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thy evil inclinations, suggesting holy thoughts, kins dling heavenly affections, and drawing thee to thy duty with a hand unseen? Hast thou not felt him as a Spirit within thy spirit, imparting secret strength, animating thy frame as with new life, actuating thy faculties, purifying thy passions, begetting in thee an abhorrence of fin and a love of righteousness, and making all thy graces shine out with fresh beauty ? How easy and delightful then will the Christian life be, when you have divine aids to strengthen, support, and assist? It is God himself who is on your fide, it is God himself who works with you ; his wisdom is your guide, his arm is your support; his Spirit is your strength ; you lose your own insufficiency in the fulness of infinite perfection.
In the third place, It will appear, that the Christian life is easy and pleasant, if we consider the en. couragements the good man receives. :
The good man waits not for all his happiness till he come to heaven : he hath treasures in hand, as well as possessions in hope : he hath a portion in the life that now is, as well as in that which is to come. There is a sense of moral good and evil implanted in the mind; a principle of conscience which condemns us when we do ill, and applauds us when we do well. This principle is the chief foundation of our happiness, and gives rise to the greatest pleasures and the greatest pains in human life. By means of this moral sense, there is no peace to the wicked. Inward struggles, strong reluctance and aversion of mind, precede the commission of sin. Sin, when committed, is followed by guilty blushes, alarming fears, terrible reviews, startling prospects, and remorse, with
all its hideous train. Against the finner, his own , heart rises up in judgment to condemn him; the terrors of the Lord set themselves in array against him ; a fire not blown consumes him. “ There is no peace “ to the wicked.” The foundations of peace are subverted in his mind; he is at enmity with himself; he is at enmity with his fellow.creatures; he is at enmity with God. It is not so with those that take upon them the yoke of Christ. When pure religion forms the temper, and governs the life, all is peace. ful and serene ; the man is then in his proper element; the soul is in a state of health and vigour ; there is a beautiful correspondence between the heart and the life; all is serene without, all is tranquil within. Delivered from the anxieties that perplex, and from the terrors that overwhelm the guilty man, the Christian resigns himself to peace and joy, conscious that he possesses a temper of mind which is acceptable to God, and leads a life which is useful to men. In the heart of such a man there is a blefled calmness and tranquillity, like that of the highest heavens.
But there is more than a calmness and tranquillity. The air may be calm and tranquil, when the day is dark; the sea may be smooth, when there is mist upon the waves; the sky may be tranquil when it is overcast with clouds: but the pious and virtuous mind resembles a sky that is not only calm, but bright; resembles a sea that is not only smooth, but serene; resembles an unclouded sky, beautiful with the rifing sun. There are joys in the Christian life, unknown to transgressors : there is a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed, that refreshes the city of God; there
are secret consolations reserved for the just; there are silent pleasures that flow into the pious mind; there is a still small voice that comes to the pure in heart, and bids them be of good cheer; there is an inward peace of God that passeth all understanding; there is a joy in the Holy Ghost, resulting from the well-grounded hope of a happy immortality, that is unspeakable and glorious.
When the heart is thus pure, it becomes the temple of the Deity; and, as a temple is consecrated with the presence of God, “If a man love me, and keep “ my words, my Father will love him, and we will " come and make our abode with him." Who can describe the joy of those happy moments, when a present Deity is felt, when God manifests himself to his people, fo-as he does not to the world, when our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ? Then a foretaste of immortality is given, the joys of the blessed are let down, and heaven descends to men.
In the fourth and last place, The ease and pleas. ure of the Christian life will appear, if we consider the joyful prospect that is set before, us.
The Christian has joys in this life ; but he is not confined to these. His hopes do not terminate with life; they extend beyond the grave. · Death puts a final period to the happiness of the wicked man; but it is then that the happiness of the righteous man be.. gins. We are assured in Sacred Scripture, that there is a kingdom prepared for the righteous from the foundation of the world, when they shall enter into rest from all their labours, and sufferings, and for. rows of this mortal life; when they shall enter into a
ftate where no ignorance shall cloud the understand. ing, and no vice pervert the will; where nothing but love shall possess the soul, and nothing but gratitude employ the tongue; where they shall be admitted to an innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the First-born ; where they shall fee Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and shall fit down with him upon his throne; where they shall be admitted into the presence of God, shall behold him face to face, and be changed into the same image, from glory to glory ; that glory which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
To conclude, It may be observed, that it hath been the fate of Christianity in all ages, to suffer more from its friends than from its enemies. Attacks from the enemies of our faith have generally proved subservient to its propagation and success; but the misrepresentations and injuries of its friends have often wounded it in a vital part. One of the greatest of these misrepresentations, and one of the most flagrant injuries that ever was done to religion, was to represent it as a burdensome service ; as a griev. ous and a galling yoke, to which no man would submit, but from the terror of eternal punishment. What adds to the injury, this has sometimes been done by persons of real seriousness, who, unhappily poffefsed of a gloomy imagination, and who, probably, in some period of their days, having been guilty of crimes, have been so deeply affected with remorse and contrition, that they have continued all their lifetime subject to bondage. But blessed be God, my friends, that such unfavourable and forbidding delineations of religion have no foundation in truth. In these volumes, Christians are called upon to rejoice evermore. Religion promises happiness to us in the life which now is, as well as in the life which is to come. The Wisdom that is from above, is represented as having length of days in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honor. The prophets and apostles ransack heaven and earth for images to express the joys of the just. They bring together the most beautiful and most delightful objects in the whole compass of nature, and introduce the inanimate parts of the creation as joining in the happiness of the good ; the hills and the mountains breaking forth into singing, and all the trees of the wood shouting for joy. All concurs to prove the truth in the text, “ My yoke is easy, and iny bur« den is light.”