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gion is their choice ; holiness their delight; Thoroughly convinced of the truth of God, of the mercies of redemption, of the glories of the world to come; they hesitate not to encounter the toils of Christian warfare. : They are not ignorant of the strength of their enemies. They are aware that it is far greater than it is imagined or represented to be by the worldly-minded men, who refuse to encounter it. “ We know," they reply
to the deceivers who would persuade them. - to shrink back from the course of duty;:.
" we know that we have to contend with the « flesh and the world, with the corruption of “ our own hearts; with your evil customs, “ your scoffs and your snares ; with Satan and “ his angels, the principalities and powers of “ darkness. But we are ready to set the: " battle in array. We are ready to go forth * in the name of our God. Mightier -is he: " that is with us than they that are againft; “ us. His strength is perfected in our weak“ ness. His grace is sufficient for us:-and w is able to make us more than conquerors “ through him that loved us, even through “ Jesus Christ.” .
III. You are now acquainted with the different spirit of two different classes of persons to
I be found among modern Christians. Which
of the two do you judge to be in the right? Which of the two do you esteem the wiser ? Come and let us reason together on this subject. The Israelites were directed to search out and examine the land of Canaan by means of their spies, before they should attempt to take pofseffion of it. In the same manner Christ admonishes those, who are desirous of be-, coming his disciples, to sit down first and count the cost (a). Not that the Israelites were left at liberty in point of duty to choose and determine for themselves whether they would proceed into Canaan, or not. Neither are you left at liberty in point of duty to determine for yourselves whether you will be religious or not. The Israelites were commanded to proceed into Canaan, and you are commanded
to be religious, under pain of the wrath of | almighty God. Why then are you required
to sit down and count the cost of being reli
gious ?. For the same reason for which the - Israelites were instructed to search out the land
of Canaan : namely, that through the promised affiftance of Him from whom is the preparation of the heart (6), you may prepare your minds beforehand for the task which you
(a) Luke, xiv. 28-33. (6) Prov. xvi. I. Vol. I. . O
have to perform ; and may thoroughly understand the greatness of the promised reward.
Do not imagine that for the purpose, as it were, of deluding you into the service of religion I would represent that service as easy. Whatever may be the blessings, present or future which it may hold forth ; unquestionably it abounds with difficulties, and requires constant and laborious exertion. And what valuable pursuit is there which does not? But with refpect to every valuable pursuit the decisive question is not whether difficulties and facrifices are to be expected: but whether there be solid ground for trusting that the difficulties and sacrifices will be compensated by the attainment of the object which you pursue. The husbandman cheerfully gives up his time and ease, and submits to watchfulness and hardship, in cultivating his fields : for he hopes for an ample retribution in the harvest. The merchant commits his property to the winds and waves, traverses the ocean, faces the vicissitudes of climates, recoils not from fatigue and danger, from suspense and anxiety : for he looks forward to a cargo, which shall abundantly remunerate his labours. Consider whether the rewards, which religion ensures to her followers, are proportionate to the nature of the service which she demands. But
beware of estimating among hardships injunctions which are blessings.
What then are the difficulties and facrifices to which you must submit, if you would be servants of religion? “ There are many " things,” you reply, “ many things rooted s in our nature, and dear to flesh and blood, “ which we must renounce." What must you renounce? “ We must renounce our “ evil passions ; as pride, anger, fretfulness, “ envy, revenge.” And is this a grievous facrifice? Will anger make you happy? Will fretfulness make you happy? Will pride, or envy, or revenge, make you happy? When you have indulged any of these wicked tempers, does the recollection of them diffuse comfort over your bosom? Can you seriously fay; " As I wish to be happy to-morrow, I " therefore hope that to-morrow I shall be "s actuated by passion, that I shall be fretful, “ and proud, and envious, and revengeful ?" Can you seriously say, that you believe men of such dispositions to be more happy than those, whom religion has rendered mild, contented, humble, rejoicing in the prosperity of others, replete with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness? Your own hearts tell you that the real facrifice is not to renounce there
Q.2 ,' tempers, tempers, but to retain them : that their fervice, not that of religion, is the hard fervice.
Let us proceed in our examination. What more does religion require you to renounce? “ She requires us to renounce intemperance, “ and other sensual pleasures.” And are these grievous sacrifices ? Compare the gratification which the finner obtains from his brutal in. dulgences with the present blessings which he loses by them. Take drunkenness for an example. Does the drunkárd derive as large an amount of pleasure from drunkenness, as the temperate man from temperance ? Contemplate the drunkard drenching himself in the poison which is secretly destroying him; roaring out curses in the midst of companions like himself; and joining in their profane fongs and licentious merriment. Follow him to his home, to the wife and children whom perhaps he starves : see them terrified by his fury, or sunk in anguish by his guilt. Visit him the succeeding morning. Behold his reddened eyes, his bloated visage, his trembling hands, his listless and languid frame. Behold him racked with remorse for the fins of the past evening; or in a state infinitely more pitiable, utterly insensible of them, and prepared for the next opportunity