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all its diversified interests, are not enough to satisfy the longing desires after novelty, that now influence no small portion of the religious world.
Another class, who are fond of excitement, may be found among those who can bear nothing but what they call the strong meat of the Gospel ; and that must be well-seasoned in their own peculiar way, mixed with a little theological cayenne,' or it will by no means go down. They hear only for themselves, and consider not others who need to be taught the first principles of religion; and they vainly imagine that they have attained so much perfection, that they even need not to be sometimes reminded of first principles. In fact, they have done with nourishment to grow in grace. They are strong men, and they may therefore indulge in higher seasoned food. Hence whatever is not prepared according to their diseased palates, they call milk and water.' They separate what God has joined and doctrines strongly asserted, and what they call Christian experience, which is often anti-christian enthusiasm, human feelings excited under the impulse of anti-scriptural stimulants, and separated from the rigid examination, and practical exhortations of God's word ;—these are the only things that suit their minds. And not only so, but these, to be palatable, must be mixed with unhallowed passions, and delivered with a sternness unbecoming the minister of Christ, and a polemical warmth, which would better suit the forum than the pulpit. It is no uncommon thing for this excitement to cease, and for those hearers, who have indulged in it, to turn back to the corruptions that are in the world, through lust. The moral to be deduced from these reflections is, that pleasure can alone be genuine, which needs no
extrinsic aid to bring it into exercise, which dwells in the breast as a spring of living water, and which may be enjoyed alone and in the hours of retirement, as well as in society and in the crowd, in sickness as well as in health. That benevolence is questionable which is only to he produced by means, which, if not siuful, must supersede the ordinary excitements of pastoral exhortation, and the strong impulse of the love of Christ: and that creed is very disputable, and that state of mind very unsound, where the sincere milk of the word' is not acceptable, as well as the strong meat, where precepts are not precious as well as promises, and where the hearer loves only to riot in the elements of censure and strife.
HINTS ON SCRIPTURE.-No. VII.
1 Cor. xiii. 13. And now abideth faith, hope, and
charity, these three ; but the greatest of these is charity.
Faith. Faith believes the testimony of another without seeing. Divine faith thus believes the divine testimony. • Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. • Faith exercises dependance on the veracity of another. Divine faith thus depends on the promises of God. Faith is influential, if it be genuine; he, for instauce, who believes on the word of another that his distant property is on fire, will hasten to save it. So the faith of a Christian, assured of his danger, impels him to save his soul, by fleeing to Christ for salvation.
Hope. Hope respects distant objects; for
what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for." It also respects something attainable, or hope is at an end." This too is influential, for if we hope to acquire wealth by certain means, we shall use those means for its attaiument; and in like manner, he who hopes for a pure heaven, where none but the pure are admitted, ' will purify himself, even as God is pure.'
Charity. The original word means love. This is an affectionate going out of the heart towards God, and towards men, inducing us, constraining us to devote ourselves to the honour of the one, and the welfare of the other, and that too at the expense of any sacrifices, if ealled to make them, for love is strong as death.
This grace is said to be greater than the others. First, it is more disinterested. Faith and hope respect some future good to be obtained, which will enrich the believer ; but love rather gives than receives; towards God it is the grateful effusion of the heart, and towards man it is its benevolent overflowings. Secondly, love is more diffusive than faith or hope. These are confined to the individual's own bosom, but love pours its blessings into the bosom of others. We cannot, indeed, make another believe, we cannot make bim hope, but we can give him our love. Finally, love is more durable. Faith and hope respect time only, love respects eternity. Faith shall be changed to sight, bope shall be lost in possession, but love shall last for ever.
This is the grace that lives and sings
When Faith and Hope shall cease,
La the sweet realms of bliss.'
SPECIMENS OF FRENCH PREACHERS.
Translated expressly for this Work.
M. JAQUELOT, Preacher in Ordinary of the
King of Prussia, Protestant. 1710.
ON NUMBERING OUR DAYS. It is in the school of God only that we can learn this important reckoning, all others are erroneous, and lead us astray. Why do we not consider, my Brethren, that life is constantly consuming itself? One reckons upon his titles of nobility and his ancestors, to inspire a spirit of pride rather than to cherish virtue. Another reckons up his lands and his revenues, to swell his heart, and inflate his soul with the wind of prosperity. One reckons on his exploits to compose the journal of life and to live in the pages of history; another reckons up his misfortunes to wound his soul with sorrow, and cherish murmuring on their account. Every one reckons up his designs and projects, and were the heart of any man laid open to our sight, how many unfinished enterprizes and destroyed schemes should we discover, with which this mortal, who perhaps to-morrow will be concealed in the tomb, amuses his mind, and dissipates it by vain illusions—illusions with which he feeds his ambition! In fine, we reckon up our days, but in what manner ? We calculate on the future with almost as much assurance, as we did on the past; if any man has lived in a town 80 or 90 years, he it is who is set down as the rule to all others, we promise ourselves that we shall live as long, and we build upon his years which have no other foundation than our vain and blind desires,-plans and edifices, which are often destroyed by death before
they can be carried into execution. If you observe, all the seductions of the human heart, always retain something of the nature of the first temptation. They flatter our pride; we want to be exalted, and to make our fortunes, as we say, and this is what the tempter suggested, Ye shall be as Gods. We proinise ourselves years to come, we put far from us the thoughts of death-Ye shall not surely die. But if this proposition appears to us too daring and too improbable, we disguise it in another manner : the young boldly puts off the thought of death for 40 or 50 years. The old man yet promises bimself years to come. Thus both fall blindly into the abyss of death, as if the earth were suddenly opened under their feet; they die without having seriously thought they were mortal.
What should be done, but to remedy this calculation so false and so dangerous. We must often recollect ourselves, and enter into ourselves, in the presence of God, the Lord of life and death. Let us hear the voice of nature,—the sentiment of our mortality-the continual experience which strikes the eyes,—those legions of maladies and accidents which besiege us. All cry to us that the life of inan is but a dream, but a shadow, but a vapour, which springs up and perishes in the same moment. We may well compare this life to a fragile and tottering plank, which crosses a precipice, which we are obliged to pass. This precipice is Eternity, from which there is no more return, and our happiness or misery must depend upon our lives during the uncertain period of a few years which are liable to terminate at every hour. Life is this fragile plank which may break under our feet at the next step, and precipitate us into the abyss. This is the first idea we ought to form of life.