, we shall die. What we call natural may be called, not more truly, but more profitably, in the language of Scripture, “the sin that doth so easily beset us." In youth, thoughtless selfishness is natural; in manhood and old age, it is no less natural that our selfishness should be of another kind: cold and calculating, and preferring to every thing else the advantages, or comforts, or honours which the world can offer. But because these things are natural, are they therefore excusable ? or do not they show the need which we have of the fulfilment of God's promise, that he will give us a new heart and a new spirit, that we may live and not die ? So far from being excusable, when we feel that a fault or bad disposition is natural to us, it is only a reason why we should strive with the greatest earnestness against it. Who is in danger from sins which are not natural to him ? And, therefore, when we are tempted into the faults and follies of our peculiar age or station, we should look upon it as a kindly warning rather to avoid them than to yield to them, as a hint to tell us where we are wandering, and to remind us of the great danger in which we are living so long and so heedlessly. It is very true, that if we indulge in no other than natural faults, we shall be no worse than the generality of our neighbours; but woe to us if we are not better than the great mass of mankind; and most unhappy are we, if we have no higher aim when we enter into active life, than merely to be as good as others around us. Christ's lesson is of a very

different kind. He tells us, that unless our righteousness shall exceed, he does not say the righteousness of the world in general, but even the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees ;--men, that is, of a much stricter and better life than the bulk of the people ;-unless our righteousness should exceed even these, we shall in no case enter into the kingdom of hea

He tells us too, to strive to enter in at the strait gate; for broad is the gate, and wide is the way which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat. How comes it that they who enter in at the gate of destruction are so numerous ? Is it that they commit great and scandalous sins; that they are thieves, or murderers, or adulterers, or cruel oppressors, or given up to all those fleshly lusts which war against the soul? If there were none but these who trod the broad path of



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