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God proclaimed in the creation of man in inno- | covenant, his promise, his law; his people also, cence—in the conscience which is planted in every and their calling, are holy; in like manner is breast-in the moral government which is estab- his sabbath holy; his prophets, priests, and lished in the world, in virtue of which God rewards angels. His Son and his Spirit also are eminently the righteous and punishes the wicked! Above all, how impressive is the proof which is to be found in his word: in the moral law-which is holy, and just, and good, and still more in the scheme of redemption, so nobly devised to recover sinners from the consequences of its violation. How holy must God be, that sooner than spare sin he would not spare an only-begotten and well-beloved Son, nor withhold the Holy Spirit, to renew and sanctify those who were redeemed, and that though often grieved and provoked by their perversity. No testimonies to the divine holiness can be so striking as these. But it may not be unsuitable to think of the testimonies to the holis of God contained in the words and images of eripture.


How desirable is it to feel that there is a great unseen Being who sees and knows all, to whom the most secret desire of evil is as open as the most proclaimed action of the life! How important to feel that the holy One of Israel, whose eyes are pure and piercing as a flame of fire, is ever with us! What a check is the faith of this fitted to exert upon thoughts of causeless anger, unchaste desires, covetous affections, purposes of revenge! Who can be wilfully impure under the very eye of Purity? Who can be careless about progress in holiness, when the God of holiness is present, and invites and encourages to be holy as he is holy? Let Christians be well persuaded of the indispensable necessity of personal holiness. It assimilates to the most glorious, excellent, and lovely of beings, and what else ought they supremely to desire? What happiness can be so great as being like God. If we admire and follow what is perfect among men, shall we not much rather imitate the perfections of the everblessed Jehovah, from whom indeed all that is beautiful in human taste and morals has been derived, as a small and mudded stream from a fountain of exhaustless purity? We cannot pleas

The prophet addressing Jehovah says, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst ot look upon iniquity.' So far from being different to moral evil, or favouring, or loving God cannot so much as look upon it, so abhorrent is it to His pure and holy nature. The heavens, with all their brilliancy and splendour, are said not to be clean in his sight, and the stars not to be pure before him. It is said, Behold he putteth no trust in his servants, and his angels he chargeth with folly.' How incon-antly spend a day in the society of one whose eivably holy then is God! Of him it is declared, thon art not a God that hath pleasure in wicked, neither shall evil dwell with thee.' Nay, in gard to evil, it is said that God not only is not shall not, but cannot be tempted, neither empteth he any man.' The thing is impossible. His holy nature forbids the most distant approaches to it. He is represented as 'very light, in whom is no darkness at all.' The angels and archangels of heaven are introduced as celebrating the praise of God's holiness above every other perfection, as exclaiming, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory,-of the glory of his holiness, and he himself is represented as swearing by his holiness: 8 high and essential a part does he account it of himself. Nay, not only is God holy in himself, the Holy One of Israel, but he is so holy that every thing connected with him partakes of the quality. Whatever he touches becomes naked with purity-his name is holy, and so his throne, and place, and heaven,-they are all holy, so is his hihabitation, and

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likings and dislikings do not accord with our own, and how then, if unsanctified, can we expect to spend a happy eternity with God? Remembering the words, Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy,' let Christians be exhorted to press forward after holiness in all its extent, in thought, speech, and deportment. The simple character of God as holy, his moral loveliness, should animate to much watchfulness and many a holy exertion; but happily there is more than this. There is an ample provision of means for the express purpose of sanctifying. The work of the Son removes every obstacle to the holiness of the believing soul, and supplies the best motives to its attainment, at once showing the evil of sin, and proclaiming the holy love of God. And it is the express office and the work of the Holy Spirit, the Third person of the adorable Trinity, to renew and sanctify the soul from day to day, yea, it is His joy and delight to do so. Oh let Christians avail themselves of these means, and employ them to the uttermost; and consider, for their encouragement, that the higher their sanctification here, rks the greater their glory hereafter. And let the

his inner be satisfied, that he cannot be made holy

till he is at peace with God; that the first of which the exhortation is composed. Though step to his being sanctified, is as a perishing sinner to submit to the righteousness of Emmanuel. Let him, as he would receive the Holy Spirit, first receive Christ the Redeemer. And the better to encourage him to this, let him remember that that great and awful Jehovah, of thrice sacred sanctity, before whom the angels of heaven vail their faces with their wings, invites and beseeches him to lay down the weapons of his warfare. Let him think that a tear of compassionate love stands in that pure and piercing eye, which cannot look upon sin, and before which the heavens are not clean, and is ready to fall for the guiltiest of men. Let him think of the blended purity and mercy of God, and at once be melted into contrition for sin, and be aroused to a new and holy obedience.

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to a superficial eye the parts may seem to run into each other, they convey separate ideas. The word of God does not deal in idle repetitions. Christians are required to think on whatsoever things are true'-not merely to acquire the knowledge of divine things on suitable evidence, but solemnly to realize all the great truths which regard God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost— ourselves as sinners-the way of salvation—our duty and privileges-the day of future account and retribution; we are to picture these and many others vividly forth to our minds, as if they were actually present, and as if we could converse with them. Farther, Christians are exhorted to think on whatsoever things are honest;' in other words, uprightly to follow out the convictions which meditation on divine truths has awakened. It is well known how prone the mind is, where it has become enlightened, to shrink from its own convictions, how it attempts to smother and evade them, in order to shun the pain of a new and more exact course of obedience. How important, then, the call, in cases of mental and moral discipline, to personal honesty! Where is the use of meditating upn the great truths of natural or revealed religion, if the moment they become practical, the mind dishonestly turns aside from the conviction?

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Having exhorted to a suitable consideration of truth, and an honest application of it, the apostle next calls us to practise, in all our dealings with our fellow-men, whatsoever things are just This embraces a very comprehensive class o duties. The Christian is not only to be scrupulously just in all his transactions with his fellowmen, even the smallest- owe no man anything

LET us attend to the exhortation to mental and moral discipline to which the apostle calls. It forms the conclusion of a practical address to a much-loved church. Paul's counsels, in regard to God and themselves and their fellow-men, were too numerous to be detailed; therefore he embraces them all in a comprehensive statement. 'Finally' to conclude the whole-whatsoever things are true'-not one or a few or many, but all things, of whatever class, which are true whatsoever things are honest,' &c. meditate on them, judge, reason, draw inferences, make practical applications of them. And in case any should be bewildered by calls so general, the apostle adds his own example: "Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.' This is a noble farewell; to exhort men to think upon good, and nothing but good, and that not as a matter of mere speculation or vague desire, but for the purpose of imitation. It is like a celebrated painter calling upon his more youthful pupils to study all the finest models of ancient and modern times. Meditate for a little upon the different parts such as a holy God and his own conscience ap

he is to be just to the character and reputation of his neighbours, and he is to call himself strictly to account, as in the sight of God, for the manne in which he discharges his duties in the variou relations of life, as a superior, a parent, or master; an inferior, a child, or a servant; a equal, a friend, or neighbour. He is to medi tate on the responsibilities of justice, as appli cable in his case, and consider whether he i employing all his talents and means of usefulnes as he may and ought to God's glory and the good of his fellow-men. Passing from such con templations, he is to think on whatsoever thing are pure.' He is to take full and perseverin account of all the personal virtues, particularl of the state of his heart before God, the motive of his actions, the prevailing current of his desire He is to see that these be pure

and affections.

prove. This may be a severe, but it is a most words before us. Property lies at the foundanecessary portion of moral discipline.

The last part of the exhortation regards what is 'lovely' and of 'good report. However correct and excellent the character, which, with the divine blessing, will grow up under the discipline already described, it is essential to the perfection and beauty of the whole, that the lovely and the praiseworthy be added. It is well known that there are a class of virtues, which even the world, with all its blindness, is compelled to admire; these are the higher graces, such as meekness under provocation, forgiveness of injuries, patience under protracted suffering, selfdenying charity to the worthless. These and similar virtues are lovely in themselves, and they are universally well reported of. They recommend the gospel to general honour and acceptance, the more especially, if not satisfied with an accidental manifestation, the Christian seeks for and seizes opportunities of exercising them, and so glorifying his Father who is in heaven. The Christian character is truly lovely. It is intended, as it is fitted, to awe and attract and lead to universal imitation. Let the believer keep this in mind, and think practically and to purpose on whatsoever is lovely and of good report.'

There are some fine sayings, and self-denied and generous doings, to be met with even in the writings of Heathenism-such sayings and doings as may make many professed Christians ashamed; but it is not to the contemplation of these that the believer is called. In the words before us, he is exhorted to meditate on the works and ways of God, as manifested in nature and providence, and especially the whole revelations of the scriptures in their practical applications. He is called to think on all that is great and good, as exemplified in the history of scripture saints. And how lofty is the devotion of the psalmist, how profound the piety of the prophets, how heroic the spirit and conduct of the apostles! What a record of moral wonders is the eleventh of the Hebrews! What a halo of glory encompasses the martyrs of Jesus in very age! How undying and diffusive is their fame!


'Thou shalt not steal,' Exod. xx. 15. THAT God is the God of society as well as of individuals and families, is proclaimed in the

tion of society, and the eighth commandment recognises and protects it. Our bountiful Creator has given dominion over the world to man, and implanted in his nature the capacity and the principle impelling him to appropriate a share of it for present, and to lay up another share for future use. In proportion to the importance of property as an institution of God, conducive to the welfare of society and the progress of true religion, is the guilt of its violation, and yet how extensively is it violated, and how varied the forms! There may be little scope for robbery or theft in a savage state of society, where there are few articles to steal, and the offending parties can readily be detected and punished; but the principle of unrighteous appropriation as part of our corrupted nature always exists, and with the artificial wants and temptations of society is brought into enlarged activity. Innumerable are the ways in which men violate the eighth commandment. To what is the immense civil and criminal codes of a commercial nation directed, if not the protection of property and the punishment of those who violate its laws? The Christian happily cannot tell of the endless forms of fraud and forgery, theft and stealing and robbery, idleness and profusion, covetousness, avarice, gambling, and a thousand others; but our laws, and criminal courts, and prisons, and penal settlements, and wretched families, can bear melancholy testimony to the existence and prevalence of the breaches of God's law, in these great leading outlines, not to allude to less direct or minor cases. And is it necessary to say any thing of the punishment? The decalogue uttered from Sinai, by the mouth of Jehovah himself, proclaimed, Thou shalt not steal,' and both God and man have in every age concurred in expressing their strong displeasure against the sin. The law of Moses enjoins, Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant, that is poor and needy; at his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it, lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.' Here the simple withholding of the wages of a servant for a season, is accounted oppression, and a crying sin against Jehovah.

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will certainly entail eternal death, and that the dread doom of Achan and his house is its type.

howl for your miseries that shall come upon you; your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as if it were fire.' And what was the declaration of God by Ezekiel? He says, that the man who hath oppressed the poor and the needy, or who has not restored the pledge, shall surely die, and that his blood shall be upon him, (xviii. 13). Still more impressive is the language of the apostle Paul. Addressing Christians he says, Be not deceived;' implying that even they were apt on such subjects to deceive themselves or to be deceived by others; neither thieves, nor covetous, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God;' in other words, they shall be doomed to the kingdom of Satan. Our blessed Lord though when upon earth a poor man, exposed to the privations and temptations of poverty, yet did not, like many in similar circumstances, indi-erality among Christians in days of special trial.

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cate any prejudice against property, or encourage others to entertain it. On the contrary, he sacredly guarded its rights, saying, Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things which are God's,' and denounced eternal death against those who should steal, and die with their sin unrepented of and unatoned

Let no one plead the community of property practised in the earliest days Christianity, as inconsistent with the views of which have been stated. Even were a community of goods in some aspects sanctioned by the word of God, this would never countenance fraud or theft. In all states of society the eighth commandment remains the same. The institution referred to was evidently peculiar, intended to meet a particular exigencythe persecution of the first Christians,—and disappeared with the circumstances, which created it. Moreover, it was quite voluntary, and we have no reason to believe was universally adopted, even by the primitive believers. It can be pleaded with justice only to the effect of strongly recommending disinterestedness, and self-denial, and lib

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Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found Lev. vi. 4.

THE law of restitution may be contemplated und

And as furnishing a test of the sincerity of man Both aspects are most important. It is of hi moment to know the character of God; and that character is marked by unswerving justice. I is also of great value to have good tests at hand by which we may readily ascertain the reality o men's repentance, where they profess to be sorry for sin, and to turn anew to God. The principl of restitution secures both.

From the commandment before us, let Christians be on their guard against dishonesty in any of its forms. All circles and professions in life have their peculiar temptations. Let Christians be scrupulous in giving to all what belongs to them, and in maintaining the trusts reposed un-two lights: 1. As proving the justice of God; 2 broken. Let them be rigidly honest and upright even in small matters. The eighth commandment is a law which is absolute, not admiting of degrees. The least theft is a great sin, and if successfully practised will lead to others. And as the root of much of the breaches of this law is either inordinate love of the world, or a supposed necessity, occasioned by men's own idleness or prodigality, so let Christians keep the world in its own place, and be at once busy in their Where a man has taken away what belongs t proper callings, and frugal in the use of God's another, or has found it, he is required to restor gifts. Thus will they be kept from all temptation it to the owner. What applies to property als to violate the law, Thou shalt not steal.' Let applies to character. If one has, in any form o them remember that to steal in any form or degree degree, injured the good name of another, hei is mean as well as sinful, and cannot plead even bound to make reparation, by clearing the repu the apologies of passion which may be urged in tation which he has assailed, and taking suc behalf of other crimes. Let them consider that other steps as may be necessary to place th it is a most ungrateful return for God's good- character in the same estimation in which it wa ness, as the patron and protector of society; that before. Restitution is demanded by God. Con it aims a blow at the civilization and regeneration science and common sense bear witness to it of the world, through the lawful use of property; even in heathen lands; and the requirement of th that it is an indulgence of that love of the world divine word, both under the Jewish and Chris which is one of the leading enemies of the spi- tian dispensations, is most explicit. It is involve ritual life; above all, let them remember that it in the great law proclaimed from Sinai by th


lips of Jehovah himself, 'Thou shalt not steal.' | himself. It is, so to speak, a picture of Deity, Permission to steal, or to retain what is stolen, and it expressly requires restitution and reparais plainly inconsistent with the decalogue. The tion wherever there has been an offence which law of Moses, too, is clear. A man is to restore admits of either. that which he took violently away, or the thing which he has gotten deceitfully, or what was delivered him to keep or the lost thing which was found. The cases in which restitution is to be made are minutely detailed, that there may be no excuse for withholding on the plea of ignorance. Nay, not satisfied with a bare restitution, the Mosaic law required compensation in addition, two-fold, four-fold, and even five-fold. The case of Jacob, after receiving corn without payment, returning the money in the mouth of the sacks to Egypt, shows what was the idea of restitution which then prevailed. And Samuel, at a later day, gave evidence of the influence of the same sentiment, 1 Sam. xii. 3. Not to multiply illustrations, what were the spirit and conduct of Zaccheus when he became a new man through the faith of the gospel? He said, 'Behold, Lord,...if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him four-fold.' And what was the Master's approbation? This day is salvation come to this house.' It is plain, then, that the law of God imperatively requires restitution. And that not as an artificial or arbitrary appointment, but as a moral command-not proceed from the sin which they have com

ment, seated in the very nature of God. There may be some things which do not admit of restitution, or in a very imperfect form. Who can restore the life or the chastity of others, where they have been taken away? Who can undo the mjury to character which a wide-spread lie may nflict? But wherever the case admits of restitution, justice demands that it be rendered. Yea, the very fact that restitution is in some cases impossible, is just a reason why in all cases where it can be made, it should be the more cheerfully yielded. There may be many cases where the laws of society do not demand restitution, as where parties become subsequently able to discharge debts from which they had been previously released; but the law of God, and the spirit of true religion, I humbly apprehend, call upon such persons to restore what they owed. Many casistical questions may be started in conrection with restitution, as to whether children should enjoy property doubtfully or unlawfally acquired by parents, and many others; but it is believed that in the great majority of rases, a sound judgment and enlightened conscience, under the regulation of the word of God, will find no serious difficulty. We see, then, the justice of God. His law is another name for

The second point is as a test of sincerity. Men are prone to deceive themselves, and in nothing more than their repentance. There are two kinds of it, the genuine and the spurious. Now restitution supplies an admirable standard for ascertaining what is genuine. Not but that a man may restore property, and make reparation to character, and still be impenitent in heart. But, at least, no man can be said truly to repent, who refuses, though he has it in his power, to make restitution. If he truly repents, he will restore; nay, he will be forward to do so, and while he confesses his sin he will deeply regret should he, in the providence of God, be unable to make reparation for the injury which he has inflicted. This at once tries sincerity. Many have no objections to confess their sins to God, but are utterly averse, even though they have the means, to make any restitution to man. This plainly shows that there is no cordial approbation of the law of God, which is essential to true repentance. It proves, whatever may be their confessions, and tears, and convictions of sin, that they hate the law as hard, and wish it altered, and that after all their grief does

mitted against God, but because He will not change his law to suit them. Let them consider that dishonesty, in small things, is a proof of radical dishonesty in heart, and proves that it is owing to circumstances alone, and not to principle, that they are not the most abandoned thieves. As the principle of restitution requires them to pay debts which have been contracted, let them feel that it also forbids them to incur debts which they have no reasonable prospect of paying. Let them search not only their hearts, but their substance. And if they find any thing which has been unlawfully come by, let them not attempt to enjoy it: let them cast it out. Where they cannot find the owner, let them give it to the poor, or to the service of God, but let them not retain it; they cannot do so, and truly repent of their sins, nor can they receive any blessing on their basket, or their store, from the hands of God.

TWENTY-FIFTH DAY.-MORNING. 'He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after rain persons shall have poverty enough,' Prov. xxviii. 19. THE 'natural man,' in the language of scripture, is emphatically an idle man. Hence we see men

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