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rather than by occasional feelings. Characters that grow thus, are likely to grow well, and to endure to the end.
In brief, wherever you may be situated, seek and improve opportunities for observing the best models of religious character; and borrow from them all that you can transfer with advantage into your own life. But remember that no human character grows in a perfect manner : follow the best Christians, therefore, only so far as they follow Christ. Perhaps, after all, the main cause why we grow ill, is, that we are perpetually leaning on one another. Did we lean more entirely on Christ-on his grace for support, and on his Divine Character as the model into which we desire to be entirely moulded-need I say, that we should grow well ? -" to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ !”
Yours, affectionately, &c.
TEMPTATION. MY DEAR
As I am not writing you a Treatise, but rather suggesting obvious, practical thoughts, I propose to direct my remarks, in the present letter, to the important subject of Temptation. Those who have gone furthest in their experience and observation of the Christian warfare are bound to feel most anxiously for those who are following them in the same path. Let the following plain observations convince you of the interest which I take in your spiritual welfare.
Temptation to sin is what all must expect, who enter devotedly upon the service of the Lord. Their old corruptions are not dead, although mortified by grace. The World is always a tempter; and Satan will never cease endeavouring to force back his former subjects into a state of slavery and death.
1. The temptations which arise from the sensuality of our nature, are various. I do not name them particularly; I observe only, that
they are often very importunate and distressing. When beaten back, they return with fresh attacks; and seem, by their continual warring against the soul, bent on its destruction. Nothing but Divine Grace can effectually purify the soul from its foul imaginations and sinful propensities: and this is, after all, a gradual work. The polluted fountain needs continual cleansing: but continual prayer obtains this grace. “Create in me a clean heart, O God!” must often be on our lips, breathing forth the deep anxiety, sometimes the almost agonizing desire, of our souls. How often, too, must we cry for pardon from our gracious God! He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity: still He knows all our infirmities, our passions, and our miserable state by nature. " The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” Here is the only fountain: " opened,” as it is expressly said, “ for sin and for uncleanness.” And the more constantly we come, in faith, to this compassionate Redeemer, the more shall we partake both of his pardoning and his sanctifying grace. • There are some particular helps to the soul, in resisting the grosser temptations of the flesh, worthy of your attention. Regular employment is one method of keeping out vain thoughts. Associating with persons of active and cheerful piety, is also highly beneficial. On the contrary, persons of a wayward, self-pleasing turn of mind are exposed to many temptations of a sensual character. It is most needful, also, to govern the senses; and none more so than the eye, that sin may not enter there. The imagination also requires a strict controul, lest sin should be meditated, even when it cannot be practised. There is also great weight in the Apostle's words : “ Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." , Daintiness, delicacy, fear of exertion or suffering, a shrinking spirit, a fondness for rest and sleep-these, and similar things, pamper the body, and predispose it the more to sin : while Self-denial gives tone and energy to all our graces, and is essential to the mortification of sensuality.
2. By temptations to worldliness, I mean, the inducements which meet us everywhere in the world—to live as the world lives, without having respect to strict Religious principle. The
world would fain live at ease, without God. I do not enlarge on this, because you are not as yet much exposed to the world's society. But at a very early age we often are tempted to contrast the restraints of Religion with the seeming freedom and gaiety of the world. Our heart inclines to prefer the world, and to deem Religion gloomy. This is a fearful temptation: and it works too often, like a bitter leaven, in the liearts of the younger members of old religious families. The strict rules and habits of their fathers seem needlessly precise, to the youth of an age which vaunts its liberality. You will also find many persons ready to suggest, that your worldly interest may suffer from your being too particular about Religion.
The antidote to this is, Faith. Look not on things seen, but on things unseen and eternal. “ The world passeth away, and the lust thereof." Go to a young man's funeral, and meditate on the end of all. Read the obituaries of those who have died trusting in Jesus: we have had many such in our own family-circles, both aged and young. Then, lift up your heart in aspirations