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abasement of the holy. In this world, even the best of men, though they are dead to sin, and have put sin to death, yet have that dead and corrupt thing within them, though they live to God; they have still an enemy of God remaining in their hearts, though they keep it in subjection. This, indeed, is what all men now have in common, a root of evil in them, a principle of sin, or what may become such ;-what they differ in is this, not that one man has it, another not; but that one lives in and to it, another not; one subdues it, another not. A holy man is by nature subject to sin equally with others ; but he is holy because he subdues, tramples on, chains up, imprisons, puts out of the way this law of sin, and is ruled by religious and spiritual motives. Of Christ alone can it be said that HE“ did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” The prince of this world came and found nothing in Him. He had no root of sin in His heart; HE was not born in Adam's sin. Far different are we. thus pure, because He was the Son of God, and born of a Virgin. But we are conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity. And since that which is born of the flesh, is flesh, we are sinful and corrupt because we are sinfully begotten of sinners. Even those then who in the end turn out to be saints and attain to life eternal, yet are not born saints, but have with God's regenerating and renewing grace to make themselves saints. It is nothing but the Cross of Christ, without us and within us, which changes any one of us from being (as I may say) a devil, into an Angel. We are all by birth children of wrath. We are at best like good olive trees, which have become good by being grafted on a good tree. By nature we are like wild trees, bearing sour and bitter fruit, and so we should remain, were we not grafted upon Christ, the good olive tree, made members of Christ, the righteous and holy and well-beloved Son of God. Hence it is that there is such a change in a saint of GoD from what he was at the first. Con. sider what a different man St. Paul was after his conversion and before,—raging, as I just now said, like some wild beast, with persecuting fury against the Church, before Christ appeared to him, and meekly suffering persecution and glorying in it afterwards. Think of St. Peter denying Christ before the resurrection, and confessing, suffering, and dying for Him afterwards. And so now many an aged saint, who has good hope of heaven, may récollect things of himself when young, which fill him with dismay. I do not speak as if God's saints led vicious and immoral lives when young; but I mean that their lower and evil nature was not subdued, and perhaps from time to time broke out and betrayed them into acts and words so very different from what is seen in them at present, that did their friends know of them what they themselves know, they would not think them the same persons, and would be quite overpowered with astonishment. We never can guess what a man is by nature, by seeing what self-discipline has made him. Yet if we do become changed and prepared by it for heaven, it is no praise or merit to us. It is God's doing-glory be to Him, who has wrought so wonderfully with us! Yet in this life, even to the end, there will be enough in us to humble us ; even to the end, the holiest men have remains and stains of sin which they. would fain get rid of, if they could, and which keep this life from being to them, for all God's grace, a heaven

upon earth. No, the Christian life is but a shadow of heaven. Its festal and holy days are but shadows of eternity. But hereafter it will be otherwise. In heaven, sin will be utterly destroyed in every elect soul. We shall have no earthly wishes, no tendencies to disobedience or irreligion, no love of the world or the flesh, to draw us off from supreme devotion to God. We shall have our Saviour's holiness fulfilled in us, and be able to love God without drawback or infirmity.

That indeed will be a full reward of all our longings here, to praise and serve God eternally with a single and perfect heart in the midst of His Temple. What a time will that be, when all will be perfected in us which at present is but feebly begun! Then we shall see how the Angels worship God. We shall see the calmness, the intenseness, the purity, of their worship. We shall see that awful sight, the Throne of God, and the Seraphim before and around it, crying, “Holy!” We attempt now to imitate in Church what there is performed, as in the beginning, and ever shall be. In the Te Deum, day by day we say, “ Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD God of Sabaoth.” In the Creed, we recount God's mercies to us sinners. And we say and sing Psalms and Hymns, to come as near heaven as we can. May these attempts of ours be blest by ALMIGHTY God, to prepare us for Him! may they be, not dead forms, but living services, living with life from

God the Holy Ghost, in those who are dead to sin and who live with Christ! I dare say some of you have heard persons, who dissent from the Church, say, (at any rate, they do say,) that our Prayers and Services, and Holy days, are only forms, dead forms, which can do us no good. Yes, they are dead forms to those who are dead, but they are living forms to those who are living. If you come here in a dead way, not in faith, not coming for a blessing, without your hearts in the service, you will get no benefit from it. But if you come in a living way, in faith, and hope, and reverence, and with holy expectant hearts, then all that takes place will be a living service and full of heaven.

Make use, then, of this Holy Easter Season, which lasts forty to fifty days, to become more like Him who died for you, and who now liveth for evermore. He promises us, “ Because I live, ye shall live also." He, by dying on the Cross, opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. He first died, and then HE opened heaven. We, therefore, first commemorate His death, and then, for some weeks in succession, we commemorate and show forth the joys of heaven. They who do not rejoice in the weeks after Easter, would not rejoice in heaven itself. These weeks are a sort of beginning of heaven. Pray God to enable you to rejoice; to enable you to keep the Feast duly. Pray GOD to make you better Christians. This world is a dream,-you will get no good from it. Perhaps you find this difficult to believe; but be sure so it is. Depend upon it, at the last, you will confess it. Young people expect good from the world, and people of middle age devote themselves to it, and even old people do not like to give it up:

But the world is your enemy, and the flesh is your enemy.

Come to God, and beg of Him grace to devote yourselves to Him. Beg of Him the will to follow Him; beg of Him the power to obey Him. O how comfortable, pleasant, sweet, soothing, and satisfying is it to lead a holy life, —the life of Angels! It is difficult at first; but with God's grace, all things are possible. O how pleasant to have done with sin ! how good and joyful to flee temptation and to resist evil! how meet, and worthy, and fitting, and right, to die unto sin, and to live unto righteousness!

SERMON CXLII.

RELIGION PLEASANT TO THE RELIGIOUS.

PSALM xxxiv. 8.

“O taste and see how gracious the Lord is : blessed is the man that trusteth

in Him."

You see by these words what love Almighty God has towards us, and what claims He has upon our love. He is the Most High, and All Holy. He inhabiteth eternity: we are but worms compared with Him. He would not be less happy though He had never created us; He would not be less happy though we were all blotted out again from creation. But He is the God of love: He brought us all into existence because He found satisfaction in surrounding HIMSELF with happy creatures : HE made us innocent, holy, upright, and happy. And when Adam fell into sin and his descendants after him, then ever since HE has been imploring us to return to Him, the Source of all good, by true repentance. “Turn ye, turn ye,” He says, “why will ye die? As I live I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” “What could have been done more to My vineyard that I have not done to it"?And in the text He condescends to invite us to Him: “O taste and see how gracious the Lord is : blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." As if He said, "If you would but make trial, one trial ; if you would but be persuaded to taste and judge for yourself, so excellent is His graciousness, that you would never cease to desire, never cease to approach Him:” according to the saying of the wise man, “They that eat Me shall yet be hungry, and they that drink Me shall yet be thirsty ?.”

1 Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Isaiah v. 4.

This excellence and desirableness of God's gifts is a subject again and again set before us in Holy Scripture. Thus the Prophet Isaiah speaks of the “feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined 3.” And again, under images of another kind : He hath sent Me... to give .... beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called Trees of Righteousness 4.” Or again, the Prophet Hosea : “ I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine : the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon 5." And the Psalmist : “O that My people would have hearkened unto Me.. the haters of the LORD should have been found liars, but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest wheat flour, and with honey out of the stony rock should I have satisfied thee 6.' You see all images of what is pleasant and sweet in nature are brought together to describe the pleasantness and sweetness of the gifts which God gives us in grace. As wine enlivens, and bread strengthens, and oil is rich, and honey is sweet, and flowers are odorous, and dew is refreshing, and foliage is beautiful; so, and much more, are God's gifts in the Gospel enlivening, and strengthening, and rich, and sweet, and fragrant, and refreshing, and excellent. And as it is natural to feel satisfaction and comfort in these gifts of the visible world, so it is but natural and necessary to be delighted and transported with the gifts of the world invisible; and as the visible gifts are objects of desire and search, so much more is it, I do not merely say a duty, but a privilege and blessedness to “taste and see how gracious the LORD is."

Other passages in the Psalms speak of this blessedness, besides

2 Ecclus. xxiv. 21.

5 Hosea xiv. 5-7.

3 Isaiah xxv. 6.

4 Isaiah Ixi. 1-3. 6 Psalm lxxxi. 13—16.

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