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he was enjoying a great estate, and endeavouring to make it greater.—But if ever we hope to reduce those rules to practice, it must be by the help of religion.-If we would find men who by their lives bore witness to their doctrines, we must look for them amongst the acts and monuments of our church,--amongst the first followers of their crucified Master ; who spoke with authority, because they spoke experimentally, and took care to make their words good, by despising the world, and volun. tarily accounting all things in it loss, that they might win Christ. O holy and blessed apostles ! blessed were ye indeed,—for ye conferred not with flesh and blood,- for ye were not offended in him through any considerations of this world ;-ye conferred not with flesh and blood, neither with its snares and temptations.--Neither the pleasures of life nor the pains of death laid hold upon your faith, to make you fall from him.-Ye had your prejudices of worldly grandeur in common with the rest of your nation ;-saw, like them, your expectations blasted ;-but ye gave them up, as men governed by reason and truth. As ye surrendered all your hopes in this world to your faith with fortitude, so did ye meet the terrors of the world with the same temper.-Neither the frowns and discountenance of the civil powers.--" neither tribulation, “nor distress, nor persecution, nor cold, nor naked"ness, nor famine, nor the sword, could separate you
from the love of Christ.”_Ye took up your crosses cheerfully, and followed him ;--followed the same rugged way, trod the wine-press after him; -voluntarily submitting yourselves to poverty, to punishment, to the scorn and the reproaches of the
world, which ye knew were to be the portion of an of you who engaged in preaching a mystery so spoko en against by the world ;--so unpalatable to all its passions and pleasures,-and so irreconcileable to the pride of human reason ; so that ye were, as one of you expressed, and all of ye experimentally found, Though ye were made as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things, upon this account, -yet ye went on as zealously as ye set out.-Ye were not offended, nor ashamed of the gospel of Christ ;-wherefore should ye !--The impostor and hypocrite might have been ashamed ;--the guilty would have found cause for it ;-ye had no cause, though ye had temptation.-Ye preached (but what ye knew; and your honest and upright hearts gave evidence,--the strongest-to the truth of it ; --for ye left ally-ye suffered all,--ye gave all that your sincerity had left you to give. Ye gave your lives at last as pledges and confirmations of your faith and warmest affection for your Lord.—Holy and blessed men !-ye gave all, when, alas ! our cold and frozen affection will part with nothing for his sake, not even with our vices and follies, which are worse than nothing ;-for they are vanity, and misery, and death.
The state of Christianity calls not now for such evidences as the apostles gave of their attachment to it. We have, literally speaking, neither houses, nor lands, nor possessions to forsake ;-we have neither wives nor children, nor brethren nor sisters, to be torn from ;--no rational pleasure, or natural endearments to give up. We have nothing to part with, but what is not our interest to keep our lusts and passions. We have nothing to do for
Christ's, but what is most for our own ;~that is, -to be temperate, and chaste, and just, and peaceable, and charitable, and kind to one another ;-SO that, if man could suppose himself in a capacity even of capitulating with God concerning the terms upon which he would submit to his government,
and to choose the laws he would be bound to observe in tes. timony of his faith,-it were impossible for him to make any proposals which, upon all accounts, should be more advantageous to his interest than those very conditions to which we are already obliged ; that is, to deny ourselves ungodliness, to live soberly and righteously in this present life, and lay such restraints upon our appetites as are for the honour of human nature, the improvement of our happiness, our health, our peace,--our reputation and safety.-When one considers this representation of the temporal inducements of christianity,--and compares it with the difficulties and diacouragements which they encountered who first made profession of a per secuted and hated religion ;--at the same time that it raises the idea of the fortitude and sanctity of those holy men, of whom the world is not worthy--it sadJy diminishes that of ourselves--which, though it has all the blessings of this life apparently on its side to support ito--yet can scarce be kept alive ;--and if we may form a judgment from the little stock of religion which is left--should God ever exact the same trials, unless we greatly alter for the better, --or there should prove some secret charm in persecution, which we know not of, it is much to be doubted if the Son of man should make this proof-of this generation, whether there would be found faith upon the earth.
As this argument may convince us--s0 let it shame us into virtue,--that the admirable examples of those holy men may not be left us, or commemorated by us to no end ;-but rather that they may answer the pivus purpose of their institution,to conform our lives to theirs ;-that with them we may be partakers of a glorious inheritance, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
No,-- they are not grievous, my dear auditors. Amongst the many prejudices which at one time or other have been conceived against our holy religion, there is scarce any one which has done more dishonour to christianity, or which has been more opposite to the spirit of the gospel, than this, in express contradiction to the words of the text, “ That
the commandments of God are grievous."--That the way which leads to life is not only strait, for that our Saviour tells us, and that with much tribulation we shall seek it ;--but that christians are bound to make the worst of it, and tread it barefoot upon thorns and briers--if ever they expect to arFive happily at their journey's end. And in course, -during this disastrous pilgrimage, it is our duty so 'to renounce the world, and abstract ourselves from it, as neither to interfere with its interests, nor taste any of the pleasures, or any of the enjoyments of this life.
Nor has this been confined merely to speculation, but has frequently been extended to practice,mas is plain, not only from the lives of many legendary saints and hermits,--whose chief commendation seems to have been, " That they filed unnaturally