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not be proved evil, but are certainly evil without proof, unless they can be proved to be good. Unless that holy and superhuman influence which came forth from Christ when He breathed on the Apostles, which they handed onwards, which has ever since gone through the world like a leaven, renewing it in righteousness,—which came on us first in Baptism, and reclaimed us from the service of Satan,-unless this Divine gist has been cherished and improved within us, and is spread round about and from us, upon the objects of our aims and exertions, upon our plans and pursuits, our words and our works, surely all these are evil, without being formally proved to be so. If we engage in a trade or profession, if we make money, if we form connexions in life, if we marry and settle, if we educate our children, whatever we do, we have no right to take it for granted that this is not earthly, sensual, and of this world; it will be so without our trouble, unless we take trouble the other way, unless we aim and pray that it may not be so. Left to itself, human nature tends to death, and utter apostasy from God, however plausible it may look externally. What was it men were doing before the flood came ? things very different from what men do now? No; they did the same things as we. “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded."* Are these things evil? Yes; they are evil unless they are good; they are evil unless they have become good; they are evil until Christ sanctifies them, and then, and not till then, are they good. They are evil in the case of every one of us, except Christ has sanctified them in us, unless they have been touched with the finger of God, and illuminated by the doctrine and the power of His Son.
In all things then we must spiritualize this world ; and if you ask for instances how to do this, I give you the following. When a nation enters Christ's Church, and takes her
. * Luke xvii. 27, 28.
yoke upon its shoulder, then it formally joins itself to the cause of God, and separates itself from the evil world. When the civil magistrate defends the Christian faith, and sets it up in all honour in high places, as a beacon to the world, so far he gives himself to God, and sanctifies and spiritualizes that portion of it over which he has power. When men put aside a portion of their gains for God's service, then they sanctify those gains. When the head of a household observes family prayer and other religious offices, and shows that, like Abraham, he is determined with God's help to honour Him, then he joins himself to the kingdom of God, and rescues his household from its natural relationship with this unprofitable world. When a man hallows in his private conduct holy seasons, this is offering up God's gifts to God, and sanctifying all seasons by the sacrifice of some. When a man who is rich, and whose duty calls on him to be hospitable, is careful also to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, thus he sanctifies his riches. When he is in the midst of plenty, and observes self-denial ; when he builds his house, but builds Churches too; when he plants and sows, but pays tithes; when he buys and sells, but withal gives largely to religion ; when he does nothing in the world without being suspicious of the world, being jealous of himself, trying himself, lest he be seduced by the world, making sacrifices to prove his earnestness ;-in all these ways he circumcises himself from the world by the circumcision of Christ. This is the circumcision of the heart from the world. This is deliverance from dead ordinances; and though, even if this were done perfectly, it would not be enough, for we have to separate ourselves from the flesh also, yet, at least, it is the victory over a chief and formidable enemy.
My Brethren, this is no matter of words; a thing to be listened to carelessly, because we have heard it often before. The death and resurrection of Christ is ever a call upon
you to die to time, and to live to eternity. Do not be satisfied with the state in which you find yourselves ; do not be satisfied with nature; be satisfied only with grace. Beware of taking up with a low standard of duty, and aiming at nothing but what you can easily fulfil. Pray God to enlighten you with a knowledge of the extent of your duty, to enlighten you with a true view of this world. Beware lest the world seduce you. It will aim at persuading you that itself is rational and sensible, that religion is very well in its way, but that we are born for the world. And you will be seduced most certainly, unless you watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. You must either conquer the world, or the world will conquer you. You must be either master or slave. Take your part then, and “ stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.''*
* Gal. v. 1.
INDULGENCE IN RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES.
JUDE 12.-" These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast
with you, feeding themselves without fear.”
The false brethren, spoken of by St. Jude, in this passage, were stained with such heinous guilt, both in life and doctrine, that it may seem to promise little profit to us to take any part of it as a text. Their sin has passed with the early age, and let it pass from our thoughts. So it may be said, and in one sense both rightly and truly said; for it is true, that the enormities which once were, are not now, and it is right surely to turn away from evil and hide it, when it is a thing past, not present. And yet, without recurring to those instances of fearful depravity and corruption, which insinuated themselves even into the Apostolic Church, according to the prophecy that the kingdom of heaven is like a net which gathers of every kind, good and bad, I think we may gain a lesson in matters which concern ourselves from the words in question, which have occurred in the Service,* and are not unsuitable to this season of the year.
The first thought which the text suggests to us, when it speaks of rets feastion. Tooreses to the temper in of mind in which we are accrued to observe the most Ho Sacra:nent of the Lord's Supper. Tbe feasts indeed spoken of by St. Jude were oi a difereat kind; they were an institution which soon came to an end, in consequence of the abuses to which they led; but still Holy Communion. is especially “ a feast of charity," and the fault which the Apozile imputes to certain apostate Christians of his day, may, in its degree, (though God grant but in a very slight degree!) adhere to us. He says, that they were “spots in the feast," a disfigurement, and a disgrace, because they “ feasted with” their brethren“ without fear.” They did in no sense recognize and realize that Holy Presence, before whom even St. John fell down as dead, till He laid His hand on him and said, “ Fear not."* He says to all His servants, “ Fear not," when they fear; but till then, He says on the contrary, very emphatically, “Fear." For instance, “ Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”+ “ Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
* May 1,
We must come to God with fear. Yet we are told to “ come boldly unto the throne of grace.”'s Are not these precepts incompatible with each other? No, surely, not in themselves, but we are very likely to find them incompatible, when we attempt them. We are very likely to find it difficult to fulfil two opposite duties, which are nevertheless both possible, and which are duties, because they are so opposite, because they are so difficult; for no one can suppose that easy matters are our duty, but difficult matters.
* Rev. i. 17.
Heb. xii. 28. Phil. ii. 12, 13.
† Psalm ii. 11. f Heb. iv. 16.